NYWIFT Blog

Recap: NYWIFT Talks with Julie Taymor and Kimberly Guerrero About “The Glorias” and Getting Out the Vote

NYWIFT blogger Kristin Reiber Harris reflects on our powerful conversation with the team behind The Glorias, including Julie Taymor's creative process, the celebration of Native voices, and how we as women live in constant dialogue with our former selves.

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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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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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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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Recap: NYWIFT Talks Black Lives Matter and Just Mercy with Scott Budnick, April Grayson and Donna Hylton

NYWIFT Executive Director Cynthia López moderated the July 1, 2020 installment of NYWIFT Talks with the team behind Just Mercy, a powerful and thought-provoking true-story film which follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson and his history-making battle for justice. The film stars Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, and Brie Larson, and was available to rent for free across all platforms earlier this Summer in response to the Black Lives Matter movement following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery.

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Recap of Denise Ho: Becoming the Song Virtual Event with Sue Williams

Filmmaker Sue Williams has a love affair with the city of Hong Kong. So when a friend introduced her to the Cantopop superstar Denise Ho, she knew she had the subject of her next film. But, what happens when current events upend the planned story arch of your film at the end of production?

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“Call Your Mother” Panel: Top Takeaways

Leah Curney looks back on her favorite humorous - and heartfelt - moments from NYWIFT's "Call Your Mother" comedy panel.

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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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Top Takeaways – NYWIFT Talks: Filmmakers and Activists discuss the Black Lives Matter movement, their life’s work, and hope for the future.

In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, NYWIFT Talks recently brought together a vibrant panel of award-winning women filmmakers and activists dedicated to fighting systemic racism to discuss their work and the social justice revolution of today.

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Takeaways from Demystifying Film Delivery: What Every Producer Should Know

You are a producer and due to the pandemic your project – be it in development, pre-production, production or post stage – is on hold. What can you do now to make sure all the pieces are in place when the industry opens back up? Stacey Smith of CinePointe Advisors suggests preparing for delivery. It is a crucial, final step needed to ready a film for distribution and GET PAID! However, delivery is often an afterthought in financing agreements, production budgets and workflows.

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 A Look Behind the Scenes of “Unintended”

Childhood memories of summers spent in the country are typically happy ones. But for 13-year-old Lea, the main character in Unintended, one summer is fraught with tension and leads to deep unresolved issues. We sat down with the female duo behind the film to discuss its themes of childhood trauma and resilience, as well as the logistics behind its shoot in upstate New York.

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Documentary Storytelling with Sound Design – Top Takeaways

Sound design in the secret sauce that adds that magical third dimension to media projects. Well-designed audio is so seamless that it is often overlooked because it so beautifully integrates with the visuals. In our recent NYWIFT program, a panel of sound design experts explained how their craft can transform documentary storytelling.

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Michele Remsen’s First Feature Film Defies the Odds

Great ideas, even when plentiful, can have a short shelf life when confronted with sobering realities. But NYWIFT Michele Remsen knows how to persevere. As co-star, producer, director, and screenwriter of an anti-romantic comedy that defies expectations, Michele was the force that made it happen: in 12 days, on a shoestring budget.

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The Business of Adaptations: Top Takeaways

Movies like Brokeback Mountain, The Irishman, and Little Women have more in common than mere artistry, critical acclaim or commercial success. They were all adaptations of literary works. But before getting your pens out, there’s more to it than you think. Literary works are great resources for screenwriters in search of stories, but to negotiate the business end and avoid pitfalls or potential legal liabilities, you need advice from experts. The NYWIFT Business of Adaptations for Film and TV virtual program brought a panel of industry powerhouses to weigh in.

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Top Takeaways: Preserving Your Mental Health During Challenging Times

As a director and producer, NYWIFT board member Kathryn O'Kane is a planner and she's used to solving problems. The biggest challenge she's finding during the COVID-19 crisis is that there’s not enough information to be able to plan. She attended the NYWIFT “Mental Health and Career Sustainability in the Doc World” panel because to learn how producers can come to terms with that and how to relax into the uncertainty of the moment when it goes against our nature. She offers her top takeaways.

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Shifting the Conversation: Mental Health and Career Sustainability in the Doc World

Living in survival mode and keeping it all together for their crew and subjects is what documentary filmmakers are good at, but it often comes at great costs to their own mental health and physical well-being. Member Janine McGoldrick offers a recap of NYWIFT's recent panel on mental health in the doc world, and how some leaders are starting to shift the conversation to address what was once a taboo subject.

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