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Production Still: "America Heard: Refuge of Hope"
2018 Women Filmmakers: Immigrant Stories Screening Series - May

For the fourth season, New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) presents the Women Filmmakers: Immigrant Stories Screening Series — a free screening series of work by women filmmakers focusing on the immigrant experience throughout the five boroughs of New York City. This series showcases a themed exhibition of short and feature-length films. Filmmakers are available for a Q&A and refreshments are available after each screening.


PROGRAM: Recipes from Home

Cunda’s Pasteles: Stories From The Melting Pot
Anelisa Garfunkel (Director)
4:44 mins

A short documentary about making pasteles, a traditional Puerto Rican dish, and how a Newyorican mother and daughter stay connected to their island.

Anelisa Garfunkel is a filmmaker and author based in New York City. Her career as a storyteller began over fifteen years ago producing educational films on the tiny island of Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia. Since then she has continued to produce, write, and direct stories that cross cultures and oceans and explore matters of identity, family, and feminism. Her work has been included in festivals, screenings, and exhibitions in the US and abroad. Her documentaries about disability, One Hundred Steps, and We Will Ride are often used to teach disability rights in university classrooms and advocacy organizations. Her stories are born from a life spent exploring, climbing, diving, and adventuring around the world.

Grandma Lumen’s Filipino Purple Yam Pudding
Caroline Shin (Director)
10:07 mins.

Ube halaya (sometimes spelled “halayang”) is a Filipino dessert made from boiled and mashed purple yam. And it is one of Grandma Lumen’s absolute favorite Filipino foods. So even after she left the Philippines to become a public school teacher in the Bronx, she never forgot her uncle’s ube halaya recipe in the 40+ years she’s lived in New York.


Grandma Louisa’s Caribbean Hot Sauce
Caroline Shin (Director)
12:01 mins.

Grandma Louisa’s hot sauce is pure fire. And I like to say, if you need protective gear to cook, then count me in. This Trinidadian pepper sauce contains 135 Scotch bonnets, 4 types of peppers, exotic fruits like pickled mangos and gooseberries and some other weird little ingredients that I never saw coming. And to bring this special hot sauce from the Caribbean over to Brooklyn, New York, Grandma Louisa had to undergo a lot of hardships dealing with domestic violence and immigration.

Caroline Shin
is a food and culture journalist, telling stories via video, photo, and text. She was a video producer at New York Magazine before officially launching her baby, Cooking with Granny (CWG), in 2015, and has since developed fun food pop-ups with immigrant grannies who, as in the web series, tell rich, cultural stories as they cook their favorite family recipes. CWG has been featured on NBC, Food & Wine, the Apollo Theater, among others. For Shin, CWG is about immigrant representation in food media both in front of and behind the camera, celebration of women’s contributions to food, and the understanding that from hamburgers to Korean barbecue, immigrants have made America delicious. This proud Queens girl holds an M.S. from Columbia Journalism School and a B.A. from Brown University. As a volunteer and member of the Young Professionals Board of Womankind, she helps immigrant women get out of and recover from violence.

Queens Migrant Kitchens, Stories from the Margins
Sarah K. Khan (Director)
35:54 mins.

The film tells the story of migrants, old and new, who make our food as part of the Queens Migrant Kitchen series. In 2015, the series was launched to make migrants visible, bear witness, and relay their stories via food in the nine short films. Each piece was used to share stories about marginalized and maligned people and/or forgotten histories such as Latino street vendors, Pakistani and Nigerian caterers, and under-represented Uzbek Jewish kosher food purveyors.

Sarah K. Khan
writes about and creates multimedia content about food, culture, women, and migrants grounded in social justice. Her research has taken her to live with Bedouins in Israel and Palestine, document the plight of Indian women farmers, traverse the world of Queens NY, and film women cooks about their foods and ways in Fez, Morocco. In Migrants Kitchens, Stories from the Margins, Khan employs film, photography, graphics, and maps to make invisible migrants visible, bear witness, and relay their stories via food of migrants in Queens, NY. A two-time Fulbright Scholar (2001-02 & 2014-15), Khan has degrees in Middle Eastern history (BA), public health and nutrition (MPH, MS), and plant sciences (PhD). Her work explores, celebrates, and circulates creative food cultures at the intersection of globalization, climate change, environmental degradation, gender disparity, race and caste discrimination, in addition to the loss of crop, biological, cultural, culinary and linguistic diversities.

