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NYWIFT Members in the News

Members, do you have an upcoming screening, event, campaign or other news to share? Tell us! Contact communications@nywift.org.

After winning an award at the Manhattan Film Festival, member Desiree Elle has also won "Actress in a Leading Role" award at the IndieFest Film Awards, for her role as Carla in Shaded Reflections! Watch the trailer and follow the film on Facebook. You can also see more on the Shaded Reflections website.

Member Crystal Emery is launching a new campaign called "Changing the Face of Medicine," with a book signing of her biographical photo essay, Against All Odds: Black Women in Medicine. The book signing will take place on December 1, 2015 at 5pm at SEIU at 330 West 42nd Street. Crystal's book celebrates the advances of black women in medicine in hopes of inspiring and empowering the next generation. For more information about her campaign, please visit her website and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Adepero Oduye episode of member Mojisola Sonoiki’s docu-interview series Indigo Tongues won the Bronzelens Film Festival award for Best Short Documentary on November 7th at the Georgia-Pacific Center in Atlanta. Indigo Tongues showcases the lives and work of trailblazers from Africa and the Diaspora. Adepero Oduye is one of the breakthrough actresses of the last decade and earned acclaim for her role in 12 Years a Slave. Follow Indigo Tongues on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram


Member Arlette Thomas-Fletcher has completed her first feature length film, The Lonesome Trail. The film is a faith-based, period western that tells the story of the prodigal son in a western genre. Arlette has also wrapped production a pilot, Where’s Daddy?, a dramedy that focuses on the importance of family and the effect both parents have on raising children. Learn more about Arlette and her upcoming projects on her website. For more information about The Lonesome Trail and Where's Daddy? like them on Facebook. 

After premiering at the Academy Qualifying LA Shorts and screening at the Action on Film International Festival, Emma, a short film produced by NYWIFT member Andrea Dimity, just won Best Short at the Oregon Film Awards. Set in the early 1960’s, the short is about Jack, a middle-aged bank executive whose wife Emma has gone missing. Jack’s family is not an average family by any means, which is exposed as the story unfolds. See more on the Emma website.

After great success in movie theaters, member Valentina Caniglia’s feature film The Dark Side will screen on November 17th at AMC Kips Bay 15. The film’s director, Richard Ledes, will join Valentina, the Director of Photography, at the screening. The Dark Side will soon be released on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. To purchase tickets, please click here. Learn more about Valentina on her website and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.


Following a very successful festival run, member Lydia Darly’s award-winning film The Way You Love received a distribution deal with IndieFlix and is listed as a Staff Pick. The film was written, directed, produced and edited by women. The Way You Love was 50% funded via crowdfunding and features actresses Karine Plantadit and Adeline Michelle. For more information about The Way You Love, visit the film’s website. Check out Lydia’s website to keep up with her projects.





Member Gita Kaufman (and Curt Kaufman, posthumously) will be named 2015 Jewish Faculty & Staff Association (JFSA) Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients for their work on film Shadows of My Past. The ceremony, which commemorates the 77th anniversary of Kristallnacht, will take place at the New York City College of Technology’s Atrium Amphitheater on November 10th at 12 PM (200 Jay Street, Brooklyn). Shadows of My Past features the memories of Gita’s Jewish family from Vienna and interviews from contemporary Austrians. To learn more about Shadows of My Past or to view the trailer, visit its website.

Member Caris Vujcec’s The Pepper Project has been selected by the ITVFest as one of thirteen pilots for the TV Pilot category. Vujcec also recently attended the prestigious LA Femme International Film Festival that took place in Los Angeles October 15th-18th. The Pepper Project, described as “a new female-centered sexy badass tv/web series,” currently has a crowdfudning campaign on Indiegogo. Visit the page to watch the trailer, learn more about the series, and, of course, make a donation.

Member Kathy Brew’s documentary Design Is One: Lella & Massimo Vignelli is gearing up for quite a few screenings. The documentary will be featured at the Beirut Film Festival on November 5th and 6th. Later screenings include its Swedish broadcast premiere on December 11th and two screenings on January 8th at the Design Luxembourg and BSA Space. Design Is One explores the creative universe of two of the most influential and well-known designers of all time, Lella and Massimo Vignelli. Brew recently sat down with Knoll to discuss the film, which you can read here. The film is now also available on DVD, which includes bonus features. Visit the film’s website to order the DVD and learn more.

NYWIFT member, Linnette Harrigan (pictured center) is happy to be providing music soundtracks for upcoming TV commercials. Harrigan recently won the opportunity by way of her event, “Conversation With A Music Supervisor,” recently held at NYWIFT. The event focused on the work of two music supervisors specializing in TV commercials (J. Lin, & J. Flott) also pictured above.

