NYWIFT Blog

Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Claire Englebienne

Don’t hold the applause! It’s time for us to welcome our new NYWIFT member, Claire Englebienne! Claire is currently a Film & TV student at NYU who’s extremely passionate about storytelling and has begun writing and directing her own work. Originally from Argentina, she hopes to tell stories from her home country that move people. Read our full interview with Claire to learn more about her exciting projects, her experience working in the film industry in Argentina and some inspiring advice she’s received!

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Sarah D. Ceballos

Welcome to NYWIFT, Sarah D. Ceballos! Sarah  is a producer, writer, and an award-winning actress from McAllen, Texas. She is third generation Mexican-American and is fluent in Spanish. She holds her Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership and routinely conducts research geared toward understanding what can prohibit advancement opportunities for people of color in the workplace. Sarah considers herself the curious type. She is always asking herself, “How can I help?" Read more about her creative journey here!       

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Gabrielle Fox

Welcome to NYWIFT Gabrielle Fox! Gabrielle Fox was born into show business as the daughter of an actress and a businessman, immersing herself in rehearsals with her mother and learning business skills from her father. She delved into producing shows, and leveraging her networking and marketing expertise, culminating in the creation of her own website. Gabrielle's life journey advocates embracing dreams whenever they arise and relentlessly pursuing them. She believes that time is going to pass whether you take a risk, or create the project or not. Let that time pass by being creative. Create, create, create and then do it again. Read more about Gabrielle’s amazing stories from the set and upcoming adventures here!

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Hyon Jung “Helen” Lee

In this edition of our Meet the New NYWIFT member segment, we have the pleasure of introducing Hyon Jung Lee, affectionately known as Helen. Helen is not only the executive producer but also the talented writer behind the thought-provoking short film, Bible Camp. This captivating film delves into the lives of young immigrants at a backwater camp who face daily microaggressions from the locals. Through her writing, she sheds light on the challenges faced by young immigrants and encourages dialogue surrounding issues of discrimination and prejudice. We are thrilled to have Helen as a member of our beloved NYWIFT community. Her unique perspective and creative talent contribute greatly to our mission of supporting and empowering women in the entertainment industry. Here is our exclusive interview with Helen, where she shares insights into her creative process, challenges faced during production, and her hopes for the impact Bible Camp will have on its viewers.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Aisha Amin

Welcome to NYWIFT, Aisha Amin! Aisha is an NYC-based writer and director. As a director, her work expands across narrative, documentary, and experimental forms to tell authentic stories built from real experiences. Her past film projects have explored and highlighted overlooked communities particularly in New York City, including formerly incarcerated mothers and communities struggling with the presence of gentrification in their neighborhoods. Amongst her directing, Aisha is an emerging screenwriting and was selected to participate in Cine Qua Non’s 2022 Screenwriting Lab. She is a 2022 recipient of NYFA’s Tomorrowland Grant and a 2021 recipient of the NYFA Women's Fund grant. She was a recipient of the 2019-2020 Sally Burns Shenkman Woman Filmmaker Fellowship at the Jacob Burns Film Center where she directed two short documentaries. She is also a recipient of The Shed's Open Call Fellowship where she expanded her film practice to installation art. Aisha spoke to us about her favorite styles of storytelling, the intersection of narrative and documentary, and her latest projects.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Lorena R. Valencia

Welcome to NYWIFT, Lorena R. Valenica! Lorena R. Valencia is a Mexican writer-director based in New York. Her directorial debut and MFA thesis film, Cuanacaquilitl (Dandelion), received the 2022 National Board of Review Student Award and is an Official Selection in several international film festivals, including the Morelia International Film Festival, the Atlanta Film Festival, the New York Latino Film Festival, and the NewFilmmakers Los Angeles Film Festival. Lorena is passionate about both narrative and documentary storytelling and is interested in addressing issues such as reproductive rights, identity, and belonging. Currently, she is directing Mi Ranchito, a documentary short film that explores resilience and love for the land, while she is developing her debut feature film, Mayahuel. Lorena spoke to us about inspiring empathy through storytelling, the overlap of narrative and documentary filmmaking, and her latest projects.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Mary Skinner

Welcome to NYWIFT, Mary Skinner! Mary is a New York-based filmmaker whose projects include the widely-celebrated 2010 documentary Irena Sendler: In the Name of Their Mothers and Cuba Cubano Cañibano. The former was showcased at many festivals and events before being acquired by PBS and presented in many languages worldwide, in addition to receiving accolades that included the Best Documentary at the UK Jewish Film Festival and the 2012 Gracie Award for Best Public TV Documentary by and about a woman. The latter was an Official Selection of the United Nations Association Film Festival in 2017. Having graduated from UC Berkeley with a specialization in theater, Mary was one of the founding members of the Riverside Shakespeare Company in New York and the producer of the play Coming to See Aunt Sophie. Previously, she worked as a corporate marketing executive in New York and San Francisco and established 2B Productions in 2003. Read more about Mary as we discuss her close friendship with a legendary historical figure, the relationship between her artistry and family’s connection to the Holocaust, and the magic of both theater and PBS!