Date: Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

 6:30 PM

Venue: Neir’s Tavern, 87-48 78th St, Woodhaven, NY 11421


From Manhattan:
 Take the M or F then transfer to the J to 75 St. - Elderts Lane Station
From Brooklyn: Take the C, then take the J to 75th St. - Elderts Lane Station




PROGRAM: NYC Changing Landscape

Saints of Little Italy
Margaret Sclafani (Director)
13:53 mins

One day in my uncle's basement, I brushed the dust off a collection of 8mm films and the projector he had won at a church bazaar. Watching these films, brought the experiences of my Italian-American family to life even as they shielded their eyes from the blinding floodlights used to record the films. Many of these pictures were filmed on the streets and in the homes of Little Italy in New York City, recording the religious and social functions related to the Church of Our Lady of Loreto, as well as religious processions for the feast of Saint Anthony of Padua, patron saint for the town of Bolognetta, where my grandparents had emigrated from Sicily. This film explores the story of the Sicilian immigrant in New York, the creation of a mission church through to today’s processions, and memories of a family and community that is being demolished and forgotten but flickers on in the celluloid images and voices of my father and his brothers. Saints of Little Italy is a love letter to my grandparents and every immigrant family in New York.

Margaret Sclafani
grew up in the Washington, DC area. Following her studies in anthropology and film at Bryn Mawr College, Sclafani began her career as post-production coordinator on Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg. She then continued her work as production coordinator and assistant director on No Job For a Woman: The Women Who Fought to Report WWII. Following her work in production, she went into the camera department, working with Gage & Gage Productions and Firelight Media on a number of documentary films for PBS. She worked as producer and director of photography for Parent Earth, a start up company that produced over 100 videos for families about healthy eating. She has continued to work as camera operator and cinematographer on content for the Whitney Museum, the Irish Arts Center, Room 5 Films, the International Peace Institute, and Emmy award-winning Media Factory, among others. She was a recent grant recipient of the Russo Brothers Film Forum and was honored for her short film, Saints of Little Italy. In addition to her work in documentary, Sclafani regularly works on narrative films and comedy series, including her recent work as director of photography on the independent feature film, The Gift

The Kung Fu Master
Laura Nova (Director)
6:01 mins

Kung Fu Master Poa Shen Wong, a 92 year old immigrant from Hong Kong teaches martial arts at the Little Flower Park Basketball Court in our Lower East Side neighborhood. As with our larger neighborhood, where real estate developments continually displace senior citizens and immigrants, the basketball court is contested territory. In the film, Poa describes how a meditation group attempted to take over her exercise turf, but Poa fights back and reclaims her territory in the public park. To encourage both activist and active audience participation, Poa offers us her exercise sequence. In sharing her technique and her secrets of longevity, Poa hopes to plant seeds to take root for the next generation. In service of her goal, I created an exercise poster to provide audiences with step-by-step guidance.

Laura Nova
is an exhibiting artist, endurance athlete, and educator. Based in New York City’s Lower East Side for the last fifteen years, Nova generates site-specific, action-oriented projects that invite participatory energies of her neighbors and strangers alike. She uses cardio, comedy and cooking to create activist audiences who, in turn, reveal and preserve stories of both people and places. Recent commissions have included multi-year, social engagement projects like Feed Me A Story, (co-produced with Theresa Loong) an interactive video installation and documentary video cookbook of secret family recipes collected from the Lower East Side, Governors Island and Ellis Island; Moving Stories, a senior citizen-led, storytelling-walking tour; and The Crescendo Project which used RFID technology to create an automated praise-singing machine for disabled athletes during a road race. Upcoming in June, in tandem with Dances For A Variable Population, she will transform residents and dancers alike into a “moving company” for the River to River Festival’s LES Citizens Parade. Nova's work has been featured at the New Museum, the Museum at Eldridge Street, the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Real Art Ways and many galleries including the Substation Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa and the National Arts Center in Tokyo, Japan. Nova received a B.F.A. and B.A. from Cornell University and an M.F.A. from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is an Associate Professor of Expanded Media in the Creative Art and Technology program at Bloomfield College and the 2016 recipient of the LMCC President’s Award in Visual Art.

