September 18th through the 22nd, the 17th annual Urbanworld Film Festival presented some of the most interesting feature films, shorts, documentaries, readings, and panels. Although many of the films shown were by male directors, there was a large female presence, both in front of and behind the camera, as well as behind the scenes helping to put the festival together.
Stacy Spikes founded the Urbanworld Film Festival, but he admitted during Opening Night that the festival could not come together without Executive Producer/Head of Programming Gabrielle Glore. Glore’s tireless effort and dedication has been instrumental in allowing the festival to become as successful as it has been over the last 17 years.
For the past 6 years, BET Networks has been a sponsoring partner at Urbanworld with Loretha Jones, President of Original Programming for BET Networks, representing BET at the festival, providing a sponsor welcome in the festival program.
Although not present at the festival, Grammy Winning Singer Alicia Keys was probably the most high profile producer with a film at the festival this year. Keys is the Executive Producer of George Tillman’s film, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Peter. Starring Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Hudson, the film closed the festival and is an example of powerful women in the film industry holding the spotlight, whether in front of the camera or behind.
In addition to movies produced and distributed by major studios, there were quite a few features and short films by women directors. They included: The Volunteer by Vicky Wright, Boneshaker by Frances Bodomo, El Doctor by Heather de Michele, Journeymen by Sarah Jenkins, Rosita Lopez for President by Rachel Goldberg, Say Yes by Ava DuVernay, Sweet Honey Chile by Talibah Newman, The Grown-Ups by Kaliyah Warren, A Lovely Day by Kerri Gawryn, Children of the Wind by Daphne Schomon, Lillie Baller by Crystal McCrary, The New Public by Jyllian Gunther, Colored My Mind: The Diagnosis by Nia T. Hill, and Nailgasm: The Nail Art Documentary by Ayla Montgomery.
As the Urbanworld Film Festival continues to grow and showcase women’s talents, it is indeed cause to celebrate some “Girl Power.”
– Judith Davis @WriterJudy
We are thrilled to welcome new NYWIFT member Isi Laborde! Isi is a Brooklyn-based actor (AEA, SAG/AFTRA). Her film roles include Return to Montauk, directed by Academy Award-winner Volker Schlöndorff, and Jay-Z’s music video “Smile,” directed by Grammy-winner Miles Jay. She has had TV appearances in Facebook TV's Strangers and Paramount's Younger. Theater credits include The Bacchae at La Mama Experimental Theatre Club and Skip to My Lou at Theater for the New City. Isi spoke to us about her craft, how she kept up her creativity during COVID, and her dream role!READ MORE
NYWIFT member Judith Davis shares her favorite experiences from the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival, including Q&A highlights, best women-led films, and star-studded red carpet moments.READ MORE
Let’s welcome new NYWIFT member Ekaterina Korshunova! Ekaterina (or Kate for short) attended Moscow’s RUDN University where she graduated with a degree in journalism. Kate currently works as a freelance social media coordinator and producer. She has filmed and produced promotional videos for many local businesses as well as major brands. She spoke to us about her move to the US, her teaching philosophy, and her dreams for the future.READ MORE
Welcome, new NYWIFT member Ching Juhl! Ching is a Chinese American filmmaker, video journalist, and music educator who has directed, filmed, edited, and produced three feature films, promotional videos, and hundreds of shorts. Her feature documentary My Yang Gang Diary, which she shot entirely on an iPhone 11, won Best Feature Film Award at Toronto Documentary Film Festival in 2021. Ching spoke to us about the benefits of shooting on iPhone, the intersection of music and filmmaking, and the friends who brought her to NYWIFT.READ MORE