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


Call Me Dancer, directed by NYWIFT Member Leslie Shampaine, will screen at The Quad Cinema. A street dancer from Mumbai struggles against his parents’ insistence that he follow a traditional path. Then he meets a curmudgeonly Israeli ballet master, who inspires him to follow his dreams. The film will screen Dec 15-21 at The Quad Cinema in NYC. Q&As with the filmmakers to follow some screenings – list within link. Learn more and purchase tickets.


American Santa, a compelling short documentary from NYWIFT member Alexandra Berger, is now streaming on the LA Times. Far from a typical holiday story, this film is a powerful commentary on American racism, viewed through the unique lens of Black Santas. Executive Producer Billy Porter describes it as “an amazing film…beautiful and devastating all at once.” Selected for the DocNYC Shortlist, an early indicator of Academy Award potential, American Santa is now available in the Academy Screening Room. The film is engaging in the following FYC screenings for Academy members:

  • Thursday, Dec 7 at 7PM at the Culver Theatre in LA
  • Tuesday, Dec 12 at 8PM at DCTV in NYC, with reception to follow.

The NYC event, co-hosted by Executive Producer Billy Porter and Academy member Lisa Cortés, will also feature a Q&A with Producer Alexandra Berger and Director Avi Zev Weider. Learn more and RSVP. Priority is given to Academy members. 


Bienvenidos a Los Angeles, written and directed by NYWIFT Member Lisa Cole, is in consideration for Best Live Action Short Film for the 96th Academy Awards. Inspired by true events and filmed at LAX International Airport, Bienvenidos a Los Angeles tells the story of Imani, a Nigerian single mother living in Los Angeles who offers to help a perfect stranger reunite with her son. In doing so, Imani learns this simple act of kindness threatens to jeopardize her path to citizenship. The film is currently screening in the Academy’s Screening Room – available to Academy voters. Watch the trailer. Voting begins on Dec 14. 


You Resemble Me , produced by NYWIFT Member Elizabeth Woodward, is now available in the USA and Canada on Vimeo on Demand. Cultural and intergenerational trauma erupt in this story about two sisters on the outskirts of Paris. After the siblings are torn apart, the eldest, Hasna, struggles to find her identity, leading to a choice that shocks the world. Director Dina Amer takes on one of the darkest issues of our time and deconstructs it in an intimate story about family, love, sisterhood, and belonging. Directed by Dina Amer, the film premiered at the Venice Film Festival, won 30+ awards on the festival circuit, and is Executive Produced by Spike Lee, Spike Jonze, Riz Ahmed, Alma Har’el. Learn more and watch the film.


NYWIFT Board Member Audrey Rosenberg is offering One-on-One Career Coaching. She will help you connect to your authenticity and will provide tools that help you pursue your career unapologetically and powerfully. Audrey combines practical guidance with spiritual wisdom. Audrey is a Peabody-Award-winning and Emmy-nominated producer known for her ability to cultivate talent, develop material, and champion projects from inception through to release. She has coached numerous artists for over 10 years and has provided career coaching, spiritual guidance and healing. Audrey also offers producing and script consulting on projects. Please email for more information and to book an appointment.



Shadow Man, a short film from NYWIFT member Roberta Pyzel, will premiere on Aspire TV. Ricky, a small-time drug dealer, in prison with a 25 year to life sentence for a violent crime he did not commit, meets with Ms. Davis, a resistant court appointed lawyer, and tries to convince her to file an Appeal on his behalf. When he breaks down, reliving the night of terror that he witnessed, she is touched by his vulnerability, but continues to question his choices. Ricky is desperate as begs this woman, who holds his fate in her hands, to help him fight for his life. The film won Honorable Mention: Best Short Film at New York Pause Film Festival 2023. The film will air on Aspire TV on Dec 3 at 8pm, 9pm, and1am ET. Learn more.


NYWIFT Member Abbesi Akhamie is crowdfunding for her film The Incredible Sensational Fiancée of Dr. Seyi Ajayi. The film tells the story of a brilliant scholar, Dr. Constance Moumie, whose world is shattered when she discovers her fiancé’s deceitful engagement to another woman, forcing her to confront her own worth and the societal pressures of marriage in the pan-African society of Alkebulan. With the help of her loyal best friend, Bibi, she embarks on a mission to expose her fiancé’s true character and reclaim her power. The deadline to submit is Dec 3. Learn more and donate.


