NYWIFT Blog

Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Allegra Oxborough

Let’s all say hello to Allegra Oxborough! Originally from the Midwest, Allegra now resides in Brooklyn, NY. A versatile filmmaker who directs, produces, edits, and writes (among other talents), their body of work ranges from the short film series The Endless Sleepover to the docu-film short A Blue Morning, and the compelling short film narrative Distance. In addition to these titles, some of their other film projects include working on The Tiny Death’s music video US, the Peter Hujar-inspired Fear for Eliot Krimsky, and the upcoming I Already Went. Read more about Allegra as we discuss the common and complex dynamics experienced by artists who are trying to honor their craft while being devoted parents, and the Ira Glass quote they revisit frequently and find applicable to their art. Also, remember to check out Allegra’s website and Vimeo page, where you’ll be able to access and experience a variety of her film projects!

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Rosemary Lepre Forman

Let’s welcome Costume Designer and Wardrobe Stylist Rosemary Lepre Forman to NYWIFT! She has contributed her artistic vision to a myriad of projects such as Woody Allen’s Deconstructing Harry, Spin City starring Michael J. Fox and Heather Locklear, Sex and the City, Law & Order: SVU, Friends from College, Red Oaks, Darren Star’s Younger, and the film Summertime. After many years of dedication, Rosemary received the NYWIFT Designing Women Award in 2011 for her contributions to the TV show Nurse Jackie and later earned the title of Head Costume Designer. When she is not working, Rosemary enjoys playing ukulele and is an avid runner. She is also a devoted mom who divides her time between Manhattan and Windham, New York. Read more about Rosemary as we discuss the importance of persistence, her flair for vintage clothing, and the legendary and multitalented Oscar-winning performer who she would relish being able to design an outfit for!

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Broadway Luminaries Come Together for Broadway Inspirational Voices Presents: “Hope in Harmony: Award Ceremony & Fundraiser Cocktail Party”

On Monday, October 9, 2023, the Renowned Choir & National Nonprofit of Broadway Artists, whose mission is to support and strengthen communities in need through arts, education and outreach programming, hosted the “Hope in Harmony: Award Ceremony & Fundraiser Cocktail Party” at Sony Hall in New York City. Tammy Reese and LaKisa Renee share their exclusive interviews with Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and more!

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Christine Toy Johnson

You might recognize NYC-based artist Christine from the stage, the page, or the screen. She played Diane over one thousand times in the first national tour of the musical Come from Away. Other roles span from Sherry Yang in the Netflix Marvel series Iron Fist to Maria in West Side Story. She hosts The Dramatists Guild’s Talkback podcast, where she shines a spotlight on conversations about equality and inclusion. She also participated in The Writers Lab 2016, the screenwriting program co-produced by NYWIFT. Read more about artists she admires, advocacy for other artists, and new movie musical here!

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Katja Haecker

Let’s give a warm NYWIFT welcome to new member Katja Haecker! As an experienced and award-winning creative for the advertising world, Katja Haecker had her calling in 2015. Since then, she writes and directs not only commercials within the luxury world but also personal film projects, like "Endless Orange Me," a car/fashion short, or "Laps of Honor," a documentary about the protagonist’s passion for fast cars. A German native, she moved to the U.S. in 2007 and, since then, has worked between continents or wherever her passion for filmmaking takes her. Driven, experienced, focused, and open to all kinds of topics, from racing cars to daily life, she always has thrillers and suspenseful plots in mind, with an artistically trained eye. Katja spoke to us about her most daring commercial projects and how her lifelong love of fast cars shows up in her professional work.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Toni Short

Please join us in welcoming Toni Short to NYWIFT! Toni Short is an Aussie on a mission to tell the textured stories of women from around the world and heal the world through the arts. Following a personal breakthrough, Toni paved her own path towards artistic creation and invites others to walk beside her. This led her to found The Camp, an immersive space for children to learn about creative self-expression. Her project Sister Spirit Stories is a platform to highlight the stories of inspiring women. We Go High Productions produces both Sister Spirit Stories and Toni’s short film Meeting Mr. Oscar, which she wrote, produced, directed, and acted in. Toni told us about her personal healing journey, her most meaningful projects so far, and what’s coming up on the horizon.

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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.  

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Jade Dressler

Welcome to NYWIFT, Jade Dressler! Jade has imagined, designed and created for mass and niche pop-culture and luxury lifestyle clients for over 30 years. From nature-inspired body jewelry on major couture runways to award-winning landscape art spanning acres in Brazil, she is known for producing touchpoints of meaning that connect and energize all our lives. The Jade Dressler Agency is NYC-based with global partners. The agency is known for lifting the dreams of personalities, brands and businesses clients with creative services that deliver compelling design, messaging, events, and experiences that thrill. Jade spoke to us about daring to be a disruptor, amazing moments with Karl Lagerfield, and her brand new screenplay!

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Candece Tarpley

Welcome to NYWIFT, Candece Tarpley! Candece Tarpley, of Sissipahaw/Tuscarora/Tsalagi descent, is a World Champion Powwow dancer, an actress and a poet-storyteller-playwright who has been writing since childhood. Holding her heritage close, she's been a featured performer nationwide, weaving her crafts with the patrons of the Public Library of Boulder Colorado; Middlebury College in Vermont; Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts; the Pequot Museum in Connecticut; the Brooklyn Museum and the Museum of Natural History in New York City, as well as other creative venues. Candece spoke to us about how her Indigenous heritage influences her work, the response to her television series, and her next major projects.  

