NYWIFT Blog

NYWIFT at Sundance: Spotlight on Sara Bernstein

13 members played a key creative role in 11 different projects featured in Sundance this year – and two of them fall under the Executive Producer expertise of prolific NYWIFT Member Sara Bernstein! Bernstein heads to Sundance with Amy Poehler’s documentary Lucy and Desi, which brings the iconic pair’s humanity to life through an exploration of their personal and professional partnership, as well as Downfall: The Case Against Boeing, comprehensive investigation into the crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and a look at the families and officials fighting for justice.

We spoke to Bernstein specifically about Downfall and how she hopes her team’s work will make an impact.

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NYWIFT at Sundance: Spotlight on Rachel Lears

Rachel Lears returns to Sundance on the heels of her 2019 festival smash-hit Knock Down the House, which sold to Netflix for a record $10 million, making it the biggest documentary sale ever brokered at a film festival. The film followed female insurgent candidates hoping to topple incumbents in an electric primary race for Congress, and focused heavily on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as she became the youngest member of the U.S. Congress.

Ocasio-Cortez now appears again in Lears’s To the End, this time as an established leader raising up another generation of young activists. We spoke to Lears about her process, watching Ocasio-Cortez develop as a politician, and why she still has hope in the face of the climate crisis.

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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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NYWIFT’s Ekwa Msangi Tells Her Sundance Success Story

For Ekwa Msangi, the journey to Sundance was relatively fast. While her TV and movie-making career was moving along, it was arguably easier to get a footing for some of her East African-inspired TV projects in Kenya and South Africa than in the U.S. But thanks to the generous support of difficult-to-get awards from the Tribeca Film Festival, IFP and others, her career as a filmmaker catapulted into action when Farewell Amor, Ekwa’s feature film directorial debut, screened in the 2020 Sundance Film Festival U.S. dramatic feature competition. Ekwa talked to us about her experience at the fest.

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What’s in Your Toolkit: Adetoro Makinde

The trip to the Sundance Film Festival can be daunting - but NYWIFT Member and Women Independent Producers (WIP) President Adetoro Makinde has ventured to Park City eight times, so it is safe to say she is a  Sundance pro! We caught up with her on the eve of the festival to try to glean some wisdom...and see what's in her toolkit both at Sundance and on set. 

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Cynthia’s Picks: Sundance Fest, It’s Time, Fair Credits

Sundance Fest: Congratulations to all the NYWIFT members with films screening at Sundance! The festival opens on Thursday and runs through February 3rd.  It’s time: Variety noted the uptick in feminist stories featured in Oscar contenders this year. Of course, this female focus didn’t extend to the directing nominations – women were shut out of...

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How to Work a Major Film Festival: A Report from Sundance

NYWIFT member Jane Applegate recaps the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and offers some key tips on how to make the most of any festival experience.

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Terry’s Picks: Chavela Vargas, The Tale, Working Women

Chavela Vargas: In NYWIFT’s latest column with Honeysuckle Magazine, Communications VP Margarita Sophia Cortes profiles the filmmakers behind the critically acclaimed documentary Chavela, about legendary LGBTQ Mexian singer Chavela Vargas. The Tale: We are bursting with pride for NYWIFT Board President Simone Pero, who produced Jennifer Fox’s harrowing and timely film The Tale, about childhood...

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NYWIFT Member Jill Rosen Talks Entertainment Publicity and Sundance Success

At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Focus Features, Amazon, Fox Searchlight and Netflix were among the buyers in a bidding war for Michael Showalter’s dramatic comedy The Big Sick. Amazon won, paying $12 million for the U.S. rights. And NYWIFT member Jill Rosen was right there at the heart of the action building buzz for the breakout film. Rosen explains what goes into being a marketing and publicity consultant, and discusses some of the highlights from Sundance.

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Terry’s Picks: Spark Diversity, Rachel Feldman, Sundance Women

Spark Diversity: Crowdfunding and distribution platform Seed & Spark announced the #100DaysOfDiversity initiative, a movement joining creators, audiences, brands, festivals and organizations to actively increase representation in entertainment in 100 days. Rachel Feldman: Deadline has a wonderful interview with Rachel Feldman about her fight to get Fair Fight, about the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act,...

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NYWIFT Members at Sundance Film Festival

From the documentary The Hunting Ground. Members of New York Women in Film and Television have films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, which runs from January 22 to February 1 in Park City, Utah. Here’s a sneak peek: ADVANTAGEOUS Section: U.S. Dramatic Competition Director: Jennifer Phang Screenwriters: Jacqueline Kim, Jennifer Phang Production Designers: Dara Wishingrad (NYWIFT Member), Aiyana...

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Terry’s Picks: NYWIFT Members at Sundance, Bentonville Film Festival & What to Look for in 2015

Can’t Wait for: Geena Davis to launch the Bentonville Film Festival to “champion women and diversity in film.” The festival runs May 5-9 in Bentonville, AK. Check out the press release from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. Congratulations to: NYWIFT members with films at Sundance this year. Make sure to check out these Member films screening at Sundance this...

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Truth Be Told: Women In Film at Sundance 2014

//embed.gettyimages.com/embed/463843119?et=2xk9yBaac0yq_pCTEB5low&sig=rShcoqZvqIZGmKY8BTX_9fGdw-9KzxoEhLhK_rEOQkA=“Truth Be Told” panelists (L-R) Valerie Veatch, Effie Brown, Rory Kennedy, Lucy Webb (moderator), Lori Cheatie, Tracy Droz Tragos, and Hilla Medlia.   Women In Film (WIF) hosted its 8th annual filmmakers’ panel discussion at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. It’s one of the most anticipated events of the festival, with women from all over the...

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Weekly Film & TV News Roundup

Photo via YouTube. The Women In Film panel at Sundance called out Hollywood’s sexism. Sold! Lynn Shelton’s film Laggies did well in Park City. Another promising new production company to be based in NYC. Cate Blanchett reveals a red carpet disparity. Got lights? Got camera? Here’s how to tape your own audition. Editorial Director Kierna Mayo brings...

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Sundance 2014: Director Maya Forbes On ‘Infinitely Polar Bear’

If you’re at Sundance, don’t miss this debut feature from writer-director Maya Forbes. We’re hoping to see Infinitely Polar Bear, starring Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana, in theaters soon.  — MICHELE DAGLE

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