"Uncorking Wine & Film -- It's Un-reel Out There!"

Paso Robles Digital Film Festival Panel


November 25, 2008

5 p.m. wine tasting/hors d'oeuvres

       6 p.m. Panel Discussion


Carmody McKnight Estate Winery



11240 Chimney Rock Road

Paso Robles, CA 93446


click to see bios or scroll down


Dave Cole

Carole MacDonal

Archie McLaren

Gary Conway-- Panel Moderator

A video recording of the event will be part of the DVD "FILM OF THE FILM FESTIVAL" -- an inside look at the making and the importance of Film Festivals during the entertainment paradigm shift caused by the Digital Age and the Internet.  With the rise of the multi-platforms and new distribution means, our panelists, film makers, wine makers, creators, and the audience at large will network and interchange ideas on its impact.  The proceedings will be live-streamed in an Internet broadcast so that our expanded audience can comment and contribute -- real time – by way of their e-mail questions and comments.     

One of the special panels featured at the Paso Robles Digital Film Festival -- "Uncorking Wine & Film -- It's Un-reel Out There!" -- promises to be lively and iconoclastic with Gary Conway leading the conversation.  His fellow panel members include Carole MacDonal, TV and Film Producer & Writer; Archie McLaren, Founder & Chairman of the Central Coast Wine Classic; and Dave Cole, Actor and Independent Film and Distribution Innovator.  They are all residents of the Central Coast of California and bring unique perspective and free-thinking experience to the subject at hand.

Appropriately the panel will take place in Carmody McKnight’s eco-supportive straw-bale winery with noble wine creation taking place at every perimeter.  The artisan wine movement in this country and especially in the Central Coast found its roots in the good old American value system and created itself from the ground up, in defiance of the corporate one-flavor-fits-all mind-set.  Wine makers found that they could actually be independent and family-grounded and practice their art and commerce and prosper in a counter-culture marketplace as independents.  But it took ingenuity and studied self-reliance.  Not so for filmmakers where “independence” is a pipe dream and turned into a marketing ploy by the media mega-conglomerates.  The saddest part is that self proclaimed “independent” filmmakers don’t even realize how “dependent” they have become.  These observations and concerns will be the trigger points for discussion.

Warm-up with “independent” estate wine tasting 4:00pm -- Panel Discussion at 5:00pm.  Join us with your thoughts, questions, earned wisdom, aspirations and life experience.  The Central Coast will find a new creative vibrancy in the Digital Age. The Central Coast has been singled out as the most naturally endowed area in the world for great wines and wine makers, and we hope this unique environment nurtures creative art makers as well.  It must start with a community of artists who inspire and reach out to one another and share their experiences and insight in regards to the digital age and its promise of democratization and independence for artists.  The panel members have all set their stakes in this area and find the Central Coast the promised land for their dreams and would rather live in a community of creative folk than a consumer culture of chain-stores.

The Panel

Dave Cole

Actor, Independent Filmmaker

San Luis Obispo International Film Festival

Morro Bay, California

Armed with a Master of Arts in Public Affairs and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science,  Central Coast denizen Dave Cole spent a quarter of a century in government and politics before he found his way into the realm of independent film.  On the way there, he spent some time developing his own system of small cap stock trading, landing on the cover of the September 2000 issue of Your Money magazine in the process.

In the late 1990s Dave met legendary TV and film personality Gary Conway, who eventually brought Dave into his filmmaking world and introduced him to other filmmakers.  Given an opportunity to completely change direction, Dave spent the next several years working with Gary on several initiatives and immersing himself in the rapidly evolving business of independent filmmaking.

Now working under the professional moniker “David John Cole,” Dave’s acting credits include a wide variety of feature film and TV productions, most notably his portrayal of General Zachary Taylor in The History Channel’s 2006 film The Mexican-American War.  During that time Dave has branched out into production, distribution, marketing and film festival strategizing for independent films, supplemented by his recent three-year term as Vice-President of the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival.

