NEW YORK WOMEN IN FILM & TELEVISION ANNOUNCES
2023 NYWIFT LOREEN ARBUS DISABILITY AWARENESS GRANT AWARDEE
NINA BY RAVIT MARKUS
The documentary follows Israel’s para-badminton champion Nina Gorodetsky
NEW YORK, NY – June 21, 2023 – New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) is pleased to announce the presentation of the Loreen Arbus Disability Awareness Grant to award-winning writer, director, and producer Ravit Markus of New Love Films for her documentary feature Nina. The film completion grant, now in its 15th year, is provided through the generosity of longtime disability rights advocate Loreen Arbus and awards $6,500 to a woman filmmaker for a film on physical or developmental disability issues.
The announcement was made live on stage at the 2023 NYWIFT Creative Workforce STEM Summit at The Paley Center in New York City, which brought together STEM innovators with film and television thought leaders to discuss the intersection of science, technology, medicine and the media. NYWIFT Board Member Emelyn Stuart made the announcement and introduced Markus and a clip from the film.
Nina tracks Israeli Para-badminton champion Nina Gorodetsky’s exciting three-year journey to try and defy the odds and fulfill her Paralympic dream without sacrificing her maternal desires. Gorodetsky aspires to conquer greater competitive heights while reckoning with the maturation of her body as both a mother and as an athlete approaching her 40th birthday. Her last chance to have another child clashes against her first, and possibly only, opportunity to participate in the upcoming 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Though she is advised by an all-male inner circle, it is Nina who must decide if she should get pregnant or continue her rigorous training schedule. But everything changes when the stopwatches of all the world’s athletes come to a screeching halt due to a worldwide pandemic.
The project was chosen from a wide range of applications submitted by women filmmakers from around the country.
“The infinite potential of two marginalized communities about which I care deeply: women and people with disabilities, are brought together in the formidable Nina Gorodetsky. Ravit and her team have created a thoughtful and stirring documentary and I am thrilled to be a small part of their journey,” Loreen Arbus said.
“Nina tells a powerful story of a woman defying the odds, undaunted in the face of any possible limitation imposed by her gender, physicality, society… or even a global pandemic. In addition to being a fine example of a thoughtful narrative on disability, it also speaks to the heart of this current moment for women worldwide hoping to ‘have it all’ in a world often stacked against them. Congratulations to Ravit Markus on her wonderful, nuanced work,” said NYWIFT CEO Cynthia López.
Additionally, courtesy of Michele Spitz, Woman of Her Word will produce Nina’s audio description asset as a post-production in kind grant. Her generous donation will allow for the film to be accessible for blind or visually impaired audiences.
“I’m very excited to work closely with Ravit to help make her latest film, Nina, equally accessible to low vision and blind audiences. A powerful story that will undoubtedly touch all audiences alike,” Michele Spitz said.
ReelAbilities Film Festival, the largest disabilities film festival in North America, will provide captioning service for Nina as well as support of the film’s outreach and distribution, through the ReelAbilities North American network of festivals and beyond.
“My co-producer Janine McGoldrick and I are honored that our documentary feature Nina is recognized by a trailblazing organization such as NYWIFT. Both of us would not be where we are today if not for their tireless work over the years. We are grateful to win the support of a visionary like Loreen Arbus, as well as the invaluable services of Michele Spitz, who has taken such a crucial lead on ensuring films are fully accessible, and NYReelAbilities that are ensuring films like mine are seen worldwide,” said filmmaker Ravit Markus. “I can’t wait to share with the world the tenacity, the humor and the charm that are Nina Gorodetsky. She and her badminton family were a joy to follow. Other early believers in this project were FWD-doc, Gesher Film Fund, and the Israeli Paralympic Committee, and I am excited to collaborate with them on the 2024 release that this grant is making possible.”
Learn more about NYWIFT grants at https://www.nywift.org/fund-for-women-filmmakers/.
About the Filmmaker:
Writer/Director/Producer Ravit Markus‘s latest documentary feature had its world premiere and won the Audience Award at the 2023 Slamdance Film Festival as part of the disability focused Unstoppable program. American Pot Story: Oaksterdam is a 10-year-follow-up on a group of Oakland underdogs who are the reason for the huge change we see today in California and worldwide in cannabis policy, and its social justice ramifications. It explores the power of the activist, no matter the cause. Her previous documentary features include the critically acclaimed Yiddish Theater: A Love Story which she wrote and produced. It became a cultural phenomenon when it commercially played in theaters in Los Angeles, New York and Tel Aviv for months and months garnering raving reviews at the NY Times, LA Times, and Critics’ Pick in the NY Magazine to mention a few, resulting in a 90% score on Rotten Tomatoes. It also made the list of the top 10 documentaries of 2007 in About.com.
Ravit co-produced Jewish Film Festivals’ darling Rock in the Red Zone; and produced the Channel 4 UK documentary Porn Shutdown, which aired worldwide including on the Sundance Channel in the US, and received excellent reviews in The Guardian and the London Time Out. Ravit’s currently in post on a documentary feature about Israel’s champion of wheelchair badminton, Nina Gorodetsky, and her journey to the Tokyo Paralympics. Ravit holds a dual BFA in Screenwriting and Directing from The Film and TV Department at Tel Aviv University and is based in Los Angeles.