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Production Still "Beneath the Olive Tree"
Member Screening Series - Beneath the Olive Tree and The Birch Grove

Join us for this month's NYWIFT Member Screening Series showcasing the films Beneath the Olive Tree by Stavroula Toska (Director/Producer/Writer) and The Birch Grove by Gabrielle Lansner (Director/Producer).  The filmmakers will be available for a Q&A immediately following the screening.

The series provides members with the opportunity to show their work in a theatrical setting. Screenings take place at Anthology Film Archives, followed by networking at a nearby bar/restaurant.


Beneath the Olive Tree

Stavroula Toska (Director/Producer/Writer)
2015, 76min


Beneath the Olive Tree is based on secret journals found buried beneath an olive tree on the island of Trikeri, which served as a concentration camp during the Greek Civil War (1946-1949). The journals, buried for close to three decades, tell the incredible stories of thousands of women kept in the camps, speak the truth about the involvement of the US and British governments at the time and draw a line connecting the past with the present. Director Stavroula Toska takes the journey from New York to Greece to shed light on a part of modern history the world knows very little about, and in the process discovers a family secret that shakes her to her core.

Stavroula Toska
was raised in Sindos, Greece. After receiving her degree in Marketing and PR, she moved to Athens to pursue acting and went on to co-star in two of the most successful soap operas in Greek TV history. Soon after she moved to New York to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Toska refers to her meeting with Academy Award-winner Olympia Dukakis as "life changing." The two collaborated on Toska’s award-winning directorial debut Beneath the Olive Tree, with Dukakis serving as narrator and executive producer.


The Birch Grove
Gabrielle Lansner (Director/Producer)
2015, RT 20:11

Caught between love and death, two brothers wrestle with their past in a dance towards reconciliation. A poetic film about the power of family ties inspired by the renown Polish author, Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz. Through dance, wordless scenes, and a sparse narration, the film moves fluidly between reality and the interior lives of the characters.

Gabrielle Lansner is a critically acclaimed choreographer, award-winning filmmaker and Artistic Director of gabrielle lansner & company. The birch grove is her fourth short film. Her creative work crosses interdisciplinary boundaries, moving from pure dance works, to dance/theater pieces, and most recently to film. Lansner’s The Stronger (2012) premiered at the Cannes Short Film Corner and has garnered awards worldwide, screening at over a dozen festivals including Interfilm Berlin, Festival International du Film sur L’Art Montreal, and the Female Eye in Toronto, to a name a few. The film received Best Artistic Director Award from the Lady Filmmakers Festival in Los Angeles, and was nominated for Best Experimental Film at the Female Eye Film Festival. Her first short film Dad (2010), screened at NewFilmmakers Anthology Film Archives/NY, the Baryshnikov Arts Center, Newport Beach Film Festival, GAGA Arts Festival NY, among others. In 1997, Lansner formed gabrielle lansner & company and has premiered eight original full-length works, performing to New York City critical acclaim. The company creates emotionally complex and layered works that delve into the heart and psyche.


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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
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