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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 Linnette Harrigan will be hosting a discussion, Q&A and listeningsession On The Topic of Music Supervision for all Filmmakers and TV Producers. The event will be held Thursday, July 14th 6:30-8:30pm in the NYWIFT Conference Room. Discussion will include music placement and licensing for film, TV. NYWIFT members are invited free of charge. However, RSVP in advance is required. If interested in attending, please send RSVP to
INFO@LINNETTEHARRIGANMEDIA.COM no later than Tuesday, 7/12/2016 at 1 pm.

NYWIFT member Jenn Shaw directed a new project titled $15 Kicks within Spike Lee’s Lil’ Joints, a short documentary series from ESPN Films executive produced by Spike Lee. The films in the collection will merge African American and sports narratives, all directed by African American filmmakers. This film will appear live on ESPN's new website The Undefeated starting June 28th and go on to air during the 6 PM ET hour of SportsCenter on July 1st, 2016.

Visit ESPN's website for more information.

NYWIFT member Martha Frances Williams’ series of short films called I am THEM has recently been accepted to the Women’s Voices Now Film Festival. This festival uses its online presence to amplify the voices of all women by promoting the free expression of women’s struggles for civil economic, political, and gender rights worldwide. I am THEM is a series of short films that explore the pivotal turning points for three women. You can view and vote for this movie now on their website.

For information about the series or about Martha you can also visit their websites.

Member Melody Cooper has been named one of the first-ever Shudder Labs fellows for her film The Sound of Darkness, about a blind musician and a deaf sculptor who are haunted by a woman only they can see and hear, who leads them to take on an epic battle against a terrifying legacy of racial violence and evil. Melody Cooper is a playwright, screenwriter, director, producer, and the founder of Origins, a group that helps create and support Black Visionary work. She won the Women in Cinema International Screenplay Competition for her horror script Monstrous, which also won third place at the Slamdance film festival. The Sound Of Darkness will be her first film; you can see a teaser trailer below, and read more about it here.


DreamTown, a feature-length documentary that received one of NYWIFT’s in-kind post-production grants last year, will be screening at the Ecuadorian Film Festival on June 3rd and 5th. The documentary follows Anibal Chala, a young AfroEcuadorian soccer player from the impoverished Chota Valley region, the source of inspiration for the film, where 90% of residents are Afrodescendants and where local soccer players have gained fame as some of the nation’s best. The region was once forgotten by the government and its history disregarded by the country until a team half comprised of AfroEcuadorians took the country to its first World Cup in 2002, and again in 2006, after which the image of “El Chota,” and its place in Ecuadorian society, was forever changed. Chala strives against all odds in the documentary to make it playing soccer in the professional leagues, from playing in the youth minor leagues at the age of 12 to securing his place on the First Division team, ranking among Ecuador’s top 10 players nationwide at the young age of 17. At its core, this film is a story of hope and triumph that asks: How much do we sacrifice for a dream? And how far does that dream really take us? For more information on DreamTown visit the documentary's website. To purchase tickets visit the Ecuadorian Film Festival website.

Member Leah Streetman, a music supervisor for film, TV and advertising, has been nominated for The Women In Sync Awards. This is an annual event recognizing the excellence of the work done by women in the fields of music, visual media, interactive media, advertising and brands in the during the 2015 calendar year. This includes music supervisors in film, TV, games, the Internet, mobile, advertising and brand management, publishing executives, managers, label executives, artists, producers, technologists, sync reps and others involved in buying, selling and using music in visual entertainment, branded messaging and advertising. The ceremony takes place June 15. Vote for Leah here!

The post-queer musical film Thirsty, based on the life of female impersonator Scott Townsend, a.k.a. Thirsty Burlington, will screen at the Provincetown International Film Festival at the Art House (214 Commercial Street, Provincetown, MA) at 9 PM on June 15. NYWIFT member Margo Pelletier is the director, member Laura Kelber is the co-writer and member Lisa Thomas is the producer. Thirsty tells the story of girly-boy Scott Townsend who turns to the world of drag as a safe respite from his bullied upbringing in the Cambridge projects to become Thirsty Burlington, Provincetown’s beloved Cher impersonator. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased on the festival website.

The short film Off Track Betty makes its word premiere at the Brooklyn Film Festival on June 5 at 10:30 PM and June 10 at 10 PM. NYWIFT member Liz Ortiz-Mackes is the producer and casting director. In a disappearing corner of New York City, a longtime resident realizes she no longer recognizes the neighborhood that she calls home. Unsure about her future, she is confronted by a young man with a direct link to her past. She is forced to ask: When do we hold on, and when is it time to let go? Shot on 16mm film on location on the Lower East Side. With the closing of the city's last film lab, Off Track Betty is one of the last films ever to be processed in NYC. Tickets are $13 and may be purchased online.

The Lower East Side Festival of the Arts Film Program will present Villa Diodati, a chamber opera film composed by NYWIFT member Mira J. Spektor, will screen at Theatre for the New City (155 First Ave between 9th & 10th St.) on May 28 at 1:45. The screening is FREE! The film sings about love, death, ghosts and games…and why did Mary Shelley create Frankenstein’s monster 200 summers ago in a cold Swiss lakeside villa? For information or to RSVP contact mirajspektor@earthlink.net. The screening will be followed by a talkback. Running time is 72 minutes.

NYWIFT Board President Alexis Alexanian recently spoke to The Moveable Fest's "Difference Makers" series about her work as President of Production at Locomotive. Founded by Lucy Barzun Donnelly, a longtime producer with impeccable taste for smart comedies such as Jennifer Westfeldt’s Friends with Kids, the production company is shaping up to be a major player in the movie business in the next few years, identifying a gap in the marketplace for movies that would entertain the long underserved female audience. As tough as it’s traditionally been to secure financing for films with strong female leads, especially comedies, Locomotive made it look effortless in the case of Maggie’s Plan, in theaters May 2016. Read the profile here.

