Goodbye, winter caps—hello, summer hats! It’s that glorious time of year where many of us can switch from content creators to content consumers. NYWIFT members Mellini Kantayya and Kathryn O’Kane have put together #SummerHours, a series of fun summer books, movies, and TV shows by or about women.
Aziz Ansari’s Netflix series Master of None has enjoyed high critical praise for its first two seasons. It’s a show about Dev, played by Ansari, a New York-based actor struggling with his career and relationships. Most 20-somethings wrestle with identity – ‘who am I and what do I want to do with my life?’ and Master of None weaves funny stories of dating, job hunting, and life in NYC with the added pressure of being a first-generation American. Dev’s journey is sometimes compounded by the weight of his immigrant family’s expectations to maintain his Indian culture. Loveable and funny, Dev’s friendship circle helps him find the balance.
In Season 2, the one to watch is “Thanksgiving” directed by Melina Matsoukas and co-written by Lena Waithe, who does double duty as both the writer and star of this episode playing Dev’s best friend Denise. This is Denise’s coming out story (which is largely autobiographical) told over the course of many Thanksgiving dinners that Dev spends with her family. Beginning with Denise as a young girl before she is fully out to herself, one holiday after the other marks the passage of time and gives the episode its structure.
Angela Bassett as Catherine (left) and Lena Waithe as Denise (right) in Master of None for Netflix (2017)
We should all bow down to Angela Bassett, who plays Denise’s mother and family matriarch, blind to her daughter’s queer identity. Bassett’s performance is magnificently layered – it’s clear that she loves her daughter, but she’s not asking questions that she doesn’t want to know the answers to. When Denise finally comes out to her, Bassett plays the reaction with such honesty that the mother-daughter relationship feels genuine and real. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Waithe describes Bassett’s influence: “The coming-out scene, and the whole episode, wouldn’t be what it was if she wasn’t across from me, giving all of herself and being vulnerable in that way.”
Nobody tells you that your 20s are going to be as hard as they are, but they can also pretty great.
(Cover photo by Bridgette Matthews)
NYWIFT member Sascha Just directed and produced Ellis, the first feature-length documentary about the late legendary New Orleans pianist and educator, Ellis Marsalis, Jr. Marsalis composed and performed major works of modern jazz infused with a uniquely New Orleans touch. Just spoke to us about all the ways in which jazz has influenced her work, getting to know a creative legend, and her DOC NYC premiere.READ MORE
Maravilla, the New York-based organization dedicated to raising awareness of Latin America through films and the arts, announces its seventh edition of the Ecuadorian Film Festival in New York (EFFNY), with the support of media partner Telemundo and includes Queens Museum, Nuyorican Poets Café, the Barrymore Film Center, and fiscal sponsor New York Women and Film & TV.READ MORE
When I saw that Alicia Eastes, the founder of Women in Film & TV Austin, recently joined New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) as a Dual Member, I had to know more! What followed was a wide-ranging email conversation with Alicia and WIFT Austin Board Members President Laura Annalora and Vice President Chiara McCarty about the Texas film industry, the pandemic, and what it’s like to build your own Women in Film & Television organization from the ground up.READ MORE
New York Women in Film & Television is thrilled to welcome new board members to our leadership team for the 2022-2023 season! Globetrotting new NYWIFT Board Member Shruti Ganguly is an award-winning filmmaker and writer based between New York and Oslo. Ganguly was a member of the Obama Administration’s ECCO committee of 30 leaders and creators in entertainment, chairing its Asian Caucus, and is on the Creative Council for Emily's List. She has produced films that have premiered at Sundance, Venice, Tribeca, Telluride, and Berlin, and is currently writing for Secret Daughter for Amazon Studios, which will star Priyanka Chopra and Sienna Miller.READ MORE