Move When the Spirit Says Move: The Legacy of Dorothy Foreman Cotton, a film by NYWIFT Member Deborah C. Hoard, will screen as part of the African Diaspora International Film Festival New York. The only woman on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s executive staff, Dorothy Foreman Cotton was a bold and highly effective civil rights leader, who educated thousands about their citizenship rights and inspired generations of activists with her powerful freedom songs. A Q&A with Deborah will follow the screening. The film will screen Dec 2 at 8pm ET at Teachers College. Learn more. 


Bushwitches, a TV pilot from NYWIFT Member Jasia Ka, will screen at YoFiFest. Bushwitches is a mockumentary that follows an angsty coven of millennial witches seeking alternative sources of income as their Brooklyn neighborhood becomes oversaturated with rival Tarot card readers. It will screen on Nov 19Learn more.


NYWIFT Member Priscilla J. “Sally” Mattison, Of Counsel to Bernard M. Resnick, Esq., P.C., gave an “Update on Music Industry Sustainability Efforts” at the Cool Out 2023 conference in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.  She previously gave a presentation entitled “Entertainment Law: It’s (Almost) Everywhere!” as part of the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School’s Pre-College Academy.  

Reaching Glory, a new musical showcase produced by NYWIFT Members Mia Lastrella and Joelle Westwood, will run at The Gibny Theater in NYC. Reaching Glory is a Lady Gaga jukebox musical about a group of high school seniors and their struggles with drug abuse, complex relationships, and identity, all set to the electrifying soundtrack of Gaga’s iconic hits. The show will run Nov 11, 3-6pm ET. Learn more and RSVP.


The podcast Around The Sun, produced by NYWIFT member Suzanne Ordas Curry, is now streaming its third season. New episodes of the award-winning scripted series drop every other Wednesday throughout 2023. This season features Jai Rodriguez (Emmy winner, Queer Eye) among many others. In this third season, each under 15 minute episode, though enjoyed separately, is a continuing story of the drama of the “Pinecone” family during the holidays. Learn more and listen.


Shadow Man, a new short film from NYWIFT Members Roberta Pyzel (writer, director) and Blaga Ditrow (cinematographer), will screen as part of NY Pause Film Festival. Ricky, a small-time drug dealer, in prison with a 25 year to life sentence for a violent crime he did not commit, meets with Ms. Davis, a resistant court appointed lawyer, and tries to convince her to file an Appeal on his behalf. When he breaks down, reliving the night of terror that he witnessed, she is touched by his vulnerability, but continues to question his choices. Ricky is desperate as begs this woman, who holds his fate in her hands, to help him fight for his life. The film will screen Nov 14 at 8:45pm ET. Learn more and purchase tickets.


Cowgirl Way, NYWIFT Member Nancy Cohen-koan‘s anti-gun short musical, will screen as part of New Plaza Cinema’s NYC Short Film Showcase. The New Plaza Cinema is excited to present a collection of nine short films by talented New York filmmakers. Attendees will have the opportunity to discover the authentic voices of New Yorker filmmakers who use their art to share their unique perspectives on the world around them. The film will screen Nov 12 at 12:15pm ET at New Plaza Cinema. A Q&A with the filmmakers will follow the screening. Learn more. 


Register for Flex Your Creative Muscles!, hosted by NYWIFT Member Marilyn Horowitz. All creatives can use this writing technique to boost creativity, gain confidence, and increase productivity. It’s not just for writers! Marilyn Horowitz leads filmmakers and storytellers through her new creativity and time-management technique known as Word of the Day – an effective practice to generate and recognize story ideas, organize and structure those ideas, and explore the characters in your story in a short period of time. Participants will be asked to use pen/pencil and paper (not typing, for example) to harness your mind-body intentions. The event will take place Nov 17 at 7pm ET. Learn more and register.


Congratulations to NYWIFT Member Deborah Shaffer for the 2023 DOC NYC Lifetime Achievement Award! She has made her powerful voice heard in social issue documentaries since the 1970’s. Her first feature documentary, The Wobblies, was added to the National Film Registry. As a director, her credits include Witness to War: Dr. Charlie Clements, which won the Academy Award for Short Documentary. Some of her other work includes Fire From the Mountain, Dance of Hope, From the Ashes: 10 Artists, and Queen of Hearts: Audrey Flack. She co-directed and produced To Be Heard, which won the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize at the first ever DOC NYC Festival. The DOC NYC Visionaries Tribute took place on Nov 8. Learn more.

DELA: The Making of El Anatsui, the documentary debut from NYWIFT Member Oyiza Adaba, recently screened as part of the 12th edition AFRIFF 2023 in Lagos Nigeria. The biographical documentary chronicles the foundational influences of El Anatsui. From humble beginnings in Anyako Ghana, thus began an artistic journey that would redefine an art form, create a movement about art from Africa, and produce one of the greatest contemporary artists of our time. The film recently screened on Nov 7. Learn more. 



