The second annual Montclair Film Festival in Northern New Jersey runs from April 29 to May 5 and will screen more than 80 films — many of them directed by women. Here’s just a sample of what not to miss:
Begin your festival week on Tuesday with Gideon’s Army. Directed by NYWIFT member Dawn Porter, the documentary follows three young, idealistic public defenders in the Deep South. Thursday evening, enjoy the grown-up rom-com Love Is All You Need by Oscar-winning director Susanne Bier. It’s back to docs on Friday, with Shola Lynch’s Free Angela and All Political Prisoners about Angela Davis’ struggles in the 1970s.
Saturday afternoon, see Best Kept Secret, chronicling teacher Janet Mino as she prepares students who have autism for life after high school; directed by Samantha Buck. That evening, explore movie trailer-making with Lake Bell’s comedy In a World… Late night, head to NJ Shorts: Passions, which includes Gillian K. Willman’s The New Woman: Annie “Londonderry” Kopchovsky, the story of an extraordinary bicycle journey in 1894; and Elissa Pellegrino’s Photo-Journal-Isms, a profile of Ed Kashi.
Sunday morning, catch Oscar-nominated director Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children, “intertwining magic realism with the history of modern India.” End a splendid festival week with Sundance hit Concussion, directed by Stacie Passon, which follows a married, lesbian housewife who, after a blow to the head, searches for adventure.
For a full schedule and tickets, go to montclairfilmfest.org. (Tickets are now on sale for the general public. Member tickets went on sale Friday, so some films are already sold out. However, tickets to sold-out shows will become available on April 15.)
Welcome to NYWIFT, Hannah Niebielski! Hannah is a former National Director for the Olympic Sport of Dressage, where she led 36 US Teams to earn the highest podium finish rate among Olympic medal nations at Championships and Games. She organized talent and teams for the 2016 Olympic Games, 2018 World Games, and 2019 North American Youth Championships. Now, she brings her skillset in managing talent, public relations, event operations, and hospitality to the world of film and TV. Hannah tells us about the overlaps between Olympic sports and entertainment, her passion for connecting others, and the importance of talent support.READ MORE
Welcome to NYWIFT, Oyiza Adaba! Oyiza is a Nigerian journalist and producer with over 20 years of experience both on and behind the camera in several multimedia productions. In 2008, she founded Africa-Related, a media and content development company operating in Lagos, Nigeria and New York City. Africa-Related is at the forefront of storytelling from an African perspective, using media platforms to enrich knowledge of the world. In 2019, she founded Ita’i: Our Cloth, a global brand that takes a modern approach to preserving, presenting, and promoting Africa’s cultural heritage. Ita’i encourages community development and empowerment with existing resources. Oyiza tells us about her dedication to community empowerment and her upcoming projects.READ MORE
Longtime NYWIFT member Maria Soccor recently attended the 2023 Cannes Festival ,where we spotted her with our CEO Cynthia López at NYWIFT’s panel event “Women Storytellers from the Arab World - Supporting, Training and Showcasing Emerging Filmmakers” in partnership with the Royal Film Commission – Jordan and WIFT GCC. Maria spoke to Tammy Reese about her 2023 Cannes Film Festival experience.READ MORE
The new documentary Breaking the News, which just premiered at the 2023 Tribeca Festival, follows the determined efforts of women and nonbinary journalists launching a news “startup,” The 19th*, to foreground voices omitted from mainstream news. Filmmakers Heather Courtney, Princess A. Hairston, and Chelsea Hernandez provide a deep look into bias and inclusion in the ever-shifting media landscape. We spoke to the three co-directors and producer Diane Quon about their communal approach to making this film, and the challenges and triumphs of building a news organization (and making a film about it) during a global pandemic, political strife, and social unrest.READ MORE