Women Directors: Sharing Immigrant Experiences Through Film – Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Artist Marela Zacarías

New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) presents Women Directors: Sharing Immigrant Experiences Through Film — a five-part screening series of work by women filmmakers focusing on the immigrant experience in New York. This five-month long series showcases a themed exhibition of short and feature-length films.

The third installment of the series is an evening with local immigrant artist Marela Zacarías featuring three short films about her life and work from the Art 21 series New York Close Up. A conversation with Zacarías and filmmaker Ava Wiland follows the screening.

A reception in celebration of Cinco de Mayo with Mexican food and margaritas rounds out the evening.


RSVP in advance to reserve seats. 

A longtime resident of Brooklyn, Marela Zacarías was born in Mexico City. In 2012 she was the first artist-in-residence at the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Connecticut. She is a graduate of Kenyon College and received an MFA in painting from Hunter College. Zacarías has taught mural art in Washington, DC, Connecticut and Mexico City. Her work combines painting and sculpture and is characterized by an interest in site specificity, the history contained in objects, and  current events. Zacarías’ wall and free standing sculptures are constructed from window screens and joint compound and painted with original patterns and geometric abstract shapes. 


Great Expectations
Ava Wiland (Co-Director/Producer)
2013, 7 min. 

How does a Brooklyn artist imagine both her past and future? After a decade of hard-fought accomplishments in New York City, artist Marela Zacarías completes a large-scale project while anticipating the arrival of her first child. The fruits of Zacarías’s labor are evident in the undulating sculptural and painterly forms that have become the artist’s signature. Like the city she calls home, Zacarías herself is part of the city’s irresistible collective ambition and envisions a bright future.  

Marela Zacarías Goes Big and Goes Home

Ava Wiland (Co-Director/Producer)
2014, 9 min.

What does an artist bring to a homecoming? Artist Marela Zacarías undertakes Red Meander (2014), a commission by the Art in Embassies program for the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey, Mexico. Zacarías enlists the help her team to create her largest painted sculpture to date for her first permanent installation in Mexico. Recognizing both the problems and promise of the U.S. immigration system, Zacarías speaks out: “I want to connect to the people that are going through this transition.”

Marela Zacarias’ Work Finds a Good Home 
Ava Wiland (Co-Director/Producer)

2013, 8 min.

What happens to an artist’s work after it leaves a museum? Artist Marela Zacarías moves a suite of sculptures titled Supple Beat from the Brooklyn Museum to different spaces in the borough. At Zacarías’ studio, it’s evident that the space she has to create and store her large-scale works in is extremely limited. Zacarías shares her inspiration: the Willamsburg Murals that were created in the late 1930s for a Brooklyn public housing complex. Zacarías describes her connection to the Williamsburg Murals to her own work, literally “running out from confinement.” After the de-installation, Zacarías delivers the sculptures to new but temporary homes. 

Under the production banner RAVA Films, Ava Wiland has directed and produced dozens of short documentary films which have received prestigious festival selections and have been featured at museums and cultural venues around the world. She is best known for producing a series of documentary portraits celebrating contemporary artists: New York Close Up (ongoing, produced by the Peabody-award winning organization Art21), Fieldworks (2015), smARTpower (2011-13). 

Directions from Manhattan: Take the 7 train or the Port Washington-bound LIRR to Woodside, where you can catch the Q18 bus. OR take the M train to the Q58/Q59 bus. These buses all stop within a few blocks of the Town Hall. For further assistance, click here and enter your starting address in Google Maps. 

A Special Thanks to City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley 
for selecting New York Women in Film & Television to receive funding for this series 
from the Cultural Immigrant Initiative.

Join the Online Conversation!


One Day Production Workshop for Girls and Women of Immigrant Backgrounds
NYWIFT presents a FREE one-time Saturday production workshop on Saturday, May 21st, 2016 taught by Third World Newsreel for girls and women of all ages (15+) who are immigrants or first-generation Americans. For more information.

May 5 @ 7:00pm
7:00 pm — 8:30 pm (1h 30′)

Maspeth Town Hall
5337 72nd Street
Maspeth, N.Y. 11378

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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.