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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.

Member Desiree Elle's short film Shaded Reflections was accepted into the Short Film Corner at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. You can see more about the film on its website or Facebook.

Elizabeth's Precious Kitty, co-produced by members Michele Baldwin (who also stars) and Tony Wilkes, will make its world premiere at Theater for the New City. This wonderfully titillating, sensual, fun, erotic, three-person modern day farcical play promises to shock and entertain the audience. The show runs May 7-17 and tickets can be purchased online.

Member Gayle Kirschenbaum’s documentary feature Look at Us Now, Mother! had its world premiere at Through Women's Eyes on April 11 and the Sarasota Film Festival on April 13, both to sold out crowds. The film will next screen at the Jewish Wisdom and Wellness: A Week of Learning conference held by Union College on April 27 and will make its international premiere at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival on May 8, with a special Mother’s Day screening on May 10. Gayle flies straight from Toronto to Tel Aviv for the Israeli Premiere at the DocAviv Film Festival on May 14-15. Read about the film in The Boca Raton Observer.

Business & Employment News Network interviewed member Jen Rudin about her experiences as a casting director. The interview focuses on Jen's experiences with women and diversity in casting. It's available for viewing online. Jen is also the author of Confessions of a Casting Director.

Member Leslie McCleave’s documentary feature How Sweet the Sound: The Blind Boys of Alabama, the first film about this legendary gospel group, will have its world premiere in the Music City/Music Films competition at the Nashville Film Festival on April 18, second screening April 21. The film will also have its Chicago premiere on April 19 at CIMMfest, Chicago International Movies and Music Festival.

8 Stops
, featuring set design by member Dara Wishingard, makes its New York premiere at The Cherry Lane Theatre on April 16-26. OBIE Award-winner Deb Margolin's thought-provoking new solo work is a comedy about death, the private lives of animals, the suburbs, the spiritual exurbs, illness, desire and a subway ride with a motherless child who Deb realizes that she has only 8 subway stops to raise!

As members of Writers on Hudson, NYWIFT members Gayle Kirschenbaum and Lee Eypper will perform in Writes of Spring, an Evening of Spoken Word. The performance is April 24 from 7– 8:30 PM, Upstairs at Bar 2A in the East Village. Further details are on Facebook.

Semiotics of Islam: A Primer for Kuffar, a short film by member Fouzia Najar, can be viewed on Huffington Post as part of their Muslims in America series. The film takes the media to task for its chronic misrepresentation of Islam, while also paying homage to one of the most iconic feminist performance pieces of the 20th century. It premiered at the Queens World Film Festival in March and will screen at the Iowa City Documentary Film Festival on April 11 and the Muslim Writers Collective film screening on April 24. You can read coverage of the film on India.com and Apogee Journal. Follow it on Facebook.

Member Oriana Syed edited Norm Lewis: Who Am I? as part of PBS' Live from Lincoln Center series. It airs April 10 at 9 PM.

NYWIFT member and cinematographer Valentina Caniglia photographed the feature film Mad Women by Jeff Lipsky, which will be released in July via Plainview Pictures. She also photographed the feature film Alto, directed by Mikki del Monaco, which premiered at the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival on April 26. Valentina has also completed cinematography on The Terrorist – a film by Jon Osman. The trailer is now available online. She also photographed The Dark Side, her second collaboration with writer/director Richard Ledes. The Dark Side is a genre-bending film blending real footage shot during Hurricane Sandy in New York and a romantic comedy, and was an Official Selection of ECU The European Film Festival, World Queens Film Festival and Saint Tropez International Film Festival.

Member Yaara Sumeruk's short film Ringo was staff-picked the week of March 23 on Vimeo and got over 30,000 views that week alone. Ringo is a dark comedy about a lonely middle-aged mother who hires a young male prostitute for an evening. It premiered at The Locarno International Film Festival. Watch the film here.

Member Richarda Abrams spoke on a panel of playwrights to a sold out crowd on March 23 at the League of Professional Theatre Women's Networking Monday's Roundtable Discussion: Writing Plays By, For and About Women. The event was held at TheaterLab. Pictured left to right: LPTW Board Member/LPTW Networking Committee Co-Chair/ Actress/Playwright Richarda Abrams, Playwright Fengar Gael, Playwright Lee Hunkins, LPTW Co-President/Dramaturg/Playwright/Moderator Maxine Kern.

Member Leah Streetman was interviewed in a recent International Business Times article about expanding new music exposure in non-traditional places through television tie-ins. Leah is the president of Triton Creative Group, an entertainment agency specializing in music supervision and licensing for Film, TV, and Advertising. Their talent division includes a diverse roster of musicians, composers, and screenwriters.

