By Jean Criss
The ninth edition of SR Socially Relevant Film Festival, New York (SRFF) opens at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center on March 16. The hybrid program comprised of 64 films from 39 countries resumes over the weekend of March 18, 19 & 20 at Cinema Village, before streaming online March 20-27
SRFF was founded in 2013 by actress/filmmaker and NYWIFT member Nora Armani in response to the proliferation of violence and violent forms of storytelling. SRFF is a non-profit 501(c)3 film festival whose mission is to provide a platform for filmmakers who tell human interest stories and create socially relevant film content. Over 550 films from 39 countries have been screened since the festival’s first edition in 2014.
Armani shared insights into the festival and her creative process with a unique peak into her toolkit!
Nora, what inspired you to create the SRFF?
I am an actor first and foremost. And as such, I was getting tired of seeing violence on screen and on film posters. The festival was born out of a need to promote anti-violence stories coupled with homage to family. In addition to my acting and film work, my sociology background became the perfect match to innovate a forum for socially relevant films. We took it a few steps beyond non-violent stories and extended our vision to incorporate social issues and human-interest stories.
What do you consider to be the most relevant event taking place during this year’s program?
We are excited to launch a “hybrid” event this year (both in-person and virtual). We are offering two programs to accommodate the needs of our viewers from all walks of life from around the world. Another important element is our live broadcasts on our YouTube Channel where viewers meet filmmakers.
What keeps you up at night prior to the festival taking place March 16th?
We work hard, attend to every detail, and hope that all our promotional efforts will turn out to be fruitful. Our valuable team and volunteers make it all possible. I answer every single email inquiry from filmmakers and audience members. Attending to final details, constant communication emails with our valued partners of which NYWIFT is one, and planning outreach are some of the ongoing tasks.
What do you love most about your job and producing this festival?
I love the bonus of learning from the films I view, be they about social issues, real people’s lives, or inspirational narratives. I love interacting with the filmmakers, helping shine the spotlight on their work.
I lead masterclasses in filmmaking and presence for performers. I love sharing information about the process to newcomers looking ahead, to help them stay grounded. Workshops will resume along with talks with filmmakers soon.
How has your role shifted with a hybrid festival post pandemic?
The festival was founded in 2014 as an “in-person” festival. Then, in 2020-2021, we went virtual with the pandemic. This year, our ninth annual edition, will be our first “hybrid” event. We have had over 11,500 audience attendees over the past eight years, programmed over 550 films and have presented 95 awards to-date.
This year, we narrowed down the official selection from the hundreds of submissions we received. Films dealing with important themes kept floating to the surface. Programming is an extensive process that we do with the help of a team of experienced viewers, following which an international jury selects the award-winning films. I am happy to say that our Early Bird tickets are selling out fast. Submissions open May thru mid-December. Visit the festival website regularly for details on the events and the program www.ratedsrfilms.org. Preview the 2022 festival trailer here.
What’s next for you?
After SRFF I will be taking my self-penned solo show Back on the Couch with Nora Armani on the road to Toronto and Montreal, having performed it on Theatre Row back in November. These are my passions – what I love most.
A socially relevant film festival in New York you won’t want to miss – register today!
- SRFF tickets for in-person screenings start at $7 – $75 (all access) and sold here. Discounts available to NYWIFT Members – Discount Code: SR22DISC (20% off) in-person tickets; SRFFONE (25%off) online streaming.
- Enter to WIN: One pair All Access Passes (first come, first serve) Register All Access (NYWIFT member).
- In-Person Festival Schedule click here; Online Festival Schedule which streams live click live. Learn more about the SR Socially Relevant Films here.
SR Socially Relevant™ Film Festival New York’s mission is to shine the spotlight on filmmakers who tell compelling, socially relevant, human-interest stories across a broad range of social issues without resorting to gratuitous violence or violent forms of filmmaking. SR believes that through raised awareness, expanded knowledge about diverse cultures, and human condition, it is possible to create a better world free of violence, hate, and crime.
NYWIFT will co-present the in-person screening of Ching Juhl’s My Yang Gang Diary on Friday, March 18 at 5 PM, featuring a Q&A with Juhl moderated by NYWIFT’s Katie Chambers.
Register for tickets here.
Nora Armani is an Actor, Voice Artist and Filmmaker who has performed across the world in New York – LA – Paris – London – Yerevan – Cairo – Beirut. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of SR Socially Relevant Film Festival, NY, founded in 2013, graduate of (LSE) University of London (M.Sc. in Sociology) and Hunter CUNY (MA in Theatre & Film Studies). She leads Masterclasses and Filmmaker workshops and has appeared in dozens of films, TV, theater, and solo performances. Learn more about Nora here.