Alfred University News

Award-winning filmmaker Roxy Toporowych to present Riley Lecture at Alfred University

Roxy Toporowych
Roxy Toporowych

Acclaimed filmmaker Roxy Toporowych will deliver the 25th annual Riley Lecture in Women’s Studies on Wednesday, March 18, at Alfred University.


ALFRED, NY – Acclaimed filmmaker Roxy Toporowych will deliver the 25th annual Riley Lecture in Women’s Studies on Wednesday, March 18, at Alfred University.

The lecture, titled “Lights, Camera, Revolution!: Award-Winning Filmmaker Roxy Toporowych’s Ukrainian Love Story” will be held at 5:30 p.m. in Holmes Auditorium, Harder Hall. The Riley Lecture is sponsored each year by the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Alfred University.

Toporowych wrote and directed “Julia Blue,” a love story set in modern day, post-revolutionary Ukraine involving Julia, an idealistic student activist, and a wounded soldier fresh from the warfront. Toporowych went to the Ukraine in 2014 on a 10-month Fulbright grant to film a documentary about the country’s children. She wound up visiting soldiers in a local hospital, an experience that inspired her to write “Julia Blue,” her first feature film.

The film, produced in 2018, won the jury prize for best narrative feature at the 2018 Anchorage International Film Festival. It was named Best Foreign Film at the 2019 Long Beach International Film Festival and 2019 Mystic Film Festival. For her work on “Julia Blue,” Toporowych won the jury awards as best director at the 2018 Woodstock Film Festival and at the 2019 Sonoma International Film Festival.

A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Toporowych has worked in film and television production for more than 15 years. Her credits include “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “A Most Violent Year,” “The Other Guys,” “Saturday Night Live” and Marvel's “The Punisher” Seasons 1 and 2. In 2016, she was the recipient of the Calvin Klein Live the Dream grant for emerging female directors.

 A reception, with hors d’oeuvres and refreshments, will be held following the lecture. The following evening, Thursday, March 19, at 7 p.m., “Julia Blue” will be screened in Nevins Theater, Powell Campus Center. Toporowych will be on hand to discuss the film and answer questions.

Each year, Alfred University hosts the Elizabeth Hallenbeck Riley and Charles P. Riley Lectureship in Women’s Studies. Charles Riley ’35 and Elizabeth Hallenbeck Riley ’36 were Alfred University graduates. Elizabeth was a local activist involved in women's rights issues. Their daughters, Pamela Riley Osborn ’62, Patricia A. Riley ’65, and Melissa Riley generously sponsor the lecture series in memory of their parents. The Riley sisters’ gift is a completion of the memorial Charles Riley had planned for his wife but had not completed before his death.

At the inaugural lecture in April 1996, Dr. Karen Porter, former director of the Women's and Gender Studies Program, noted that the lectureship “validates the work of women’s studies. It reaffirms our sense of community, and it helps make that community visible.”

The Riley Lecture Series sustains and nurtures faculty and student interest in Women’s Studies by bringing accomplished women scholars and professionals to campus each year. The Riley Lecture preserves the interdisciplinary nature of women’s studies by bringing scholars and professionals from a variety of disciplines to campus to give a lecture and participate in one or more women’s studies classes.