In an ongoing effort to increase awareness and support for women in the film and television industries, New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) is producing a screening series entitled Immigrant Women: Sharing Our Voices Through Film. The series will present the works of women immigrant and first-generation American filmmakers and focus on the immigrant experience within the five boroughs of New York City. This initiative will present one screening per month beginning in February and go through June 2015.
The first screening will take place on Friday, February 27th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at the Maspeth Town Hall in Maspeth, Queens and focus on the intersection between immigrant women and activism.
Judith: Portrait of a Street Vendor
Director and Producer: Zahida Pirani
Judith: Portrait of a Street Vendor is a documentary short that takes the audience on an intimate journey into the daily life of Judith, a street vendor from Guatemala who lives and works in New York City. Judith exposes the routine obstacles and struggles she and her fellow immigrant vendors face daily on the city’s streets and reveals her own hopes and aspirations as an immigrant worker, mother, activist and community organizer.
Claiming Our Voice
Director, Producer, and Cinematographer: Jennifer Pritheeva Samuel
Claiming Our Voice is a short documentary film by Jennifer Pritheeva Samuel sharing the stories of Andolan, an organization founded and led by South Asian immigrant women low-wage workers as a means to support each other and collectively organize against exploitative work conditions. The film follows the women as they create, rehearse and refine acts for their first popular multi-lingual theater performance, directed by YaliniDream. Claiming Our Voice seeks to break community silence by allowing women to (literally) set the stage for how their stories will be told.
Director, Producer and Editor: Christine Mladic Janney
Elva Ambía Rebatta's first language is Quechua, but when she left her town in Peru as a young woman to find work in the United States, speaking Spanish and English became critical for her to survive.While Quechua--a language indigenous to South America--continues to be spoken around the world as a result of such migration stories, UNESCO and other initiatives recognize it as an endangered language. Now in her seventies, Elva decides to help cultivate a Quechua-speaking community in New York City. Living Quechua follows Elva through the challenges and successes of trying to keep Quechua alive.
About the filmmakers:
Zahida Pirani is an independent filmmaker who studied nonfiction filmmaking at Columbia University as a Charles H. Revson Fellow. She produced and directed the award-winning documentary short "Judith: Portrait of a Street Vendor" which is currently being distributed by Third World Newsreel. Zahida's work is informed by her experiences as a community organizer, having worked for many years around immigrant and worker rights issues in New York City. She is the former Director of La Fuente Inc.'s New York Civic Participation Project (NYCPP), a nonprofit organization that creates labor-community partnerships in local communities to develop grassroots leadership and promote civic engagement.
Jennifer Pritheeva Samuel is a Sri Lankan-American photographer and filmmaker whose projects connect personal stories to larger themes of migration, identity and movement as activism. Her subject collaborators are primarily women whose stories are ignored by the mainstream media. Samuel has produced short films for UNICEF and has also Associate Produced several documentary films for PBS FRONTLINE. In addition to creating her own work, she presents artists through her nomadic series, Visionaries. She is currently the Associate Director of Anastasia Photo, a gallery specializing in documentary photography and photojournalism.
Christine Mladic Janney, a Brooklyn-based filmmaker, photographer, and digital media producer is involved with Quechua outreach initiatives across NYC. She is also pursuing a PhD in Anthropology at New York University, concentrating on photographic practice and Quechua languages.
There will be a Q&A reception with the filmmakers and women from the documentaries following the screening.
To figure out the best route to The Maspeth Town Hall located at 53-37 72nd St (b/w Grand Avenue and 53rd Road), please refer to HopStop.
Produced by Elizabeth Estrada
A special thanks to City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley who selected New York Women in Film & Television to receive funding for the Cultural Immigrant Initiative.