NYWIFT Members in the News

Members, do you have an upcoming screening, event, campaign or other news to share? Tell us! Contact communications@nywift.org.

The documentary Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, produced by NYWIFT member Caralene Robinson’s company Coffee Bluff Pictures, will screen Aug. 5-11 at Cinema Village. In addition to five daily shows, the Aug. 5 at 7 PM screening will be followed by a Q&A and reception featuring director Deborah Riley Draper and narrator Blair Underwood. Jesse Owens wasn’t the only African American at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Olympic Pride, American Prejudice explores the 18 African American Olympians who defied Jim Crow and Adolf Hitler to win hearts and medals at the Berlin games. Set against the turbulent atmosphere of a racially divided America torn between boycotting Hitler’s Olympics, or participating in the Third Reich’s grandest affair, the film tells the story of 16 men and two women – the one you know, and the others you don't. Tickets are $12; seniors and students pay $8. Buy tickets.

Priscilla Anany (left) and Adriana Shaw
Priscilla Anany (left) and Adriana Shaw
Member Adriana Shaw of HerFlix recently presented an award to director Priscilla Anany at the Las Vegas Film Festival (see picture to the left). Anany won Best New Narrative Director at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival for her feature Children of the Mountain. Against the picturesque Ghanaian backdrop, Children of the Mountain is an honest exploration of a mother’s will in the face of much adversity. When her baby is born with a cleft lip, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome, Essuman is led to believe that she has a ‘dirty womb.’ Her promising future as a wife and mother is shattered as her lover disowns her and the community eyes her with suspicion.

Member Laura Israel’s film Don’t Blink: Robert Frank is screening at Film Forum July 13-26. Robert Frank, now 91 years old, is among the most influential artists of the last half-century. His seminal volume, The Americans, published in 1958, records the Swiss-born photographer’s candid reactions to peculiarly American versions of poverty and racism. Today it is a classic work that helped define the off-the-cuff, idiosyncratic elegance that are hallmarks of Frank’s artistry. Director Laura Israel (Frank’s longtime film editor) and producer Melinda Shopsin were given unprecedented access to the notably irascible artist. Tickets are $14. Laura will be at Q&A’s after several screenings. See details.

Actor/writer/director and NYWIFT member Graceann Dorse will be screening her short film The Skull as part of the 2nd Round Finalists competition for the Katra Film Series in NYC. Starring noted playwright and poet Edgar Oliver as the voice of the Skull, the film tells the story of a family who learns to let go of the past. The screening will take place on July 16 at 5:00PM, at the Katra Lounge on the Lower East Side. 217 Bowery at Rivington. Tickets are $20, and a discount code is available with KATRA25. Buy tickets.

Member Suzanne Guacci’s independent filmStuff is the opening night film at the Long Island International Film Expo on July 15 at 6:45 PM! It is the first time in the festival’s 19-year history that an LGBT film is the opener. Actors Karen Sillas, Yvonne Jung and Phyllis Somerville will all be there for a Q&A after. Stuff recently signed with distributor Gravitas Ventures and this is one of its final festivals. It has been on the circuit for a year, playing over 20 festivals, including Outfest and Frameline in 2015. Tickets are $10. Buy tickets.

The feature film No Pay, Nudity will have its world premiere at the Stony Brook Film Festival on July 26 at 7 PM. NYWIFT member Jennifer Snowdon was the head up the makeup department for the film. A film about hanging out, hanging in, and hanging on. Gabriel Byrne, playing comically against type, portrays aging actor Lester Rosenthal, a man who has lost his way with his career, his family, and his friends. A hilarious Nathan Lane, along with Frances Conroy and Boyd Gaines, portray his fellow thespians, all waiting for the right role to come along as they hang out in the Actors Equity lobby. General admission: $12, $10 seniors, $5 all students. Festival-wide passes are also available. Buy tickets.

How Sweet the Sound – The Blind Boys of Alabama
, produced and directed by NYWIFT member Leslie McCleave, will screen at the at the Stony Brook Film Festival on July 23 at 5 PM. Filmed over the course of ten years, How Sweet the Sound is the first film about this legendary gospel group. The Blind Boys of Alabama met as children in the 1930's at a state-run segregated vocational school and would become one of the last great gospel quartets, traversing the famed "gospel highway" and beyond. As the surviving band members recount their unlikely success story, we see a rare, frank view of life on and off the road with these renowned performers, now in their 70's and 80's.  Q&A with the director follows the screening. General admission: $12, $10 seniors, $5 all students. Festival-wide passes are also available. Buy tickets.

NYWIFT member and writer/director Michael Goldburg has two New York screenings of his award-winning short films in July. Michael's What's Eating Dad? is a horror comedy in the vein of Meet the Parents meets Shaun of the Dead. It screens for FREE at Indie Works Screening Series in Long Island City July 12 at 7:30 PM. See details. His other short comedy, Rye Manhattan, is about a young man waiting for his dream date...in the wrong bar! It screens at the 2016 Long Island International Film Expo on July 13 at 5:30 PM. Tickets are $10. Buy tickets.

