NYWIFT Blog

Preview of Fear the Walking Dead: Final Season

Tammy Reese, our resident The Walking Dead expert, offers a preview of the final season of of Fear the Walking Dead, including an exclusive interview with some of the cast members! The series is airing now on AMC and AMC+.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Chloë Levine

Welcome to NYWIFT, new member Chloë Levine! Chloë is an award-winning filmmaker who has worked as an actress, director, screenwriter, and producer. Learn more about Chloë as we discuss her 2014 debut short that earned praise at a well-known film festival, some of the screen goddesses that served as her muses during her earlier years, and the wide range of projects she has contributed to artistically, in addition to other fun topics!

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Kilara Sen

Welcome to NYWIFT, Kilara Sen! Kilara is a Japanese female stand-up comedian and actor, moving to New York this summer. Kilara currently is hosting "Japanese Whisky Lockdown" and "Japanese Whisky World" on Dekanta TV. She also appeared on international TV such as Asia's Got Talent, Paul Hollywood Eats Japan, and Welcome to the Railworld. Kilara is gender non-conforming (she/they), a "hikikomori" survivor (a form of severe social withdrawal), and had a wonderful year at Historically Black Colleges. Based on her experiences, she shares her strong and funny voice on mental health, feminism, and diversity. She believes that everyone should be as special and unique as a unicorn. Also, she is the voice breaking stereotypes of Japanese women: the New Pink. Kilara thinks of herself as a  Pink Unicorn. Kilara spoke to us about breaking down stereotypes, community support, and finding liberation through comedy.  

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Noelle Triano-Wertling

Welcome to NYWIFT, new member Noelle Triano-Wertling! A film lover in every sense of the word, Noelle has worked in entertainment insurance for over 10 years, writing policies for numerous films, television shows, and commercial producers. She is currently an Executive Entertainment Underwriter at Chubb Limited Insurance Company. Learn more about Noelle and her remarkable career trajectory where she has played a significant role in overseeing many film and television projects.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Shiqin Gao

Welcome to NYWIFT, Shiqin Gao! Shiqin is an award-winning NYC-based filmmaker whose versatile range includes but is not limited to directing, editing, sound recording, and producing. Learn more about Shiqin as we chat about her distinct style, the genesis of some of her most intimate projects, and her collaborations with some rockstars and other remarkable artists.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Heather Shreve

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.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Priya Mishra

Welcome to NYWIFT, Priya Mishra! Priya is an award-winning screenwriter and director. She wrote, directed, and co-produced her debut short film Bath Bomb in 2019. Currently, Bath Bomb and Only Business, the second film she directed, are both having successful runs on the festival circuit. A queer second-generation Indian immigrant, and a girl who lost her mom during her junior year of college, Priya’s work centers love, grief, acceptance, social-critique, and embracing your anger. Priya hopes that her work will make audiences feel more connected with other human beings, more angry at the state of the world, and more willing to improve it by embracing vulnerability and kindness. Priya spoke to us about identity, wildly fun times on set, and exploring grief through her creative work.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Bianca Marroquin

Welcome to NYWIFT, new member Bianca Marroquin! Bianca, a triple threat who can act, sing, and dance, became well-known to audiences starring as both Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly in Chicago the Musical on Broadway and alongside Michelle Williams and Sam Rockwell in the Emmy-Winning limited series Fosse and Verdon. Additionally, she has appeared as a judge on Mira Quien Baila (a popular Spanish reality television show similar to Dancing With the Stars) and the telenovela Esperanza del Corazón. These are just a few of her many career highlights! Bianca spoke to us about maintaining her creativity throughout the pandemic, her favorite roles, and expanding opportunities for Latinos on stage and screen.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Ifeyinwa Arinze

Please join us in welcoming Ifeyinwa Arinze to NYWIFT! Ifeyinwa is a neuroscientist-turned-filmmaker from Nigeria and is currently based in New York City. Her work draws inspiration from human behavior and prioritizes intimate portrayals of Black women and girls that are grounded in generosity and care. Her short film, Two or More, premiered at the 2022 New York African Film Festival and has screened at the 2022 Palm Springs International ShortFest, 2022 Bushwick Film Festival and 2022 TIDE Film Festival, where she received the 2022 NYWIFT Outstanding Woman Content Creator Award. Ifeyinwa spoke to us about why the TIDE Film Festival is special to her, her transition from STEM to the arts, and the inspirations behind her work.

