NYWIFT Members Selected to Sundance Film Festival 2021

The nonprofit Sundance Institute announced the showcase of new independent work selected across the Feature Film, Short Film, Indie Series and New Frontier categories for the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. The Festival will take place digitally via a feature-rich, Sundance-built online platform and  in person on Satellite Screens across the country (public health permitting) from January 28-February 3, 2021. Additionally, Festival attendees can gather in virtual waiting rooms, participate in live Q&As, and congregate in new, inspired online environments to interact in a range of ways both new and familiar.

Learn more about Sundance 2021

Congratulations all NYWIFT members awarded at Sundance Film Festival 2021!

Complete list of award winners Sundance 2021

NYWIFT Member Produced Films


NEXT Audience Award


Ma Belle, My Beauty’

Idella Johnson and Hannah Pepper appear in Ma Belle, My Beauty by Marion Hill, an official selection of the NEXT section at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Lauren Guiteras.

Executive Producer – NYWIFT Member, Gina Charbonnet


Sundance Institute Award for Documentary Features 


Philly D.A.’

A still from Philly D.A. by Ted Passon and Yoni Brook, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Yoni Brook.

Executive Producer – NYWIFT Member, Dawn Porter


Directing Prize 



A still from Users by Natalia Almada, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Natalia Almada.

Director – Natalia Almada 


Producer – NYWIFT Member, Elivia Shaw


Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker



A still from Cusp by Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.


Directors – Parker Hill & Isabel Bethencourt 


Executive Producer – NYWIFT Member, Caitlin Gold


Sundance Institute Mentorship Award for Editing  — Fiction


NYWIFT Member, Terilyn Shropshire

Terilyn A. Shropshire, ACE, has edited six films for Gina Prince-Bythewood, including Love and Basketball, The Secret Life of Bees, Beyond the Lights and The Old Guard.  She edited Talk to Me, The Caveman’s Valentine and Eve’s Bayou, which was the highest grossing independent film of 1997. Shropshire won an Eddie Award for Vondie Curtis-Hall’s Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story. 

Congratulations to the 13 NYWIFT members with works selected for Sundance Film Festival 2021! 


NYWIFT at Sundance

Join us for a special edition of NYWIFT Talks featuring two of our members headed to the virtual Sundance Film Festival 2021. 

Spotlighted in this NYWIFT Talks are Michèle Stephenson and Margarethe Baillou, discussing their experience participating at this year’s Online Sundance Film Festival, working to complete a film during covid, and how they envision making an impact with their work/creativity during the pandemic.

The conversation will be moderated by NYWIFT Board Member Gretchen McGowan.

Date: Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Time: 4 PM EST

Free to attend.

Learn More and Register


Congratulations again to the 13 NYWIFT members selected for Sundance this year. Learn more about their work below.



Katherine Waterston and Vanessa Kirby appear in The World to Come by Mona Fastvold, an official selection of the Spotlight section at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Vlad Cioplea.

The World to Come

Online Premiere on Tuesday, February 2nd at 12:00PM PST/ 2:00PM CST/ 3:00PM EST

In eighteenth-century upstate New York, Abigail (Katherine Waterston) is increasingly defeated by grief and the drudgery of rural life. Her deference and propriety maintain a mundane equilibrium with her husband, Dyer (Casey Affleck), but her narrated diaries offer a picture into a richer internal life. When spring brings newcomers Tallie (Vanessa Kirby) and husband Finney (Christopher Abbott) to the otherwise empty landscape, the journal entries frantically anticipate—and then enthusiastically document—an affair with Tallie. As menial machinations are interrupted and patriarchal sovereignty is questioned, both marriages buckle. The wives’ connection is threatened, but Abigail and Tallie’s love for each other is steadfast, both onscreen and in handwritten pages. Fastvold exquisitely captures the oppression of settler life while adopting a devoutly literary approach to portray her protagonist’s internal life, striking a transportive balance between warmth and chill.

