Women Directors: Sharing Immigrant Experiences Through Film – Stories from Eastern European Immigrants

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 fourth screening in this series will feature English and Zaritsas, two films which document the experiences of Eastern European female immigrants in NYC, and a conversation with the directors.

The host venue, Finback Brewery, will provide a complimentary selection of their finest beers. All are invited to a post-screening reception of Eastern European cuisine.


RSVP in advance to reserve seats. 


Amanda Quaid (Director, Producer, Writer, Actress)
2014, 6 min

English follows an immigrant mother and her son as they chat over breakfast. Despite her wish that he speak Polish at home, he unconsciously slips into English. She walks him to school and watches as he is enveloped by his American friends. That night, when she tucks him in, she hears him talking in his sleep—in English—and she realizes there is now a part of him she will never understand. She must decide whether to catch up to him or be left behind forever. As so often happens in immigrant families, the children become, in a sense, the teacher. The film portrays an aspect of the immigrant experience that is deeply personal, while exploring the universal tension between autonomy and belonging. English is based on an interview with Polish immigrant Irena Zawadzka. 

Amanda Quaid is an actor from New York City. English is her directorial debut. Her stage credits include Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regional classical plays. 

Elena Beloff (Director, Co-Producer, Writer)

2014, 45 min.

Zaritsas is a documentary film about American stereotyping of Russian women as mail-order brides and sex workers which dominated opinion in the early 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Filmmaker Elena Beloff follows five Russian women for six months, interviewing each one in her environment: A rapper in a Sheepshead Bay Church; a saleswoman at the La Perla Madison Avenue Boutique; a model at home; a showgirl at a Brighton Beach Restaurant and an exotic dancer at Scores strip club. One of the women goes through a personal transformation as she leaves one life and begins another.

Elena Beloff is a Russian-born American filmmaker, author and trained hypnotist. Beloff came to the US as an exchange student in 1997. She graduated from New School University with a degree in filmmaking.




Directions from Manhattan: There is a BM5 bus which will take you close enough to either walk ~20 min to the Brewery or transfer to the Q54 which will take you directly there. You could also take the Queens-bound M train to Woodhaven and transfer to the Q29 bus towards Glendale Myrtle, or take the 7 train to 69 St and transfer to the Q47 towards Glendale/Atlas Pk Mall. Click this link for further directions.

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 19 @ 7:00pm
7:00 pm — 8:30 pm (1h 30′)

Finback Brewery
7801 77th Ave
Ridgewood, NY 11385

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.