Portuguese from SoHo
Ana Ventura Miranda (Director)
2016, 59:00 mins

Portuguese from SoHo tells the story of the Portuguese emigrants that arrived in SoHo after the Second World War, the history of this neighborhood and the city of New York.

Ana Ventura Miranda
, born in Portugal, has a career as an actress and producer. After moving to New York in 2006, she worked as a journalist for the Portuguese television, held a position at the Portuguese Mission to the United Nations and also worked for the Sonnabend Gallery. While working as a journalist she maintained her network within the artistic community in New York and developed her skills as a screenwriter and director. In 2011, Miranda founded Arte Institute, a NY based non-profit corporation for the promotion of Portuguese contemporary art in the United States. She has been responsible for the organization of several cultural events in the United States, Portugal, Brazil, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Poland, Mozambique, South Africa and Angola including: the NY Portuguese Short Film Festival; the Summer Nights Series at Union Square Park; Saramago´s Week in NY; Pessoa in New York; Arte Institute Contemporary Dance at Alvin Ailey; Portuguese Women in the US, the Gilded Cage at MoMA, Arte Institute´s Program at the Iberian Suite Festival by the Kennedy Center, among many other events. In 2015, she was awarded the Prize D. Antonia Ferreira, one of the most prestigious awards for Portuguese Leadership Women.


Date: Thursday, May 10, 2018

Time: 6:30 PM

Venue: Kaufman Astoria Studios-Zukor Screening Room, 34-12 36th Street, Astoria, NY 11106


From Manhattan: Take the M train to Steinway Street
From Brooklyn or Queens: Take the F train (towards Jamaica -179th St), then take the M train to Steinway Street



Immigrant and First Generation Women’s Media Production Workshop

NYWIFT is proud to present a FREE one-time Saturday production workshop on Saturday, May 12th, 2018 taught by Third World Newsreel for girls and women of all ages (15+) who are immigrants or first-generation Americans. This workshop is a part of 2018 Women Filmmakers: Immigrant Stories Series, and will focus on teaching the basics of documentary storytelling and production. Over the course of the one-day workshop, participants will create as a group a short documentary.


Date: Saturday, May 12, 2018

Time: 8:30 AM - 6 PM

Venue: Maspeth Town Hall, 53-37 72nd St, Maspeth, NY 11378


From Manhattan: Take the E or M to Grand Av - Newtown, then take Q58 bus to Grand Ave., 72nd St.
From Brooklyn: Take the G (towards Courtsquare), then take Q59 bus to Grand Ave., 72nd St.



PROGRAM: Women Actors Turn Filmmakers

Kristi Roosmaa (Producer/Actor)
9:03 mins

Wildflower is a universal story about love and loss, showcasing what culturally unites us all. Anna, a young immigrant pursuing her dream of making it as a professional singer in New York, struggles with a heartbreaking choice after hearing difficult news from back home.

Kristi Roosmaa
is a New York based Estonian-born actress, singer and producer. Roosmaa got her start at the age of 5 performing at a bakery. She holds a law degree from Tartu University Institute of Law, a diploma in performing arts from The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, and a dance certificate from the Broadway Dance Center. She has performed at Carnegie Hall as a soloist, is a cast member in Johanna Telander's musical Kalevala and considers herself a cultural advocate of Estonia. Wildflower is Roosmaa’s love letter to her late grandma and a reminder to human kind of how precious life is.

Galia Barkol (Director/Writer/Producer)
70 mins

Since losing her ability to dance due to an injury, Mia has escaped life in Tel-Aviv for a temporary life in Brooklyn. She lives in a dorm room, where she suffers from insomnia due to the noise in and outside of her head. She takes origami classes, and to support herself, she works as a cat sitter for Justin, a married, sales agent who is only in New York on the weekends. Mia finds comfort in her employer’s quiet, empty space and in his cat, and eventually secretly stays in his bed on the nights when he’s away. When he returns to NY earlier than expected, and catches her in his bed, she is mortified. Determined to prove to him that she is “not that kind of person,” she offers to take him out to dinner, leading the pair into an unexpected friendship and living situation.