After joining the production of the feature film Neptune Cowboy as a supporting actor, Dave was asked to join the Energy Alliance Entertainment production team to promote the film and assist with its marketing and distribution efforts.  Long Beach-based EAE recently announced that the sequel to Neptune Cowboy is now in development, and Dave continues to work as part of the EAE management team to get that film into production in 2009.

Dave has also continued to expand his film festival involvement by serving as an advisor to film festivals and working with indie filmmakers to develop their film festival strategies and plans.  For the past few years he has also been promoting several film-related initiatives in the Great Lakes region, including an innovative new program in which a university in Wisconsin organizes, conducts and summarizes test screenings of feature films for indie filmmakers.

Dave’s current projects include helping to promote The Center for the Study of Film and History, working with a southern California film festival as it prepares its 2009 festival program, and arranging the Central Coast premiere of a new exciting surfing film by two up and coming Australian surfer/filmmakers.  And he continues to actively pursue acting roles in TV and film, his most ardent passion in “the ‘biz.”


Carole MacDonal

Producer / Writer

Paso Robles, California

Carole MacDonal grew up in Buffalo, New York and developed an interest in film while studying Music at S.U.N.Y. at Buffalo. With dreams of writing music for movies and television, she began her career at an advertising agency, producing commercials and jingles. The more she became involved with film, the more her career began to take a turn towards production. Her career has taken her from production assistant to producer since 1979 with stops along the way in every capacity including art department, wardrobe, script supervision, locations, assistant director and post production supervisor.

Carole’s production career developed quickly, producing in all formats including, feature films, documentaries, television, commercials and music videos. Included in a vast resume are “TRUTH BE TOLD”, a feature film directed by Jeff Byrd starring Blair Underwood and Regina King, “MY DARK LADY,” a feature directed by Buffalonian Frederick King Keller, “WHO KILLED THE IDEA?” a BMW short film and “THE BARRY WILLIAMS SHOW,” a Sean Penn directed project for Peter Gabriel.

For five seasons, she was a Producer on the multi Emmy Winning television series “THE AMAZING RACE” and for the last four seasons she has been a line producer and Executive in charge of Production on “THE BIGGEST LOSER.”

She has started up and run production companies for various projects and worked all over the world including Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean.

She has participated in film festivals including The NY Film Festival and Taos Film Festival at which a film she produced, “PAIN ANGEL” won best cinematography.

Carole’s writing career began as a past time and has become a valuable asset to her producing career. She has published a book co-written with her father entitled “Two Poached Eggs In A Cup, A Bagel And A Cup Of Coffee.”  She has also written feature scripts and various treatments for both features and television. Currently she is beginning her second book, which at this time is untitled.

Carole currently resides in Paso Robles, California with her husband Santos.


Archie McLaren

Founder & Chairman

Central Coast Wine Classic

Avila Beach & Big Sur, California

Archie McLaren is no stranger to the world of fine cuisine and rare wine. He is the founding Bailli of the Central Coast Chapter of the Confrerie de la Chaine des Rotisseurs, a member of the Vintners’ Club of San Francisco, the Wine & Food Society of San Francisco, the San Francisco Chapter of the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin and the Marin County Chapter of the International Wine & Food Society. He is the former Cellarmaster of the Avila Bay Wine Society and the former President of the Central Coast Wine Society.

Archie has served as Chairman/Executive Director of both the San Luis Obispo Vintners & Growers Association and the Paso Robles Westside Grand Crew. He is one of only two Americans inducted into the Austrian Wine Brotherhood, and one of the few Americans inducted into the Commanderie des Bontemps - Medoc et Graves & Sauternes et Barsac of Bordeaux in France.

Archie has long been associated with charitable wine auctions. Not only did he serve for many years as the American Institute of Wine & Food’s Rare & Fine Wine and Auction Consultant, he also served as a Director on its National Board. He is the Founder & Chairman of the Central Coast Wine Classic, held in high esteem as a prestigious and comprehensive food and wine event, held each year in July and in its twenty-fourth year, which boasts Wine Spectator among its many significant sponsors. With revenues exceeding $1,000,000, the Central Coast Wine Classic is one of America’s most successful charity wine auctions. The Central Coast Wine Classic not only promotes the wine, culinary and hospitality industries, it also confers substantive proceeds upon a continually expanding number of healing, performing and studio arts organizations on the Central Coast of California, specifically in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.

