NYWIFT Blog

Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Myra Velasquez

By Ozzi Ramirez

Let’s give a warm NYWIFT welcome to new member Myra Velasquez!

Myra Velasquez is an indie filmmaker and playwright whose films have been screened across the country and abroad. Some of her awards include the Lawrence Kasdan Narrative Film Award, the Grand Prize Chicks with Flicks, the BIFF Golden Honu Audience Choice for Best Short, the HIFF Gold Kahuna, and the BIFF Family Favorites.

She has also been a finalist for the Sundance Lab, the BlueCat Feature Screenplay Award, the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference, the Big Apple Screenplay Competition, and a Cinequest Short Screenplay semi-finalist, among other notable mentions. Myra resides in New York.

Myra spoke to us about her latest audio drama, the best (and worst) advice she’s received, and what she hopes audiences will take away from her work.

 

NYWIFT Member Myra Velasquez

 

Describe yourself. Give us your elevator pitch!

Hello! My name is Myra and I’m a Tokyo-born storyteller of Chinese, German and Mexican heritage. My most recent project, The Forks, which is the recipient of New Jersey Webfast’s Best Family Friendly Podcast, is my first audio drama and was produced by fellow NYWIFT member Nicole Franklin. It’s currently streaming on Dramafy, “the one stop shop for the best in audio dramas.”

 

NYWIFT Members Myra Velasquez and Nicole Franklin (front) with the team behind The Forks!

 

Both your debut film Mother’s Blood and the subsequent Kung Fu Granny were recognized with awards at various film festivals and the latter received worldwide distribution. What was is it about these films that you believe connected with viewers? How are they reflections of your identity? 

This is an interesting question because Mother’s Blood and Kung Fu Granny are as much different in content and tone as the format in which they were shot, the former in 16mm black & white (Yes, 16mm film!) and the latter in HD color. Based on my family, Mother’s Blood is a deep dive into the relationship between a mother and her daughters, and Kung Fu Granny is an action comedy. Having said that, I hatched my superhero Granny out of my dismay with the shabby treatment of our elders.

But whether it’s a comedy, drama, or anything in between, I always strive to be deeply honest and from the heart. Hopefully, viewers can resonate with these core elements.

 

Once you’ve decided that you want to pursue an idea for a narrative, what factors determine whether you develop the story as a play or film?

As far as the medium goes, such as with Mother’s Blood and Kung Fu Granny, some works are a no-brainer for me. Also, they’re short films, which makes the process budget-friendly. But I’ve written scripts that I can envision in more than one art form.

For example, The Forks had been written as a short play, but then it was suggested that the piece could be fun as a radio play / audio drama, and I proceeded to morph it as such. There are folks who still ask when the animated version is coming out.

 

Still from Kung Fu Granny (from myravee.com)

 

Whether it’s been through your work in film or theater, your artistry has consistently required a vivid imagination. How do you conquer writer’s block and other obstacles that can sometimes hinder the creative process?

I don’t know how to conquer writer’s block. However, I no longer beat myself up when I have a dry spell. Instead, I simply let it be and relax. This has made a world of a difference!

 

What brings you to NYWIFT?

I was a longtime CineWomenNY member and subsequently became an NYWIFT member. I took some time off to work on my audio and theater projects. But I’m delighted to be back with the vital and creative NYWIFT community.

  

What is the best and worst advice that you’ve received? 

Best Advice: “Go for It!”

Worst advice: “It’s very important where your short film premieres!” There may be NYWIFT members who can adhere to this, and I would love to know their point of view. But while this might be the case for feature films, I don’t think it applies to shorts.

To this day, I sorely regret giving my word to “premiere” my short film The Lovers at a certain film festival. As a result, I had to turn down another great festival where my film was selected to compete for Best Short Film! The fact is that I could’ve premiered at either festival. When I attended, I gleaned right away that it wouldn’t have mattered two cents.

 

 

How did the pandemic influence your work life? 

Since I was not in the middle of any project that involved lots of folks on site and was hunkering upstate, the pandemic affected me very little. During the second year of the pandemic, I had to sit down to do some editing and the quietude was great. 

 

Do you have any upcoming projects in the works?

Yes. I’m working on a short film that’s in a genre I’ve never done before. I’m going for it!

 

Connect with Myra on her website www.myravee.com.

PUBLISHED BY

Ozzi Ramirez

Ozzi Ramirez Ozzi Ramirez is a current intern at NYWIFT and aspiring film producer and programmer. He studied English Literature and Theater at the University of Vermont and later received a Master's Degree in Mass Communications from Florida International University in Miami. Having moved to NYC in 2019, his interests include moseying through Manhattan with his headphones on full blast, most dogs and cats, coffee, discovering good deals on theater tickets, politics, traveling, and of course, experiencing great storytelling through movies, TV shows, and books.

View all posts by Ozzi Ramirez

Comments are closed

Related Posts

Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Hannah Xie

Let’s say hello to new NYWIFT Member Hannah Xie! After spending her earlier years in China, Hannah now lives in New York City where she dedicates much of her time to cinematography and photography. Her talent for blending and accentuating colors and lighting on film is reflected in projects such as Brief Encounter, Sleepwalker, Epic, and The End of the Affair. To learn more about Hannah’s creative process, check out our interview as we discuss her collaboration style with directors, her approach to cinematography, and the influential role that her childhood viewing experiences contributed towards her future career.

READ MORE

Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Hyon Jung “Helen” Lee

In this edition of our Meet the New NYWIFT member segment, we have the pleasure of introducing Hyon Jung Lee, affectionately known as Helen. Helen is not only the executive producer but also the talented writer behind the thought-provoking short film, Bible Camp. This captivating film delves into the lives of young immigrants at a backwater camp who face daily microaggressions from the locals. Through her writing, she sheds light on the challenges faced by young immigrants and encourages dialogue surrounding issues of discrimination and prejudice. We are thrilled to have Helen as a member of our beloved NYWIFT community. Her unique perspective and creative talent contribute greatly to our mission of supporting and empowering women in the entertainment industry. Here is our exclusive interview with Helen, where she shares insights into her creative process, challenges faced during production, and her hopes for the impact Bible Camp will have on its viewers.

READ MORE

Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Jaya Mahajan

Welcome to NYWIFT, Jaya Mahajan! Originally from Mumbai, India, Jaya is a filmmaker with Executive Producer credits for documentaries and factual shows that have been on networks such as CNN, BBC, Discovery and the National Geographic Channel. She spent the initial part of her career as a business reporter and producer with CNBC and Bloomberg. More recently, she has been running an award-winning production company, creating films and documentaries and teaching journalism students in Malaysia and Singapore. Jaya recently moved to New York and is looking forward to focusing on projects that highlight and amplify traditionally underrepresented, diverse, and marginalized voices. 

READ MORE

Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Jasmine Yeshan Zhang

Welcome to NYWIFT, Jasmine Yeshan Zhang! Jasmine Yeshan Zhang was born and raised in Xinjiang, China and is now based in Brooklyn. She graduated from the MFA Photography, Video and Related Media department at School of Visual Arts in 2021. During her studies at SVA, she expanded her interests on making documentary films. She has been working as an Assistant Editor for documentaries since graduation and is currently working on an archival-heavy doc-series. She is always looking for more opportunities for documentary/film editing. Jasmine spoke to us about how her upbringing influenced her interest in other cultures, her transition from still photography to video, and what she hopes to achieve next.  

READ MORE
JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
css.php