By Angelina Silvester
Let’s give a warm NYWIFT welcome to new member Heather Shreve! Heather is an award-winning screenwriter, historical advisor, and content creator, as well as a master artist with four producer-ready film projects. In her youth, Japanese culture was always part of her life and has influenced her art as well as her writing and research.
Heather has rich ancestral history in America, with several strong areas of knowledge, from the Keelboat Age to the 1940s. Heather resides in Maryland, has two grown children, and has authored six books.
Heather spoke to us her passion for history, recent projects, and the connections between coaching and creativity.
Tell us about yourself, give us your elevator pitch!
I used to be a certified Wellcoach and Personal Trainer… supporting people on their journey to their highest potential. Oddly, I still do the same thing in my writing. It’s like a cake, I attract people with the cherry on top, then take them below the icing – into layers of wisdom, unaware they may discover something new about themselves or the world around them.
What is your favorite project to date?
The Bamboo Wife TV series, that was reviewed by Masterpiece/PBS producers last year. It is laced with wisdom, but outrageous in its 1920’s frivolity.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
My dad always told me, “Never, ever compare yourself with others! It is an exercise in futility!”
What brought you to NYWIFT?
A couple of acquaintances suggested it, thought it may be a good way to network.
What first drew you to historical work? What are some of your favorite eras to write about?
My historical passion started in 2014 when I read my grandfather’s diaries hidden from the Japanese as he was a POW in the Philippines for 4 years… a Colonel and Ch. of Artillery in the Fall of Bataan, and on American Command who chose to use the MIS-X military intel offered to Command to smuggle in his own checkbook from Maryland – cash checks with the Filipino Resistance to feed his men for four years! After THAT, I wrote two books about him and the feature script, Once A Colonel.
My favorite eras are the bygone Halcyon Days: 1920s-1940s.
Does your writing influence your art, or vice versa?
Ironically, the better I write, the better I paint, and so on….in a circle that seems never- ending in its ability to make me better. Also, I am ambi-cerebral, equally logical and analytical as artistic. Seamless.
Welcome to NYWIFT, Toby Perl Freilich! Toby is an Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker and writer, focusing on cultural reporting. Her work explores all sorts of perspectives, from senators to artists, spanning across the world. She co-produced and co-directed Moynihan, a film about the late New York senator, policy expert, and public intellectual. She also directed, produced, and wrote Inventing Our Life: The Kibbutz Experiment, about one of the world's longest running and most successful experiments in radical, secular communal living. Right now, she is producing and directing I Make Maintenance Art: The Work of Mierle Laderman Ukeles about the pioneering ecofeminist and the first Artist in Residence at the New York City Department of Sanitation. Read about Toby’s inspiring past and future projects here!READ MORE
Finding your tribe is one of life’s greatest pleasures—and losing it is one of the greatest sorrows. In NYWIFT Member Amy Nicholson’s beautifully observed film Happy Campers, working-class Americans gather every summer at a seaside trailer park in Chincoteague, Virginia, to enjoy the simple pleasures of a scrappy, no-frills vacationland, and each other’s company. When a developer buys the land and reimagines the property, the inhabitants of this shabby Shangri-La wistfully eke out the joys of one last summer together as a melancholic twilight hangs in the air. Happy Campers just made its world premiere at DOC NYC, where it received a Special Mention for the Grand Jury Prize. Amy spoke to us about her unique process making this film, biggest challenges and triumphs, and the commodification of some of life’s simplest pleasures.READ MORE
Welcome to NYWIFT, Melisa Ramos! Melisa is a filmmaker and professor from Puerto Rico, bringing 14 years of post-production and motion graphics experience to New York. Her first production, Puerto Rican Voices, a docu-series about the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Following Puerto Rican Voices, Melisa continued to share Puerto Rican and Latin American stories. In 2020, she directed and produced From Performers to Spectators, a doc-series showcasing New York City performers during lockdown. She is currently in production on Hoop Warrior, her first feature film. Read all about Melisa’s journey as an editor and artist here!READ MORE
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