Members in the News

Below are just a few of the most recent accomplishments of our talented members! If you want to join this dynamic community, we hope you will consider applying for NYWIFT membership.

NYWIFT members, do you have an upcoming screening, event, campaign or other news to share? Tell us! Contact


NYWIFT Member Alexandra Engelson (producer) is crowdfunding for her upcoming film, Color of Autumn. The film is an adaptation of a short story inspired by true events of writer Constance Nicole Jackson’s first encounter to racism in 1966 Chicago. The film will begin principal photography in November. The deadline to donate is Dec 31Learn more and donate.


The Fall, a play written by NYWIFT Member Desirée Rucker, will run at the 2022 Brownstone Steps Entertainment Play Festival. The play tells the story of two sisters who have taken two different paths in life, and are forced to reconcile after their mother’s death.  Does forgiveness come with a price? The play will run Oct 1-2. Learn more and purchase tickets

Hell of a Cruise, produced by NYWIFT Board Member Gretchen McGowan, is streaming on Peacock. The documentary feature tells the harrowing tale of a cursed cruise ship in the early days of COVID-19, from frightened passengers and an oppressed crew to venal corporate powerbrokers and hapless government officials. Watch now.


Four Winters, produced by NYWIFT member Andrea Miller, is screening at Film Forum in New York. “All I owned was a rifle, a leopard coat and my camera,” says Faye Schulman, whose clandestine photographs of Jewish partisans living in the forests of Eastern Europe documented their efforts to disrupt the Nazi killing machine by blowing up bridges, derailing trains, and smuggling Jews. Some of the last surviving partisans tell stories of cold, hunger, and fear, but also of their capacity for courage, altruism, resourcefulness, and barbarism. Maybe you think you’ve heard it all before. You haven’t. The film will screen through Sept 29. Learn more and purchase tickets.

NYWIFT Member Katja Haecker’s film Laps of Honor has been nominated for best documentary short at the International Motor Film Awards in London. The film is an intimate and emotional portrait of Herbert Engel, whose life is entirely driven by his passion for cars and racing. Katja plans to adapt the short to mini-series or series – interviewing and documenting men and women over the age of 70 whose life is full of passion for cars. The awards will take place Sept 21 in London. Learn more.


I Am Not OK, a short film from NYWIFT member Gabrielle Lansner, will premiere at the Lady Filmmakers Film Festival. In this experimental dance documentary, a mother and son respond to the unending killings of Black Americans amidst the backdrop of the protests that followed the death of George Floyd. The film will screen Sept 23 at 12:15pm at the Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills. The filmmaker will be in attendance. Learn more and register.


NYWIFT Member Nancy Cohen recently won Best Documentary Director the Newark Film Fest for her film Woodstock: A Snapshot in Time. The film is a new cinema verite piece about Woodstock, love, and the power of the flower! The film features a fine compilation of unfiltered interviews from back in the day that are fortunately left untouched by hindsight from almost 30 years later and that thus serve as a nice document of a different time. 

NYWIFT Member Gillian Fritzsche (producer, director) is raising post-production funds for the short documentary Reopening. In June 2020, during the NY Pause order, the filmmakers spoke with small business owners in Bay Ridge who were in the process of reopening. They heard stories of hope, creativity, and radical generosity. There has been so much loss due to the pandemic. These positive stories should be shared! The project is currently 79% funded and needs only 1% more to greenlight. The deadline to donate is Sep 10 at 3pm ET. Learn more and donate.



