NYWIFT Blog

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.

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NYWIFT at Sundance: In Conversation with Katharina Otto-Bernstein

Since premiering and winning the Jury Prize in the 2022 Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival (the first to do so from the Indian subcontinent), Joyland has moved audiences worldwide with its human portrayal of the limits of love in the face of patriarchy. The film follows the youngest son in a traditional Pakistani family as he takes a job as a backup dancer in a Bollywood-style burlesque, and quickly becomes infatuated with the strong-willed trans woman who runs the show. The film is both a loving portrait of the people of Lahore, Pakistan, and a painful depiction of how rigid traditional gender roles and repressed sexuality can have a ripple effect that harms the whole community. NYWIFT member Katharina Otto-Bernstein, who produced Joyland, spoke to us about discovering new artists through mentorship, political pushback on Joyland, and how Malala Yousafzai helped the film finally reach Pakistani audiences.

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Women Write Now: 2nd Year at Sundance Celebrating Women Writers

Developed in partnership with Sundance Institute and Founded by Hartbeat CEO Thai Randolph and Head of Film Candice Wilson Cherry, WOMEN WRITE NOW is a comedic writing fellowship designed to champion the next generation of Black women in comedy through mentorship, advocacy, production, and exhibition. Now in its second year, this year’s fellowship brought in three emerging writers, Mayanna Berrin, Kianna Butler Jabangwe, and Danielle Solomon to develop and produce their comedic short scripts under the guidance of some of the most influential Black women in comedy. The resulting projects were then brought into production by Hartbeat studios. Cherry and the writers spoke to us about their experience.

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WIFT Around the World: Postcard from MIPCOM Cannes

NYWIFT member Panayiota Pagoulatos returned to Cannes a second time this year to attend MIPCOM, where she was pleased to find celebrations of women and diversity in entertainment, and to preview several exciting new TV series.

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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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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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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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Opinion: Hank Azaria apologized for playing Apu on ‘The Simpsons.’ I accept.

"As an Indian American actress, for me the shadow of Apu loomed larger in my life than I realized." NYWIFT Member Mellini Kantayya offers her take on the controversial "Simpsons" character - and subsequent fallout - in an insightful op-ed published in The Washington Post.

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Cynthia’s Picks: Black History Month

In celebration of Black History Month, let’s shine a light on the artists and changemakers in media.

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NYWIFT Black History Month Spotlight: Zainab Ali

Happy Black History Month! At NYWIFT we are celebrating the Black creators and artists in our membership, while honoring Black culture & cinema throughout history. Today’s spotlight is on our member Zainab Ali, an award-winning producer of independent film with a background as a senior recruiter for major corporations who transitioned into filmmaking in her fifties. Zainab shares career highlights and her favorite inspirational figures.

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Recap: NYWIFT Talks with Julie Taymor and Kimberly Guerrero About “The Glorias” and Getting Out the Vote

NYWIFT blogger Kristin Reiber Harris reflects on our powerful conversation with the team behind The Glorias, including Julie Taymor's creative process, the celebration of Native voices, and how we as women live in constant dialogue with our former selves.

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AmeRican Poet Tato Laviera: Affirmation in the words, rhythms and blended language of an influential Nuyorican poet

Poet Tato Laviera pushed the boundaries of language, inspired the spoken word movement, and defined the Nuyorican experience. As an artist he innovated: he combined music, theater, poetry, dance, the power of dramatic contrasts and a commitment to social activism to create a new type of poetry. As both a poet and performer, he documented his own experience and affirmed his community’s worth, redefined its sense of identity. NYWIFT member Vivian Hernandez Ortiz discusses her film about Tato's legacy, which screens as part of this weekend's NYWIFT Member Screening.

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Oscars, Take Note: Women’s Weekend Film Challenge Arrives in LA

On January 13, 2020, the same day that the 2020 Oscars nominations were released — with not a single woman nominated for Best Director for the 87th time in 92 years — the founders of Women’s Weekend Film Challenge (WWFC) opened up applications for their first Los Angeles-based event to advance women in the film industry. The organization’s goals are to provide an intensive networking opportunity for female filmmakers while telling women’s stories on screen. WWFC founders say that the reason so many women apply to the challenge is because they know that the film industry revolves around connections — and WWFC provides the perfect opportunity to make them. Co-founder (and NYWIFT member) Katrina Medoff explains why the group is more relevant than ever.

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Cynthia’s Picks: Sundance Bound, Annenberg Study, Celluloid Ceiling

Sundance Bound: We are thrilled to see so many NYWIFT members headed to Sundance with films this year! We’ll be announcing a panel in Park City soon – stay tuned for more info. Annenberg Study: For the first time in over a decade, both the number and percentage of women working as directors on some of...

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Cynthia’s Picks: Muse Pics, Diversity Incentives, Parity Pledges

Muse Pics: Thank you to all who joined us at the 40th Anniversary Muse Awards! You can see a slideshow of our favorite photos here, or click through to our Flickr account to see full albums from the red carpet, awards luncheon, and reception.  Diversity Incentives: Good news! New York state has adopted a landmark...

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Cynthia’s Picks: Two Studies, Unequal Pay, Michele Clapton

Two Studies: A study from Dr. Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative in partnership with National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP, of which I was the founding organizational Chairperson) and Wise Entertainment, shows how Hollywood has failed the Latinx community when it comes to their portrayal in popular movies – in...

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