NYWIFT Industry Screening + Q&A: ‘Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It’

Join us for a screening of Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It  screening from Friday, October 29th through Monday, November 1st. Followed by a pre-recorded conversation with subject Rita Moreno and Director Mariem Pérez Riera.
Moderated by NYWIFT Executive Director, Cynthia Lopez.

Over a 70+ year career, Rita Moreno defied both her humble upbringing and relentless racism to become a celebrated and beloved actor, one of the rare EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) Award Winners of our time.  Born into poverty on a Puerto Rican farm, Moreno and her seamstress mother immigrated to New York City when Moreno was five years old. After studying dance and performing on Broadway, Moreno was cast as any ethnic minority the Hollywood studios needed filled, be it Polynesian, Native American or Egyptian. Despite becoming the first Latina actress to win an Academy Award for her role as Anita in “West Side Story” (1961), the studios continued to offer Moreno lesser roles as stereotypical ethnic minorities, ignoring her proven talent. Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It illuminates the humor and the grace of Moreno, as well as lesser-known struggles faced on her path to stardom, including pernicious Hollywood sexism and abuse, a toxic relationship with Marlon Brando, and serious depression a year before she emerged an Oscar winner. Moreno’s talent and resilience triumphed over adversity, as she broke barriers, fought for representation and forged the path for new generations of artists.

Screening Dates: Film available from Friday, October 29th through Monday, November 1st.

Q&A: Monday, November 1st at 4:00pm ET. A pre-recorded conversation with subject Rita Moreno and Director Mariem Pérez Riera. Moderated by NYWIFT Executive Director, Cynthia Lopez. Streaming on our Facebook Page.

How to See the Film: A link will be sent out

Cost: $2 NYWIFT Members / $3 Non-Members + Q&A is Free for all



Mariem Pérez Riera (Director/ Producer) Born in Puerto Rico, Mariem, at age nine, performed in the leading role of the movie The Two Worlds of Angelita. At that moment she decided to become a film director. Her first documentary Cuando Lo Pequeño Se Hace Grande, about the Puerto Ricans who fought against the US Navy presence in the island of Vieques, was awarded Best Documentary at various international film festivals. She then debuted as film editor of the blockbuster film from rapper Daddy Yankee Talento de Barrio. In 2005 she founded her own production company Maramara Films and in 2007 she co-directed with Carlos Ruiz and edited her first feature Maldeamores (executive produced by Benicio Del Toro). The film won several international awards including Best Opera Prima, Audience Award, Best Picture, Best Screenplay, and Best Actress. Mariem’s other producing and directing credits include the award winning documentaries De Puerto Rico Para El Mundo, Diez En La Música, and Emmy®-winner Croatto, La Huella De Un Emigrante. Mariem has a BA degree in film studies from University of Miami and a Continuation Studies degree with an emphasis on Documentary and Editing from NYU in New York and from EICTV in Havana, Cuba.

Rita Moreno has won all four of the most prestigious awards in show business: an Oscar, a Tony, two Emmys, and a Grammy. Her countless credits span more than seven decades, beginning with her Broadway debut at age 13. Moreno has starred on Broadway and London’s West End, appeared in more than 40 feature films, and countless television shows, and has performed in numerous regional theaters including her one woman show, Life Without Makeup at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Most recently, Moreno co-starred in the critically acclaimed Latinx reimagining of Norman Lear’s classic sitcom, One Day At A Time. Her documentary Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It, for American Masters Pictures had its world debut at Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. The film was released theatrically in over 220 theaters nationwide and will have its international release this winter.  The film had its TV debut on PBS and is now available to stream on Netflix. Moreno co-stars and is an Executive Producer of the Steven Spielberg remake of West Side Story, scheduled for December 2021 release. She also stars in the upcoming feature film, The Prank, due to be released in 2022. Moreno continues to headline as a guest artist with symphony orchestras as well as performs lectures and speaking engagements around the country. Recipient of the Peabody Career Achievement Award and the Kennedy Center Honor for her lifetime contributions to American culture, she was also honored by her peers as the 50th recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. She recently served as Grand Marshal of the Rose Parade and the National Puerto Rican Day Parade. Moreno’s first ever all-Spanish language album, Una Vez Más, was produced by her good friend, Emilio Estefan and she is a New York Times bestselling author with her first book, Rita Moreno: A Memoir published by Celebra Books. Moreno has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush and the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.

Cynthia López (moderator) is an award-winning media strategist, and former Commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, where she implemented strategies to support film and TV production throughout the five boroughs. López is the recipient of many coveted industry awards including: 11 News and Documentary Emmy Awards, a Special Emmy Award for Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking, three Peabody Awards, and two duPont-Columbia Awards. In addition, she received the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) Award for Commitment to Corporate Diversity. Prior to working as Commissioner, López was Executive Vice President and co-Executive Producer of the award-winning PBS documentary series American Documentary | POV, and was involved in the organization’s strategic growth and creative development for 14 years. Her ability to forge strategic partnerships among corporate and public interest media has been a signature of her work. Notable partnerships include: New York Times, Reuters, Al-Jazeera Network, Discovery Communications, The Moth, Story Corps, Harpo Studios and ABC News, NIGHTLINE with Ted Koppel. López is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP), and is proud to have spent her career collaborating with independent filmmakers across all portions of the film and television industry. She served on the Board of Trustees for the Paley Center, NYC & Company, Museum of the Moving Image and the Tribeca Film Institute Latin America Fund Advisory Board. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Latino Public Broadcasting, Manhattan Neighborhood Network and Hunter College IMA Program.

November 1 @ 4:00pm
4:00 pm — 5:00 pm (1h)

Free Virtual Q and A



Join the conversation on social media:
#nywift | @nywift

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.