NYWIFT Blog

Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Brianne Neira

By Ozzi Ramirez

Let’s say hello to the fabulous Brianne Neira! She is a director and video editor with a commitment to representing and giving a voice to women and the queer community through her work. Since graduating with a BFA from Emerson College’s esteemed Media Arts Production program in Boston, Brianne’s most celebrated projects include the feminist short film Rotten Meat and her award-winning directorial debut A Place for Ashes.  

Get to know Brianne better as we chat about her fascination with horror and the genre’s ability to facilitate a platform that can engage an audience and simultaneously raise awareness on social issues, the warm reception A Place for Ashes received at film festivals, and the importance of loving your work while setting healthy boundaries.

 

NYWIFT Member Brianne Neira

 

Tell us about yourself. Give us your elevator pitch!

I am a queer NYC-based filmmaker specializing in directing and editing. I am devoted to storytelling from a place of personal truth and creating content that can initiate real change. I am passionate about diversity and inclusivity and strive to increase the representation of all women and queer people in the industry.

 

NYWIFT Member Brianne Neira

 

As a spectator and filmmaker interested in the representation of female and queer voices on screen, which film and/or television shows do you feel have successfully introduced viewers to remarkable queer and female characters? What queer or feminist themes would you like to see developed further or explored differently, whether that is through your own projects or the work of other filmmakers? 

The first movie I saw that introduced me to feminist films was A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (dir. Ana Lily Amirpour). Although every woman can relate to the fear of simply walking around at night, to see it recontextualized into a story about vigilante justice was groundbreaking for 17-year-old me. Who doesn’t love the idea of a vampire who eats evil men?

Now, my favorite women/queer-centered works are Thoroughbreds, Fleabag, and Promising Young Woman. I’m really into the idea of a “bad” heroine – a woman who unconventionally uses her queerness or femininity to get what she wants.

 

NYWIFT Member Brianne Neira

 

Let’s talk horror! From your perspective, what makes this genre unique and how has it served as a vehicle for you to express yourself? 

I love horror films! My first ever short film when I was in college was a horror/thriller about a woman who misses a dose of her anxiety medication and has to go about her day. At the time, I was struggling with my mental health and realized that through horror, I could most accurately portray the agony I was experiencing with my anxiety.

Films like Get Out are inspiring because they force the audience into the shoes of someone affected by very real and traumatic situations, they might not normally be able to understand fully.

 

 

Congratulations on the success of A Place for Ashes! From pre-production through the recent praise it’s received at film festivals, what are some of your proudest moments making the film and why do you think it’s resonating with viewers?  How did your college years at Emerson and previous work in other areas of filmmaking prepare you for directing this project?

A Place for Ashes is my debut short film that I’ve been working on since quarantine in 2020 with my two creative partners. It’s our first project outside of college, and every part of the process has been very rewarding! It had a microbudget, was filmed in my childhood home, and serves as a time capsule for how lost we all felt post-grad. I cried when I learned we were accepted into our first festival (LIIFE) and that our movie would screen at a professional theater. I’m also incredibly proud to have won an Audience Choice Award at the NY Lift-Off Film Festival and participated in a director’s panel. Those moments were very special to me and it’s surreal to see your art celebrated and recognized.

My proudest moment previously was getting into Emerson College’s film program in 2018, and this topped it! When I fell in love with filmmaking, it felt like I would never feel fully satisfied if I could not pursue it, so getting into one of the top programs in the country was very motivating.

 

 

Rotten Meat is remarkably compelling! What did you hope to achieve as the editor of this short film?  

Directed by the talented Rebekah Strauss, Rotten Meat was the first project I was hired to edit. I was so excited because everything about it was right up my alley. As soon as I heard “feminist horror,” I was sold.

My favorite part about editing that film was how we completely re-edited it almost one year after it was originally finished. We needed to shorten the film and figuring out what to cut was like putting together a puzzle. In the end, we chose to play around with the timeline to keep the audience on their toes.

Then, Rotten Meat premiered at the Angelika East, and I cried seeing my work on the big screen! I am so grateful to have had these opportunities since I moved to NYC.

 

What attracted you to NYWIFT? 

I heard about the NYWIFT group when I first moved to NYC and was inspired to apply after joining other various women-led organizations. Women in our industry need to support each other.

 

 

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

The worst advice that was pushed on my generation during college is to take any job, for any or no pay, anytime (aka the “grind” culture). We’ve seen a revolution in the entertainment industry with the WGA and SAG strikes this past year, and rightfully so. We should be able to do what we love and pay our bills, and because of this mindset, I feel that my generation is more aware of and eager to dismantle these unfair hierarchies.

The best advice I’ve received is to make your own opportunities and support your fellow creators.

 

What’s next for you? Do you have any fun and exciting projects in development?

I am in the writing phase with my creative partners for our next short film. It is a feminist revenge horror and cat-and-mouse thriller about two women who try to kill their abuser. I had this idea for years and we are almost done with the script. We are also looking to finalize our production company, Spiral Films, later this year.

 

Check out Brianne’s content-rich website www.brianneneira.com, where you’ll be able to watch Rotten Meat, access some of her earlier short films made while she was a student at Emerson College, and enjoy a panel discussion from the New York Lift-Off Festival that features Brianne sharing some cool insights about the making of A Place for Ashes. You can also follow her on Instagram at brianne_neira.

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

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