NYWIFT Member Debra Markowitz will be holding a screening and fundraiser for her new series Couple of Guys. In this later-in-life romantic story, a quiet workaholic, attorney Richard Durant  comes out in his fifties and falls in love with heartthrob and former rocker, Jon Graham  They navigate the reality that Richard is ready to start living fully after having raised his children, and Jon is finally ready to settle down and have a family. The story revolves around each man as he steps outside of his comfort zone and interconnects with Richard’s ex-wife, his children, Jon’s groupies and situations that swell within each of their respective professions. Couple of Guys is a half-hour comedy/drama about living authentically, second chances, and falling in love. The fundraiser and screening will be held on Sept 19 at 7:30pm ET in Bellmore, NY – Bellmore Movies & The Showplace, 222 Pettit Avenue, Bellmore, NY. Learn more

The Only Woman In The World, by NYWIFT Member Debra Markowitz, is now available on Amazon Prime Video. The film follows an up-and-coming film director who is torn between forgiving the lover who broke her heart and risking it all for her leading man. Watch now


Woodstock: A Snapshot in Time, a film from NYWIFT Member Nancy Cohen, will screen online and in-person as part of Newark Film Fest. The film is a new cinema verite piece about Woodstock, love, and the power of the flower! The film features a fine compilation of unfiltered interviews from back in the day that are fortunately left untouched by hindsight from almost 30 years later and that thus serve as a nice document of a different time. Attend the in-person screening on Sept 10 during the 2pm block (learn more) or download app and watch from home (watch virtually.)


UnReined, a new documentary from NYWIFT Member Marcia Rock, aired on WLIW on Aug 24. Nancy Zeitlin, born an American Jew, moves to Israel as a child. As she rises to become an Olympic-level equestrian, the upheaval in her family – and in her adopted country – sees her do the unthinkable: become a trainer to Palestinians in the West Bank. Then, as Israel is rocked by internal strife and the Second Intifada, Nancy puts her own life at risk to keep hope alive for her Palestinian team.  Her many layered story rides parallel with the growth of the State of Israel, its wars, changing borders and internal conflicts. 

From first-time filmmaker and New Orleans native Edward Buckles, Jr., Katrina Babies offers an intimate look at the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and its impact on the youth of New Orleans. NYWIFT Board Member Audrey Rosenberg produced the Tribeca Festival award-winning film, which is now available to watch on HBO Max

Sixteen years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, an entire generation still grapples with the lifelong impact of having their childhood redefined by tragedy. New Orleans filmmaker Edward Buckles Jr., who was 13 years old during Katrina and its initial aftermath, spent seven years documenting the stories of his peers who survived the storm as children, using his community’s tradition of oral storytelling to open a door for healing and to capture the strength and spirit of his city. Katrina Babies details the close-knit families and vibrant communities of New Orleans whose lives were uprooted by the 2005 disaster. These American children who were airlifted out of the rising waters, evacuated from their homes to refugee-like centers, or placed in makeshift, temporary living situations, have been neglected. As families were tasked with reintegrating into new communities, having experienced loss, displacement, and lack of support from government officials, the children were left to process their trauma in a wounded, fractured city.


Dreamer’s Journey, by NYWIFT Member Arlette Thomas-Fletcher, is now published on Amazon. A child’s dream is a wonderful imaginative and exciting thing! Sometimes dreams take them places that we cannot imagine ourselves. We teach them that they can be anything they dream of in life. Why can’t they? Start them on the path to their future in a fun and exciting way! Let them dream and be motivated about their future by reading and using the Dreamers Journey – a fun exciting way to learn and plan for a child’s future. Arlette said that her writing process was able to benefit from the community feedback and assistance she received in the NYWIFT New Works Lab! Learn more and purchase.


NYWIFT members Cristina Doikos (producer), Tiffany Hodges (writer), and Amy Leland (director) of FairSay Films are in pre-production and are raising funds for their the short film, Displaced. Inspired by true events, the narrative explores the dehumanization of America’s immigration system. It follows volunteers that accompany undocumented immigrants to their court and ICE appearances. Learn more and donate. All donations are tax-deductible. Displaced is also a NYWIFT fiscally sponsored film!


Two new episodes of the podcast First Online with Fran, hosted by NYWIFT member Fran McGarry, are now streaming:

“Joan Kane: Speaking Truth” – listen now.
“Emma Palzere-Rae: Raising Representation Awareness” – listen now.

