NYWIFT Blog

Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Ise White

Places everyone. Roll camera. Action…Time to welcome our new NYWIFT member, Ise White! Ise is a New York based director and writer who has directed commercials and narrative work spanning action and drama for film and TV. She grew up traveling the world and is trained in the indigenous martial arts of Silat, Wing Chun and Kali. Ise worked for FLOTUS Michelle Obama, became one of the top luxury fashion editors in the world, and has choreographed fight scenes. Read our full interview with Ise below to learn more about her career pivots, guiding principles, and inspiring volunteer work.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Perla de Leon

Let’s give a warm welcome to renowned photographer and NYC native, Perla de Leon! Having received an MFA in Photography from Brooklyn College and attended Columbia University’s Graduate Film Director’s Program, Perla’s work has been displayed at museum exhibitions worldwide, from Mexico City to Puerto Rico and Cuba to Barcelona. Some of her most acclaimed projects include the photo series South Bronx Spirit (1970s – 1980s), The Afro-Descendant Project – Puerto Rico (2017), and Decade of Fire (2018). Over the years, Perla has shared her passion for photography and video production while teaching her craft to high school and college students. Learn more about Perla’s illustrious career as we discuss the genesis of South Bronx Spirit (featured as part of the permanent collection at the Smithsonian America Art Museum in Washington D.C.) and the social injustices that attracted her to document the urban landscape of the Bronx during the late seventies. Plus, read about Perla’s remarkable connection to a legendary photographer whose art was celebrated alongside Perla’s photographs at NYC's iconic Gracie Mansion!

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Lynn Dow

Welcome to NYWIFT, Lynn Dow! From cherished advice on the joy of filmmaking to the heartwarming tale of transitioning from Wall Street to the silver screen, Lynn offers a glimpse into her journey which has been fueled by passion and family support. Her Harlem cultural tapestry weaves its way into her captivating narratives, while insights from her time at Columbia University offer a unique approach to storytelling. Explore Lynn's intersection of finance and filmmaking through the lens of resilience and strategic thinking, as she shares her favorite projects and inspirations. Delve into her creative process, where personal experiences meet universal themes, and catch a glimpse of her debut feature, Bull Street, a story of loss, reflection, and the pursuit of generational wealth.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Janet Hyojo Oh

Welcome to NYWIFT Janet Hyojo Oh! Janet Hyojo Oh is an independent producer and screenwriter with a passion for rom-coms and storytelling. Janet shares insights into her creative process, the impact of events she organizes for women in the arts, and overcoming challenges in her career. Janet emphasizes collaboration, kindness, and the importance of balance in the business of producing. She also reflects on winning her first screenplay award and offers advice to aspiring producers and screenwriters: embrace kindness, collaboration, and curiosity.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Taffy Lashley

Let’s give a warm welcome to our new NYWIFT member, Taffy Lashley! Taffy is of Afro-Caribbean roots and her love for telling underrepresented stories led her down the path of becoming an editor. She’s worked on interviews highlighting independent creators & their mental health, a documentary with the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, as well as with A+E networks and Reel Works. She’s grateful to network with inspiring women in the media industry. Her involvement with NYWIFT began as an intern and she’s excited to now continue her journey with NYWIFT as an official member!

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Brianne Neira

Let’s say hello to the fabulous Brianne Neira! She is a director and video editor with a commitment to representing and giving a voice to women and the queer community through her work. Since graduating with a BFA from Emerson College’s esteemed Media Arts Production program in Boston, Brianne’s most celebrated projects include the feminist short film Rotten Meat and her award-winning directorial debut A Place for Ashes. Get to know Brianne better as we chat about her fascination with horror and the genre’s ability to facilitate a platform that can engage an audience and simultaneously raise awareness on social issues, the warm reception A Place for Ashes received at film festivals, and the importance of loving your work while setting healthy boundaries.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Mariluz Guerra

Let’s give a warm NYWIFT welcome to Mariluz Guerra! Originally from Colombia, she is a proud indigenous Kankuaman filmmaker with experience directing, scriptwriting, producing, and editing. Her commitment to helping others heal through art is channeled in her films Body Stories: Suraj & Julieta and Body Stories: Together. Learn more about Mariluz as we discuss how her cultural roots are an ongoing influence on her projects, the innovative filmic style of Body Stories: Together, and the significant role that smartphones contributed towards helping her create an original and cost-efficient film!

