We’re counting down the 40 days to NYWIFT’s 40th Anniversary Muse Awards with a look at some of our favorite honorees, all women of vision and achievement who have contributed to the film and television industry. Join us as we look back at #Muse40for40, and buy your tickets for the Muse Awards on Tuesday, December 10th at nywift.org/muse!
#21: Julie Dash
By Kathryn O’Kane
Director Julie Dash has written and directed five feature length narrative films including Love Song, Funny Valentines, Incognito, The Rosa Parks Story, Daughters of the Dust, as well as part of the Subway Stories: Tales From the Underground HBO anthology feature; television commercials and documentary films. In addition to her work with television films, Dash has also directed episodes of television shows such as Women: Stories of Passion and Sax Cantor Riff. Currently, Dash is one of the directors working on Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar.
In 2017 she was the inaugural recipient of NYWIFT’s new Nancy Malone Directing Award at the Muse Awards, given to an outstanding female director in film, television, and/or digital media each year.
“There’s magic in the details.” – Julie Dash at the 2017 Muse Awards
Welcome to NYWIFT, Aisha Amin! Aisha is an NYC-based writer and director. As a director, her work expands across narrative, documentary, and experimental forms to tell authentic stories built from real experiences. Her past film projects have explored and highlighted overlooked communities particularly in New York City, including formerly incarcerated mothers and communities struggling with the presence of gentrification in their neighborhoods. Amongst her directing, Aisha is an emerging screenwriting and was selected to participate in Cine Qua Non’s 2022 Screenwriting Lab. She is a 2022 recipient of NYFA’s Tomorrowland Grant and a 2021 recipient of the NYFA Women's Fund grant. She was a recipient of the 2019-2020 Sally Burns Shenkman Woman Filmmaker Fellowship at the Jacob Burns Film Center where she directed two short documentaries. She is also a recipient of The Shed's Open Call Fellowship where she expanded her film practice to installation art. Aisha spoke to us about her favorite styles of storytelling, the intersection of narrative and documentary, and her latest projects.READ MORE
Welcome to NYWIFT, Lorena R. Valenica! Lorena R. Valencia is a Mexican writer-director based in New York. Her directorial debut and MFA thesis film, Cuanacaquilitl (Dandelion), received the 2022 National Board of Review Student Award and is an Official Selection in several international film festivals, including the Morelia International Film Festival, the Atlanta Film Festival, the New York Latino Film Festival, and the NewFilmmakers Los Angeles Film Festival. Lorena is passionate about both narrative and documentary storytelling and is interested in addressing issues such as reproductive rights, identity, and belonging. Currently, she is directing Mi Ranchito, a documentary short film that explores resilience and love for the land, while she is developing her debut feature film, Mayahuel. Lorena spoke to us about inspiring empathy through storytelling, the overlap of narrative and documentary filmmaking, and her latest projects.READ MORE
Welcome to NYWIFT, Mary Skinner! Mary is a New York-based filmmaker whose projects include the widely-celebrated 2010 documentary Irena Sendler: In the Name of Their Mothers and Cuba Cubano Cañibano. The former was showcased at many festivals and events before being acquired by PBS and presented in many languages worldwide, in addition to receiving accolades that included the Best Documentary at the UK Jewish Film Festival and the 2012 Gracie Award for Best Public TV Documentary by and about a woman. The latter was an Official Selection of the United Nations Association Film Festival in 2017. Having graduated from UC Berkeley with a specialization in theater, Mary was one of the founding members of the Riverside Shakespeare Company in New York and the producer of the play Coming to See Aunt Sophie. Previously, she worked as a corporate marketing executive in New York and San Francisco and established 2B Productions in 2003. Read more about Mary as we discuss her close friendship with a legendary historical figure, the relationship between her artistry and family’s connection to the Holocaust, and the magic of both theater and PBS!READ MORE
Let’s all say hello to Allegra Oxborough! Originally from the Midwest, Allegra now resides in Brooklyn, NY. A versatile filmmaker who directs, produces, edits, and writes (among other talents), their body of work ranges from the short film series The Endless Sleepover to the docu-film short A Blue Morning, and the compelling short film narrative Distance. In addition to these titles, some of their other film projects include working on The Tiny Death’s music video US, the Peter Hujar-inspired Fear for Eliot Krimsky, and the upcoming I Already Went. Read more about Allegra as we discuss the common and complex dynamics experienced by artists who are trying to honor their craft while being devoted parents, and the Ira Glass quote they revisit frequently and find applicable to their art. Also, remember to check out Allegra’s website and Vimeo page, where you’ll be able to access and experience a variety of her film projects!READ MORE