Congratulations to the 26 filmmakers who have been selected by The Film Society of Lincoln Center as this year’s NYFF (New York Film Festival) Artist Academy, which offers an immersive and creative experience for up-and-coming and established filmmakers from diverse backgrounds.
You’ll recognize some of their names like Nijla Mu’min (who has been a contributor to this blog for the last couple of years), as well as Chinonye Chukwu, Rashaad Ernesto Green, Reinaldo Marcus Green, Nia DaCosta and others.
The group will take part in a private two-day program that features talks and case studies designed to inspire filmmakers’ artistic instincts and encourage collaboration.
Also included are a slate of screenings and panel discussions by esteemed veterans from a variety of disciplines for artists to meet in an intimate atmosphere.
This year’s mentors include theater, opera, and film director Julie Taymor; independent film producer and Killer Films co-founder Christine Vachon (Carol); producer, writer, and former Focus Features head James Schamus; director, producer and NYFF53 Filmmaker in Residence Athina Rachel Tsangari (Chevalier, Attenberg); producer Diana Williams (Lucasfilm Story Group); creators of Sherlock Holmes & the Internet of Things (NYFF53 Convergence), Lance Weiler and Nick Fortugno; producer and Chief Creative Officer of CAMPFIRE Mike Monello; artist Prune Nourry; Luis Castro (Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment); and more.
Past mentors have included Paul Schrader, Fernando Eimbcke, Nico Muhly, Joe Brewster, Michele Stephenson, Ed Lachman, Ira Deutchman, Nicole Emmanuele, Sir Richard Eyre, David Tedeschi, and the Safdie brothers.
The 26 filmmakers selected (and their latest projects) for the NYFF53 Artist Academy:
Omonike Akinyemi is a writer/director/producer with a passion for daring stories. Her films have taken her to three continents—Africa, Europe, and the Americas. A two-time New York Foundation for the Arts fellow and Princess Grace Honorarium winner, Akinyemi is currently developing an epic feature film, Omo Shango (People Under the Influence of the God of Thunder).
The Blazing World
Jessica Bardsley’s films have screened internationally at festivals such as RIDM, CPH:DOX, Visions du Réel, True/False, EMAF, Kasseler Dokfest, Flaherty NYC, and more. She is the recipient of a Princess Grace Award, a Grand Prix at 25 FPS, a Best Short Film award at Punto de Vista, and the Eileen Maitland Award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival. Bardsley is a PhD student in Film and Visual Studies at Harvard University.
A Long Walk
Chinonye Chukwu is Assistant Professor of Motion Pictures at Wright State University. She is a recipient of the prestigious Princess Grace Award and Princeton Hodder Fellowship. Her debut feature, AlaskaLand, and her most recent short, A Long Walk, have both screened globally at festivals and other venues. Currently, Chukwu is developing her next feature film.
Nia DaCosta is a writer-director based in New York City. She has written and directed projects for the stage, screen, and new-media platforms, including the playlet Kingdom Come at the Leicester Square Theatre in London, the game show Sagmeister x Walsh for Adobe (Behance), and the documentary Shark Loves the Amazon.
Sean Dunn wrote and directed his first feature, The Confabulators, in 2013. Recently, he made a short film called Making Eyes. In addition to working on his own films, Dunn has recorded sound for many productions, including the films of Ted Fendt (Going Out), Dustin Guy Defa (Person to Person), and Matías Piñeiro (Hermia & Helena).
Above All Else
John Fiege is a director, cinematographer, and photographer whose latest feature documentary, Above All Else, premiered at SXSW in 2014, and had its international premiere at Hot Docs. His first feature documentary, Mississippi Chicken, was nominated for a Gotham Award. He recently shot the 2014 Sundance and SXSW selection, No No: A Documentary.
Adam Ginsberg is a sometime director of photography and editor. Among his most recent credits are the films 7 Chinese Brothers,Stinking Heaven, Hernia, Person to Person, and Tired Moonlight.
Born and based in NYC, Sonya Goddy is a graduate of Columbia University’s MFA film program. She was the recipient of the Adrienne Shelly Best Female Director Award for her short Sundae and received the Zaki Gordon Award for Excellence in Screenwriting. Previous shorts have played at BAMcinemaFest, Woodstock Film Festival, and Palm Springs Shortfest—and have been distributed by Shorts International. She also wrote and co-produced The Young Housefly starring Alex Karpovsky, which was made for under $1,000 and nominated for a Student Academy Award. She is currently in pre-production on her first feature, Holy New York.
Rashaad Ernesto Green
A graduate of NYU’s Film Program, New York native Rashaad Ernesto Green’s thesis and first feature film, Gun Hill Road, premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and opened theatrically in 26 cities nationwide. Most recently, Green wrote a pilot for a spec HBO series and directed episodes of NBC’s Grimm and CW’s Supernatural for Warner Bros. TV.
Reinaldo Marcus Green
Reinaldo Marcus Green is a writer, director, and producer based in New York City. His films have premiered at prestigious film festivals around the world, including Cannes, Sundance, Telluride, Tribeca, and LAFF. Most recently, Green joined the producing faculty at NYU’s Tisch Graduate Film School and was recognized this year as one of Filmmaker magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film.”
Stephen Gurewitz is an American filmmaker. The New Yorker praised his directorial debut, Marvin Seth and Stanley, as being “extraordinarily touching and quietly hilarious.” Most recently, he edited the film Stinking Heaven and was the lead in the short Hernia.
Jeremy Hersh is a filmmaker and playwright based in New York. His short film Actresses premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and went on to play SXSW, BAMcinemaFest, and many more. His undergraduate thesis film, NATIVES, premiered at SXSW in 2013.