Galla Barkol
is a NYC-based actor, director and screenwriter. Galia wrote, directed, starred (and played the piano) in the dramedy feature MIA - now on the festival circuit.
Galia recently appeared in the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival VR arcade, and she is currently developing a pilot for an original comedy series.
Galia graduated from Paris-Diderot University in Paris, France, with a B.A in Film & The Performing Arts. She was awarded a scholarship for the program MICEFA, with distinction, and completed an Acting conservatory program at HB Studio.
She later founded Ring the Bells Productions, where she concepted and produced several experimental shorts, with the intention to explore the relationship between structure and narrative in film. Through discoveries made in these works, Galia crystallized her approach to filmmaking and acting.


Date: Thursday, May 17, 2018

Time: 7 PM

Venue: The Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Ave, Queens, NY 11106


From Manhattan:
Take the M or R to Steinway Street
From Brooklyn: Take the G (towards Court Square), then transfer to the M to Steinway Street



PROGRAM: AfriAmerican

Aissa’s Story
Iquo Essien (Director)
2013, 15 mins

Aissatou Bah is an African immigrant housekeeper and single mother recovering from an encounter with Henrik Keppler, a wealthy hotel guest who sexually assaulted her. When the District Attorney decides not to go to trial due to a lie she told to get asylum, Keppler moves on, a free man, while Aissa is plagued by flashbacks to the assault. But when her daughter Rama gets bullied, Aissa must find a way to regain her daughter’s trust and repair their broken relationship. How will she find justice and her lost dignity?

Iquo B. Essien
is a Nigerian-American writer and director. Her short film Aissa's Story was nominated for the 2013 Student Academy Awards, the 2015 Africa Movie Academy Awards, and it won the Best Student Short at the 2014 Africa International Film Festival. She adapted the short into a feature film while writing a memoir, Elizabeth's Daughter, about losing her mother to cancer. Essien's films have screened worldwide, including at the Panafrican Film & Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), the Durban International Film Festival, the New York African Film Festival, and Zanzibar International Film Festival. Essien received a B.S. from Stanford University and a Master of Fine Arts in Film from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Her production company, Editi Films, is fiscally sponsored by Fractured Atlas.

America Heard: Refuge of Hope
Yasmin Mistry (Director)
2017, 5 mins.

Syracuse, New York is an unlikely home to over 10,000 former refugees now living in the U.S.. Two women at the forefront of this community reflect on what their presidential vote means to those whose only true home is the American town that took them in.

Yasmin Mistry
is an Emmy-nominated animator and filmmaker. Her work has been screened worldwide including recent showings at the White House and the United Nations, as well as at film festivals including Cannes, SXSW, Tribeca and Clermont-Ferrand. She is the recipient of the Puffin Foundation’s 2013 film grant, the Brooklyn Arts Council’s 2014 – 2017 film grants, and the winner of the Jessie Streich-Kest Memorial Grant. Mistry is also the founder of the Foster Care Film & Community Engagement Project, which uses film and animation to give youth in foster care a platform through which to be heard. Her first two documentary short films in the series, Feeling Wanted and My Identity played at over 30 film festivals each. The films have been recognized and received over 20 awards combined, including a nomination for best short film of 2015 by Adoption at The Movies.

Addie & Addy
Adenike Thomas (Director)
2018, 12 mins

Addie & Addy is a colorful comedy about two weirdo Nigerian-American roommates living their best life in Brooklyn, NY. The film's objective is to elicit dynamic, yet grounded characters that add to the multi-faced narratives of black women.

Adenike Thomas
is an actress hailing from Queens, NY and graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She has worked with Manhattan Theatre Club, The Lark, Actors Theatre of Louisville and is a member of The Flea's resident acting company, The Bats.







Date: Thursday, May 31, 2018

Time: 6:30 PM

Venue: The Astor Room at Kaufman Astoria Studios Studio A, 35-11 35th Avenue, Astoria, NY 11106

From Manhattan:
Take the M train to Steinway Street
From Brooklyn or Queens: Take the F train (towards Jamaica -179th St.), then take the M train to Steinway Street



A Special Thanks to City Council Member Robert Holden
for support of the Cultural Immigrant Initiative.

Join the conversation on Twitter: #nywift | @nywift

NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts