By Tammy Reese
The NYWIFT Women Crush Wednesdays Podcast Team works so hard to bring the most informative, empowering, entertaining, and fun interviews to our listeners. Today we are thrilled to highlight our podcast team co-host and contributor Leah Curney.
Leah Curney is a writer, director, producer, and performer. Her short film 6:18 to Omaha won the inaugural CinemaStreet Women’s Short Screenplay Competition and she was a semi-finalist for the 2019 Made in NY Writers Room Fellowship. She’s directed several award-winning short films and is an accomplished video producer/director in the corporate space, creating content for a global finance company. Her performing work spans television (God Friended Me, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Blindspot), stage (Manhattan Theatre Club, Guthrie Theater), independent film and new media. She is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA, AEA, New York Women in Film &Television (NYWIFT), and the PANO network.
What is your role with the podcast team, how long have you been involved, and how did you get started?
I joined the podcast team in 2018 after participating with the NYWIFT communications committee for a while, and have had the pleasure to be both a co-host and contributor since then.
What do you enjoy most about the podcast and how has this journey been for you?
One of the most rewarding parts for me is getting to interview extraordinary women and bring their inspiring insights and stories to our audience. That and connecting with my fellow podcast team members who so generously contribute their time and talents and are always looking for ways to reach new people and have a greater impact.
What would you like to see more of this year?
I’d love to find ways to connect with our listeners and find out what they’d like to see more of!
For anyone who may want to join the podcast team, what would you like to say to them?
Welcome! Jump in with your ideas and enthusiasm — it doesn’t matter if you’ve done this before, your voice matters and you have lots to contribute!
What would you like to say to the team members and the listeners?
To the podcast team — you rock! Thanks for bringing your talents and creativity month after month. To our listeners — thank you for tuning in! We know your time is precious, so let us know what you want more of and where we can improve.
What else are you working on outside of the podcast?
A feature screenplay, a couple of shorts, a full-time position as a corporate video producer, and spending time with my husband and adorable 16-month-old daughter.
How can we follow you on social media?
You can’t, I’m afraid. Just deleted my Twitter account and have been on a social media hiatus since my daughter was born. I do try to keep my website updated, though, so you can find out what I’m up to or send me a message there. https://www.leahcurney.com/
Listen and subscribe to the NYWIFT podcast at nywift.org/podcast.
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
Welcome to NYWIFT, Rose Vincelli Gustine! Rose Vincelli Gustine is Director of Operations and on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts (SVA) MFA Social Documentary Film program. She is currently producing the feature documentary The Sum of Our Parts and was consulting producer for Busy Inside (PBS America Reframed, 2020). She directed the documentary short What We Discover Along the Way, which is looking ahead to 2024 festivals. Rose was a programmer for filmmakers’ support organization IFP (now called The Gotham) and for AFIDocs Festival. She lives, cooks, and walks in Brooklyn with her family and cats. Rose spoke to us about what it means to be a filmmaker advocate, her own creative practice, and what she loves about the art of documentary filmmaking.READ MORE