Both episodes focus on theatre, how it heals, and covers issues of creativity and find one’s voice through the medium. If you would like to be interviewed for the podcast, contact Fran.



The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the musical composed by John Taylor Thomas, will have an Off-Broadway run at the 30th Street Theatre. Bradshaw Law Group P.C., and NYWIFT Member Diane Bradshaw, serves as Legal Counsel for the show. Bradshaw Law Group clients featured in the show include Frank Basile as “Quasimodo,” John Thomas as “Dom Claude Frollo,” Leanne Acero as “Geraldine,” Judith DeMott as “Madame Gudule,” Edward Prostak as “Coppenole, Tristan, and Jacques,” and Thomas Bradshaw as “Charmouloue.” The musical will run Sep 8-Oct 2.  Learn more and purchase tickets.


Now Let’s Talk Podcast, hosted by NYWIFT Members Vanessa Cordova-Corwin and Kathleen Kaan, has a new episode available to stream. Don’t miss this special episode, “Everything You Need to Know About Monkeypox.” Jason Cianciotto, VP of Communications and Public Policy for Gay Men’s Health Crisis, provides a comprehensive overview of this disease and explains all aspects of this public health emergency, including how to protect yourself and what to do if you think you have been exposed. Jason has also appeared on CNN and other news outlets. Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify,, iHeartRadio, or wherever you get your podcasts. Listen now.


NYWIFT Board Member Yvonne Russo

Congratulations NYWIFT Board Member Yvonne Russo! Her true crime docu-series Ring of Fire: The Life of Annie Mae Aquash, which she directed and executive produced, has been picked up by Onyx to air on Hulu! A Mi’kmaq woman from Nova Scotia, Canada, Annie Mae is a mother, a teacher and a revolutionary who fought for Indigenous rights and whose death went unsolved for almost 30 years, becoming one of Indian Country’s most infamous cases. Set between the sweeping landscape of American politics in the volatile 1970s and the present‐day quest for answers lead by Annie Mae’s daughter, this is a story of murder, intrigue, love and betrayal that contextualizes Annie Mae’s case within the current day epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.


Everything’s Fine, a one-woman show written and starring NYWIFT Member Amanda Andrews, will run at Joe’s Pub. What does one do when the systems relied upon to conquer mental health challenges crumble? When anxiety creeps into meditation, and working out becomes lifting the weight of depression? Join actress, singer, and writer Amanda Andrews on a journey of hitting walls, hearing, “no”, and figuring out how to keep going. The show will run Aug 7 at 7pm ET. Learn more.


Finding Courage, an award-winning feature-length documentary by NYWIFT Member Kay Rubacek, The film’s story follows former Chinese journalist, Yifei Wang, living in exile in the United States, who is desperate to reunite her broken family and get justice for the murder of her sister. However, her choices mean the difference between life and death for her family who are still in China. The screening will take place Aug 6 at the Festival of Cinema, Regal Midway Theater in Queens, NYC. Learn more.


NYWIFT Member Cait Cortelyou is hosting a fundraising screening of her film Ask for Jane in Atlanta, GA. The film is based on the true story about the Jane Collective, an underground abortion network which was active in Chicago between 1969 and 1973. The Jane Collective helped over 11,000 women obtain illegal abortions before Roe v. Wade was passed in 1973. Every dollar raised will be donated to ARC Southeast, an organization that provides funding and logistical support to ensure Southerners receive safe and compassionate reproductive care, including abortion services. The screening event will take place July 31 in Atlanta. Learn more and purchase tickets.


