David Tochterman has been appointed executive director of the Berkshire International Film Festival, whose annual event will be held in September. Image courtesy BIFF

Business Briefs: New executive director, new dates for BIFF; MCLA offers free COVID-era business talks; LitNet scholarship for new Americans

Literacy Network of South Berkshire is accepting applications for the Matthew and Hannah Keator Family Scholarship for New Americans, which provides financial support to individuals ready to apply for U.S. citizenship.

Berkshire International Film Festival announces new dates, new executive director

GREAT BARRINGTON — The Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF) recently announced new dates for its upcoming festival. The event, which was to take place June 2–5, is now scheduled for September 8–12, 2021.

“As an organization, we feel optimistic that, by September, as the vaccination process will be expanded and far spread, and with all necessary safety precautions including an extra day to spread out the festivities, an in-person event will likely be possible,” said BIFF Artistic Director Kelley Vickery. “We, of course, will continue to follow the experts and science and continue to evaluate the pandemic in relation to health, travel, and live events, but, in the meantime, at BIFF central we are busy planning, programming and organizing for a hybrid festival including in-person screenings, drive-ins, and virtual screenings and events.”

BIFF also announced the appointment of David Tochterman as executive director. Tochterman brings experience in the film, television, and digital industries. He is an Emmy-nominated media executive, producer, and entrepreneur, and has been a pioneer in content and strategy for digital media since the earliest days of YouTube. He is CEO of Canvas Media Studios, a venture-capital-financed production studio and distributor for TV, film, and digital/social platforms. Previously, Tochterman was a digital strategy consultant for ABC, PBS, and Starz, and founded Innovative Artists Digital Media, one of the first talent agency digital divisions. Tochterman has developed and produced programming for all networks, and worked on series that have won over 20 Emmy awards and nominations. He was a senior executive for Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment and the Carsey Werner Company, where he developed projects including “That ‘70s Show.”


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MCLA to offer series on leadership, entrepreneurship, finance during COVID

Dr. Joshua Mendel photo courtesy MCLA

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ (MCLA) Master of Business Administration (MBA) Program will present a free series of virtual panels examining leadership, entrepreneurship, and finance in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Held monthly in March, April, and May, and moderated by MCLA Director of Corporate Engagement and Strategic Partnerships Dr. Joshua Mendel, the Friday Focus Lunchtime Series will feature local business leaders, MBA program alumni, and faculty from MCLA’s Business Department. The first event, “Leadership in the time of COVID” will be held March 12 with MCLA alumni Thomas Adjei and Veronica Torres Martin, and MCLA Professor of Business Tom Whalen.

Each event will begin at noon. To register, visit mcla.edu/mba. The events will also be streamed to the MCLA Facebook page and archived on the MCLA YouTube channel.

Series Lineup:
March 12 – Leadership in the Time of COVID
April 9 – Entrepreneurship and Small Business in the Time of COVID
May 7 – Financials in the Time of COVID


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Literacy Network of South Berkshire accepting applicants for Keator Family Scholarship  

LEE – Literacy Network of South Berkshire (LitNet) is accepting applications for the Matthew and Hannah Keator Family Scholarship for New Americans. Funded by a grant through the Matthew and Hannah Keator Family Fund, the grant provides financial support to individuals ready to apply for U.S. citizenship. The support assists candidates in obtaining legal services during the screening and the application process, as well as direct support to defray the cost of the federal naturalization application. There are six available scholarships for 2021.

Scholarship recipients will be assigned a tutor from LitNet, who will work with the applicant to prepare for the culmination of the naturalization process — the civics and literacy exams.

Since the inception of the Keator Scholarship, in 2019, 12 recipients have become U.S. citizens.

All applicants must begin their process with the Berkshire Immigrant Center, which partners with LitNet in this endeavor. To obtain a scholarship application or for any questions, contact Lorena Dus or Emma Lezberg at the Berkshire Immigrant Center by calling (413) 445-4881 or emailing info@berkshireic.com.