NYWIFT Blog

NYWIFT at DOC NYC: In Conversation with Filmmaker Sascha Just

NYWIFT member Sascha Just directed and produced Ellis, the first feature-length documentary about the late legendary New Orleans pianist and educator, Ellis Marsalis, Jr. Marsalis composed and performed major works of modern jazz infused with a uniquely New Orleans touch. Just spoke to us about all the ways in which jazz has influenced her work, getting to know a creative legend, and her DOC NYC premiere.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Board Member: Shruti Ganguly

New York Women in Film & Television is thrilled to welcome new board members to our leadership team for the 2022-2023 season! Globetrotting new NYWIFT Board Member Shruti Ganguly is an award-winning filmmaker and writer based between New York and Oslo. Ganguly was a member of the Obama Administration’s ECCO committee of 30 leaders and creators in entertainment, chairing its Asian Caucus, and is on the Creative Council for Emily's List. She has produced films that have premiered at Sundance, Venice, Tribeca, Telluride, and Berlin, and is currently writing for Secret Daughter for Amazon Studios, which will star Priyanka Chopra and Sienna Miller.

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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 @ Tribeca: In Conversation with Filmmaker Violet Du Feng

Violet Du Feng’s "Hidden Letters" tells the story of Chinese women trying to balance their lives as independent women in modern China while confronting the traditional identity that defines but also oppresses them. Connected through their love for Nushu—a centuries-old secret text shared amongst women—each of them transforms through a pivotal period of their lives and takes a step closer to becoming the individuals they know they can be. Hot off her 2022 Tribeca Festival premiere, Director Violet Du Feng, an Emmy-award winning documentarian, spoke to us about Nushu, modern-day China, women’s equality, and her filmmaking process.

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NYWIFT @ Tribeca: In Conversation with Filmmaker Signe Baumane

Signe Baumane’s "My Love Affair With Marriage" is a brilliant animated film for a decidedly adult audience. It’s a semi-autobiographical musical exploration of love, sex, romance, and gender as viewed through the lens of neurochemistry – not your average animated love story! New York Women in Film & Television was proud to present Baumane with a NYWIFT Ravenal Foundation Feature Film Grant for the film, and even prouder to then see it premiere at the 2022 Tribeca Festival! We sat down with Signe to discuss her wildly inventive, intelligent, and very fun film.

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FOUND: Highlights from an interview with the Director Amanda Lipitz and Producer Anita Gou (Part 2)

Found is a compassionately told story of the girls finding one another, finding their homeland, and finding themselves. Director Amanda Lipitz and Producer Anita Gou spoke with NYWIFT Board Member Christina Kiely about the experience of making the film and the powerful and often unexpected stories that emerged in the process. This is part two of their conversation.

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FOUND: Highlights from an interview with the Director Amanda Lipitz and Producer Anita Gou (Part 1)

Found is a compassionately told story of the girls finding one another, finding their homeland, and finding themselves. Director Amanda Lipitz and Producer Anita Gou spoke with NYWIFT Board Member Christina Kiely about the experience of making the film and the powerful and often unexpected stories that emerged in the process. This is part one of their conversation.

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The Mole Agent: Highlights from the NYWIFT Goes to the Oscars Q&A with Maite Alberdi, Marcela Santibañez, Julie Goldman

The team behind The Mole Agent, Oscar-nominated for Best Documentary, discusses its powerful impact, and how they created a film both so visually stunning and rich with character that The New York Times review believed the film to be partly dramatized. It wasn’t!

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Recognizing Our Shared Humanity: Idil Ibrahim on Her Film “Sega”

Women filmmakers throughout history have often been at the forefront of advancing social change, and NYWIFT member Idil Ibrahim is no exception. Ibrahim sat down with us to discuss the making of her award-winning short film "Sega" and how she hopes it might change viewers’ perception of modern immigrant stories.  

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NYWIFT Black History Month Spotlight: Brianna Seagraves

Happy Black History Month! At NYWIFT we are celebrating the Black creators and artists in our membership, while honoring Black culture & cinema throughout history. Today’s spotlight is on our member Brianna Seagraves, an actress, writer, and award-winning producer. Brianna shares her acting inspirations and her directorial debut at the Billie Holiday Theater.

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NYWIFT Program Recap: Alison Klayman’s Flower Punk

"Flower Punk," Alison Klayman’s film recently released on The New Yorker documentary site, delights visually and aesthetically with the bonus of illuminating Japanese cultural traditions regarding the natural world. We recap our conversation with Alison following the NYWIFT screening of the film.

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All In: The Fight for Democracy – A Conversation with Lisa Cortés (Part II)

The second part of Christina Kiely's two-part interview with All In: The Fight for Democracy co-director Lisa Cortés, conducted on Zoom in anticipation of her participation at the NYWIFT 2020 Creative Workforce Summit: Documentary Makers, Industry and Funders in Conversation next week. 

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Creativity and Angst through the Ages

In early August, NYWIFT made Kris Rey’s new feature I Used to Go Here available for streaming and presented a conversation with the writer/director and lead actress Gillian Jacobs. I Used to Go Here is the story of a young woman in her mid-thirties, Kate Conklin, whose first novel has been released and the consequences of a lack-luster response to the book.

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Kavery Kaul’s Long Way from Home Explores Bias through the Eyes of High School Students

Hailed by historian Robin Kelley as “one of the most powerful and inspiring documentaries of our era,” NYWIFT member Kavery Kaul’s Long Way from Home is the moving and provocative story of three remarkable girls entering ninth grade at top schools steeped in bias towards race, class, and culture. Though the film was made nearly 15 years ago, the issues still resonate in today’s climate of racial injustice and civil unrest. Kavery sat down to discuss how she put together this incredible portrait  and what – if anything – has changed in our culture in the years since.   

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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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AmeRican Poet Tato Laviera: Affirmation in the words, rhythms and blended language of an influential Nuyorican poet

Poet Tato Laviera pushed the boundaries of language, inspired the spoken word movement, and defined the Nuyorican experience. As an artist he innovated: he combined music, theater, poetry, dance, the power of dramatic contrasts and a commitment to social activism to create a new type of poetry. As both a poet and performer, he documented his own experience and affirmed his community’s worth, redefined its sense of identity. NYWIFT member Vivian Hernandez Ortiz discusses her film about Tato's legacy, which screens as part of this weekend's NYWIFT Member Screening.

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What’s in Your Toolkit: Leah Curney

Multi-hyphenate artist Leah Curney - an actor, writer, and director - shares what keeps her organized and inspired, from notebooks to podcasts and more. Plus, she expounds on the one piece of advice that frustrated her...until the truth of it finally clicked.

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Pennhurst: A Story that Needed to be Told

NYWIFT member Jodie Alexandra Taylor's documentary Pennhurst, which screens at the Member Screening Series on February 25th, was inspired by her visit to what remains of one of the largest and oldest institutions for the intellectually and developmentally disabled. One chapter of the story ended when the institution closed, but the fight for equitable treatment and representation for the disabled continues to this day. Making the movie inspired a fervent commitment on Taylor’s part to continue that dialogue and, in so doing, change the future narrative. Taylor sat down with us to discuss the film and its potential impact.

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