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Producer – NYWIFT Member, Margarethe Baillou

Margarethe Baillou is the founder and head of independent motion picture and television company M.Y.R.A. Entertainment in New York and London, producing nonviolent features, shorts, documentaries, video art, television series and audio plays. Credits include Drawing Home (2016), the Academy Award-winning Call Me By Your Name (2017) and Change in the Air (2018). Upcoming productions include Terence Davies’s British period drama Benediction and several feature films, television series and audio plays set on all continents. A graduate of the American University of Paris and Columbia University, Margarethe is also the founder of the M.Y.R.A. Initiative, a foundation supporting children in crisis and fostering nonviolent cinema. Having lived in many different parts of the world, she primarily resides in London.




A still from Users by Natalia Almada, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Natalia Almada.


Online Premiere on Sunday, January 31st at 3:00PM PST/ 5:00PM CST/ 6:00PM EST

Acclaimed filmmaker Natalia Almada captures the ruthless locomotion of technology. Her camera flies with ferocious speed alongside jet streams, trains, trucks, and underwater cables that carry data at the speed of light. But just as her lens documents the power of frenetic human invention, so does it dive into technology’s greatest existential competitor: rising oceans, crackling fires, scorched mountain tops—a planet at war with so-called societal progress. In the center of this storm, Almada’s young son stares unquestioningly into his computer screen and is rocked to sleep by a seamlessly paced electronic crib. He’s soothed by forces outside of Almada’s—or, for that matter, any parent’s—influence. With transcendent camerawork that peers into the internal organs of a technologically dependent planet, Users both marvels at and fears for a world in which a child is not only at risk from a warming Earth but comes to trust a perfectly constructed artificial caretaker over his own biological mother.

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Elivia Shaw | Department of Art & Art History

Producer – NYWIFT Member, Elivia Shaw

Elivia is an award-winning filmmaker from Washington, DC. She is driven by filmmaking that uses intimacy and personal narrative to question our larger social systems and cultural identities. Through her films, she hopes to create visceral, visual experiences that break barriers between people and enable self-reflection. Her work has been featured on the Atlantic and PBS, screened at festivals including AFI DOCS, DOC NYC and Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, and has been shortlisted for the student BAFTA awards. After graduating from New York University, she worked on Emmy and Academy Award-winning television series and feature documentaries for Al Jazeera, National Geographic, HBO and PBS. Elivia is currently a Co-Producer on Natalia Almada’s latest feature film, Users, which will premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. She is a graduate of Stanford University’s Documentary Film MFA program.



A still from Cusp by Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.


Online Premiere on Saturday, January 30th at 3:00PM PST/ 5:00PM CST/ 6:00PM EST

Cusp chronicles one formative year of teenage life for three friends in a Texas town where there’s little to do but party—and where liquor, drugs, and guns are standard recreational accessories. Followed through lazy hangouts, fast-food outings, and bonfire parties, Autumn, Brittney, and Aaloni allow directors Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt to observe intimate moments within their homes and social circles. The film’s raw vérité approach creates a sensitive, multifaceted portrait of adolescent girlhood and the time and place in which these girls experience it. As the girls open up about their pasts and explore their definitions of freedom and consent, Cusp illustrates how they rebel against or assimilate to societal expectations and toxic masculinity as a survival tactic. Though one subject proclaims “there is no normal in teenage years” and the girls outwardly assert their own helplessness, Autumn, Brittney, and Aaloni candidly give voice to the experiences of countless teenage girls. Cusp honors its subjects’ trust with a powerful, evocative film that embodies the significance of their stories.

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Caitlin Gold - IMDb

Executive Producer – NYWIFT Member, Caitlin Gold

Caitlin is an independent producer and founder of the New York-based development and production company, Tanbark Pictures. Select producing credits include Naomi McDougall Jones’ debut feature, Imagine I’m Beautiful, Julia Kots’ Inez Doug & Kira, starring Michel Chernus and Tawny Cypress, and The Sounding, written and directed by Catherine Eaton and starring Teddy Sears, Harris Yulin, and Frankie Faison. She also co-produced one of 2020’s highest rated Canadian true crime series, The Oland Murder (AKA The Suspect, Available on Sundance Now), and is an Executive Producer on Parker Hill and Isabel Bethencourt’s documentary feature Cusp, which is premiering in competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. She is the founder of The 51 Fund, a private equity fund financing female-helmed feature films.




A still from Searchers by Pacho Velez, an official selection of the NEXT section at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Daniel Claridge.