Myna Joseph co-developed and produced the critically acclaimed comic drama The Mend, directed by John Magary and starring Josh Lucas. She is a graduate of Columbia University’s MFA film program. Her short film Man was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival, Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, and New Directors/New Films. She attended the Sundance Institute Screenwriters and Directors Labs with her script Charlotte XVI. Other projects being developed with collaborator John Magary include Breezin’ and Shebang.
Women Who Kill
Ingrid Jungermann created the Web series F TO 7TH, starring Amy Sedaris, Michael Showalter, and Gaby Hoffmann. She is one of Outmagazine’s “100 People of the Year” and Filmmaker magazine’s “25 Faces of Independent Film.” Her work has been selected for the Tribeca All Access Program and IFP’s Emerging Narratives Lab. Ingrid is an alumnus of NYU Graduate Film.
John grew up in Dallas, Texas, and attended Columbia University’s graduate film program. His critically acclaimed first feature, The Mend, premiered at SXSW and is now in release. He is currently developing a slate of projects with collaborator Myna Joseph, including Breezin’, a comedy set on a cruise ship, and Shebang, a psychological thriller with actress Mickey Sumner. John has written and directed several short films, most notably The Second Line (Sundance 2008). His related feature script, Go Down, Antoinette, went through the Sundance Directors and Screenwriters Labs.
(DIS)Honesty – The Truth About Lies
Yael Melamede has been producing films for over a decade. (DIS)Honesty – The Truth About Lies marks his directorial debut. Melamede’s producing credits include the recently Emmy-nominated film When I Walk; the 2013 Academy Award winner for Best Documentary Short,Inocente; Desert Runners (2013); Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (2009); and the Oscar-nominated film My Architect (2003).
For the Plasma
Kyle is the co-director of one feature, For the Plasma, that has shown in several film festivals. He lives in Brooklyn and is currently working on his second feature inspired by the life of Georges Simenon.
Nijla Mu’min is a writer and filmmaker from the East Bay Area. Her short films have screened at festivals across the country. She is the recipient of the 2012 Princess Grace Award for her film, Deluge and was one of 10 writers selected for the 2014 Sundance Institute Screenwriters Intensive. She was the winner of Best Screenplay at the 2014 Urbanworld Film Festival for her feature script Noor.
Charles Poekel is a NY-based filmmaker who has produced and photographed theatrical documentaries including Hey Bartender (SXSW),Making the Boys (Berlinale), Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead (Sundance), and Fake It So Real. He wrote, produced, and directed his first narrative feature, Christmas, Again, which played at the Sundance Film Festival, Locarno, and New Directors/New Films.
Bad at Dancing
Keith Poulson is a Brooklyn-based actor, filmmaker, and musician. His acting credits include Somebody Up There Likes Me, Listen Up Philip, Queen of Earth, Hellaware, Stinking Heaven, and Bad at Dancing (NYFF 2015). He has also worked once or twice as a DIT, Casting Associate, PA, Sound Mixer (Hernia, NYFF 2015), Key Grip, Best Boy Electric, Songwriter, and Extra.
Iva Radivojevic spent her early years in Yugoslavia and Cyprus before settling in NYC. Her films have screened at Rotterdam, SXSW, MoMA, and The New York Times’ Op-Docs. She is the recipient of the 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship and was named one of Filmmakermagazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film.” Radivojevic’s debut documentary, Evaporating Borders, has received numerous awards worldwide.
Ian Soroka is an artist and filmmaker based in New York and is originally from Colorado. He is primarily interested in expanded forms of documentary cinema. His films have screened internationally in festivals and at museums such as Doc Lisboa, Curtas Vila do Conde, Rencontres Internationales: Paris/Berlin/Madrid, and the Slovenian Cinematheque. Soroka received an MS in Art, Culture and Technology at MIT, a BFA/BA in film studies from the University of Colorado, and studied nonfiction cinema at FAMU, Prague. In 2009, he was awarded a Princess Grace fellowship, and in 2012 he was a Fulbright Research Fellow in Slovenia.
Ethan Spigland is an award-winning filmmaker and visual artist. He has written and directed numerous films, including The Archive. His short, The Strange Case of Balthazar Hyppolite, won the Gold Medal in the Student Academy Awards. He is currently shooting a documentary on the writer Lafcadio Hearn. Spigland is also Professor in the Media Studies Department at Pratt Institute.
Gina Telaroli is a Cleveland-raised, NYC-based filmmaker, visual essayist, critic, and video archivist at Sikelia Productions. She is the director of the feature films Traveling Light (2011) and Here’s to the Future! (2014), and in the past year opened a new video installation for her piece Silk Tatters (2015). Alongside that, she has edited comprehensive anthologies on William A. Wellman, Allan Dwan, and Tony Scott.
Model Fifty-One Fifty-Six
Josh Weissbach is an experimental filmmaker. He lives in a house next to an abandoned village with his wife, daughter, and three cats. He is the recipient of a Cary Grant Film Award from the Princess Grace Foundation-USA, a Mary L. Nohl Fellowship for Emerging Artists from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, and a LEF Fellowship from the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar. His 16mm films and digital videos have shown in film festivals, micro-cinemas, and galleries worldwide.
Iman Zawahry’s films have shown in over 100 venues worldwide and have won numerous awards, including a Student Emmy Award and a Princess Grace. Zawahry also collaborated with the nonprofit organization Islamic Scholarship Fund to create the first-ever American Muslim grant launched in 2014. Paperback, a film she produced with Sundance alum Adam Bowers, will premiere at the 2015 Austin Film Festival.