Photo by April Hattori.
Some of the city’s top publicists participated in the Ins & Outs of Film Festival PR panel discussion, produced by New York Women in Film & Television on April 23.
The distinguished panel featured Clare Anne Darragh and Lina Plath of FRANK PR; Sophie Gluck of Sophie Gluck & Associates; Omar Gonzales, vice president of National Publicity at PMK*BNC; Cynthia Swartz, founder/president of Strategy PR/Consulting; and Michele Stephenson, co-producer/co-director of American Promise. It was moderated by Melissa Silverstein, founder and editor of Women and Hollywood and co-founder of The Athena Film Festival.
A surprisingly frank panel, the word from PR firms was: Don’t hire us for small film festivals. It’s a waste of your money. Their suggestion for promotion of your film at regional festivals is to get the press list and do the legwork yourself. Aim for placements with lower profile media and bloggers.
Other words of advice were: Finish your film first! Marketing and PR can’t be effective without a finished product. Higher profile media pitches for the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, and others will happen after the film is sold and before it runs. Last but not least, don’t expect publicists to influence reviews or guarantee placements. — APRIL HATTORI
Finding your tribe is one of life’s greatest pleasures—and losing it is one of the greatest sorrows. In NYWIFT Member Amy Nicholson’s beautifully observed film Happy Campers, working-class Americans gather every summer at a seaside trailer park in Chincoteague, Virginia, to enjoy the simple pleasures of a scrappy, no-frills vacationland, and each other’s company. When a developer buys the land and reimagines the property, the inhabitants of this shabby Shangri-La wistfully eke out the joys of one last summer together as a melancholic twilight hangs in the air. Happy Campers just made its world premiere at DOC NYC, where it received a Special Mention for the Grand Jury Prize. Amy spoke to us about her unique process making this film, biggest challenges and triumphs, and the commodification of some of life’s simplest pleasures.READ MORE
NYWIFT Member Emily Sheskin’s return to DOC NYC 2023 is particularly meaningful. In 2017, she attended the festival with her short film Girl Boxer, about a 10-year-old champion female boxer and her adoring father. Six years later, Sheskin returns with a feature-length film following the same family, now facing an entirely new set of challenges. In Jesszilla, New Jersey’s own Jesselyn Silva, a three-time national boxing champion, is on her way to superstardom, dominating the junior ranks at the age of 15. With her every step of the way is her father, Pedro, a single parent who helps her navigate coaches, training schedules, and the angst of teenage life. When a devastating diagnosis threatens the father-daughter tandem, the pair turn to each other to fight their greatest opponent yet: cancer. Director and Executive Producer Emily Sheskin spoke to us about her unique journey following this family.READ MORE
NYWIFT member Ilja Willems heads to the 2023 DOC NYC Festival with not one but two exciting new short films. Friendly Fridges shows how the new heart of the community is popping up in every neighborhood—in the shape of refrigerators. And When the grass must go follows a landscaper from Nevada who is removing grass lawns under a first-of-a-kind state law that will save water during an ongoing drought. Willems spoke to us about how these two disparate films align with her creative sensibilities, the joy of screening in NYC, and more!READ MORE
The horror community is a vibrant and passionate group of individuals who share a love for the genre. Within this unique community, NYWIFT members LaKisa Renee and Tammy Reese have established themselves as inspirational figures through their killer interviews with horror legends and icons. Together, the horror media professionals and enthusiasts celebrate their shared passion for all things terrifying.READ MORE