NYWIFT Blog

Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Toby Perl Freilich

Welcome to NYWIFT, Toby Perl Freilich! Toby is an Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker and writer, focusing on cultural reporting. Her work explores all sorts of perspectives, from senators to artists, spanning across the world. She co-produced and co-directed Moynihan, a film about the late New York senator, policy expert, and public intellectual. She also directed, produced, and wrote Inventing Our Life: The Kibbutz Experiment, about one of the world's longest running and most successful experiments in radical, secular communal living. Right now, she is producing and directing I Make Maintenance Art: The Work of Mierle Laderman Ukeles about the pioneering ecofeminist and the first Artist in Residence at the New York City Department of Sanitation. Read about Toby’s inspiring past and future projects here!

READ MORE

Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Melisa Ramos

Welcome to NYWIFT, Melisa Ramos! Melisa is a filmmaker and professor from Puerto Rico, bringing 14 years of post-production and motion graphics experience to New York. Her first production, Puerto Rican Voices, a docu-series about the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Following Puerto Rican Voices, Melisa continued to share Puerto Rican and Latin American stories. In 2020, she directed and produced From Performers to Spectators, a doc-series showcasing New York City performers during lockdown. She is currently in production on Hoop Warrior, her first feature film. Read all about Melisa’s journey as an editor and artist here!

READ MORE

Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Victoria Duncan

Welcome to NYWIFT, Victoria Duncan! At age 12, Victoria began making films, struck by her power to engage an audience using her imagination. This led her down an exciting path to SNL, The Blacklist, The Sinner, Vice, and branded content for huge companies like Wells Fargo and Amazon, just to name a few. Her LGBT+ ballet film I Am Enough was adapted for the stage and performed at New York City’s iconic Lincoln Center. She is currently working on the screenplay for a feature film. Victoria walks us through her incredible journey, from her childhood favorite movies to presenting a piece to the United Nations.

READ MORE

Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Amy Tiong

Welcome to NYWIFT, Amy Tiong! Amy is a director, writer, and production coordinator whose stories bring underrepresented voices to the forefront. She directs both narrative films and documentaries, which received recognition from Bustle, NBCNews, PictureStart, Coverfly, and the NAACP. The vulnerability in her work empowers others and shines a light on topics such as disordered eating, grief, and sibling love. Amy tells us about working on a microbudget project during pandemic times, collaborating with friends and her new horror immigration feature film, When You’re Ready to Go. Read all about it here!

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

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!

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Tanis Parenteau

Welcome to NYWIFT, Tanis Parenteau! Tanis Parenteau is Métis/Cree from the Métis Nation of Alberta. She is an actor, producer, and casting director. Her work focuses on uplifting Native voices telling contemporary and futuristic Native stories. As an actor, she has appeared on Billions, House of Cards, Designated Survivor, FBI: Most Wanted, Gossip Girl, and Tribal, and she has performed at The Public Theater, Signature Theater, 59E59, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Tanis has produced eight short films, has a short form digital series in post-production, and is developing multiple Native-led features and series. She is an associate casting director at tbd casting co in NYC. Her latest project, the short film Glenburn 12 WP, is fiscally sponsored by NYWIFT.  Tanis spoke to us about her dedication to uplifting Native voices, how working in casting has influenced her performing, and the best advice she’s ever received.

READ MORE

Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Gaelin Rosenwaks

Welcome to NYWIFT, Gaelin Rosenwaks! Gaelin is a multitalented scientist, explorer, photographer, filmmaker, and author of Sperm Whales: The Gentle Goliaths of the Oceans. She founded Global Ocean Exploration Inc. in response to alarming changes to our oceans. Her aptitude for science and storytelling brought her on a journey that spans from appearing as an expert and host on many TV networks to being one of the few women featured on the cover of Outside Magazine. She is currently working on Finding Physty, a documentary about sperm whales. Gaelin shares more about her fascinating journey here!

READ MORE

Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Xochi Blymyer

Please join us in welcoming new NYWIFT member Xochi Blymyer! Xochi was exposed to film from a young age by her parents, a movie hairstylist and gaffer. She found her first job with her dad as a stand-in. From there, she worked up the ranks of the Assistant Director department. She has been 1st AD for Animal Kingdom, Black Monday, and All American, to name a few. Her 2022 short film, Hey Alexa, won an Award of Merit at the Best Shorts Competition and Best Short Film at the New York International Film Awards.

Xochi told us about her life in film and tv, inspiration from her family, and her new documentary Red Dog & Bates.

READ MORE

Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Katherine Allen

Let’s all give a huge NYWIFT welcome to Katherine Allen! Based in Brooklyn, Katherine Allen is a filmmaker whose artistry often addresses the theme of discomfort and include aspects of Magikal Surrealism, horror, and the macabre. Some of her film projects include L’alphabête Noire, The Widow’s Hand, Renaissance of Strings, and several music videos. Outside of filmmaking, some of Katherine’s hobbies are photography and occasionally lurking about during a dark moon. Learn more about Katherine as we converse about her knack for embracing nitty gritty emotions and translating them into art, audiences’ attraction to films that blend fairytale elements with horror, her grandfather’s ongoing influence on her craft, and the spellbinding qualities of seemingly ordinary objects!

READ MORE

Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Florence Montmare

Welcome to NYWIFT, Florence Montmare! Florence is an artist, photographer and director based out of New York, Gotland, and Stockholm, Sweden. Her work is represented by Ivy Brown Gallery and Valerie Goodman, New York, and has been exhibited internationally at Les Rencontres de la Photographie d'Arles, Casino Luxembourg, Saarlandmuseum, Centre d’art Contemporain du Luxembourg, Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain Belgium, Färgfabriken Sweden and at Fotografiska New York. Florence spoke to us about her remarkable globetrotting career.

READ MORE

NYWIFT @ Tribeca: In Conversation with Director Julie Cohen

NYWIFT member and Academy Award-nominated, Emmy-winning director Julie Cohen is no stranger to tackling hot button issues and profiling fascinating people in her work, from Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Julia Child to Pauli Murray and more. With each of her stories, she offers audiences a powerful and intimate look at a different slice of humanity, and empowers us to expand our horizons and learn from those from different walks of life. In her latest film, Every Body, produced with NBC News Studios, Cohen focuses her lens on the intersex community. The film will premiere at the Tribeca Festival and be released theatrically by Focus Features on June 30. Cohen is one of 15 NYWIFT members with projects premiering at the 2023 festival.

READ MORE

Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Katrina Montgomery

Please join us in welcoming new NYWIFT member Katrina Montgomery! Katrina is an NYC filmmaker with an affinity for the Bronx, the neighborhood where she grew up and still considers home. Katrina served as both Director and Director of Photography for Get Away For A Day with Allyshia Renay, which aired on BRIC, MNN, and BronxNet. Currently, she is studying film directing at Brooklyn College’s Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema and will be receiving her diploma shortly. Katrina spoke to us about her inspirations, using comedy to tackle tough topics, and lessons learned from a successful fundraising campaign.

READ MORE

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!

READ MORE

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.

READ MORE

Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Eunice Levis

Welcome to NYWIFT, Eunice Levis! Writer and director Eunice Levis is a first-generation Dominican American from the Bronx, New York. Eunice's work focuses on genre-bending stories that combine her love of horror, sci-fi, thriller, and fantasy, often through a diasporic lens. She seeks to disrupt and challenge dominant narratives around technology, race, gender, history, and diaspora identity by altering the stories we tell about them. Eunice spoke to us about her early inspirations, her latest work, and how genre stories offer a unique opportunity to challenge the status quo.

READ MORE