Archie has assisted in launching charity auctions in Washington, D.C., Honolulu, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Mendocino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Ynez and Santa Barbara. His partner in life, Carissa Chappellet, an owner of Chappellet Winery in the Napa Valley and the winery’s ambassador, and he have served as Chairs of the WYES Public Television Auction in New Orleans and are frequent donors to charitable wine auctions throughout the United States.

In addition, with Brian Talley, he co-founded the extremely popular World of Pinot Noir. In 2007, he directed and was the auctioneer for the Pinot Plus Auction, the Carneros Wine Alliance’s inaugural Carneros Appellation Wine and Lifestyle Tasting and Auction, and was auctioneer for the 2007 and 2008 Lake County Wine Auction.

Archie is frequently invited to attend tastings of rare and collectible wines throughout the country and has participated in comprehensive vertical tastings of Chateaux d’Yquem, Latour, Mouton Rothschild, Cos d’Estournel, Leoville Las Cases and Cheval Blanc, as well as La Tache, Hermitage La Chapelle, Penfolds Grange, Vega Sicilia Unico, and Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour Private Reserve, among a number of others. A long-time Champagne aficionado who has attended many tastings of rare Champagnes, he was Founder and Director of the International Festival of Methode Champenoise.

On San Luis Obispo & Santa Barbara Public Radio KCBX, Archie hosted a fine wine program, the Wine Drinker’s Guide to Indulgence, for twenty-three years (He continues to host an occasional show), and has been a writer on fine wine for Adventure’s in Dining, the San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune, New Times and Santa Barbara Magazine.

His education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vanderbilt University, a Juris Doctor of Law degree from the University of Memphis, and post-graduate studies in Humanities, English Literature and International Marketing at various universities.

Archie McLaren is involved in an array of civic activities, both in the arts and in the community in general. He has received the San Luis Obispo Visitors & Convention Bureau’s Annual Tourism Award. He has twice served as the President of the Board of Directors of the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival, and as a member of the Board of the San Luis Obispo County Arts Council. He was the Chairman of the Avila Beach Front Street Enhancement Committee that designed the promenade and park for the rejuvenation of the community of Avila Beach and for many years was Chairman of the committee that approves new projects for Avila Beach prior to their being approved at the county level.

His many accomplishments have resulted in his continuing inclusion in Who’s Who in Media & Communications, Who’s Who in the West, Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.

Archie McLaren and writer, painter, photographer, musician, adventurer, Carissa Chappellet, live in Avila Beach, Big Sur, and St. Helena, California, where they enjoy hiking, bicycling and a variety of water and court sports, as well as raiding their wine cellar for special occasions with family and friends.

Gary Conway-- Panel Moderator

Actor, Filmmaker, Artist, Winemaker

Paso Robles, California

A Renaissance man for our time, Gary Conway (born Gareth Monello Carmody) was the youngest artist to win a major prize at the LA County Art Exhibition and, before age sixteen, was awarded full scholarships to the three most prestigious art schools in the country.  Graduating from UCLA, he not only dedicated himself to fine art as a life long pursuit, but also went on to become an accomplished violinist who has appeared at the Hollywood Bowl, and an architect whose work has been featured in Design West. 

His remarkable talents expanded to include TV and Film star, and it was in television where he became an instant worldwide celebrity, first with a starring role in the TV series Burke's Law.  While on this classic series he had the rare opportunity to work with a grand array of legendary stars of the silver screen, from Mary Astor, to Bette Davis, to Gloria Swanson, to ZaZu Pitts.


He followed Burke’s Law with Land of the Giants, considered one of the most successful programs ever produced on a worldwide basis.  Today, many years after its initial release on television, there are highly active clubs and societies around the world devoted to Gary and the series on a full time basis.  His show has been seen in every nook and cranny that possesses a television set.  Land of the Giants was the number one show recently on Channel Four in England.  Gary participated in a satellite special on Channel Four commemorating the series’ incredible accomplishment and fan following.