NYWIFT Member Dawn Garcia was recently interviewed for Shoutout LA. In the article Dawn talks about how she approaches risk and risk-taking, and her long career in film and television. Dawn is a screenwriter, filmmaker and creator. She owns ATOD Magazine (A Taste of Dawn)as an avenue to create more personal connections to artists, visionaries, brands, and people. Read more


NYWIFT Board President Jamie Zelermyer was recently interviewed for Newsweek, where she speaks about her podcast, I Was Never ThereI Was Never There, is hosted by Jamie Zelermyer and her mother, Karen Zelermyer, is now available to stream on Apple Podcasts. Jamie and Karen created the podcast to investigate what happened to their friend Marsha Ferber who disappeared from Morgantown, West Virginia in 1988, when Jamie was 15 years old. One afternoon she went out to run an errand and she was never seen or heard from again. Jamie recently wrote a piece for Newsweek talking about Marsha’s disappearance. I Was Never There premiered at Tribeca Film Festival and is now available to stream on Apple Podcasts. Read more


NYWIFT Member Tricia Brouk has been selected as Top Inspirational Director of the Decade by IAOTP. Tricia Brouk is an international award-winning director, writer, author, filmmaker, former executive producer of TEDxLincolnSquare and Founder of The Big Talk Academy, she was recently chosen by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) as the Top Inspirational Director of the Decade for 2022. Read more


NYWIFT Board President Jamie Zelermyer was recently feature in Authority Magazine’s 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became A Filmmaker series. In the article, Jamie speaks about her podcast I Was Never There, which she co-hosts with her mother, Karen Zelermyer, and is now available to stream on Apple Podcasts. Jamie and Karen created the podcast to investigate what happened to their friend Marsha Ferber who disappeared from Morgantown, West Virginia in 1988, when Jamie was 15 years old. One afternoon she went out to run an errand and she was never seen or heard from again. Jamie recently wrote a piece for Newsweek talking about Marsha’s disappearance. Jamie Zelermyer has been a New York based Producer and Production Executive for the past 20 plus years. Read more


NYWIFT Board Member Audrey Rosenberg was recently feature in Authority Magazine’s 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became A Filmmaker series. In the article, Audrey speaks about her background as a Peabody-Award-winning and Emmy-nominated producer and the new film Katrina Babies, where she acted as lead producer. The HBO Original documentary Katrina Babies, which premiered at the 2022 Tribeca Festival in June and will air on HBO/HBO Max in August. Audrey also co-founded Invisible Pictures, a NY-based woman-led production company focused on authentic representation. Read more


NYWIFT Board Member Leslie Fields-Cruz was recently feature in Authority Magazine’s 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became A Filmmaker series. In the article, Leslie speaks about her work as Executive Director of Black Public Media (BPM), which supports the development of visionary content creators and distributes stories about the global Black experience to inspire a more equitable and inclusive future. This June, BPM had four projects premiere at the 2022 Tribeca Festival: After Sherman, Black Movement Library, Hazing, and Inner Wound Real. Read more


NYWIFT Board Member Alex Cirillo was recently feature in Authority Magazine’s 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became A Filmmaker series. The series focuses on leaders who are helping to make the entertainment industry more diverse and representative. Alex Cirillo, is a producer and director, who recently produced the new Derek Jeter docuseries The Captain, which premiered at the 2022 Tribeca Festival in June and began airing on ESPN on July 18. Read more


Former NYWIFT Board Member Flo Mitchell-Brown has been appointed to Mayor Adams film and television industry council. NYWC Mayor Eric Adams announced three key components of his economic recovery blueprint “Rebuild, Renew Reinvent” that will drive inclusive growth in the film and television sector, invest in New York’s creative economy, and ensure the industry recovers beyond pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels. These components include the introduction of the first-ever Film and Television Production Industry Council, created to advise the city’s production policies and programs. Flo is currently Chairperson of the New York Production Alliance (NYPA.) Read more.

Almost 13 by NYWIFT Member Joan Kane will be presented by Ego Actus in the East to Edinburgh Festival at 59E59 Theaters in NYC. The play dramatizes the memories of a young girl’s being emotionally broken by the people and events in her neighborhood. The play will run July 16, 26 & 30Read more.

