In honor of Asian American Pacific Islander Month, we are featuring two filmmakers that have marked their paths in film, starting with Americanish followed by a conversation with Iman Zawahry (Director/Writer/Producer), Aizzah Fatima (Writer/Producer), and Roy Wol (Producer). Moderated by Harsh Pundit.
Welcome to America: Where dreams come true…ish. A break from the traditional romantic comedy, Americanish highlights different layers of womanhood as it intersects with cultural and societal expectations. In Jackson Heights, Queens, career-driven sisters Maryam and Sam and their newly-immigrated cousin Ameera must navigate the consistent and sometimes conflicting demands of romance, culture, work, and family. Serving both as a lighthearted reimagination of and critical divergence from the classic romantic comedy, Americanish tackles and celebrates the complex intersectionalities of womanhood by welcoming us into the world—with all its joys and tribulations—of these three marriage-aged women.
Date: Monday, May 30th, 2022
Time: 4:00 pm ET
Where to Watch: Film links will be sent out
Iman Zawahry is one of the first hijabi American-Muslim filmmakers in the nation. She has worked on numerous films that have played at over 100 venues worldwide. She’s an Emmy award winner, Princess Grace Award recipient, a Lincoln Center Artist Academy Fellow, and Sundance Momentum Fellow. She is also the co-creator of the first American Muslim film grant with Islamic Scholarship Fund where she currently serves as Director of Film Programs. Iman works to amplify the underrepresented female voice and frequently consults and speaks across the nation on Muslims in Film. Her debut film, Americanish, is currently touring the festival circuit and has won twenty one awards, including best director and best film. She is currently faculty of film production at the University of Florida.
Aizzah Fatima is an award-winning actor, playwright, filmmaker, comedian, and ex-Google engineer. She has been featured on NPR, The Guardian, Woman’s Hour (BBC), The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time Out, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post. Her feature film Americanish world premiered at CAAMFest in 2021 and won the audience award. The film has won 25 awards at festivals including Best Lead Actress, Best Narrative, Best Director, and several audience awards. She has previously produced with James Franco’s company Rabbit Bandini Productions. Her award-winning short films can be seen on Alaska Airlines and Roku. Her TV pilot script Muslim Girls DTF: Discuss Their Faith is the winner of the 2020 Roddenberry Foundation Impact Award, 2020 Yes, And…Laughter Lab, and an ISF Film award. Muslim Girls DTF world premiered at SeriesFest 2022, and won the Best Comedy Writer award in addition to the Caz Mathews Fund award that highlights series that tackle social justice issues. She is a 2021-2022 Orchard Project Episodic Lab fellow. Her solo play Dirty Paki Lingerie has been produced in NYC, Toronto, Italy, Turkmenistan, Pakistan (four-city tour U.S. State Dept.), Edinburgh Fringe Festival, United Kingdom (15 city tour), and at universities across the U.S. She is the recipient of The Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art grant with Brooklyn Children’s Theatre where she was part of a team that created the first -ver children’s musicals with Muslim protagonists. She wrote the book for the musical The 10 Year Test about how Eid became a holiday in NYC public schools. TV acting credits: High Maintenance, The Code, Mr. Robot, The Good Wife. She received her MFA in Writing for Film & TV from Emerson College, and is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Roy Wol is a third culture kid (TCK) and a p.g.a. marked filmmaker with a visual disability. He is a 2-time IFP, and an EAVE Producers lab fellow (Luxembourg). He is the president of Studio Autonomous, an IP development and production company with a multidisciplinary think tank. Wol’s latest feature film The Garden Left Behind won at SXSW, and was named as one of the top 40 best LGBTQ films of all-times by Rotten Tomatoes editorial. The film provided jobs to 48 people from the trans gender community and was selected as a case study at 2020 Film Forum by Film Independent, LA. As a natural bridger by birth, Wol has dedicated his work into elevating underrepresented communities, advocating for inclusion of artificial intelligence, and creating social impact through bridging intersectional experiences. Currently in pre-production, his latest sci-fi series Autom Reign (Gotham lab project) is based on Doppelbänger, a film currently available on Gunpowder & Sky’s DUST channel. Roy is the co-founder of a new fundraising network called eBayMyFilm.
Harsh Pundit (moderator) a pseudonym held by Harshal Alurkar, was born and brought up in India.
He pursued Software Engineering for undergrad and worked as Web Developer-Programmer for around seven years. Meanwhile, he also built a formidable portfolio of acting in Theater and short films, slowly taking upon responsibilities that of a Producer or an Editor, finally writing & directing his own films & videos. This brought him to New York to pursue higher studies in his field of passion at The New School, graduating with MA degree in Film & Media in Spring 2020. He is interested in formal experiments and technological extensions to film like VR and New Media, making visual artworks that are strongly philosophical in nature. He also regularly writes intellectual & analytical inquiries over media by way of Film & Art criticism, on his blog. On average, he watches one film everyday.
Special Thanks to Asian CineVision
This program will take place virtually as a webinar via Zoom. Please register in advance, and all registrants will receive a link to attend the webinar the day of the event.
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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.