The North Fork TV Festival will pay tribute to the ‘Succession’ star

Actor J. Smith-Cameron (courtesy photo)

The North Fork TV Festival will host a special gala at Claudio’s on Saturday, October 22 honoring actress J. Smith-Cameron with the Canopy Award, as well as the official presentation of its first-ever Executive Director, Monica Halpert.

A television industry veteran, Halpert most recently held an executive position at the Sundance Institute. As a resident of New Suffolk for 23 years, she is thrilled to take part in the North Fork-based Festival. Founded in 2015 by Noah and Lauren Doyle, the North Fork TV Festival was created to find and showcase the work of independent artists in the television industry. Halpert’s vision is to take this goal to the next level.

Getting a TV show produced is a gargantuan feat, as creators and artists usually have to go through the various networks to even pitch an idea, let alone produce a pilot. Halpert wants to use the festival as a springboard and bring more awareness to these creators and hopefully lower the barrier to entry.

“The whole notion of what television is — it’s the medium of the moment,” Halpert said. “So thinking about the original mission of the festival to curate and discover these often underrepresented artists who don’t have the resources, connections, platforms or access to have their work seen… now it doesn’t enough to show their work. It’s about how we can help them get that work done and produced, financed, and sold.

Monique Halpert. (Courtesy picture)

Halpert sees today’s television landscape as one that is able to showcase both blockbusters, like the “Game of Thrones” spin-off “House of Dragons,” and deeply personal and intimate stories like “I May Destroy You.” “, about a woman whose life is forever changed by rape.

“[‘I May Destroy You’] is a little personal story that is as epic as the dragons,” Halpert said. “But because of this abundance [of different series]i think these little personal stories are the ones that really touch people, especially after what we just went through [during the pandemic].”

It is perhaps unsurprising, in this bountiful television landscape, that J. Smith-Cameron is honored this year with the Canopy Award, which honors a member of New York’s television community for their commitment to the arts through ” the twin spirits of independence and collaboration.” Smith-Cameron currently stars in HBO’s “Succession,” a critically acclaimed dark comedy drama that doesn’t hurt when it comes to telling biting, sharp stories.

“I’m thrilled and incredibly flattered,” Smith-Cameron said. “I am incredibly excited about this festival and this organization. Television is flourishing more and more, and for an organization that encourages new voices and new artists, we will see less and less of the stereotypical things that we associate with television shows.

Smith-Cameron, who had a long and successful career in theatre, film and television, became best known for her role as Gerri Kellman in Succession.

“I used to have a bias that TV was formulaic and I couldn’t see where I fit in,” Smith-Cameron said. “My agents would always try to get me on a sitcom and I was allergic to the general shape of it. But now there are so many types of shows and people who respond to them. are a bit wild!”

For Smith-Cameron, the most important aspect of a television series is the writing. She appreciates when a show challenges her, pointing to shows like “The Good Fight” and “Reservation Dogs,” as well as “Succession.”

“My character may seem like one guy – a bullet-buster, a female barracuda – but she’s a very unique character. They all are.

Both Halpert and Smith-Cameron agree that television is experiencing a golden age – or, as Smith-Cameron calls it – “a ‘platinum age’.”

The North Fork TV Festival Waterfront Special Night at Claudio’s in Greenport takes place on October 22. For tickets, visit

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