NYWIFT Talks SXSW 2021

Welcome to NYWIFT Talks, a weekly series to bring updated news and vital information about the impact of COVID-19 on the media and entertainment industry. Industry professionals will be in conversation discussing what you need to know about theatrical releases, digital advances, virtual tools, festival opportunities, production updates and more. 

NYWIFT Talks are free for all to attend.

SXSW was the first 2020 festival to cancel due to the spread of COVID-19 but now they are back. They were soon joined by Tribeca Film Festival, Nantucket Film Festival, Montclair Film Festival, and more. They strived to continue to champion filmmakers so they teamed up with Amazon to present 2020 titles through their streaming app.

But, this year, they are back — virtually. We are joined by SXSW leaders Janet Pierson (Director of Film) and Claudette Godfrey (Senior Programmer) to discuss what SXSW looks like, how the pandemic affected them, and what they are doing to reclaim that momentum for filmmakers.

Moderated by Easmanie Michel, NYWIFT’s Special Projects Associate

Date: Thursday, March 4th, 2021
Time: 1:00pm EST / 12:00pm (CT) / 10:00am PT
Platform: Zoom



Janet Pierson is responsible for the vision, programming, and execution of the SXSW Film Festival and the film and episodic focused content within the SXSW Conference.  Before joining SXSW for the 2009 event, Janet spent over 30 years championing independent films and filmmakers in a variety of roles including exhibitor, producer’s rep, executive producer, and segment director of the IFC cable TV series Split Screen.  She appears in Steve James’s Documentary, Reel Paradise, and Andrew Bujaski’s Beeswax. She loved curating In The Dark: Filmmakers Illuminate, Stories from the Film World for The Moth in 2001. Pierson made The Guardian’s Film Power 100 list in 2010 and 2013’s Indiewire Influencers. She regularly serves on panels and juries for other festivals and agencies such as the NEA, ITVS, BFI, and Creative Capital. She is currently a member of the Austin Film Society Advisory Board and UT Press Advisory Board. Many of the films and careers Pierson has been privileged to be involved with are highlighted here: https://www.sxsw.com/tag/sxsw-film-25/ and here: https://www.sxsw.com/tag/film-alumni-stories/

Claudette Godfrey is a Senior Film Programmer at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas responsible for the curation of the short film slate as well as feature film programming, overseeing film submissions to the festival, and managing the organizational details for the event. As a juror and speaker she has participated in the Locarno Film Festival, TIFF, Cannes, Busan International Film Festival, AFI Fest, Palm Springs ShortsFest, Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia in Tokyo, Istanbul Film Festival, Cannes and Independent Film Week.


Easmanie Michel (moderator) has worked continuously in the film and television industry since 2004. Michel’s work on films includes TransporterHoot and Miami Vice. Television projects include Miami Ink and Burn Notice. Michel is currently producing the feature Caroline’s Wedding, which she co-wrote, which was a finalist for the New York University Fusion Film Festival and it was also one of the scripts selected to participate in the Women at Sundance Financing and Strategy Intensive in 2016. In February of 2018 the script was the Grand Prize Winner of the American Zoetrope Screenplay Contest. Michel received the New York Council on the Arts Individual Artist grant for Caroline’s Wedding 2019 and she is currently completing Certificate in Financial Accounting at NYU. She also has Master’s Degree in Cinema Studies from New York University.

March 4 @ 1:00pm
1:00 pm — 2:00 pm (1h)

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.

We encourage you to download Zoom in advance.

Free event.



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#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.