Our Story

When Peggy Parsons shared her dream in 2012 of establishing a film festival in Cooperstown under the auspices of Otsego 2000, the decision was an easy one.  As a showcase for films exploring humanity’s complex relationship with the natural world, Glimmerglass Film Days is a draw to the region through its inspiring films combined with local foods, art, walks, hikes and bike rides exploring the tranquility of an Otsego County autumn.   

One of the first uniquely American novelists, James Fenimore Cooper, pioneered a 200-year-old environmental ethic on the shores of Otsego Lake that inspires us to the present day. Glimmerglass Film Days encourages environmental stewardship through encounters and lively collaboration with filmmakers, artists, activists, scholars, local businesses, and local nonprofit organizations.

Glimmerglass Film Days is due entirely to the hard work, creativity and unbridled enthusiasm of an extremely dedicated committee, our many sponsors, volunteers, and grants from the New York State Council of the Arts, the Scriven Foundation and Otsego County’s Community Grant program.


Steering Committee

Larry Bennett, is public relations and creative services manager for Brewery Ommegang –just south of Cooperstown at 656 County Route 33. In 2001 he traded a 25–year advertising career for a second career in the world of craft brewing.  Reversing a common local trend, he moved from the urbanizing, sunny, economically-thriving South to an old dairy farm in East Meredith, Delaware County, where he and his wife, Christine Alexander – a fine artist–grow flowers, vegetables, hay and field mice. Larry is part of an ever-growing team at Ommegang that has raised a small brewery to a nationally-known name. He is also responsible for leading Ommegang’s anti-fracking efforts and is gratified that the brewery chooses to be richly-integrated into the local and regional communities –supporting wide-ranging environmental, farm and business efforts as well as local charities, arts and citizens’ groups.  A past member of the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce board, he is currently on the board of Otsego 2000.

Molly Cooper is a film producer whose credits include The Grand Budapest Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Isle of Dogs.  She has also worked as a producer on projects with The Criterion Collection and HBO, with Abrams Books and Rizzoli, and for production companies based at Universal Pictures, Warner Bros., New Line and DreamWorks.  She received a B.A. in English from Yale University and an M.F.A. in Film Production from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and is a current member of the Producers Guild of America’s Motion Picture Producing Council.  She grew up spending summers in Cooperstown, and now divides her time between Cooperstown and Brooklyn, NY.

Megan Irving studied Studio Art at Bard College and like many creative individuals she has a variety of interests that support her artistic pursuits. Her experiences include paint making, workshop administration and teaching, exhibition production, marketing, communications, library services, and image collection maintenance. Her paintings have been shown at the Samuel S. Dorsky Museum, New Paltz, NY, R&F Gallery, Kingston, NY, No-Space Gallery, Rosendale, NY,  and the Smithy Center for the Arts, Cooperstown, NY. Megan has lived in Cherry Valley, NY, the Hudson Valley, Seattle, WA, Washington, D.C., and South East Asia. She has recently settled in Westford, NY where she keeps a studio and works as communications manager helping a handful of small businesses and nonprofits tell their stories.

Joey Katz has been a part of the Glimmerglass Film Days team since 2016, when he started as an intern, doing everything from acquiring films to driving festival guests to screenings. He’s devoted to showing unique and eye-opening films, organizing special screenings while attending SUNY Purchase (where he graduated in December 2017 with a BA in Cinema Studies), and creating and programming the Film Society of Cooperstown early in 2018. Currently residing in the Boston area, he serves as the Program Associate at the National Center for Jewish Film at Brandeis University, doing distribution for the largest archive of Jewish films outside of Israel.

Jim LaCava is a sportsman, artist, physician and cinephile long committed to preserving the unique and historic natural beauty of Otsego County and its environs. He has faith in the power of films to foster productive discourse through the insights and emotions they engender.

Xander Moffat is an independent film producer. Through his production company, LunaSea Pictures, he produces narrative and documentary projects along with commissioned commercial work. Moffat studied film at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Though he spends time in Los Angeles and New York City for work, Cooperstown continues to serve as his home base.

Margaret (Peggy) Parsons founded the film program at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, an ongoing exhibition program and archival collection. She has served as advisor, trustee, or board member for major organizations such as the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar and CINE, and has been on the editorial boards for The Moving Image and the Getty Trust’s Program for Art on Film. She has been a judge for key festivals including the Washington, Syracuse, and Nashville International Film Festivals. Other interests include folk art and preservation, and her articles have appeared in Raw Vision, Folk Art, Folk Art Messenger, New York Folklore, Curator, and The Moving Image. Prior to the National Gallery, Parsons held positions at the Smithsonian Institution and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She received her MA from SUNY Oneonta’s Cooperstown Graduate Program in Museum Studies.

