NYWIFT Blog

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: 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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NYWIFT @ Sundance: In Conversation with Shivani Rawat

During the 40th edition of The Sundance Film Festival, NYWIFT blogger Tammy Reese interviews NYWIFT Member Shivani Rawat, founder of ShivHans Pictures and executive producer of the thought-provoking film Love Me. This captivating film explores a unique premise — long after humanity’s extinction, a buoy and a satellite meet online and unexpectedly fall in love.

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Postcard from Park City 2024: Sundance Film Festival Recap

From Tammy Reese: I had the incredible opportunity to cover the 40th edition of the Sundance Film Festival, and it was an absolute blast. From capturing the excitement on the red carpets to immersing myself in the world of independent cinema, every moment was filled with energy and anticipation. Let me take you on a recap of some of the unforgettable film premieres I had the privilege to cover. The red carpets were a spectacle in themselves, as A-list celebrities and emerging talents and filmmakers graced them with their presence. It was a surreal experience witnessing their arrivals and hearing their insights about their latest projects.

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NYWIFT at DOC NYC: In Conversation with Amy Nicholson

Finding your tribe is one of life’s greatest pleasures—and losing it is one of the greatest sorrows. In NYWIFT Member Amy Nicholson’s beautifully observed film Happy Campers, working-class Americans gather every summer at a seaside trailer park in Chincoteague, Virginia, to enjoy the simple pleasures of a scrappy, no-frills vacationland, and each other’s company. When a developer buys the land and reimagines the property, the inhabitants of this shabby Shangri-La wistfully eke out the joys of one last summer together as a melancholic twilight hangs in the air. Happy Campers just made its world premiere at DOC NYC, where it received a Special Mention for the Grand Jury Prize. Amy spoke to us about her unique process making this film, biggest challenges and triumphs, and the commodification of some of life’s simplest pleasures.

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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!

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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: 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: 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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NYWIFT at Sundance: In Conversation with Jess Jacobs

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.

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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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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Samantha Alvarez

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.

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NYWIFT at Sundance: Spotlight on Paula Eiselt

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.  

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NYWIFT at Sundance: Spotlight on Jen Heck

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.

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Best Practice Advice for Targeting Corporate Sponsorship to Help Fund Your Film

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.

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What’s in Your Toolkit: Nan Gill-Wilson

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. 

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State of the Industry: A Conversation of Lydia Darly of the Nova Frontier Film Festival and Lab

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. 

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