Online Premiere on Saturday, January 30th at 6:00PM PST/ 8:00PM CST/ 9:00PM EST

Searchers draws on over seventy-five encounters with New Yorkers of different races, genders, ages, social classes, and sexual preferences, as they navigate their preferred dating apps, searching for their special someone. The film unfolds online; the characters, including the director himself, wade through the apps, using their instincts and experience to decode dating profiles while narrating their decision-making process.

Alternately humorous and touching, these portraits capture the variety of sexual and romantic experiences available online, as well as the diverse community of people seeking them out. Interspersed between these character vignettes, the film features moments of public affection, set against the backdrop of a bustling New York City enduring its COVID-summer.

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Producer – NYWIFT Member, Cathy Tankosic

Cathy Tankosic is an independent producer and media advisor with 25+ years experience in executive and creative leadership spanning Comedy Central, MTV Networks, and Al Jazeera America. Her first feature documentary, Searchers, will premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. She is best known for launching groundbreaking hit series including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Chappelle’s Show, South Park, and Al Jazeera America’s critically acclaimed documentary block featuring films by Joe Berlinger, Alex Gibney, Kartemquin Films, Barbara Kopple, and others. She was on the Board of The Documentary Center at Columbia University.



Idella Johnson and Hannah Pepper appear in Ma Belle, My Beauty by Marion Hill, an official selection of the NEXT section at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Lauren Guiteras.

Ma Belle, My Beauty

Online Premiere on Saturday, January 30th at 3 PM PST/ 5 PM CST / 6 PM EST

Newlywed musicians Bertie and Fred are adjusting to their new life in the beautiful countryside of France. It’s an easy transition for Fred, the son of French and Spanish parents, but New Orleans native Bertie grapples with a nagging depression that is affecting her singing. Lane—the quirky ex who disappeared from their three-way relationship years ago—suddenly shows up for a surprise visit, bringing new energy and baggage of her own. First-time feature filmmaker Marion Hill takes us on a tipsy, moody dive into polyamory that holds all of the gravity and complexity of sexual fluidity and triangulation, while maintaining the buoyant atmosphere of a hot summer adventure through the fields of Europe. Levitated by an intoxicating acoustic guitar soundtrack by Mahmoud Chouki, Ma Belle, My Beauty is a breezy and meaningful journey through wine-drenched candlelit dinners, firelit vineyard parties, farmers’ markets, and sunny hikes alongside the creek, as Fred, Bertie, and Lane grapple with how to get what they want inside the soup of their desires, passions, and life ambitions.

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Executive Producer – NYWIFT Member, Gina Charbonnet

Gina Therése Charbonnet is a POWER-HER-FUL Creator, Producer and Amplifier of Diverse Voices, with a tenure spanning over two decades, working in entertainment and production. Charbonnet is the founder and principal of GeChar, an established agency that is a premier resource in multi-media production specializing in empowering content and talent acquisition. She is the Executive Producer of Ma Belle My Beauty making its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and has an esteemed assembly of credits in feature films and documentaries, including Eve’s Bayou that she credits with kick starting her career. Charbonnet has also served as a longstanding Executive Producer of the ESSENCE Festival, and as a Consulting Producer for Black Girls Rocks!, and BET among many others. In addition to her work, Charbonnet has been featured in a number of interviews and podcasts, discussing her passion for producing conscious content and being a creative entrepreneur.




A still from Philly D.A. by Ted Passon and Yoni Brook, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Yoni Brook.

Philly D.A.

Online Premiere on Tuesday, February 2nd at 6:00PM PST/ 8:00PM CST/ 9:00PM EST

For 30 years, civil rights attorney Larry Krasner called out policies that caused Philadelphia to become the major city in America with the most incarcerations. More than 75 times, he sued police officers who perpetuated corruption and brutality. This made him an unlikely candidate for district attorney, but in 2017 he launched an election campaign that promised to reform the system. Passionate in his beliefs, and buoyed by activists committed to ending mass incarceration, Krasner set out to revolutionize his city’s criminal justice system from the inside. Directors Ted Passon and Yoni Brook rigorously bring to life the people impacted and incensed by the failings of the system, as well as those fighting to maintain the status quo. Tracking an election with shocking turns and a first term full of unprecedented moves, Passon and Brook smartly keep Krasner as their fulcrum. But after establishing a truly radical platform, Philly D.A. asks, can this controversial figure actually implement meaningful change? The Sundance Film Festival will showcase the first two episodes of this docuseries.