Besides starring in series and a multitude of episodic television shows and pilots, he starred in many motion pictures.  He had leading roles and even production credits in The Farmer, Black Gunn, Once is Not Enough, to name a few.  


Gary also became very successful as a screenwriter and wrote the scripts for such popular films as Over the Top, as well as the highly successful American Ninja series.  He also originated films scripts for such stars as Laurence Harvey, Catherine Dueneve and Eddie Murphy.


While active in television and motion pictures, centered mostly in Hollywood, Gary discovered and fell in love with a broken down ranch on 320 acres in the Central Coast of California. Gary first beheld the idyllic beauty of the area aboard a helicopter moments before it crashed.  Emerging from the wreckage, Gary exclaimed to the still stunned real estate broker, “I'm going to buy this place!”  This is the stuff of legends; and, indeed, in the ensuing years the vineyard and its super soils and textbook microclimates are fast becoming legendary by way of Carmody McKnight Estate Wines. 

Adding to the legend of the land, the vineyard was chosen as the most endowed in the world and the subject of an extraordinary joint effort between John Deere, Motorola, Earth Information Technologies, and Cal Poly University with support from the State of California due to the rarity of the soils derived from calcareous shale, limestone, and igneous (volcanic) rocks as well as montmorillonite -- "the wonder soil."  No other vineyard in the world possess all of these renowned soil types and in such abundance.  

As a result, three of Carmody McKnight wines, in combination to create the “Cadenza” Meritage, won against all California wines in the most prestigious of competitions – the California State Fair Wine Competition.  Gary’s labels have also won several best of shows and double golds.   The winery itself was voted number one on the Central Coast.  It is an astonishing fact that in the twenty-year history of the vineyard there has never been the necessity to fertilize, yet the wine, as analyzed in the extensive Cal Poly University study, has been found to be the most mineral and nutrient rich in the world.

The story of Gary’s odyssey with the land, Art of the Vineyard, has been published by the prestigious Journey Editions of the Charles E. Tuttle Company.  Besides authoring Art of the Vineyard, the book includes over a hundred of Gary's brilliant landscapes which are indicative of his outstanding reputation as an artist.  Art of the Vineyard has received overwhelming praise from all quarters of the country.  Connie Martinson on her television show Let's Talk Books, said, "Gary's Art of the Vineyard would be a wonderful book on its own let alone an extraordinary book of art."  In a review in New Times and on PBS, his work was described as "magnificent, exhilarating, vibrating, extraordinary."  In the review in Booklist, perhaps the most significant in the publishing industry, his book and its art was referred to as "vivid, nearly neon color palette...the images demonstrate the human capacity to love, desire, create, and persevere...a rendering of Conway's passion."


Gary wrote and directed the film Woman's Story ( http://www.womansstory.com ) Woman's Story is already being heralded as: an extraordinary film... a stunning filmmaking achievement... with such artistry that it becomes a genuine work of art.  The look of the film is much like a great painting.   For Gary the film is indeed an extension of his painting as well as articulating a vital social message.  Woman’s Story is in a unique premiere release around the country where not only is the film reaching theatrical audiences usually unable to see such artistic films but also has been raising much-needed funds and awareness for major museums, schools, universities, and other organizations dedicated to the community's welfare.  The film and the exciting premiere events – great cuisine and wine dinners and art and wine auctions -- following the screenings have had even the leaders of the communities calling the premiere events "amazing," "a shining moment," "tremendous," "awesome," “fantastic.” 

Gary’s current work as a painter is being displayed on both coasts.  He is represented in Georgetown, D.C. at the Susan Calloway Gallery ( LINK ).  He is considered one of the foremost landscape painters in the U.S. as well as a portrait painter.  Gary is developing several television series, both network and online, which will encompass his vast experience as a Jeffersonian farmer and winemaker.  He is also working on his next motion picture project to be filmed on the Central Coast.  

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