NYWIFT Blog

Diane Paragas’ Timely Immigration Story “Yellow Rose” Arrives in NYC

In a media landscape dominated by outraged, emotional debates over our nation’s immigration crisis, DACA, ICE, detainment, and children’s immense suffering, writer/director Diane Paragas’ long-in-the-making film "Yellow Rose" has burst on to the scene. And it could not be more timely. Paragas discusses the film's long journey to the screen and what she hopes to contribute to our cultural conversation on immigration.

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NYWIFT’s “Women’s Media Workshop” Comes to Staten Island

On Saturday, June 15th, 2019, Special Projects Associate Easmanie Michel brought NYWIFT’s Women's Media Workshop, a full-day training, collaboration, and production workshop to Staten Island for the very first time. Instructed by Filmmaker and Theatre Artist Abigail Zealey Bess (a current professor at NYU, and award-winning film director), the group of nine women, ranging in ages from 15 to 50, gathered at the HH Biddle House in Staten Island at 10am and worked collaboratively and tirelessly until one complete short film was developed and all the scenes were captured.

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Independent Filmmakers are Like Farmers and Bakers

What can independent producers learn from farmers and bakers? A lot more than you might think, according to NYWIFT member Jane Applegate.

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Director Julie Dash Receives Grant From The National Endowment for the Humanities

Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl, a documentary about the life and works of Vertamae Smart Grosvenor, which is currently in development with NYWIFT Muse Honoree Julie Dash as director, has been awarded a grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The film is produced by NYWIFT Board member, Rachel Watanabe-Batton and Dash, with Patricia Williams Lessane, PhD. and Juanita Anderson as co-producers.

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Member Spotlight: Oscar-Nominated Producer/Director Lisa Cortes with Two Films at 2019 Tribeca FF

Oscar-nominated producer (Precious) and director Lisa Cortes makes it look so easy at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival with TWO films making their world premieres, including the festival opener. As producer of the documentary The Apollo, the NYWIFT member took a few moments to chat with us on our “Women Crush Wednesdays” podcast about what...

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How I Built a Distribution Plan at Film Festivals

NYWIFT member Lara Stolman reflects on her unique path to success with her documentary "Swim Team" - using film festivals to expand her audience and find unique opportunities, even after the film's television debut.

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Below the Line: A Cut Above – Costume Designer Edith Head

This Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting the oft unsung yet always vital contributions of those working below the line. Join NYWIFT blog contributors Kathryn O’Kane and Mellini Kantayya as they celebrate a few of the many women in history and making history—“Below the Line: A Cut Above.” We start with costume legend Edith Head.

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Black Girl Magic in Film

It may seem Black Girl Magic in film is everywhere these days. But NYWIFT Board Member Leslie Fields-Cruz will share a secret with you: That “magic” isn’t really magic at all. It’s the result of more than a century of hard work, perseverance, and phenomenal endurance by black women media makers who’ve paved the way for a future that demands inclusivity, parity, and equal representation.

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Five Film Festival Takeaways

In 2018, from mid-October to mid-December, NYWIFT member Lauren Anders Brown embarked on a film festival season filled with five very different festivals. These are the valuable lessons she learned from each one.

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My Film Angels

It takes a village to make a film. Here, NYWIFT member Jane Applegate give thanks to all those who lended a hand - literally and figuratively - over the years.

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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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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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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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