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Executive Producer – NYWIFT Member, Dawn Porter

Dawn Porter is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work has appeared on HBO, PBS, Discovery, and Netflix among others. Porter, who is the founder of Trilogy Films, also directed and produced the acclaimed four-hour Netflix original series Bobby Kennedy for President, which was released in 2018 and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. A two-time Sundance festival Director, her film Trapped which explored laws regulating abortion clinics in the South won the special jury social-impact prize at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, in addition to a Peabody and numerous other awards. Her 2013 documentary Gideon’s Army premiered on HBO and won best editing at Sundance. Gideon’s Army was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and an Emmy, and is part of the U.S. Department of State’s American Film Showcase. Her other films include Spies of Mississippi, a critically-acclaimed historical documentary that was part of the Independent Lens series on PBS, and in 2015, Rise: The Promise of My Brother’s Keeper, a film for The Discovery Channel chronicling President Obama’s program to help young men of color succeed.



A still from My Name Is Paul Murray by Betsy West and Julie Cohen, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

My Name is Pauli Murray

Online Premiere on Sunday, January 31st at 3:00PM PST/ 5:00PM CST/ 6:00PM EST

It’s not often we’re introduced to a true luminary, and Pauli Murray was just that—as well as a lawyer, Black activist, feminist, poet, and priest. Murray questioned systems of oppression and conformity throughout the mid-twentieth century, with a radical vision consistently ahead of the times. Murray’s trailblazing legal foresight influenced landmark civil rights decisions and gender equality legislation that transformed our world. Directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen (RBG, 2018 Sundance Film Festival) return to Sundance with an illuminating portrait of an inspiring leader. Murray’s writings, photographs, and audio recordings, along with newly discovered footage and interviews, interlace to tell the story of a pioneer with a tenacious spirit. West and Cohen balance numerous professional accomplishments with a window into Murray’s full and complex private life. Murray’s personal letters reveal years of grappling with and resisting gender categories, affectionate exchanges with loved ones, and confident and resolute demands for justice. Pauli Murray has a legacy far-reaching and deep. This is a name you won’t soon forget.

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Co-Director – NYWIFT Member, Julie Cohen 

Julie Cohen is a director/producer of the Academy Award–nominated RBG. Earlier documentaries include The Sturgeon Queens (Berlin International Film Festival; Best of the Fest, 2014 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival), and Ndiphilela Ukucula: I Live to Sing (New York Emmy, Best Arts Program). Previously, Cohen was a staff producer for Dateline NBC




A still from In The Same Breath by Nanfu Wang, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Yang Ke.

In the Same Breath

Online Premiere on Thursday, January 28th at 5:00PM PST/ 7:00PM CST/ 8:00PM EST

Acclaimed filmmaker Nanfu Wang navigates the origin and spread of COVID-19 from Wuhan to the United States through a lens both personal and geopolitical in scale. The result is a wrenching, wide-reaching documentary that contextualizes the trauma experienced by health-care workers and the families of loved ones lost. At the same time, the documentary probes President Xi Jinping’s and President Donald Trump’s eerily similar responses to the pandemic: Both men spread disinformation and sowed mass confusion during the most critical moments of the pandemic. By detailing scores of firsthand Chinese and Americans interviews, Wang methodically builds a devastating indictment of leadership’s response to the pandemic, pointing to an unprecedented level of deception and ineptitude from the highest levels of government. The result is a tragedy born out of a rapid domino effect of cover-ups, mismanagement, and lies. Despite the infuriating revelations this film lays bare, its lasting power rests in the stories of individuals who risked everything for others—and for the truth.