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Melissa Morales

New York based filmmaker Melissa Morales is a first-generation Puerto Rican Latina alum from CUNY Brooklyn College with a BA in Film Production, holding a magna cum laude GPA. Melissa is an aspiring writer, director, producer and production designer, and multimedia content creator. She has written, directed, & produced four short films in 2022, with her thesis "Bigger" winning a NYWIFT Emerging Female Filmmaker Award at Brookly College and a NYIFA Best Student Director Award both in 2023! Melissa tells us about receiving the NYWIFT Emerging Female Filmmaker Award, her role as a writer, director, and producer, and more!

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Hyonok Kim

Welcome to NYWIFT, Hyonok Kim! Hyonok is an award-winning filmmaker and choreographer who creates innovative and experimental film. Hyonok was born in South Korea, then studied film and dance in Paris and New York. Rather than dialogue, her films use dance to express interactions, bringing the emotional experience to the viewer. She choreographed and directed 15 dance films including Weeping Water, For Sunrise, Dance with Horses, Ode on a Korean Urn, Isle of Waiting Souls, Passion & Rebirth, South Sea to Isang Yun and L’Heure de Coq. Her films were shown at international film festivals and broadcasted in France, Germany, Australia, China, Korea, the Netherlands, and the USA. Now, she lives and works in the Bronx. Hyonok shares her inspirations in nature, as a choreographer and as a storyteller here!

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NYWIFT Member Spotlight: Jean Criss

Meet NYWIFT member Jean Criss, an accomplished woman in media and tech, who has founded four successful e-commerce companies, showcasing brand innovation and ability to create. With certifications in digital media, fashion, and business, Jean is a notable figure in the industry, regularly appearing on TV, podcasts, and live radio shows. She is also a philanthropist and passionate advocate for women in business, actively supporting growth and female empowerment. Jean’s commitment to emerging technologies and trends allows her to navigate these ever-changing territories with resilience and fortitude.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Beatriz Barbieri

Beatriz was born in Brazil, then moved to New York in 2015 to study film at NYU. Her roots in Brasilia are close to her heart and are at the core of her work, from her 35mm black and white photography series to her upcoming feature film script. She was director of photography for Murielle’s “Can You Get Me High” music video and directed Foreign’s “Commando (feat. Da $ilva)” music video. She has taken photos for Brooklyn-based clothing brand ByLiv and behind-the-scenes photos for New York Magazine. Beatriz tells us about her artistic inspirations, her upcoming short film Shrapnel, and how her identity inspires her storytelling.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Karyn Levitt

Welcome to NYWIFT, Karyn Levitt! Karyn Levitt is president of Royal Road Productions. A singer/writer/producer, she conceives, develops, and performs shows, such as On Hollywood and Weimar: The Songs of European Composers from the Golden Age of Film and Will There Still Be Singing? A Hanns Eisler Cabaret, at venues such as Off-Broadway’s York Theatre, Cafe Sabarsky, Feinstein’s/54 Below, D.C. Jewish Music Festival, and beyond. Levitt co-conceived, produced and performed in Happy Birthday, Eric Bentley at the Town Hall. Her first film, Honoring Eric Bentley: A Centennial Tribute Concert, premiered at New Plaza Cinema and will screen in Berlin and Boston in the Fall of 2023. Karyn spoke to us about her transition from the world of cabaret to filmmaking.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Sarah Eagle Heart

Introducing NYWIFT Member Sarah Eagle Heart! Sarah is a filmmaker and social justice storyteller from the Oglala Lakota tribe on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Sarah shares her creative journey from writing a book with her twin sister about reflections of identity, to working with musical icon John Legend, to her latest feature film.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Alisa Lomax

Let’s give a warm welcome to Alisa Lomax! Based in Detroit, Alisa is an award-winning producer and director who is interested in providing a platform for characters who are in the midst of navigating hardships. Some of her most celebrated projects include Maya and Her Lover, Layla’s Girl, and the documentary When I Need to Smile, which centers on philanthropist and jazz label founder Gretchen Carhartt Valade. Alisa was one of just 13 Detroit writers to be selected as part of the Sundance Screenwriters Lab. Find out more about Alisa as we discuss her amazing 20+ year career trajectory, which includes her transition from working in corporate jobs to more artistic endeavors, and her current role in a digital arts program that aims to introduce the art of filmmaking to kids!

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The Redford Center Joins Black Public Media’s Climate Open Call

The Redford Center, one of the only US-based nonprofits solely dedicated to environmental impact filmmaking, has joined forces with Black Public Media (BPM) on BPM’s 2023 open call for climate stories. BPM will award a total of $230,000 in production funding for feature-length documentaries and documentary or scripted shorts. Projects in all stages of production (research and development, pre-production, production, or post-production) are invited and should be suitable for public media distribution. The application window for the open call is September 1-25.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Hannah Niebielski

Welcome to NYWIFT, Hannah Niebielski! Hannah is a former National Director for the Olympic Sport of Dressage, where she led 36 US Teams to earn the highest podium finish rate among Olympic medal nations at Championships and Games. She organized talent and teams for the 2016 Olympic Games, 2018 World Games, and 2019 North American Youth Championships. Now, she brings her skillset in managing talent, public relations, event operations, and hospitality to the world of film and TV. Hannah tells us about the overlaps between Olympic sports and entertainment, her passion for connecting others, and the importance of talent support.

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