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Tips on How to Publish on Amazon Kindle

Jean Criss recently designed and wrote her first children’s book and self-published on Amazon Kindle. Once she realized this publishing platform was so simple, she decided to move all her book titles over. She learned how to publish e-books, paperbacks, white paper, articles, and/or other newsworthy information in a quick and easy way. Jean shares her step-by-step digital publishing guide with the NYWIFT community.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Edna Luise Biesold

Welcome to NYWIFT, new member Edna Luise Biesold! Edna is a German-born and New York-based filmmaker who honed her craft at NYU Tisch School of the Arts with a special focus on cinematography. She received the Franz Wieser Grant from ARRI as DP for the fantasy short film The Molok. She co-wrote and co-directed The Color of Time, and is presently developing 3 Monkeys, a screenplay which earned her a Creative Career Design Fellowship from NYU's Production Lab in 2022. Most recently, Sunscreen, her first film in ASL, has won her a Best Narrative Short award at 1904 Deaf Film Festival and the NYWIFT Award for Excellence in Directing at the 2022 SOHO International Film Festival. Edna spoke to us about her favorite collaborators, the challenges of lighting 16-foot tall puppets, and exploring the subtleties of communication throughout her work.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Myrakel Baker

Let’s give a warm NYWIFT welcome to Myrakel Baker! Myrakel is a documentary filmmaker and development assistant living in Brooklyn. Inspired by her upbringing in a Black southern household, she aspires to produce character-driven stories rooted in identity and belonging with a focus on women’s voices. As a development and programming assistant, she’s worked with HBO Documentaries on George Carlin's American Dream, Spring Awakening: Those You’ve Known, and The Janes to name a few. She is looking to growing as a director and development producer, expanding on her work of sensitive, vérité-led documentaries.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Seeley Björkstén

Welcome to NYWIFT, Seeley Björkstén! Seeley is an NYC-based filmmaker and digital artist who is mostly interested in telling impactful nonfiction stories through film. Their passion for incorporating animation and other types of unconventional creativity into their work is reflected in their short film Who I Wasn’t, among other projects. Having studied at American University and FAMU, one of the oldest film schools in the world, Seeley is currently the Marketing & Social Media Manager at the Bushwick Film Festival. As someone who believes that art has the power to change the world, they consider their creations to be a form of activism. Seeley spoke to us about what drew them to animation, their creative journey, and their most personal project to date.

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NYWIFT at Sundance: In Conversation with Nitasha Bhambree

The wildly inventive 2023 Sundance Film Festival feature film Landscape with Invisible Hand follows Adam, a teenage artist coming of age in the aftermath of an alien takeover. Based on the novel by M.T. Anderson, the genre-bending sci-fi dramatic comedy with a YA twist directed by Cory Finley will come out as a limited release August 18, 2023. NYWIFT member Nitasha Bhambree helped bring the fantastical story to life as the Stunt Coordinator for the film. Since graduating New York University with a focus in dramatic performance and film studies, Nitasha has been employed in the entertainment industry for over 20 years. She regularly stunt doubles lead actresses in various TV shows and films, and has performed stunts in big budget features such as Joker, The Dark Knight Rises, Spider-Man and A Wrinkle in Time, and has stunt coordinated features and TV series for Netflix, Disney, MGM, A24, NBCU, Hulu, HBO Max and Starz/Lionsgate, and Marvel. Nitasha spoke to us about working in the sci-fi genre, her favorite scenes, and her upcoming projects. 

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How To Become a Certified Women Business Enterprise

NYWIFT Member Jean Criss, a certified member of the Metro NY Regional Chapter of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the nation’s largest third-party certifier of businesses owned and operated by women, shares membership, certification, and conference details with the NYWIFT member community. 

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Natalie Cash

It is always a treat to be reminded of the expertise and talent of NYWIFT members, especially new members. The diverse range of interests and the storytelling that supports these interests is inspiring. Join us in welcoming new member Natalie Cash, Executive Video Producer at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)! WCS works to conserve the world’s largest wild places in 14 priority regions, home to more than 50% of the world’s biodiversity. WCS also runs four zoos and an aquarium in NYC, educating four million visitors each year about the importance of conservation. Natalie produces short-form programming about WCS projects for multiple platforms to advance conservation and understanding of our natural world, to advocate for stronger policy, and to raise funds in support of this work.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Stephanie Okun

Please join us in welcoming new NYWIFT member Stephanie Okun! Stephanie is a screenwriter/director and recent grad from Wesleyan University. She is currently working on a feature film that she started at Wesleyan called At Sea, as well as throwing herself into Production Assistant and other entry-level jobs. She is excited to be a part of NYWIFT and get more entrenched in the world of film and television. Previously, Stephanie was a NYWIFT intern – and even wrote a few of the pieces in this series! Now, we’ve turned the microphone on her to learn about her writing, her theatrical roots, and her dreams for the future.

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BRCvr Immersive Technology in Film and Television

In February 2023, Jean Criss participated in a VR/AR webinar discussing new levels of storytelling and engagement that transform the in-person experience for virtual audiences. Best known for their BRCvr virtual Burning Man experience, which delivers a stunning virtual rendition of the playa, Big Rock Creative (BRC) bridges the worlds of in-person gatherings with virtual and remote participants. Jean followed up with Co-Founders Athena Demos and Doug Jacobson in an interview about their vision for XR creation in real-time, an exploration of storytelling with all facets of production, creation, ideation, and distribution or original VR and AR content, knowledge about live events and next gen technology, and their award-winning success.

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