Independent Filmmakers

NYWIFT Names Winners of Loreen Arbus Disability Awareness Grants

Wed, 04/14/2021 - 10:37 -- Nick Dager

New York Women in Film & Television has named Lisa Denker the winner of the Loreen Arbus Disability Awareness Grant for her documentary feature Still Judy. The first-ever Honorable Mention award was given to Alyscia Cunningham for her documentary feature I Am More Than My Hair. The film completion grant, now in its 14th year, is provided through the generosity of longtime disability rights advocate Loreen Arbus and awards $7,500 to a woman filmmaker for a film on physical or developmental disability issues; the Honorable Mention winner receives $1,500.

Post Tremors

Tue, 03/30/2021 - 10:41 -- Nick Dager

Pace Pictures provided complete post-production services for Tremors: Shrieker Island, the latest installment in the cult horror franchise about giant, worm-like creatures that prey on humans.

Identifying Features Wins PIFF Future/future Competition

Mon, 03/29/2021 - 10:37 -- Nick Dager

The winner of the 44th Portland International Film Festival’s Future/future competition is Identifying Features, directed by Fernanda Valadez. The film, an intriguing and confident first feature following a mother’s journey to find out what happened to her son along the Mexican border, was awarded the honor as well as a $1,000 prize.

NYWIFT Plans Weekend of Screenings and Celebration

Thu, 03/25/2021 - 08:10 -- Nick Dager

New York Women in Film & Television culminates its month-long recognition of Women’s History with a weekend of screenings celebrating female creators in film, television, and media. NYWIFT will screen IFC Films’ critically acclaimed Farewell Amor March 26-27 as part of its annual Support Women Artists Now Day celebration in partnership with SAG-AFTRA, FF2 Media, Women in the Arts & Media Coalition, HerFlix, In Creative Company, The Gotham, African American Women in Cinema, and Women Make Movies, followed by a talkback with filmmaker Ekwa Msangi on Saturday, March 27 at 12 p.m. EDT. Then the 41st Annual NYWIFT Muse Awards celebrating women of vision and achievement will have its educational broadcast on CUNY TV on Sunday, March 28 at 8 p.m. EdT.

Cinenso Launches Channel for Independent Filmmakers

Thu, 03/18/2021 - 09:27 -- Nick Dager

Cinenso has launched the Cinenso Channel, a secure platform, with multi-digital rights management, and payment infrastructure and storage at a nominal cost for global programmers of independent film content, from short films to niche genre films. It will enable curators – including scholars, rights holders and programmers – to create channels for film screenings, discussions, and archival content.

Film Urges Vigilance in Pandemic

Tue, 03/09/2021 - 09:59 -- Nick Dager

As we pass the one-year anniversary of the pandemic’s onset in the US, people are suffering from quarantine fatigue and vaccine roll-out frustrations. Even after people manage to get vaccinated, many are left wondering: What’s the point? Why do we have to continue to make the sacrifice? To answer that question, the makers of a new short film entitled Daniel turned for help to a war veteran.

VFX Revive an Ancient Chinese Tale

Tue, 02/09/2021 - 12:40 -- Nick Dager

Snake White: Love Endures is a mesmerizing new independent film based on a timeless Chinese love fable. The earliest known written version of the story appeared in the 1600s during the Ming Dynasty. Over the centuries it has been repeated many times in operas, movies and television series and is considered to be one of China's Four Great Folktales. This latest film, while faithful to the spirit of the original folktale, is almost in a category of its own as it combines traditional Cantonese opera with modern music and breathtaking visual effects.

Windows to the Past, Present, Future

Thu, 02/04/2021 - 10:08 -- Nick Dager

Claudia Raschke is an award-winning New York City based cinematographer best known for such films as Oscar-nominated and Emmy winning RBG (Magnolia/ Participant/ CNN), Oscar-nominated God is Bigger Than Elvis (HBO), Peabody Award-winning Black Magic (ESPN), Oscar short-listed Mad Hot Ballroom (Paramount), Particle Fever (Bond), Atomic Homefront (HBO), and The Freedom to Marry (Argot Pictures). Her latest film, which screened at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, is My Name is Pauli Murray. Fifteen years before Rosa Parks refused to surrender her bus seat, and a full decade before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned separate-but-equal legislation, Pauli Murray was already knee-deep fighting for social justice. A pioneering attorney, activist and dedicated memoirist, Murray shaped landmark litigation—and consciousness— around race and gender equity. As an African American youth raised in the segregated South—who was also wrestling with broader notions of gender identity—Murray understood, intrinsically, what it was to exist beyond previously accepted categories and cultural norms. The film was made by the same team that made RBG including directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West, producer Talleah Bridges McMahon and editor Cinque Northern. My conversation with Raschke, via email, began with that team.

Exploring the Bonds of Twins

Mon, 02/01/2021 - 12:45 -- Nick Dager

Erin Vassilopoulos’ directorial feature debut, Superior, is having its world premiere in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Superior was inspired by a short film of the same name that she wrote and directed in 2015 when she was working on her MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. While both films explore the relationship of identical twins and feature the same actresses, they tell very different stories. In the feature length version, when Marian is on the run, she goes to the only place she knows is safe: her childhood home. She is greeted by her estranged sister, Vivian, a stay-at-home housewife struggling to conceive and on the verge of a failing marriage. Though the two are identical twins, they live opposite lives. Marian’s mysterious return disrupts Vivian’s small-town routine, and the sisters must learn to reconnect and reconcile. When Marian's haunting past finally catches up to her, their separate worlds collide, catapulting both sisters into grave danger. I spoke with Vassilopoulos by email during the Festival. Our conversation began with what it was about twins that captured her imagination as a storyteller.

Isolated Cinema Winner Named

Mon, 02/01/2021 - 11:28 -- Nick Dager

Last month, when the Göteborg Film Festival announced that one person would have the opportunity to watch this year’s festival at Pater Noster lighthouse without family, friends or mobile phone, the idea turned out to be immensely appealing. In less than two weeks, the festival committee received more than 12,000 applications from more than 45 countries. After a comprehensive process involving interviews and tests, one person has finally been selected for the coveted place: emergency nurse and film enthusiast Lisa Enroth from Skövde, Sweden.

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