NYWIFT Member Ann P. Meredith has been chosen to participate in The Rainbow Connection. Ann, a lesbian/queer writer, director, producer, will take part in the two-week theatre project in Cherry Grove on Fire Island later this month. Performances will take place at The Arts Project of Cherry Grove on July 29 & 30. Learn more

A new episode of the podcast First Online with Fran, hosted by NYWFIT member Fran McGarry, is now streaming. This week’s episode features a conversation with Dani Martineck (they/them.) Fran and Dani talk about many issues but primarily how Dani’s work raises awareness of LGBTQ attacks during these vitriolic times. Listen now. If you would like to be interviewed for the podcast, contact Fran.



NYWIFT Board Member Zenaida Mendez has been awarded 2022 Jewell Ryan White Award for Cultural Diversity from the Alliance of Community Media! Congratulations to Zenaida Mendez, Director of the El Barrio Firehouse Community Media Center at Manhattan Neighborhood Network. Zenaida has been awarded this year’s 2022 Jewell Ryan White Award for Cultural Diversity from the Alliance of Community Media. This annual award is given to those persons who show an outstanding contribution to a process that encourages, facilitates, or creates culturally diverse and/or non-mainstream community involvement in the field of community media. Learn more

Slayer, a short film from NYWIFT Member Eileen McQueen, is available to watch on YouTube. Three friends, a shortcut, and a monster – Teesh, Monet and Yuko, give up on the bus and take a shortcut through Forest Park in Queens, NYC and they are determined to get to the other side, no matter WHAT gets in their way. Watch now.


Andrea Dworkin: INTERVIEWS  is available to watch on YouTube. The series of interviews with feminist icon, Andrea Dworkin, was produced, directed, and edited by NYWIFT Member Roberta Pyzel. Dworkin challenges us to rethink our most deeply imbedded ideas about the hierarchies of domination and submission that infuse our sexual, social and economic relationships. Her courageous commitment to elevating the voices of people, especially women, who are suffering, was born out of a deep compassion and a belief that another kind of world is possible… a world that disavows cruelty and embraces a truly egalitarian society. Watch now


The second season of Only Murders in the Building is now streaming on Hulu. Only Murders in the Building follows three strangers (Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez) who share an obsession with true crime and suddenly find themselves wrapped up in one. When a grisly death occurs inside their exclusive Upper West Side apartment building, the trio suspects murder and employs their precise knowledge of true crime to investigate the truth. Former NYWIFT Board Member Destiny Lilly served as a casting director on the new season. Watch on Hulu.


The Big Steal (1990), directed by NYWIFT Member Nadia Tass, will screen at Museum of the Moving Image in July. The film, starring Ben Mendelsohn in his first lead role, is playing as part of the Pioneering Women in Australian Cinema program. Teenager Danny (a baby-faced Mendelsohn, in an early role) wants to woo his crush Joanna, promising a ride in his 1973 Jaguar. Except that he doesn’t have one. Unwanted and unintended consequences ensue when he decides to trade in his dowdy 1962 Nissan via a sketchy car dealer. This warm-hearted teen comedy caper was the third feature for filmmaking couple Nadia Tass (director) and David Parker (writer and cinematographer). A car-lover’s delight, it invigorates the 1980s teen date-comedy formula with an Aussie sensibility, showcasing the streets of inner-city Melbourne and a sunny Oz-rock soundtrack. The film will screen July 30-31 at Museum of the Moving Image. Learn more and purchase tickets.


I Am Arbesu, a documentary film from NYWIFT member Christiane Arbesu, will be screening at the Southampton Cultural Center. In 1962 as Fidel Castro embraced communism, a Cuban ambassador, his wife and three young daughters sought political asylum in Canada. Eleven years in the making, I Am Arbesu takes the viewer on an unprecedented journey. In true cinema verite style, the reunion of a family is seen through the eyes of the youngest daughter of a former diplomat who defected from the country that appointed him an ambassador. Half a century later, when President Obama opened relations with Cuba, Christiane was finally allowed to make that once-forbidden trek to discover the family and country she never knew. What she found will break your heart and lift your spirits in equal measure. The screening will take place on July 5. Learn more and purchase tickets and read more about the film.