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Producer – NYWIFT Member, Carolyn Hepburn

Carolyn Hepburn is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning producer who joined Motto Pictures in 2010. She produced Nanfu Wang’s new film, In The Same Breath, which will premiere on opening night at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Carolyn is currently in production on The Velvet Underground, directed by Todd Haynes, which is set to be released by Apple in 2021, and is producing new films with Roger Ross Williams and Maite Alberdi. She recently executive produced Socks on Fire, winner of the 2020 Tribeca Grand Jury Prize; Ringside which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival, won the Silver Hugo Award at the Chicago International Film Festival and debuted on Showtime; and the acclaimed, Goya Award nominated The Mole Agent, and produced Gotham and IDA Award winner A Thousand Cuts—both 2020 Sundance Film Festival premieres. Carolyn produced Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner and Oscar-shortlisted One Child Nation, released by Amazon Studios, and Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn, which premiered at the New York Film Festival and aired on HBO. She produced the Emmy-nominated and Oscar-shortlisted 3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets; the Netflix Original Take Your Pills, which premiered at SXSW; and Take Back the Harbor, which premiered on Discovery. She co-produced Life, Animated, which was nominated for the 2017 Best Documentary Feature Academy Award, and won three Emmys, including the award for Best Documentary in 2018. She executive produced Charm City, shortlisted for the 2019 Academy Award; Love, Gilda, Emmy nominated and the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival Opening Night Film; Weiner, shortlisted for the 2017 Academy Award; Art and Craft, Emmy-nominated and shortlisted for the 2015 Academy Award; Humans of New York: The Series, Emmy-nominated; and the Showtime series Murder in the Bayou.




Grace Van Patten appears in Mayday by Karen Cinorre, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Tjaša Kalkan.


Online Premiere on Sunday, January 31st at 12:00PM PST/ 2:00PM CST/ 3:00PM EST

An unusual storm is approaching, and it’s about to change everything for Ana (Grace Van Patten). After a short circuit at her workplace mysteriously transports her to an alternate world, she meets a crew of female soldiers caught in an endless war. Along a strange and rugged coastline, men face the stark truth lurking behind damsels who appear to be in distress. Under the leadership of Marsha (Mia Goth), Ana trains as a sharpshooter and discovers a newfound freedom in this uninhibited sisterhood. She soon senses she may not be the ruthless killer they expect, though, and time is running out for her to find a path home. Unafraid of pushing cinematic boundaries, writer-director Karen Cinorre stylishly blurs genres and draws us into the unique realm of her remarkable debut, where possibilities multiply and women take control of their own destinies. Both a feminist fever dream and an ambitious reimagining of a war film, Mayday detonates expectations to question where empowerment truly lies—and firmly brands Cinorre as a filmmaker on the rise.

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Executive Producer – NYWIFT Member, Gabriella Ludlow

Gabriella Ludlow is the founder of CinePointe Advisors and has over 25 years of business affairs and project management experience in the entertainment industry. Over the course of her career, she has provided consulting services to individual producers, writers, directors, composers and music supervisors, as well as business affairs and production legal services on more than 150 feature and documentary film projects. She is also an executive producer, most recently on Once Upon A Time In Uganda, Among the Beasts and Mayday which was just selected to compete at Sundance in 2021. Ludlow received her bachelor’s degree in creative writing from New York University and regularly guest lectures at NYU Tisch and the Stern School of Business.






Online Premiere on Saturday, January 30th at 6:00PM PST/ 8:00PM CST/ 9:00PM EST

When Marian is on the run, she goes to the only place she knows is safe: her childhood home. She is greeted by her estranged sister, Vivian, a stay-at-home housewife struggling to conceive and on the verge of a failing marriage. Though the two are identical twins, they live opposite lives. Marian’s mysterious return disrupts Vivian’s small-town routine, and the sisters must learn to reconnect and reconcile. When Marian’s haunting past finally catches up to her, their separate worlds collide, catapulting both sisters into grave danger.

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Costume Design – NYWIFT Member, Allison Pearce

Costume Designer Allison graduated from Parsons the New School for Design with a BBA in Design + Management. Focusing on technical design & business, she has applied her studies to narrative costume design. Allison’s work as a costume designer for the film unit at Saturday Night Live gave her the tools to tackle any decade, genre, production timeline, & budget level. Her unique experience taught her to trust her intuition & to roll with the punches. Allison’s work at SNL gave her the knowledge & tranquility she continues to apply throughout her career.  She has a passion for the uncanny & unique, as shown visually through color, fit & texture. Allison relishes in artistically creating costumes that support the character as well the story. Her work embraces her love of surrealism, Italian neorealism, & New Hollywood. Recent projects include Black Bear, starring Aubrey Plaza, which premiered at Sundance 2020 and is now available on Amazon Prime. Allison loves Dolly Parton, her cabin in the mountains, & nature.