Locomotive, the film/TV production company re-launched in 2014 by Lucy Barzun Donnelly, Alexandra Kerry and Jonathon Kemp, has hired producer and NYWIFT Board of Directors President Alexis Alexanian as President of Production. The move comes after she co-produced Locomotive’s Maggie’s Plan, which was picked up by Sony Pictures Classics after its Toronto Film Festival bow. The hire is also on the heels of Locomotive closing a jointly funded feature development deal with New Regency. In her new role, Alexanian will oversee all aspects of production for the company’s film and U.S. television projects as it ramps up. Read more!

Member Lily Hayes Kaufman is working to promote a healthy body image with her new digital series Rare Birds of Fashion. As writer and director of the series, Kaufman looks to challenge how society feels about ambitious women as well as body types. The series is a comedy about two entrepreneurs who launch a plus size fashion line. Kaufman has worked on a range of film & TV productions, including Weinstein’s St. Vincent, Dreamworks’ and NBC’s SMASH, and the relaunch of Troma Entertainment’s YouTube Channel. Watch Rare Birds of Fashion on YouTube.

Member Melissa Haizlip’s documentary, Mr. SOUL! has received the prestigious Media Projects Productions grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The film has also earned Melissa a seat in the 2015 Diverse Women in Media Residency Lab at Artist Retreat Center in Vermont. Haizlip, along with Samuel D. Pollard are the directors of the film, which documents the life of Ellis Haizlip, “America’s first black ‘Tonight Show’.” Though a work-in-progress, Mr. SOUL! already has been screened at IFP as part of their Spotlight on Documentaries during Independent film week. The film has also been screened at Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award.

Paavo, A Life in Five Courses
a documentary produced by member Hanna Hemila, is now available on demand through Vimeo. The documentary focuses on a young Finnish farmer named Paavo who is hired by a Swedish theater producer and his movie star wife. Paavo is “adopted” by the couple and eventually becomes an internationally acclaimed chef. Read more and watch the trailer.

Member and novelist Adriana Trigiani, in her debut as a screenwriter and director, brings her best-selling novel Big Stone Gap to the big screen on October 9th. Set in 1978, Big Stone Gap tells the story of the ever-ordinary Ave Maria Mulligan (Ashley Judd) who lives a simple life with her mother, runs the pharmacy, directs The Trail of the Lonesome Pine Outdoor Drama, and hopes that Theodore Tipton, her best friend and the high school band director, will take their platonic friendship in a romantic direction. Ave Maria waits, and before she knows it, she turns 40. Watch the trailer and read more about Big Stone Gap.

Tricia Brouk
Tricia Brouk
The one-person play Dancing Through It, written, directed and choreographed by NYWIFT member Tricia Brouk and performed by member Francesca Van Horne, will be staged in Paris in 2016 at Dominique Coubes Le Theatre du Gymnase on Boulevard Bonne Nouvelle. Van Horne will play ten different characters. This work in progress explores a woman's journey out of an abusive relationship and into a healthy one with herself and all the while Dancing Through It with grace and humor. Read reviews of Dancing Through It.

Member Linnette Harrigan will host "Conversation with a Music Supervisor" on Thursday, October 15th from 6:30-8:30 PM in the NYWIFT Conference Room (6 E 39th Street, Suite 1200). Linnette will interview an expert music supervisor, discussing music placement and licensing for film, TV and commercials. NYWIFT members get specially discounted $10 tickets. RSVP in advance is required. Please RSVP to INFO@LINNETTEHARRIGANMEDIA.COM no later than Tuesday, October 13th at 1 PM.

Demon on Wheels
, a documentary feature film directed and produced by NYWIFT member Christina Eliopoulos will premiere on iTunes and VOD platforms on October 13th. Demon on Wheels captures a former speed demon and moonshiner, now an aging mechanic in a sleepy Catskill Mountains town, who risks it all — his health, his security, even the love of his life — to restore and race the prized car of his wild youth, a 1968 Ford Mustang that's been hidden away untouched for three decades. Watch the trailer and learn more on the film's website.

What's life like as a White Latina living in New York City? Allow NYWIFT member Carolina Ravassa to fill you in during her weekly web series, Hispanglosaxon. Ravassa produces, directs, edits and stars in the episodes, which you can view online. She refers to her experience as a White Latina as "ethnic confusion." Too "white" to play Hispanic characters and too "ethnic" to play white characters, Ravassa chronicles what it is like working as a racially ambiguous actress.

