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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.


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.   

The Inquisition of Camilo Sanz will screen at the Queens World Film Festival March 16 at 11:59 PM at the Secret Theatre (44-02 23rd Street, Long Island City). NYWIFT member Marisol Carrere is an associate producer and plays the role of Dolores Sanz in the film. After living nearly his entire life in New York City with false documents, burgeoning finance professional Camilo Sanz receives a notice of deportation. Desperate for a solution at any cost, he obtains funding from a nefarious neighborhood loan shark, and dives head first into a fraudulent marriage with a relative stranger named Hailey. Tickets are $12. Buy tickets.

Member Elaine Tack’s Hanka’s Tattoo, which tells the story of a New York City doctor and his daughter getting the same tattoo Hanka did as a prisoner at Auschwitz 75 years ago, will also screen at the fest on March 16 at 7:15 PM at All Saint’s Episcopal Church. Buy tickets.

Thank You for Playing will make its theatrical premiere March 18-24 at IFP Screen Forward. NYWIFT member Laura Vigilante is the impact producer. When Ryan Green, a video game programmer, learns that his young son Joel has cancer, he and his wife begin documenting their emotional journey in the form of an unusually beautiful and poetic video game. Thank You for Playing follows Ryan and his family over two years through the creation of “That Dragon, Cancer” as it evolves from a cathartic exercise into a critically acclaimed work of art that sets the gaming industry abuzz. Tickets are $12.50 and several screenings will be followed by a Q&A. See the schedule and buy tickets. Use promo codeTYFPFRIDAY for groups of eight or more ($3 discount).

The feature Can will screen March 23 at 6:30 PM at The Documentary Forum at CCNY (259 Convent Avenue, Shepard Hall Room 290), followed by a Q&A with director and NYWIFT member Pearl Park. The screening is FREE but please RSVP to documentary@ccny.cuny.edu. What does it take to heal from mental illness? Can Truong, a war refugee who was among the millions of boat people who fled Vietnam in the 1970's, was a model student-aspiring to become a doctor, when he was diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder. This is the story of his effort to seek help and combating mental health stigma in the Asian American community. Mental illness afflicts one in four Americans every year. Co-sponsored with Third World Newsreel and The Maysles Cinema.

NYWIFT Member Cathleen Campbell's Outta My Name short has 3 upcoming festival screenings: March 24, 2:30 PM, AAWIC Film Festival at ImageNation's RAW Space, 2031 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd ( info@aawic.org). April 1, 1-5PM, Reel Sisters Showcase at the National Black Writers Conference, Founders Auditorium, Medgar Evers College, 1650 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11225. (centerforblackliterature.org/program and reelsisters@yahoo.com). April 20, 9PM, Manhattan Film Festival (Dramedy Shorts Program) at the Cinema Village Theater, 22 E. 12th Street (manhattanff.com).

Inspired by true stories of women lighthouse keepers,To Keep the Light (produced by NYWIFT member Jane Applegate) follows Abbie played by NYWIFT's own Erica Fae (who also acts as writer/director) who gives a voice to their largely unknown experience. Working in isolation and under extreme conditions, these women -- who inherited their jobs from infirm or deceased husbands or fathers -- were trailblazers, embodying feminism long before the word existed and far afield from the urban, intellectual circles that spawned the women's rights movement. Her strength is stoic and sensual, yet not packaged in sexuality. Nuanced, human and true to her times, Abbie is a female lead rarely depicted on screen.