A still from Faya Dayi by Jessica Beshir, an official selection of the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Jessica Beshir.

Faya Dayi

Online Premiere on Saturday, January 30th at 12:00PM PST/ 2:00PM CST/ 3:00PM EST

Khat, a flowering plant with leaves that produce a stimulant effect when chewed, has been harvested in Ethiopia for centuries. With social significance in communities around the world, khat is a cash crop, sustaining so many who have worked in the fields for generations. However familiar the work is, some young people who have grown up in its shadow want more. They consider leaving home and all they have ever known for something new, faraway, and, while perhaps more economically beneficial, lonelier and more isolating. In her debut documentary feature, Jessica Beshir takes us to a world of beauty and lyricism that must be seen to be truly experienced. A spiritual journey with mesmerizing photography that channels a khat-like high, Faya Dayi brings together the ethereal and the material, tying another plane of existence to the reality of this world, with its real people whose destiny is bound to their home, their land, and what it produces.

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Director, Screenwriter, Producer, Director of Photography –
NYWIFT Member, 
Jessica Beshir 

Jessica Beshir is a Mexican Ethiopian director, producer, and cinematographer. She made her directorial debut with her short film Hairat, which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and was released by the Criterion Channel. She is a recipient of the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund grant. Her short films have screened at venues around the world, including International Film Festival Rotterdam and the Eye Film Museum. Faya Dayi is her feature debut.



A still from Snowy by Kaitlyn Schwalje and Alex Wolf Lewis, an official selection of the Shorts Program at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Alex Wolf Lewis.


Available Online Starting on Thursday, January 28th at 7:00AM PST/ 9:00AM CST/ 10:00AM EST

Snowy, a four-inch-long pet turtle, has lived an isolated life in the family basement. With help from a team of experts and his caretaker, Uncle Larry, we ask: Can Snowy be happy, and what would it take?

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Executive Producer – NYWIFT Member, Cheryl Dillard Staurulakis

Cheryl is co-founder of Orama Filmworks. Her goal is to bring the works of talented writers and directors to an audience with their producing skills and knowledge. Cheryl is also a co-founder of The Global Film Fund. GFF is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support the production and distribution of films that educate the public and raise awareness about important world or domestic health, cultural, historic and social issues. Cheryl is the Executive Producer of the horror/comedy The Night Watchmen starring James Remar (Django Unchained) which is the recipient of the “Best Feature” – 2016 Buried Alive Film Festival, “Best Horror Feature Award” – 2016 Phoenix Film Festival. Current documentary projects include the award winning film The Push Is On released through Gravitas Ventures, streaming on Hulu and Netflix and Toxic Beauty which premiered at Hot Docs 2019.




A still from The Changing Same: Episode 1 by Michèle Stephenson, Joe Brewster and Yasmin Elayat, an official selection of the New Frontier program at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

The Changing Same: Episode 1

Available Online Starting on Thursday, January 28th at 6:00PM PST/ 8:00PM CST/ 9:00PM EST

This immersive, episodic experience uses time travel and magical realism to pilgrimage through the evolution of racial violence in the U.S., making vital connections between the past and present. Episode 1 introduces the time travel portal—the Cracker House—and begins with a police altercation in a quiet suburb of modern-day New Jersey. The police altercation leads to mass incarceration and a slave warehouse, while hurtling toward a glimpse of a radiant post-racial utopia. Device: Desktop-tethered VR Headset

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Portrait by Margarita Corporan

Lead Artist, Director, Producer, Writer – NYWIFT Member Michèle Stephenson

Filmmaker, artist and author, Michèle Stephenson, pulls from her Panamanian and Haitian roots and international experience as a human rights attorney. She tells compelling, deeply personal stories that are created by, for and about communities of color and resonate beyond the margins. Her feature documentary, American Promise, was nominated for three Emmys and won the Jury Prize at Sundance. She is a Guggenheim Fellow and a Creative Capital artist.


Again, a special congratulations to all the members involved in this year’s Sundance Film Festival! 

The festival takes place from January 28 – February 3, 2021. Buy your tickets now!

View the full program.