Me Against the World, a short film from NYWIFT Member Mohana Rajakumar, will screen as part of the Roosevelt Island Film Festival. Doug and Mala live parallel lives in high school. He could be the next Kobe Bryant and she could cure cancer. In college, however, they collide. Mala tutors Doug to stay on the team. He ignites her social life. An unlikely duo, their friendship raises eyebrows. Will they ever realize that they are perfect for each other? Watch the trailer. The film will screen as part of Block 4 on June 25Learn more and purchase tickets


Washington Health Alliance is hosting a free screening and panel discussion of Between the Shades, directed by NYWIFT Member Jill Salvino. The day before the Seattle Pride Parade, Jill Salvino and will discuss how to improve behavioral health care for the LGBTQ+ community. The event will be held both in-person and online. The film and discussion will be streamed virtually with free pre-registration. The event will be held on June 25 at 3:30pm ET (12:30pm PT) at the SIFF Egyptian. Learn more and register.


CityTREES, an animated film by NYWIFT Member Kristin Reiber Harris, has been selected as the Best Animation and Best Environmental Film at the Auntyland Film Festival in NYC. CityTREES has also been selected for the Chesapeake Film Festival in October. Read more.


Harriet Tubman Herself, written by NYWIFT co-founder Morna Murphy Martell and starring NYWIFT Member Christine Dixon, will run Off Broadway in a limited engagement. An entertaining, interactive, and educational one-woman show based on the life and times of Harriet Tubman. Harriet’s harrowing and dangerous life unfolds as she tells the moving story of how she brought thousands of the enslaved– and her own family – to freedom. Christine Dixon tells the story of Tubman’s life in this dramatic one-woman performance which she also directs and produces. Opening night is June 17. Learn more and purchase tickets or purchase tickets at the door. 

The Human Trial, directed by NYWIFT Member Lisa Hepner and her husband Guy Mossman, will soon be released in theaters and on Watch Now @ Home Virtual Cinema Release. Informed by Lisa’s own experience with Type 1 diabetes (T1D), the film looks at the people beyond the headlines to show the sweat, passion, and sacrifice at the forefront of an unprecedented breakthrough. Chronicling the intimate stories of 2 patients living with T1D, a physically and financially exhausting lifelong condition, the film calls for this overdue cure – needed now more than ever.  Maren Badger and Greg Romero are the guinea pigs in a radical stem cell trial to cure their T1D. After it seemed like this day would never come, they navigate their emotions as they undergo this life-altering treatment. The film will be released June 24. Learn more about the film and where to watch.


Triple Threat, a new feature film from NYWIFT Member Stacey Maltin, starring member Margarita Zhitnikova, is currently available for pre-order on iTunes and AppleTV. The film, which is being distributed by Gravitas Ventures, tells the story of the relationship between three best friends—on the verge of their Broadway debut whose connection is put to the test when diverging dreams meet the realities of adulthood. The film will be released on June 21. Learn more.


NYWIFT Member Noelle Joy Sorenson is raising funds for her upcoming film HeArT. HeArT is a love story where two lead characters are driven by their fears causing them both to be thrown into behaviors of control, alcohol and sex. An emotional roller coaster that makes you wonder if they can work it out. Sometimes you have to find out what you don’t want in order to get to what you do. The short film will being principle photography on June 25Learn more and donate.


Drown the Clown, starring NYWIFT Member Amy Renée Garcia, is now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video. Claire Sable (Amy Renée Garcia), who recently lost her daughter, Lily, in a drowning accident, struggles to cope and insists on preserving her daughter’s belongings; however, when Lily’s clown doll begins popping up in several places, Claire is spooked. For her performance in the film, Amy was awarded Best Actress in a Feature Film Award from the Culver City Film Festival (2020.) Watch now.