BYkids films announces their 4th series premiere. BYKids will feature four films made by teens from Ukraine, Germany, India and Kentucky about the climate crisis on PBS in November. NYWIFT Member Holly Carter is the Founder and Executive Director of BYKids.The series premieres in the New York Metro area on Nov 11 at 7pm ET on THIRTEEN. Films BYkids will also be shown in Los Angeles, San Francisco and other major markets across the country. Check your local listings.


The short film Five Flights will screen at the Big Apple Film Festival. “I live on the fifth floor on fifth street. I climb it every day. Five flights to nowhere. I’ll grow up and run away.” These haunting words of a 10-year-old girl set the scene for this tragic tale of domestic abuse and serve as a warning about the dangers of guns in the home. Five Flights is written and co-produced by NYWIFT Member Kathleen Kaan and co-produced by NYWIFT Member Vanessa Cordova-Corwin. The film will screen on Nov 4 at 1pm ET as part of a program of short films.  Learn more and purchase tickets.

A new episode of the podcast First Online with Fran, hosted by NYWIFT member Fran McGarry, is now streaming. In the new episode, “Stephanie Okun: Empath Superpower”, Fran sits down with Stephanie Okun (playwright/screenwriter/director). Stephanie is a recent graduate of Wesleyan University, student at NYU’s Educational Theatre MA program, and proud former intern/current member of New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT). At a young age, she discovered her love for playwriting and pursued it at Stephen Sondheim’s Young Playwrights Inc., an organization that changed her life. For her, theater is home and she’s always thrilled to be there. Listen now.



NYWIFT Member Chithra Jeyaram is hosting screenings of her award-winning, documentary Foreign Puzzle in New York City. Foreign Puzzle is an intimate documentary that follows Sharon Marroquin, a Mexican-American dancer for 18 months as she communicates the impermanence of life through dance while juggling the roles of a recently divorced parent of a 6-year-old, a choreographer, and a primary school teacher amidst intensive treatments for breast cancer. Both screenings will be followed by Q&A with Sharon Marroquin the film’s main character and cancer survivor:


NYWIFT Member Marilyn Horowitz will host the Word of the Day Webinar. For writers and other creatives… blocks, low motivation, and lack of inspiration; we all face these challenges at one time or another. End your suffering with a short writing practice that taps into your creative consciousness and opens new avenues of ideas and endless possibilities. Everything you need is between your ears –you just need access, and Marilyn will show you how in this webinar. The webinar will be held on Nov 1 at 7pm ET via Zoom. Learn more and register.


NYWIFT Member Svetlana Cemin was recently interviewed by Filmmaker Life. In a journey that transcends boundaries and disciplines, Svetlana has seamlessly transitioned from the glamour of international fashion to the artistry of filmmaking. As the founder of 610FILM, she’s dedicated to pushing the boundaries of cinema, weaving together diverse influences from her multicultural background. The conversation delves into her extraordinary career, her award-winning documentaries, and her exciting foray into feature films. Read the full interview.


NYWIFT Member and Emmy and Telly Award-winning director Jasia Ka has signed to Zero Gravity Management for film/television representation and will be managed by both Eric Williams (Owner/Partner, Zero Gravity) and Elissa Friedman (Manager/Producer, Zero Gravity). Jasia created and directed drama comedy series Girls Aren’t Funny (2023), executive produced by BRIC-TV with additional financing from the Made in New York Media Fund/NYFA, which won Best TV Pilot at Laugh After Dark Comedy Festival, as well as dark comedy series Bushwitches (2023), which had its US Premiere at NewFest: The New York LGBTQ+ Film Festival.  Jasia’s films have recently screened at:


The Dads, a short film from NYWIFT Member Luchina Fisher, will be screening at Montclair Film Festival. The short follows the lives of five fathers of trans children as they join Dennis Shepard for a weekend fishing trip in rural Oklahoma. The film will screen as part of the Shorts: Out Shorts program on Oct 21 at 12:30pm ET. Learn more.


Join Maine Media for their upcoming online workshop 2-Day Making the Independent Feature Film (Online). The workshop will be run by Former NYWIFT Board President Alexis Alexanian. What are the dynamics of indie filmmaking in 2023? What makes a film truly independent? With over twenty years of industry experience as a producer and consultant to major industry players, Alexis Alexanian has acclaimed low-budget and big-budget films among her credits. In this two-day workshop, Alexis will provide students with a real world view of how to develop, finance, produce and distribute an independent feature film. The course will run Nov 11-12. Learn more and register.