NYWIFT Blog

NYWIFT at DOC NYC: In Conversation with Luchina Fisher

NYWIFT member Luchina Fisher’s powerful new film The Dads features fathers tackling tough, complex issues of parenthood, masculinity, and more – learning to love and support their children the best they can. On a fishing trip with Matthew Shepard's father, five disparate dads discuss their love, hopes and fears for their trans kids in this short documentary. The film is screening now at DOC NYC, where is was named to the festival’s influential awards short list. We spoke to director and producer Luchina Fisher about her personal connection to the dads, her exciting Netflix opportunity, and the film’s superstar supporter.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Rose Vincelli Gustine

Welcome to NYWIFT, Rose Vincelli Gustine! Rose Vincelli Gustine is Director of Operations and on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts (SVA) MFA Social Documentary Film program. She is currently producing the feature documentary The Sum of Our Parts and was consulting producer for Busy Inside (PBS America Reframed, 2020). She directed the documentary short What We Discover Along the Way, which is looking ahead to 2024 festivals. Rose was a programmer for filmmakers’ support organization IFP (now called The Gotham) and for AFIDocs Festival. She lives, cooks, and walks in Brooklyn with her family and cats. Rose spoke to us about what it means to be a filmmaker advocate, her own creative practice, and what she loves about the art of documentary filmmaking.

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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.

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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: Seeley Björkstén

Welcome to NYWIFT, Seeley Björkstén! Seeley is an NYC-based filmmaker and digital artist who is mostly interested in telling impactful nonfiction stories through film. Their passion for incorporating animation and other types of unconventional creativity into their work is reflected in their short film Who I Wasn’t, among other projects. Having studied at American University and FAMU, one of the oldest film schools in the world, Seeley is currently the Marketing & Social Media Manager at the Bushwick Film Festival. As someone who believes that art has the power to change the world, they consider their creations to be a form of activism. Seeley spoke to us about what drew them to animation, their creative journey, and their most personal project to date.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Amanda DiMartino

Let’s give a warm welcome to new NYWIFT member Amanda DiMartino! Amanda is a director, producer, and editor committed to audience engagement. Some of her career highlights include collaborations with brands such as Harper’s Bazaar, Peloton, NBCUniversal, SYFY, Complex, KIDZ BOP, The Berlin Film Festival, Standard and Poor’s, and The Hollywood Reporter. Altogether, the 500-plus videos she has worked on have garnered more than one billion clicks and views while generating more than $1 million in revenue. She spoke to us about working with Bad Bunny and Usher, and why exploration is key to success!

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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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NYWIFT at DOC NYC: In Conversation with Filmmaker Fredgy Noël

In the documentary short The House of LaBeija, directed and produced by NYWIFT member Fredgy Noël, we meet the eponymous prominent ballroom family and safe haven for transgender women, queer people, and those in need of community. Over the course of 10 minutes, several members of the house dance, vogue, and celebrate their identities across a strikingly glamorous mansion that seems to be an embodiment of their safe harbor. Fredgy Noël spoke to us about ballroom culture, creative inspirations, and what’s next on her horizon.

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NYWIFT at DOC NYC: In Conversation with Editor Jill Woodward

NYWIFT member Jill Woodward edited the documentary 1946: The Mistranslation that Shifted a Culture, which won the Audience Award at DOC NYC 2022. In this deeply personal tale, a gay seminary scholar and a straight activist, seeking to uncover the origins of the rabid homophobia of the conservative church, make a shocking discovery: an erroneous translation of the term “homosexual” in the Bible in 1946 that has been weaponized against the LGBTQIA+ community ever since. Woodward spoke to us about the editing process, what she learned along the way, and which types of projects excite her the most.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Achiro P. Olwoch

Please join us in welcoming Achiro P. Olwoch to the NYWIFT community! Olwoch is a queer artist in exile from Gulu in Northern Uganda, currently living in New York. She is an award-winning writer, director, and producer with several series and shorts to her name, and is currently writing a novel and two memoirs. Her play The Survival recently had its debut performance at Lincoln Center, produced by the National Queer Theatre. She spoke to us about living in exile, her artistic journey, and her resilience.

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NYWIFT @ Tribeca: In Conversation with Editor Véronique N. Doumbé

Longtime NYWIFT Member Véronique N. Doumbé comes to the 2022 Tribeca Festival as the editor of Carrie Hawks' short film Inner Wound Real, which was supported by Black Public Media. The 15-minute experimental animated short relays the story of three BIPOC folks who self-injure, then find new ways to cope. Doumbé discusses the editing process and what she hopes audiences will take away from this powerful film.

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Recap of Denise Ho: Becoming the Song Virtual Event with Sue Williams

Filmmaker Sue Williams has a love affair with the city of Hong Kong. So when a friend introduced her to the Cantopop superstar Denise Ho, she knew she had the subject of her next film. But, what happens when current events upend the planned story arch of your film at the end of production?

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Wild Nights with Emily: A Retake on What You May Have Believed about Emily Dickinson

What happens when an esteemed comic actress like Molly Shannon, a screenwriter with a quirky perspective and a penchant for cinematic originality, political causes and literary scholarship, and a legendary American poet who some say has been misunderstood and misinterpreted by decades of academic critics collaborate?

"Wild Nights with Emily" happens. The unique film, thoroughly original and entertaining, is inspired by the life of Emily Dickinson. It’s also a creative spin on a literature professor’s reinterpretation of Emily Dickinson’s life and personal relationships. 

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NYWIFT Member Jill Salvino Brings LGBTQIA Documentary “Between the Shades” to Schools Nationwide

NYWIFT member Jill Salvino is an accomplished storyteller and commercial director with over 200 awards to her name, including an Emmy. But one of her proudest accomplishments is also one of her most recent – her feature documentary directorial debut Between the Shades. Profiled in The New York Times in April under the quippy headline “How Gay Are You?” the documentary asks just that, yet so much more. Salvino spoke to us about the process of making the film, working with her documentary subjects and what she hopes to accomplish with the film’s educational release.

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Cynthia’s Picks: Designing Women, Rachel Chavkin, Queer Women

Designing Women: Thank you to all our honorees, presenters, supporters, volunteers and attendees for a truly fabulous 20th anniversary Designing Women Awards last week. Be sure to check out our photo highlights and stay tuned for videos of the inspirational ceremony. Rachel Chavkin: Hadestown director Rachel Chavkin’s fiery Tony Awards acceptance speech (she won Best...

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Terry’s Picks: Reed Morano, Lena Waithe, Silent Revival

Reed Morano: Congrats to The Handmaid’s Tale director Reed Morano, the first woman to win for the Emmy for drama series directing in 22 years. Lena Waithe: Kudos to Lena Waithe, who is the first black woman to win an Emmy for best comedy writing for her spectacular Master of None episode, “Thanksgiving.” (Our own...

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