NYWIFT Board Member Maura Kelly interviewed member Erin Day about her work as the Festival Director of the New York Television Festival. This interview is part of Maura’s “Disruptive Women” blog series for The Huffington Post.

Congrats to member Lilian Mehrel, winner of the Nancy Malone directing award, for her film The Lonliest's mention in the New York Times!

NYWIFT member Ann Deborah Levy’s experimental video Rain Painting, featuring images of the landscape seen through the rain “painted” windows of a car, will screen at International Video Art Festival, Camaguey, CUBA, March 31 – April 4 in a program of experimental documentaries guest-curated by NYWIFT member Tova Beck-Friedman. More info on Ann's work can be found here.


NYWIFT member Ann Deborah Levy's experimental video On the Train to Kutna Hora...and Back, which features images of the Czech countryside, often abstracted by dreamlike reflections, shot from a train, will screen in New York City on March 25 in the Another Experiment By Women Film Festival at 6:00 PM. Tickets are $6.00 at the door. For more information on Ann Deborah Levy’s films click here and for more info about the event click here.


Member Meredith Riley Stewart's original web series Southern Dish premiered at SXSW on March 15! To view the trailer of the web series click here.

The 18th annual New York International Children’s Film Festival chose member Hanna Hemila's hand drawn animation feature film Moomins on the Riviera as part of their official competition section. The film screened on March 14 at the School of Visual Arts Theatre and on March 15 at the IFC.

The film is based on Tove Jansson’s original comic strips written for London Evening News in 1955. The film premiered in London Film Festival in October 2014 and has been sold to over 40 countries for theatrical distribution. The film was received extremely well in Finland during the autumn 2014, it was just released theatrically in Switzerland, in France and in Japan. The English are to launch the film in May with 250 copies. Hanna Hemila is the producer, co-director and co-writer of the film. The director of the film is French Xavier Picard, who is also the co-director and one of the writers. Other writers are Leslie Stewart, Annina Enckell and Beata Harju.

Congratulations to NYWIFT Board Member Annetta Marion's show, Oprah's Master Class, which won in the category of Outstanding Variety Series at the 46th Annual NAACP Image Awards! 

NYWIFT Member Jennifer Snowdon did the make-up for over 40 of the interviewees of the PBS documentary August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand, including James Earl Jones! She was called to work on the project by fellow NYWIFT members Nicole London (Line Producer) and Caroline De Fontaine-Stratton (Associate Producer).

Carl's True Love, a short play by NYWIFT Member Lee Eypper, will debuted at The Many Faces of Love:  A Valentine's Day Monologue Festival on February 13. The festival featured an array of monologues expressing the many sides of love: celebration, obsession, possession, passion, heartbreak, loss, regret, jealousy, exhilaration, gratitude. The event was produced by Writers-A-Go-Go in association with Hudson Warehouse.

Member & filmmaker Megan Smith-Harris is working on a documentary called Boy / Blue, â€‹which has been featured in Good Morning Wilton and with a front page spot on Hooplaha.com (4 million views a month and voted one of the top ten "Happiness Web Sites" by Huffington Post).


The Prime Minister of Austria held a special screening of THE MAN WHO SAVED THE WORLD for all foreign ministers in the EU who are assembled in Vienna for a global conference on nuclear non-proliferation. The Obama Administration sent a delegation to the event and to this screening for the first time ever in the history of this ICANN conference. Produced by Member Mark Romeo.

NYWIFT Member Sarah Hanssen directed a video with The Wall Street Journal's Kelly Crow about Peruvian artist Grimanesa Amoros. Check out the writeup in WSJ!    


Men of the Cloth, directed by NYWIFT member Vicki Vasilopoulos, and official pick of DOC NYC 2013, creates a portrait of three Italian master tailors and was screened at the Take 2 Documentary Film Festival at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, NY, in December. Read more about it at http://menoftheclothfilm.com/

, co-produced by NYWIFT member Thea Kerman and directed by Afia Nathaniel, was Pakistan's Official entry to the Academy Awards 2015. Dukhtar (Daughter) is a thriller set in Pakistan. The story follows a mother on the run with her ten-year-old daughter on the eve of the child’s forced marriage to a tribal leader. They are relentlessly hunted for bringing dishonor to their families. As the chase intensifies, the mother meets a truck driver whose destiny entwines with hers and kindles a forbidden attraction. The trio embarks on an epic journey through the stunning landscape of Pakistan where the quest for freedom comes with a price.

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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