Priscilla J. ("Sally") Mattison, Of Counsel to Bernard M. Resnick, Esq., P.C., co-authored an article entitled "Modern Methods of Monetization for Record Producers”, which was published in the International Association of Entertainment Lawyers 2016 publication, “The Monetization of the Global Music Business – from Creators to Major Industry”.  She discussed the article on a panel at the 50th annual MIDEM convention in Cannes, France. 

Member Linnette Harrigan will be hosting a discussion, Q&A and listening session On The Topic of Music Supervision for all Filmmakers and TV Producers. The event will be held Thursday, July 14th 6:30-8:30pm in the NYWIFT Conference Room. Discussion will include music placement and licensing for film, TV. NYWIFT members are invited free of charge. However, RSVP in advance is required. If interested in attending, please send RSVP to
INFO@LINNETTEHARRIGANMEDIA.COM no later than Tuesday, 7/12/2016 at 1 pm.

NYWIFT member Jenn Shaw directed a new project titled $15 Kicks within Spike Lee’s Lil’ Joints, a short documentary series from ESPN Films executive produced by Spike Lee. The films in the collection will merge African American and sports narratives, all directed by African American filmmakers. This film will appear live on ESPN's new website The Undefeated starting June 28th and go on to air during the 6 PM ET hour of SportsCenter on July 1st, 2016.

Visit ESPN's website for more information.

NYWIFT member Martha Frances Williams’ series of short films called I am THEM has recently been accepted to the Women’s Voices Now Film Festival. This festival uses its online presence to amplify the voices of all women by promoting the free expression of women’s struggles for civil economic, political, and gender rights worldwide. I am THEM is a series of short films that explore the pivotal turning points for three women. You can view and vote for this movie now on their website.

For information about the series or about Martha you can also visit their websites.

Member Melody Cooper has been named one of the first-ever Shudder Labs fellows for her film The Sound of Darkness, about a blind musician and a deaf sculptor who are haunted by a woman only they can see and hear, who leads them to take on an epic battle against a terrifying legacy of racial violence and evil. Melody Cooper is a playwright, screenwriter, director, producer, and the founder of Origins, a group that helps create and support Black Visionary work. She won the Women in Cinema International Screenplay Competition for her horror script Monstrous, which also won third place at the Slamdance film festival. The Sound Of Darkness will be her first film; you can see a teaser trailer below, and read more about it here.

DreamTown, a feature-length documentary that received one of NYWIFT’s in-kind post-production grants last year, will be screening at the Ecuadorian Film Festival on June 3rd and 5th. The documentary follows Anibal Chala, a young AfroEcuadorian soccer player from the impoverished Chota Valley region, the source of inspiration for the film, where 90% of residents are Afrodescendants and where local soccer players have gained fame as some of the nation’s best. The region was once forgotten by the government and its history disregarded by the country until a team half comprised of AfroEcuadorians took the country to its first World Cup in 2002, and again in 2006, after which the image of “El Chota,” and its place in Ecuadorian society, was forever changed. Chala strives against all odds in the documentary to make it playing soccer in the professional leagues, from playing in the youth minor leagues at the age of 12 to securing his place on the First Division team, ranking among Ecuador’s top 10 players nationwide at the young age of 17. At its core, this film is a story of hope and triumph that asks: How much do we sacrifice for a dream? And how far does that dream really take us? For more information on DreamTown visit the documentary's website. To purchase tickets visit the Ecuadorian Film Festival website.

Member Leah Streetman, a music supervisor for film, TV and advertising, has been nominated for The Women In Sync Awards. This is an annual event recognizing the excellence of the work done by women in the fields of music, visual media, interactive media, advertising and brands in the during the 2015 calendar year. This includes music supervisors in film, TV, games, the Internet, mobile, advertising and brand management, publishing executives, managers, label executives, artists, producers, technologists, sync reps and others involved in buying, selling and using music in visual entertainment, branded messaging and advertising. The ceremony takes place June 15. Vote for Leah here!

The post-queer musical film Thirsty, based on the life of female impersonator Scott Townsend, a.k.a. Thirsty Burlington, will screen at the Provincetown International Film Festival at the Art House (214 Commercial Street, Provincetown, MA) at 9 PM on June 15. NYWIFT member Margo Pelletier is the director, member Laura Kelber is the co-writer and member Lisa Thomas is the producer. Thirsty tells the story of girly-boy Scott Townsend who turns to the world of drag as a safe respite from his bullied upbringing in the Cambridge projects to become Thirsty Burlington, Provincetown’s beloved Cher impersonator. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased on the festival website.