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Hyon Jung “Helen” Lee

In this edition of our Meet the New NYWIFT member segment, we have the pleasure of introducing Hyon Jung Lee, affectionately known as Helen. Helen is not only the executive producer but also the talented writer behind the thought-provoking short film, Bible Camp. This captivating film delves into the lives of young immigrants at a backwater camp who face daily microaggressions from the locals. Through her writing, she sheds light on the challenges faced by young immigrants and encourages dialogue surrounding issues of discrimination and prejudice. We are thrilled to have Helen as a member of our beloved NYWIFT community. Her unique perspective and creative talent contribute greatly to our mission of supporting and empowering women in the entertainment industry. Here is our exclusive interview with Helen, where she shares insights into her creative process, challenges faced during production, and her hopes for the impact Bible Camp will have on its viewers.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Genevieve Skehan

Welcome, Genevieve Skehan! It was a love of the outdoors that propelled Genevieve Skehan into filmmaking. After earning her BA in drama in the UK at the University of Exeter, she went on to work for years as a performer and even won awards as a director. But she grew tired of sitting in dark rehearsal spaces. So, she embarked on a career in film and television. Several years later she was working regularly in Boston and New York as a producer, writer, and director for commercials and films. Lately she has begun to write and direct more passion projects. Here she shares how her background in theater informs her directing and how producing gave her the practical experience she needed to realize her own work. Plus, a bit about why she adores filming outside in natural light.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Aisha Amin

Welcome to NYWIFT, Aisha Amin! Aisha is an NYC-based writer and director. As a director, her work expands across narrative, documentary, and experimental forms to tell authentic stories built from real experiences. Her past film projects have explored and highlighted overlooked communities particularly in New York City, including formerly incarcerated mothers and communities struggling with the presence of gentrification in their neighborhoods. Amongst her directing, Aisha is an emerging screenwriting and was selected to participate in Cine Qua Non’s 2022 Screenwriting Lab. She is a 2022 recipient of NYFA’s Tomorrowland Grant and a 2021 recipient of the NYFA Women's Fund grant. She was a recipient of the 2019-2020 Sally Burns Shenkman Woman Filmmaker Fellowship at the Jacob Burns Film Center where she directed two short documentaries. She is also a recipient of The Shed's Open Call Fellowship where she expanded her film practice to installation art. Aisha spoke to us about her favorite styles of storytelling, the intersection of narrative and documentary, and her latest projects.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Lorena R. Valencia

Welcome to NYWIFT, Lorena R. Valenica! Lorena R. Valencia is a Mexican writer-director based in New York. Her directorial debut and MFA thesis film, Cuanacaquilitl (Dandelion), received the 2022 National Board of Review Student Award and is an Official Selection in several international film festivals, including the Morelia International Film Festival, the Atlanta Film Festival, the New York Latino Film Festival, and the NewFilmmakers Los Angeles Film Festival. Lorena is passionate about both narrative and documentary storytelling and is interested in addressing issues such as reproductive rights, identity, and belonging. Currently, she is directing Mi Ranchito, a documentary short film that explores resilience and love for the land, while she is developing her debut feature film, Mayahuel. Lorena spoke to us about inspiring empathy through storytelling, the overlap of narrative and documentary filmmaking, and her latest projects.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Mary Skinner

Welcome to NYWIFT, Mary Skinner! Mary is a New York-based filmmaker whose projects include the widely-celebrated 2010 documentary Irena Sendler: In the Name of Their Mothers and Cuba Cubano Cañibano. The former was showcased at many festivals and events before being acquired by PBS and presented in many languages worldwide, in addition to receiving accolades that included the Best Documentary at the UK Jewish Film Festival and the 2012 Gracie Award for Best Public TV Documentary by and about a woman. The latter was an Official Selection of the United Nations Association Film Festival in 2017. Having graduated from UC Berkeley with a specialization in theater, Mary was one of the founding members of the Riverside Shakespeare Company in New York and the producer of the play Coming to See Aunt Sophie. Previously, she worked as a corporate marketing executive in New York and San Francisco and established 2B Productions in 2003. Read more about Mary as we discuss her close friendship with a legendary historical figure, the relationship between her artistry and family’s connection to the Holocaust, and the magic of both theater and PBS!

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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: 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: 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: 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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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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