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NYWIFT Member Spotlight: Sweta Keswani

Meet NYWIFT Member Sweta Keswani! After starring in some critically acclaimed and hugely popular prime time television series in India which made Sweta Keswani a household name, she moved to New York in 2010 for love. She was seen on The Blacklist with James Spader, was recurring on New Amsterdam and AMC’s supernatural thriller Nos4a2. She had a fun role on Apple TV’s dark anthology series Roar and Mayim Bialik’s first directorial feature, As They Made Us, with Dustin Hoffman and Candice Bergen last year. Sweta also appears in The Beanie Bubble, which was released late July in theatres and globally on Apple TV. Sweta continues to hone her craft as an actor, whether it’s being in a stage combat or acting class, working on plays locally, or helping with R&D and as social media consultant for the Remarkable Women docuseries.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Lisa St. Hill

Welcome to NYWIFT, Lisa St. Hill! Born in Brooklyn, Lisa St. Hill is a multi-talented creator with a strong appreciation for her Barbados heritage. A fashion enthusiast at heart, she has worked as an editorial contributor and designed a recovery belly band for new mothers that caught the attention of some celebrity moms. Furthermore, Lisa also produced Phenomenal Women, which highlights various accomplished women who have achieved success within the realm of film and television. Some of her aspirations include the development of youth-centered projects such as the publication of Beautiful Brown Girl, an inspiring children’s book that she is currently illustrating and writing, and a limited series about her relative, the legendary Shirley Chisholm. Lisa spoke to us about her inspirations, the advice from Idris Elba that drives her day-to-day, and how she defines a phenomenal woman.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Heather Shreve

Let’s give a warm NYWIFT welcome to new member Heather Shreve! Heather is an award-winning screenwriter, historical advisor, and content creator, as well as a master artist with four producer-ready film projects. In her youth, Japanese culture was always part of her life and has influenced her art as well as her writing and research. Heather has rich ancestral history in America, with several strong areas of knowledge, from the Keelboat Age to the 1940s. Heather resides in Maryland, has two grown children, and has authored six books. Heather spoke to us her passion for history, recent projects, and the connections between coaching and creativity.

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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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Tips on How to Publish on Amazon Kindle

Jean Criss recently designed and wrote her first children’s book and self-published on Amazon Kindle. Once she realized this publishing platform was so simple, she decided to move all her book titles over. She learned how to publish e-books, paperbacks, white paper, articles, and/or other newsworthy information in a quick and easy way. Jean shares her step-by-step digital publishing guide with the NYWIFT community.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Vanessa Meyer

Welcome to NYWIFT, Vanessa Meyer! Meyer is a filmmaker, programmer, and educator based in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to having earned a Ph.D. in Communications with a specialization in personal storytelling, she has worked at the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, Kiss Off Entertainment, Reel Love Film Festival and most recently, Women in Film and Television Vancouver (WIFTV). As an artist, she is interested in exploring the complexities of feelings, a theme that has repeatedly appeared in her work. Meyer spoke to us about championing unique voices as a programmer, moving to NYC, and finding light in the darkness.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Kelly Reagan

Welcome, new NYWIFT member Kelly Reagan! We are so happy to introduce Kelly, who has so much to offer our community. She is a four-time Emmy-nominated producer and writer who has a deep history with major networks like Nickelodeon and Oprah's OWN. She has worked on many projects as a senior writer and producer, including one featuring great names like Michelle Obama (and she even received a letter from the First Family after filming together). We’re thrilled to have her join New York Women in Film & Television and can't wait to see what she does next.

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Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Chayah Masters

Welcome, new NYWIFT member Chayah Masters! We are happy to introduce Chayah, who has so much to offer our community. She is a producer and script consultant with an impressive 20 years of experience in the industry. We sat down with Chayah to discuss her career path, the role of mentorship in her life, and what kinds of creatives she wants to collaborate with next.

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NYWIFT Women’s History Month Spotlight: Tammy Reese

Tammy Reese is a multimedia content creator who loves everything theatre, entertainment, media, and film. She is an award-winning actress, writer, and journalist, and the Founder & Lead Publicist of Visionary Minds Public Relations and Media. She discusses her inspirations, balancing work and family, her favorite interviews and more.

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NYWIFT Women’s History Month Spotlight: Leah Curney

We continue to celebrate our creative members who are making innovative impacts through entertainment, media, film, and television, with a special spotlight our NYWIFT Women Crush Wednesdays Podcast team members. Today writer, director, producer and performer Leah Curney discusses her latest short film, her introduction to NYWIFT through the New Works Lab, women's history inspirations and more.

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

All In: The Fight for Democracy is the essential new documentary the LA Times called “an eloquent history lesson on voting rights.” Co-directed by Lisa Cortés and Liz Garbus, the film tells the painful history of voter suppression in America as it traces the story of gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and her 2018 run in Georgia. Oscar-nominated producer NYWIFT Member Lisa Cortés (Precious, The Apollo, Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion) joined NYWIFT Board Member Christina Kiely to discuss All In: The Fight for Democracy, why it matters so much right now, how they pulled it off during the pandemic, and why Stacey Abrams’s story needed to be the spine of the film – apart from the fact that we love her.

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