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Film festival fraud; documentarians investigate the mystery of Marie Castaldo

Marie Castaldo is the subject of a documentary in the works called “The Mystery of Marie Jocelyne.”

By Isabel Braverman
December 12, 2012

Marie “Jocelyne” Castellano, best known to local residents for her role in the scandal-plagued Narrowsburg International Independent Film Festival and wife of Richard Castellano, is the subject of a documentary film presently in production. The film will tell the story not only of her time here, but also how she founded the Queens International Film Festival, which one New York newspaper called “The Flim-flam Film Festival.”

Jocelyne is a woman of many names—she’s gone by Jocelyne Castellano, Jocelyne Castaldo-Castellano, Maria Jocelyne Castellano, Marie-Helene Rousseau and Marie Rousseau. She now goes by Marie Castaldo, and she is the convicted criminal, alleged con artist and subject of “The Mystery of Marie Jocelyne.”

The filmmakers of the documentary, Dan Nuxoll and Martha Shane, came to Narrowsburg recently to look through The River Reporter archives and to talk to residents about Marie Castaldo. Nuxoll, the program director of Rooftop Films, came into contact with Marie when she rented equipment from Rooftop for the Queens International Film Festival and never paid her deposit. It was then that Nuxoll and Shane discovered a slew of corruption in Marie’s past—bounced checks, Ponzi schemes and selling Q-Tips off the back of a stolen pharmaceutical truck.

In 2010 Marie was arrested for charges of dog hoarding in Kingston, where police said 40 dogs were found in an empty storefront with no water or food. She pled guilty to multiple counts of fraud and animal abuse and was deported back to her native France.

Nuxoll and Shane are both involved in film. Nuxoll has worked for Rooftop Films since 2002 and has served on the juries for film festivals SXSW and Slamdance. Shane has worked as producer, director, cinematographer and editor on many documentaries.

They have been working on this documentary for a few years. Shane said, “The thing that made it into a real project and a serious feature film is that we were able to interview Marie herself last October in London.” They were in London for five days and shot 30 hours of footage with her.

They have traveled to many locations, speaking to people who knew Marie. “We always knew it would be a complicated story,” Nuxoll said, “but as we spoke to more and more people it just gets more and more complicated.”