NYWIFT Blog

NYWIFT at Sundance: Spotlight on Sara Bernstein

13 members played a key creative role in 11 different projects featured in Sundance this year – and two of them fall under the Executive Producer expertise of prolific NYWIFT Member Sara Bernstein! Bernstein heads to Sundance with Amy Poehler’s documentary Lucy and Desi, which brings the iconic pair’s humanity to life through an exploration of their personal and professional partnership, as well as Downfall: The Case Against Boeing, comprehensive investigation into the crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and a look at the families and officials fighting for justice.

We spoke to Bernstein specifically about Downfall and how she hopes her team’s work will make an impact.

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NYWIFT at Sundance: Spotlight on Rachel Lears

Lears returns to Sundance on the heels of her 2019 festival smash-hit Knock Down the House, which sold to Netflix for a record $10 million, making it the biggest documentary sale ever brokered at a film festival. The film followed female insurgent candidates hoping to topple incumbents in an electric primary race for Congress, and focused heavily on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as she became the youngest member of the U.S. Congress.

Ocasio-Cortez now appears again in Lears’s To the End, this time as an established leader raising up another generation of young activists. We spoke to Lears about her process, watching Ocasio-Cortez develop as a politician, and why she still has hope in the face of the climate crisis.

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NYWIFT at Sundance: Spotlight on Jen Heck

NYWIFT member Jen Heck returns to Sundance this year as part of a special retrospective celebrating the 40th anniversary of the festival’s short film program that welcomes back past Sundance projects. Heck wrote and associate produced the comedic short Hold Up, in which a robber is after more than just money during an NYC convenience store hold up. It originally premiered at Sundance in 2006 and has strong ties to the NYWIFT community, as it was directed by member Madeleine Olnek and features Muse Awards host Nancy Giles in one of the three starring roles.

Jen discusses her Sundance experiences both traditional (i.e. sleeping on the floor in Park City) and virtual, as well as her current projects.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Board Members: Audrey Rosenberg

New NYWIFT Board Member Audrey Rosenberg says 'The whole community of creators in New York is really special and there's an aspect of the term “Keeping It Real” that I feel is always very appreciated. It’s a special experience to be in our industry and be a New York biased person and in my case, it’s been an incredible experience and gift to be able to live here and work in this incredible community of people. I am highlighting the special nature of being in the industry in New York. And I think there's something to it. It’s part of what NYWIFT taps into so I’m incredibly honored to be part of it and to be on the board.'

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NYWIFT at Sundance: Spotlight on Elaine Del Valle

Member Elaine Del Valle is enjoying her second time at Sundance as a producer of William D Caballero’s documentary short Chilly and Milly. Exploring the director’s father’s chronic health problems, as a diabetic with kidney failure, and his mother’s role as his eternal caretaker, Chilly and Milly is a combination of 3D-modeled/composited characters, with cinéma vérité scenes from an autobiographical documentary shot over 13 years ago. We sat down with producer Elaine Del Valle to discuss the making of the film and her virtual Sundance experience.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Board Members: Okema T. Moore

New NYWIFT Board Member Okema T. Moore says 'I also represent those of us that didn't come from this world but fell in love with it, and scrapped and scraped our way to get further along. I think I add another element of heart and safe space to what NYWIFT is.'

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Meet the New NYWIFT Board Members: Kim Jackson

New NYWIFT Board Member Kim Jackson says 'I'd like to use my skills to support other women and support the success of other women. I think the issues that NYWIFT is interested in tackling which is equity is very very important.'

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FOUND: Highlights from an interview with the Director Amanda Lipitz and Producer Anita Gou (Part 2)

Found is a compassionately told story of the girls finding one another, finding their homeland, and finding themselves. Director Amanda Lipitz and Producer Anita Gou spoke with NYWIFT Board Member Christina Kiely about the experience of making the film and the powerful and often unexpected stories that emerged in the process. This is part two of their conversation.

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FOUND: Highlights from an interview with the Director Amanda Lipitz and Producer Anita Gou (Part 1)

Found is a compassionately told story of the girls finding one another, finding their homeland, and finding themselves. Director Amanda Lipitz and Producer Anita Gou spoke with NYWIFT Board Member Christina Kiely about the experience of making the film and the powerful and often unexpected stories that emerged in the process. This is part one of their conversation.

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Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided to Go For It

NYWIFT member Kristin Reiber Harris reflects on life lessons gleaned from the indomitable Rita Moreno after watching the new documentary Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It.

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Fifth-Annual AudFest Deep Dives into Video, Impact, and Diversity in Storytelling with 2021 Theme, “Video is Eating the World”

AudPop, the global video platform and video creative marketplace, announces that the fifth annual AudFest, “Video is Eating the World,” will be held virtually from Nov. 3-5, 2021. AudFest celebrates and champions diversity and innovation in video by bringing together creative leaders of technology, brands, agencies, and video creators who are building, growing, and shaping the video economy.

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Journal from the Woodstock Film Festival: Daughter of a Lost Bird

NYWIFT member Fran Montagnino shares a taste of her experience at the 2021 Woodstock Film Festival, including the poignant screening of Daughter of a Lost Bird, winner of the NYWIFT Award for Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking.

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WWFC selects 8 fellows for inaugural pilot accelerator

Women's Weekend Film Challenge (WWFC) has announced the eight fellows chosen for its inaugural pilot accelerator. These eight emerging writers were selected out of 723 applicants.

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Crystal R. Emery: Exposing Racism in Healthcare as America’s Most Lethal Pandemic

What makes COVID-19 even deadlier? Racism in medicine. NYWIFT member Crystal R. Emery’s documentary The Deadliest Disease in America traces the history of racism in American health care from the brutal medical experimentation forced upon enslaved peoples to the modern-day inequity in fatality rates and access to treatment experienced by people of color during the pandemic.

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Helping a Mentee Spread Her Wings

Each and every individual whom I’ve mentored has been special—and I’m proud of them all in what they have achieved; however, one mentee and her achievement in particular stands out for me. Her name is Sophie Meissner and her achievement is a short film called, Keep Your Head Up, Sweet Pea!

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Women’s Weekend Film Challenge Launches Pilot Accelerator

This October, six to eight emerging TV writers — selected out of hundreds of expected applicants — will have the opportunity to pitch to studios and production companies including HBO, HBO Max, Warner Horizon Television, Jax Media, Berlanti Productions, Broadway Video, Element Pictures, Fabel Entertainment, Tornante and more as part of Women's Weekend Film Challenge’s (WWFC) inaugural pilot accelerator program.

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Misha Calvert’s New Comedy “Strut” Centering on Female Sexuality Premieres on Revry TV June 18

Revry TV’s new original series Strut slashes through taboos at every level, from its relatable, sex working ensemble to the female creative team, queer creator, and LGTBQ-heavy crew. From award-winning creator NYWIFT Member Misha Calvert (writer, star), Strut explores the complexities of sex work from the female gaze

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The Dilemma of Desire Empowers Women through a Greater Understanding of Their Sexuality

Maria Finitzo's film "The Dilemma of Desire," a documentary about female sexual desire, was difficult to pitch and sell because, according to Finitzo, “People were afraid of it, they think it's about porn or are worried they're going to see people having sex." Instead, the film delves into the essential, surprising, and often sad truth about most women’s understanding of their own sexual desires and their own bodies.

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