NYWIFT at Sundance: In Conversation with Nitasha Bhambree
The wildly inventive 2023 Sundance Film Festival feature film Landscape with Invisible Hand follows Adam, a teenage artist coming of age in the aftermath of an alien takeover. Based on the novel by M.T. Anderson, the genre-bending sci-fi dramatic comedy with a YA twist directed by Cory Finley will come out as a limited release August 18, 2023. NYWIFT member Nitasha Bhambree helped bring the fantastical story to life as the Stunt Coordinator for the film. Since graduating New York University with a focus in dramatic performance and film studies, Nitasha has been employed in the entertainment industry for over 20 years. She regularly stunt doubles lead actresses in various TV shows and films, and has performed stunts in big budget features such as Joker, The Dark Knight Rises, Spider-Man and A Wrinkle in Time, and has stunt coordinated features and TV series for Netflix, Disney, MGM, A24, NBCU, Hulu, HBO Max and Starz/Lionsgate, and Marvel. Nitasha spoke to us about working in the sci-fi genre, her favorite scenes, and her upcoming projects.READ MORE
My First Ever Sundance Experience!
"My first time covering the Sundance Film Festival in-person was everything I expected it to be. Fun, intense, inspirational, exhausting, and such an honor. Overall, the experience lived up to indeed be the experience of a lifetime. A journalist’s dream, especially mine." Tammy Reese shares her favorite star-studded moments from her trip to Park City for Sundance 2023!READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
NYWIFT at Sundance: In Conversation with Liz Sargent
In the 2023 Sundance Film Festival short film Take Me Home, a cognitively disabled woman and her estranged sister must learn to communicate in order to move forward after their mother’s death. It captures of a moment of terror experienced by so many siblings of those with disabilities, when they are suddenly responsible for making a plan for a loved one who cannot live on their own, potentially upending both their lives as they also work through their grief. For writer and director NYWIFT member Liz Sargent, the story hits close to home. And she cast her own mother and younger sister to play versions of themselves. Sargent spoke to us about finding support in her identity as a sibling guardian, beautiful moments working on set with her family, and her joyous Sundance experience.READ MORE
NYWIFT at Sundance: In Conversation with Valda Witt
Many children – and more than a few adults – dream of long-distance space exploration. But what about the real human toll of that kind of journey? The new documentary The Longest Goodbye, which debuted at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, takes a poignant look at the fundamentals of day-to-day reality in space: the isolation, confinement, and lack of privacy and social contact. Executive producer Valda Witt spoke to us about the project, her childhood dreams of space travel, favorite moments making the film, and getting to know scientists and astronauts in a deeply personal way.READ MORE
NYWIFT at Sundance: In Conversation with Caitlin Gold
NYWIFT member Caitlin Gold is the Co-Founder and Co-Head of Film, a private equity fund dedicated to financing narrative and documentary films directed by women. The fund’s tagline is “Films by women make more money, but Hollywood isn’t making them….” Thanks to Gold and her colleagues, that very well may change! Their most recent feature is the Australian film Shayda, which premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival in the World Dramatic Competition and won that category’s Audience Award. Gold spoke to us about Shayda’s path to the screen, funding work by women, and what’s next on her horizon.READ MORE
Women Write Now: 2nd Year at Sundance Celebrating Women Writers
Developed in partnership with Sundance Institute and Founded by Hartbeat CEO Thai Randolph and Head of Film Candice Wilson Cherry, WOMEN WRITE NOW is a comedic writing fellowship designed to champion the next generation of Black women in comedy through mentorship, advocacy, production, and exhibition. Now in its second year, this year’s fellowship brought in three emerging writers, Mayanna Berrin, Kianna Butler Jabangwe, and Danielle Solomon to develop and produce their comedic short scripts under the guidance of some of the most influential Black women in comedy. The resulting projects were then brought into production by Hartbeat studios. Cherry and the writers spoke to us about their experience.READ MORE
NYWIFT at Sundance: In Conversation with Ericka Nicole Malone
Ericka Nicole Malone Entertainment presents the “Indie Director’s and Creator’s Spotlight” in celebration of diversity in filmmaking at the Sundance Film Festival 2023. Featuring a day of education, industry networking and panels, its evening activation will transform into a Neo Soul lounge with the sultry sounds of 3x Grammy Award-nominated R&B/Neo Soul Singer Angie Stone as the headliner.READ MORE
NYWIFT at Sundance: In Conversation with Annetta Marion
NYWIFT Advisory Board Member Annetta Marion produced Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie that is premiering at Sundance this month. The film incorporates documentary, archival and scripted elements to recount Fox’s story of personal and professional triumphs and travails in his own words. Annetta and Kathryn O'Kane spoke about the film that explores what happens when an incurable optimist confronts an incurable disease.READ MORE
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.READ MORE
Cynthia’s Picks: Sundance Success, Online Shorts, Ledbetter Film
Sundance Success: Thanks to all who attended our two inaugural events at the Sundance Film Festival this year! Be sure to check out the photos of our favorite moments. And congratulations to our NYWIFT community members who took home Sundance Awards – Radha Blank, who won the award for Directing for her debut film The 40-Year-Old-Version...READ MORE
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.READ MORE
Cynthia’s Picks: NYWIFT @ Sundance, Oscar Noms, Female Leads
NYWIFT @ Sundance: NYWIFT is thrilled to present two events at Sundance 2020! First, in partnership with AMC Networks, Women in Film LA (WIF) and ReFrame, NYWIFT co-presents the panel “Women on the Front Lines: Changing the Game” with an exciting roster of industry panelists. Then we celebrate the women of Sundance – including all...READ MORE