Baristanet Profile: Thom Powers

Name: Thom Powers

Where do you live? Montclair, New Jersey

When did you move there? My wife Raphaela Neihausen and I came from Manhattan in 2012 to help start the Montclair Film Festival that we ran for 3 years.

Where did you grow up? Suburbs of Detroit, Michigan

How do you make a living? I’m a film festival programmer. It means I watch a few hundred documentary films each year and curate selections for the Toronto International Film Festival in September, DOC NYC in November, the Miami Film Festival in March and the weekly Stranger Than Fiction series at the IFC Center. I also interview filmmakers for my podcast Pure Nonfiction and co-host the Documentary of the Week spot every Friday on WNYC.

Coffee, tea or … ? Moscow Mule

What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day? Kicking a soccer ball in the park with my son, reading a book, cooking at home.

What’s your favorite local restaurant? Uncle Momo

What’s on your nightstand? Mainly books, at the moment Masha Gessen’s The Future is History and Chris Smith’s oral history of The Daily Show.

What are you listening to? In the kitchen, Dinah Washington. When my 8-year-old has control, Hamilton. On my commute, podcasts, mainly interview shows including Intercepted, Longform, Brian Lehrer, WTF, Fresh Air, et al.

What are your current indulgences? My podcast Pure Nonfiction is a time-consuming hobby, but still cheaper than buying a sports car.

What talent you would most like to have? Faster at writing.

What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about Montclair? It’s probably no secret, but Raphaela and I have watched (and recruited) a growing community of documentary filmmakers in town. Cinema 505 is just getting started and I look forward to their education programs creating a new generation of filmmakers.

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