2018 Women Filmmakers: Immigrant Stories Screening Series – NYC Changing Landscape

For the fourth season, New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) presents theWomen Filmmakers: Immigrant Stories Screening Series — a free screening series of work by women filmmakers focusing on the immigrant experience throughout the five boroughs of New York City. This series showcases a themed exhibition of short and feature-length films. Filmmakers are available for a Q&A and refreshments are available after each screening.

PROGRAM: NYC Changing Landscape

Saints of little Italy
Margaret Sclafani (Director)
13:53 mins.

One day in my uncle’s basement, I brushed the dust off a collection of 8mm films and the projector he had won at a church bazaar. Watching these films, brought the experiences of my Italian-American family to life even as they shielded their eyes from the blinding floodlights used to record the films. Many of these pictures were filmed on the streets and in the homes of Little Italy in New York City, recording the religious and social functions related to the Church of Our Lady of Loreto, as well as religious processions for the feast of Saint Anthony of Padua, patron saint for the town of Bolognetta, where my grandparents had emigrated from Sicily. This film explores the story of the Sicilian immigrant in New York, the creation of a mission church through to today’s processions, and memories of a family and community that is being demolished and forgotten but flickers on in the celluloid images and voices of my father and his brothers. Saints of Little Italy is a love letter to my grandparents and every immigrant family in New York.

Margaret Sclafani grew up in the Washington, DC area. Following her studies in anthropology and film at Bryn Mawr College, Sclafani began her career as post-production coordinator and assistant director on No Job For a Woman: The Women Who Fought to Report WWII. Following her work in production, she went into the camera department, working with Gage & Gage Productions and Firelight Media on a number of documentary films for PBS. She worked as producer and director of photography for Parent Earth, a start up company that produced over 100 videos for families about healthy eating. She has continued to work as camera operator and cinematographer on content for the Whitney Museum, the Irish Arts Center, Room 5 Films, the International Peace Institute, and Emmy award-winning Media Factory, among others. She was a recent grant recipient of the Russo Brothers Film Forum and was honored for her short film, Saints of Little Italy. In addition to her work in documentary, Sclafani regularly works on narrative films and comedy series, including her recent work as director of photography on the independent feature film, The Gift.


The Kung Fu Master
Laura Nova (Director)
6:01 mins.

Kung Fu Master Poa Shen Wong, a 92 year old immigrant from Hong Kong teaches martial arts at the Little Flower Park Basketball Court in our Lower East Side neighborhood. As with our larger neighborhood, where real estate developments continually displace senior citizens and immigrants, the basketball court is contested territory. In the film, Poa describes how a meditation group attempted to take over her exercise turf, but Poa fights back and reclaims her territory in the public park. To encourage both activist and active audience participation, Poa offers us her exercise sequence. In sharing her technique and her secrets of longevity, Poa hopes to plant seeds to take root for the next generation. In service of her goal, I created an exercise poster to provide audiences with step-by-step guidance.


Laura Nova is an exhibiting artist, endurance athlete, and educator. Based in New York City’s Lower East Side for the last fifteen years, Nova generates site-specific, action-oriented projects that invite participatory energies of her neighbors and strangers alike. She uses cardio, comedy and cooking to create activist audiences who, in turn, reveal and preserve stories of both people and places. Recent commissions have included multi-year, social engagement projects like Feed Me A Story, (co-produced with Theresa Loong) an interactive video installation and documentary video cookbook of secret family recipes collected from the Lower East Side, Governors Island and Ellis Island; Moving Stories, a senior citizen-led, storytelling-walking tour; and The Crescendo Project which used RFID technology to create an automated praise-singing machine for disabled athletes during a road race. Upcoming in June, in tandem with Dances For A Variable Population, she will transform residents and dancers alike into a “moving company” for the River to River Festival’s LES Citizens Parade. Nova’s work has been featured at the New Museum, the Museum at Eldridge Street, the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Real Art Ways and many galleries including the Substation Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa and the National Arts Center in Tokyo, Japan. Nova received a B.F.A. and B.A. from Cornell University and an M.F.A. from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is an Associate Professor of Expanded Media in the Creative Art and Technology program at Bloomfield College and the 2016 recipient of the LMCC President’s Award in Visual Art.


Portuguese from Soho
Ana Ventura Miranda (Director)
2016, 59:00 mins.

Portuguese from SoHo tells the story of the Portuguese emigrants that arrived in SoHo after the Second World War, the history of this neighborhood and the city of New York.

Ana Ventura Miranda, born in Portugal, has a career as an actress and producer. After moving to New York in 2006, she worked as a journalist for the Portuguese television, held a position at the Portuguese Mission to the United Nations and also worked for the Sonnabend Gallery. While working as a journalist she maintained her network within the artistic community in New York and developed her skills as a screenwriter and director. In 2011, Miranda founded Arte Institute, a NY based non-profit corporation for the promotion of Portuguese contemporary art in the United States. She has been responsible for the organization of several cultural events in the United States, Portugal, Brazil, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Poland, Mozambique, South Africa and Angola including: the NY Portuguese Short Film Festival; the Summer Nights Series at Union Square Park; Saramago´s Week in NY; Pessoa in New York; Arte Institute Contemporary Dance at Alvin Ailey; Portuguese Women in the US, the Gilded Cage at MoMA, Arte Institute´s Program at the Iberian Suite Festival by the Kennedy Center, among many other events. In 2015, she was awarded the Prize D. Antonia Ferreira, one of the most prestigious awards for Portuguese Leadership Women.

Date: Thursday, May 10, 2018

Time: 6:30 PM

Venue: The Museum of the Moving Image 36-01 35th Avenue, Queens, NY 11106



From Manhattan: Take the M train to Steinway Street
From Brooklyn or Queens: Take the F train (towards Jamaica -179th St), then take the M train to Steinway Street


A Special Thanks to City Council Member Robert Holden
for support of the Cultural Immigrant Initiative.


May 10 @ 6:30pm
6:30 pm — 8:30 pm (2h)

Museum of the Moving Image

Celeste and Armand Bartos Screening Room

3601 35 Avenue, Astoria, NY

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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.