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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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
In director Tracy Droz Tragos feature documentary Plan C, a hidden grassroots organization doggedly fights to expand access to abortion pills across the United States, keeping hope alive during a global pandemic and the fall of Roe v. Wade. With abortion restrictions and bans going into effect, Francine Coeytaux and her team of providers established Plan C — a grassroots organization dedicated to expanding access to medication abortion. NYWIFT member Jess Jacobs, the film’s executive producer, has a career-long history of activism – including work with the Plan C organization before the movie was even made! She spoke to us about Plan C’s Sundance premiere, her passion for reproductive justice, and the power of community.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
Welcome to NYWIFT, Samantha Alvarez, an independent documentary and narrative filmmaker born and raised in the Bronx with six years of camera operating and video editing experience. Alvarez started her career as a multidisciplinary teaching artist. She now works as a video freelancer and recently won the 2022 NYWIFT Outstanding Woman Content Creator at the Nova Frontier Film Festival for her short mixed media documentary, "In the Body." We sat down with her to discuss her latest film, her career, and her inspirations.READ MORE
An alarmingly disproportionate number of Black women are failed every year by the U.S. maternal health system – and it is a crisis that has been largely ignored thus far. In the Sundance 2022 documentary Aftershock, Directors Paula Eiselt and Tonya Lewis Lee follow the bereaved partners of two of these women as they fight for justice and build communities of support, bonding especially with other surviving Black fathers. The story is presented within the historical context of racism throughout the U.S. healthcare system, and the deadly tendency to ignore or minimize Black women’s pain and concerns.
NYWIFT Member Paula Eiselt spoke to us about how she and Lewis Lee approached this harrowing topic, and why community activists are the natural heroes of her creative work.
NYWIFT member Jen Heck returns to Sundance this year as part of a special retrospective celebrating the 40th anniversary of the festival’s short film program that welcomes back past Sundance projects. Heck wrote and associate produced the comedic short Hold Up, in which a robber is after more than just money during an NYC convenience store hold up. It originally premiered at Sundance in 2006 and has strong ties to the NYWIFT community, as it was directed by member Madeleine Olnek and features Muse Awards host Nancy Giles in one of the three starring roles.
Jen discusses her Sundance experiences both traditional (i.e. sleeping on the floor in Park City) and virtual, as well as her current projects.
Learning the ins and outs of corporate sponsorship for your film projects can seem daunting, but Kim Skildum-Reid lays out all best practice principles to help you create a compelling pitch.READ MORE
Producer Nan Gill-Wilson shares the path of her varied career, the story behind her partnership with David Wilson, and how she is coping during COVID-19.READ MORE
The voices of Black, Middle Eastern, and Latinx artists have long been marginalized. But at Nova Frontier Film Festival and Lab, they take center stage. Actor, filmmaker, writer, producer, and film programmer Lydia Darly discusses why she co-founded the festival (where NYWIFT is proud to present an Outstanding Female Content Creator Award), and what she hopes to see from the 2020 edition which, like so many recent events, is going virtual.READ MORE
Clemence Taillandier is an independent film distribution veteran, having worked as a theatrical booker for over 15 years. She now operates her own distribution services company and provides theatrical, festival booking and consultation services to boutique distributors including Film Movement and Distrib Films, two distributors specialized in foreign films and documentaries. She has been at the forefront of moving the cinema experience to a virtual space in the wake of COVID-19.READ MORE
Heidi Philipsen-Meissner is a director, producer, writer and actress with over two decades of professional experience in international film, television and communications. She shares insight into how she manages her work in film and television while also raising two teenagers, especially now as her daughter is beginning her filmmaking career as well.READ MORE
Childhood memories of summers spent in the country are typically happy ones. But for 13-year-old Lea, the main character in Unintended, one summer is fraught with tension and leads to deep unresolved issues. We sat down with the female duo behind the film to discuss its themes of childhood trauma and resilience, as well as the logistics behind its shoot in upstate New York.READ MORE
Great ideas, even when plentiful, can have a short shelf life when confronted with sobering realities. But NYWIFT Michele Remsen knows how to persevere. As co-star, producer, director, and screenwriter of an anti-romantic comedy that defies expectations, Michele was the force that made it happen: in 12 days, on a shoestring budget.READ MORE
Andrea Thompson is a Chicago-based writer, editor, and film critic who is also the founder and director of the Film Girl Film Festival. She discusses how the COVID-19 quarantine is affecting her livelihoodREAD MORE
Traditional film houses are transitioning to virtual cinema screenings since art houses have temporarily closed their doors to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Learn what Film Society of Summit Founder Lisa Reznik found in her toolkit!READ MORE
For many Americans, regional festivals are their gateway to independent film and filmmakers. How are local festivals continuing to connect artists to audiences during the pandemic? Lela Meadow-Conner, Executive Director, and Barbara Twist, Director of Membership of Film Festival Alliance update us on the rapidly changing industry.READ MORE