2013 Muse honoree Robin Wright revealed at a Rockefeller Foundation event that she had recently threatened to go public unless she received pay equal to her House of Cards co-star Kevin Spacey. According to Business Insider, Spacey was pulling in $500,000 an episode in 2014 for his role while Wright was estimated to be making about $420,000 an episode. NPR's All Things Considered interviewed NYWIFT Executive Terry Lawler in connection to the issue, and Lawler explained the importance of tranparency in the fight for equal pay. Listen to the segment here.

Member and filmmaker Caytha Jentis was named one of Good Housekeeping's 50 over 50. "The older they get, the more fearless they become." This article discusses why 50+ ?is #theperfectage. NYWIFT will screen a feature film cut of Caytha's comedic web series about midlife The Other F Word at the member screening on September 27, 2016. See the list here - Caytha is #9.

NYWIFT member Pamela French's debut feature documentary Becoming More Visible will have its world premiere at the San Francisco Doc Fest on June 10 at the historic Roxie Theater at 7 PM and again on June 11 at the Vogue Theater at 6:45 PM. Becoming More Visible is a New York story about four fearless transgender young adults that defy societal norms to be their true selves and become more visible. While this topic is everywhere right now, it is still widely misunderstood. Ms. French hopes her film can help normalize what it means to be trans. For more info check out the film's website, and if you happen to be in San Francisco area that weekend, you can buy tickets here. Tickets are $12.

Woody Allen’s Café Society opens the 69th Festival de Cannes 2016. Schedule 2 members of NYWIFT proudly supplied worldwide technical services for this film and are responsible for its international delivery. This is the second time that Schedule 2 has supported an opening film from Woody Allen at Cannes. They provided worldwide technical services and delivery for Midnight in Paris in 2011.

NYWIFT member Katarina Otto-Bernstein co-produced documentary Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures; which just received its official television premiere on HBO is this past Monday. The documentary tells the story of American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe highlighting his social impact through his art. The film has since recently also premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this past January, and also at an international festival at Berlinale this past February. During the week of April 18th it will also make its theatrical release in theaters across England. For more about this film and updates please follow them on their website and Facebook.

Congratulations to NYWIFT member, writer and director Bethany Jacobson for receiving the best International Live Action Short Film Award for her film Hotel Bleu from the Louisiana International Film Festival! Hotel Bleu follows the story of a washed up comedian who finds refuge at Hotel Bleu, where she meets a charismatic bandleader half her age and gets her mojo back as a singer. You can follow Hotel Bleu on its website, Facebook, and Twitter page for future updates.

The short film, Moral Compass, written and directed by NYWIFT member Kylie Garcelon has been selected by the NYC Independent Film Festival and will be screened at the festival's opening night on April 27th at 7:30pm. The film follows a loving wife who faces the unthinkable when her husband, suffering with Alzheimer's, falls into a steep mental decline. You can buy tickets here. Check out the Moral Compass trailer here and the film’s Facebook page for more information.

NYWIFT member Gita Kaufman received the 2015 JFSA Distinguised Lifetime Humanitarian Achievement Award for her documentary, Shadows from My Past. The documentary juxtaposes interviews of contemporary Austrians grappling with their nation’s complicity in the Holocaust with desperate letters written from filmmaker Gita Kaufman’s Jewish family from Vienna, 1939 – 1941. In 2013, it screened at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Vienna Jewish Film Festival. For more information about the film, visit the website.

Independent filmmaker and NYWIFT member Jennifer Potts is currently in development on her new feature film: The Extraordinary World of Cecily Blinkstop. Written as part of her MFA program at New Hampshire Institute of Art, the film is set in 1974 rural New England and follows 7-year old Cecily who, after the death of her baby sister, lives in a world with no music, no color, no laughter, no love—that is, until a magical imaginary friend shows up and joins Cecily on the quest to save her family from the grief that is destroying them. With this film Potts is also committed to planting seeds of change in the industry by building a crew made up of at least 50 percent women and 80 percent locals. Filming is scheduled to begin during the summer of 2017 in New England. Find out more about The Extraordinary World of Cecily Blinkstop, about becoming an investor to help them reach their goal of $500,000, and how to get involved in the production at the film's website, Twitter and Facebook page.

NYWIFT members get 20% off tickets to the Socially Relevant Film Festival (March 16-19) using the code SR16WIF at checkout. Enjoy one of New York's newest film festivals, and see an alternative form of entertainment with human interest stories dealing with social issues, offering a possibility for positive social change. While you’re there, check out these four films by NYWIFT members, co-presented by NYWIFT: Beneath the Olive Tree by Stavroula Toska – March 16 @ 6 PM;Sense the Wind by Christine Knowlton – March 17@ 8 PM; Little Father by Ioana Turcan – March 17 @ 10 PM; and Bodies of Resilience by Jill Woodward – March 19 @ 4 PM. All screenings take place at Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea (260 W. 23rd Street). Read more on our website and buy tickets online.

NYWIFT member Crystal R. Emery is launching a national initiative entitled “Changing the Face of Medicine.” Its inaugural NYC event will feature a book signing of her biographical photo essay entitled Against All Odds: Celebrating Black Women in Medicine, and a sneak preview screening of her latest documentary film, Black Women in Medicine, at The New School. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Crystal Emery, Dr. Aletha Maybank, and Dr. Doris Chang, hosted and moderated by New School faculty member (and NYWIFT member) Michelle Materre on March 31 at 6 PM. The event is free but RSVP is required.