NYWIFT Blog

Celebrating the Spirit of NYC Artists at the Greenwich Village Film Festival

Alessia Gatti is a true "woman calling the shots," having grown the Greenwich Village Film Festival from a single night showcase to a multi-day, sold-out event that’s starting to get the notice of A-list actors and entertainment execs alike over the course of just four years. Stephanie Cole speaks to her about how the festival pays tribute to New York's most famous neighborhood for creatives.

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Gaia Visnar on channeling her own search for home into her character in The Basis of Intimacy

NYWIFT member Katrina Medoff spoke with fellow member Gaia Visnar, an actor and producer for the short film The Basis of Intimacy, which was made by a female-driven and largely international crew. They spoke about the power of a silent film and what conversations Visnar hopes to spark with the film.

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Trailblazing through the Decades: Sandra Osawa (1970s)

Sandra Osawa is a director, producer, and writer. She is a member of the Makah Nation of Washington State. One could argue that news coverage of Native American issues is still vastly lacking today. Thus, Sandra Osawa was a true ground-breaker in 1974 by directing, producing, and writing NBC’s first news program on Native American issues

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Trailblazing through the Decades: Hedy Lamarr (1940s)

During WWII, a hobbyist inventor worked to help the military come up with a secure communication system to combat the Nazis. By manipulating radio frequencies at irregular intervals between transmission and reception, the invention formed an unbreakable code that prevented classified messages from being intercepted by enemy personnel. This patented form of frequency hopping revolutionized modern communications and formed the foundation for Wi-Fi, cell phone, and Bluetooth technology. The inventor’s name was Hedy Lamarr, and she was also a Hollywood star during MGM’s “Golden Age.”

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Trailblazing through the Decades: Esther Eng (1930s)

In honor of Women's History Month, NYWIFT looks back at some of the remarkable women who have shaped the film, television and digital media industries through the decades. We kick off the series in the 1930s. Esther Eng was a film director who also worked as a writer, producer, and distributor. She had an international career, making films both in the United States and Hong Kong. She was the first woman to direct Chinese language films in the U.S.

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The Brookside Women’s Club of Harlan County

In 1973 the 13-month Brookside Strike brought almost 200 workers to battle Eastover Coal Company’s Brookside Mine and Prep Plant, a company owned by Duke Power. When filmmaker Barbara Kopple traveled to Harlan County, Kentucky, the resulting Academy award-winning documentary, Harlan County, U.S.A. (1976) captured a historic story. We look back on the film, which screens this Sunday, February 25th at UnionDocs.

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One Big Union: A History of the Wobblies

Many have never heard of “Wobblies” or the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), but in the early 1900s, The Wobblies were laborers working in a variety of fields, who joined the movement which became known as “industrial unionism” under the IWW organization and they made headlines. 70 plus years following the founding of IWW, filmmakers Deborah Shaffer and Stewart Bird came together to bring the story of early American industrial radical labor reform back into the spotlight. Their documentary, The Wobblies (1979), shows the relevance of this history that still holds true today. The WFPF will screen the film at UNDO on January 28.

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The WFPF Screens Four Experimental Films at MoMA’s “To Save and Project” Festival on January 22

The Women’s Film Preservation Fund: Four Experimental Films will screen January 22nd in The Museum of Modern Art’s annual festival, To Save and Project.  The four recently preserved films by Barbara Hammer, Victoria Hochberg, Peggy Ahwesh, and Sheila Paige, all carry a common thread of movement towards a future from the past.  WFPF Co-Chair Ann Deborah Levy gives us a preview.

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NYC Indie Filmmaker Vigil Chime Wins the Academy’s Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting

The Writers Lab, presented by New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) and IRIS and funded by Meryl Streep and Oprah Winfrey, pairs twelve women screenwriters over the age of 40 for a weekend of one-on-one mentoring and script development with accomplished film industry leaders. One of this September’s participating writers may be on the path to becoming one of those leaders herself: Vigil Chime has been awarded the prestigious Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for her script Bring Back Girl, about a Nigerian teen kidnapped by Boko Haram – the same project she took to The Writers Lab.

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True Crime: Relationships and Responsibilities

There is no doubt that the “true crime” documentary genre is thriving and that such film and television projects are enjoying unprecedented buzz. Studies show that women are their biggest audience, and broadcasters are taking notice. By the nature of their work, non-fiction storytellers are always considering how to present and represent their subjects through the creative process. But how is that further complicated in the “true crime” space, when the stakes might literally be life or death? Where do they draw the line between journalism and entertainment?

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Women’s Stories in Film and the Need for an Authentic Ending

Why is it that when men make poignant films about a male’s coming-of-age, they are allowed to explore the pain, heartache, betrayal, danger, and the need for getting even or choosing a lesser evil to right a wrong—while women-centric films are expected to carry out a fairy tale romance? NYWIFT member Heidi Philipsen tackled this question as she made her first feature film.

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Introducing the New WFPF Series From the Vault: Women’s Advocacy on Film

History is perfectly capable of repeating itself. Issues from the past that seem dated have a way of rearing their ugly heads once more to become present-day concerns. In an age when our collective memory can be short, and in the era of “disposable media,” the NYWIFT Women’s Film Preservation Fund (WFPF) and UnionDocs (UNDO) present FROM THE VAULT: WOMEN’S ADVOCACY ON FILM, a series of nine programs of preserved documentary films, screened monthly. The series considers the relationship of these films to contemporary nonfiction storytelling and makes a strong case for their preservation and continued study.

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A Filmmaker is Born: How the Power of One Immigrant’s Story Inspired a Musician to Go Visual

Filmmakers create great stories every day. But once in a while, a truly great story will create a filmmaker. Such was the case with Patricia Shih and her debut film, Undocumented. The inspiring documentary, which was screened on March 16th at the Queens World Film Festival as part of NYWIFT’s Women Filmmakers: Immigrant Stories series, showcases the realization of the American Dream through the unique story of undocumented-immigrant-turned-successful-cardiac surgeon, Dr. Harold Fernandez.

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Starless Moonlight’s Lesson on Making Your Production Shine Brighter: Q & A with Casting Director Angela Mickey

After Moonlight won the Oscar for best picture, casting director and NYWIFT member Angela Mickey had some insights on what independent filmmakers and can learn from its casting.

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Sound Advice: Avoid (or Fix) the Two Biggest Mistakes in Sound Design

Mismatched ambient noise and clothing rustle are the two biggest mistakes in sound design, according to award-winning sound designer, editor and mixer Paul Michael. At a recent NYWIFT program, he explained to how to avoid - or fix - these problems.

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The Ask for Jane Filmmakers on Telling a Little-Known Story from Women’s History

When NYWIFT member Cait Johnston first heard about the Jane Collective — a real-life group of women who helped others get abortions before Roe v. Wade — at a NYWIFT screening, she knew it was a story she had to tell. She teamed up with fellow member Rachel Carey, a screenwriter and director she know through a NYC theater company called The Shelter, to create Ask for Jane, a narrative feature film that they are currently crowdfunding for on Seed&Spark.

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“Knowledge is Something Nobody Can Take Away from You:” Yvonne Ng Discusses her Student Academy Award Win

NYWIFT scholarship recipient Yvonne Ng, a Singaporean immigrant who came to the U.S. to study photography, discusses inspiring women, her powerful short film Cloud Kumo, and her Student Academy Award win.

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11 Things I Learned While Producing My First Short Film

Actor and writer Katrina Medoff took on a third role - producer - for the first time with the short film Lovestuck, which premieres Sunday, March 19th at the Queens World Film Festival. She shares her top takeaways from the experience.

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