Ellen Pope is executive director of Otsego 2000, a small non-profit dedicated to preserving the historical, cultural, agricultural, and environmental assets of the Otsego Lake region surrounding Cooperstown, New York. She is responsible for the overall management and direction of the organization and its programs including efforts to protect the region from shale gas extraction and other industrial threats, preserve its rich historical buildings, hamlets and landscapes, and promote local sustainability primarily through the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market and other economic development initiatives like the Film Days.  Prior to joining Otsego 2000, she spent 17 years in transatlantic exchange and policy, five of those at the French-American Foundation in New York, and twelve at the German Marshall Fund of the United States in Washington, D.C., where she managed the Marshall Memorial Fellowship leadership program for seven years before launching the Comparative Domestic Policy program, a major initiative focused on transatlantic exchange of best practices in urban and regional policy.

Professor Peter Rutkoff, Chair, Department of American Studies, Kenyon College. Peter Rutkoff chairs the Department of American Studies at Kenyon College in Ohio. He is the author of recent non-fiction works that examine African-American art and culture, as well as two novels, most recently Irish Eyes. He is a regular summer visitor to Cooperstown, which is also the setting of his book of short stories, Cooperstown Chronicles.

Sydney L. Waller, independent consulting curator and private gallerist, currently focuses on projects where agriculture and culture converge. She manages the estate of farmer/self-taught artist Lavern Kelley (1928-98), whose art stems from an era of sustainable farm practice, and a family tree farm near Cherry Valley.  Ms. Waller has initiated many successful cultural programs, alternative art spaces and community events over several decades. She first brought the Black Maria Film Festival to town in a film series she spearheaded in the 1990s for Gallery 53 Artworks, an alternative art space she co-founded. While at Gallery 53, she also launched popular annual community events like Upstate Chic, ‘the show that showed you could stay warm and still be cool. ’ While leading other Upstate non-profits, she championed, among other programs, the Greater Adirondack Poetry Festival for children and co-established Griffiss International Sculpture Garden in Rome NY on a former military base. Also experienced in fund development and non-profit management, Ms. Waller serves on the Otsego 2000 board.

Ken Witty, Television Producer and Writer. Ken Witty has been a television producer and writer for some 45 years. Most recently, he was Executive Producer of “Consuelo Mack WealthTrack,” public television’s weekly program about investing. He has been an Executive Producer and Producer for Wall Street Television, PBS’s “Adam Smith’s Money World,” The Newshour with MacNeil and Lehrer, and CBS News. He also headed up his own production company, Witty Associates, for many years producing documentaries for non-profit organizations, corporations, and broadcast television.

Honorary Council

John Columbus
Henry S.F. Cooper, Jr., In memoriam
Paula DiPerna
Hugh MacDougall

Glimmerglass Film Days is due entirely to the hard work, creativity and unbridled enthusiasm of an extremely dedicated committee, our sponsors, and volunteers.  Thank you!


Larry Bennett, Janet Erway, Tier French, Megan Irving, Susan Jones Kenyon, Todd Kenyon, Xander Moffat, Peg Odell

2019 Glimmerglass Films Days Interns

Sarah Callan, Cooperstown Graduate Program ‘20
Anna Stratton, Cooperstown Graduate Program ‘ 21


Chris Carey, Viridiana García Choy, Rita Carr, Phoebe Cos, Shiv Desai, Alexis DiBartolomeo, Katie Dragan, JoAnn Gardner, Rainer Gardner-Olesen, Grayson Grau, Kara Gildea, Schatzi Hall, Mallory Hanson, Maya Hodgins, Elizabeth Kapp, Robert Samuel Katz, Mary Kate Kenney, Aubrey Kirsch, Georgia LaMair, Sam Lytel, Lindsey Marshall, James Matson, Anastacia Maurer, Ellie Pink, Barbara Pratt, Nathan Samoriski, Hannah Sherman, Erik Stengler, Sarah Taubner, Beth Templeton, Lola Thompson, Catherine Tuttle, Peter Weir, Karl Wietzel, Alyssa Zajan

The Cooperstown Graduate Program and its students for volunteering their time, energy and expertise.