Shout Gladi Gladi
, released by NYWIFT member Wendy Lidell, will have its New York premiere on October 2nd at the Village East Cinemas theatre (181-189 2nd Ave.). NYWIFT members get special discounted tickets at the senior rate of $10.75 through October 8th. Just let the box office know you are a member. Discount tickets must be purchased in person and may be purchased the day of the screening. Buy (non-discounted) advance tickets here. Narrated by Meryl Streep, Shout Gladi Gladi celebrates the extraordinary people who rescue African women and girls from obstetric fistula, a medical condition that can turn them into reviled outcasts. Filmed in Malawi and Sierra Leone, the film spotlights the quest of Ann Gloag, the indefatigable philanthropist and former nurse who drives the movement to save these vulnerable women, and presents the patients as they tell stirring tales of their struggles and triumphs. Everything culminates with the exuberant Gladi Gladi ceremony, a singing and dancing blowout that marks the day the women and girls return home cured. Watch the trailer and learn more on the film's website.

Jessica Ransom
Jessica Ransom
, written, directed and executive produced by NYWIFT member Jessica L. Ransom, will run September 26th & 27th at the AOA Bar & Grill (35 Sixth Ave). Tickets are $20 and may be purchased online. #Roommates tells the story of a successful lesbian lawyer and a struggling straight actress have been best friends since high school but one night ten years later changes everything... This “will they/won’t they” comedy will slowly reveal itself throughout the short turning this friendship into unexplored territories, while on this quest for romance and self-discovery. The screening will also include a pre-show event with raffle give-aways, live performances, free gift bags and massage therapists on site. Find out more on the film’s Facebook page.

NYWIFT member Liza Reznik has written and directed two short films which will screen at the 5th Annual Golden Door International Film Festival in Jersey City next weekend. Tête-à-Tête (Head-to-Head) is an illuminating portrayal of the intellectual connection between philosophers Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre and their vow of essential love. Screens September 26th at 6:30 PM, Art House Productions, 136 Magnolia Avenue. 95 Decibels is an awareness-raising film that explores the emotional obstacles parents face when they get an unexpected diagnosis of hearing loss for their child. Screens September 27th at 12 PM at the Margaret Williams Theater in Hepburn Hall at New Jersey City University, 2038 Kennedy Boulevard. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased online.

, produced by NYWIFT member Julie Christeas, will run September 25th – October 1st at Cinema Village (22 East 12th Street). Tickets can be purchased online. In this thrilling coming-of-age adventure, a troubled teen must face the dangers of the Alaskan wild, as well as her own past, in order to find her way home. The film will also be available On Demand starting September 25th. Watch the trailer, and read more on the film’s website.

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead
, co-produced by NYWIFT member Danielle Rosen, will premiere September 25th at IFC Center (323 6th Ave.). From the 1970s through the 1990s, there was no hipper, no more outrageous comedy in print than The National Lampoon, the groundbreaking humor magazine that pushed the limits of taste and acceptability – and then pushed them even harder. Parodying everything from politics, religion, entertainment and the whole of American lifestyle, the Lampoon eventually went on to branch into successful radio shows, record albums, live stage revues and movies, including Animal House and National Lampoon’s Vacation. The publication launched the careers of legends like John Belushi, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Christopher Guest and Gilda Radner, who went on to gigs at Saturday Night Live and stardom. Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead, was picked up by Magnolia Pictures after premiering at Sundance Film Festival 2015. Purchase tickets.

2011 Muse Awards honoree Nadine Shelby Schramm’s memoir, Unfinished Business: The Mother Trucker, is now available for purchase. Readers will be moved by Schramm’s retelling; it is a story of willpower, endurance and triumph. Schramm, the sixth of eleven children, was born in Charleston, Arkansas and lived a difficult life. She was born at the start of The Great Depression and at only ten years old, worked in the fields alongside her blind father. She went on to endure abuse from her first husband, but none of these trials held her back from starting four successful businesses including Budd Leasing (a NYWIFT corporate partner), one of the leading theatrical trucking companies in the United States. Schramm communicates that it is not only possible to overcome adversity, but to achieve and succeed in spite of it. To learn more about the memoir, visit her website. Click here to purchase a copy. 

The Man Who Saved The World
, a feature length documentary produced by NYWIFT member Mark Romeo, will screen September 18-24th at the Cinema Village (22 East 12th Street). The film stars Walter Cronkite, Robert De Niro, Matt Damon and Kevin Costner, and tells the gripping true story of Stanislav Petrov – a man who single-handedly averted a fullscale nuclear world war, but now struggles to get his life back on track… before it is too late. An epic and grand Cold War thriller that sends shivers down your spine and shows us just how close we came to Apocalypse … and it’s not over yet! With a new cold war rising and thousands of nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert, we still live under the same catastrophic danger that Stanislav faced back then. Watch the trailer. Learn more on the film’s website.