The SOMA Film Festival has accepted “Ilyanica“, a film I wrote and directed starring Circe Sturm and Cynthia Fray, as an official selection. The festival takes place March 9-12, 2017 at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, a beautiful venue in South Orange, New Jersey. The exact screening day and time has not been announced yet.
20 years after a traumatic event, two friends meet in an abandoned detention center in Eastern Europe where one has become involved with a group of radicals occupying the building that many years ago the CIA used as a so-called black site to interrogate people using waterboarding and other torture techniques as part of the Extraordinary Rendition and Detention Program.
“Ilyanica” is a fictional short film about two women, now in their late 40s, who have been friends since college. Ilyana and Erica met in Berlin, Germany during their year abroad in college 25 years ago. Instead of returning to the U.S. after their junior year abroad, they remained overseas. Except for a few years back in the U.S., they have both spent most of their adult lives living outside the U.S. as expatriates.
Erica believes Ilyana has gotten herself in a difficult situation as a result of her idealism and free spirit.
Erica worries about Ilyana’s latest actions, so she comes to visit her and, in her mind, to save her.
“SOMA is short for South Orange and Maplewood, two towns that pride themselves on artistic expression. Resting only 15 miles and a short train ride from New York City, these two communities in Essex County, New Jersey are home to countless actors, actresses, filmmakers, writers, producers, Broadway and entertainment industry professionals. These two unique towns are the perfect place to invite filmmakers into where they can show their work to a highly receptive and responsive audience who both understand and appreciate their creative endeavors.
The 2nd annual SOMA Film Festival will be an even bigger and better event than our successful inaugural year. We will continue to showcase new, entertaining and innovative films from local, student, domestic and international filmmakers.
The 2nd year will extend to full four days of festivities that celebrate movies. We learned from last year’s success that there is an eagerness and demand for quality independent film in our community and beyond. Our Downtown South Orange and Maplewood locations at SOPAC (South Orange Performance Center) and Maplewood Theater are the perfect locations. The short trip from New York City attracted a countless variety of talent last year that included: Directors, Actors, Producers, Writers and Industry Professionals.
We will again offer outstanding independent short, and feature documentary and narrative films, director Q & A’s, an opening night party, as well as a local filmmakers program. The coming year will add a kids & family program. We will highlight a panel filled with industry professionals who will provide insightful advice on a range of movie-making topics. We will also include more behind-the-scene filmmaker events—such as a private industry “meet & greet”—that will empower filmmakers with real world opportunities.
That’s the theater below.
Thank you to Kat Candler! She generously donated $100 to the Grants Initiative to Support Women and Diverse Filmmakers in RTF. Kat has inspired and taught many RTF filmmakers. I was in her advanced narrative production class. She founded Women In Cinema while a professor in RTF. She is the writer/director of Hellion, which screened at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. She has directed 2 upcoming episodes of Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey’s “Queen Sugar”. In a recent Daily Texan article, Kat said she believes the root of the problem with underrepresentation lies with those in power.
“The people who have the money and the power and the control are white males,” Candler said. “But just now we’re slowly seeing more women and more people of color come into positions with the opportunity to reflect their world.”
You can also donate to the grants initiative.
I have been raising money for grants in an attempt to increase the numbers of women taking advanced production classes in RTF at UT-Austin. Now, the Women in Cinema Director’s Grant for Women and Minorities is officially open! That’s right, you can apply RIGHT NOW. Check out the application to see if you meet the criteria, and apply for a chance at some $$$ for your film! Women in Cinema is administering the grant. The deadline for submitting is October 8th, 2016 at midnight.
In addition to cash grants, one recipient could receive an hour of professional ADR from Austin’s Shayna Brown. This will not only be a nice improvement on the final quality of the audio of the dialog in someone’s film, but it will be a great learning experience for the grant recipient and her actors to work with a professional like Shayna on an ADR session.
The grant will not be judged by Women in Cinema, it will be judged by outside professionals in the film industry. Either people working in filmmaking, film festivals, or film services.
Each semester there are some advanced production classes in RTF that have a large gender imbalance, e.g. in a class of 20, there often may be only 1-5 women. In spring 2016, the undergraduate thesis film admitted 13 directors, but only one woman was admitted to the class as a director.
While we have raised enough funds to cover the first semester of grants, we continue to raise funds for next semester and future semesters. We want this grant program to run at least four years so that we can tell if we are making a difference.
To donate, please visit the crowdfunding page.
The There, starring Teresa May Nichta and Venus Monique is an Official Selection to the 22nd Annual San Antonio Film Festival. We play at 3pm, Friday, July 29, 2016 – at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. See the festival schedule.
The San Antonio Film Festival will span seven days from July 25-31. Films will be screened at several locations throughout downtown San Antonio. The main screening location is the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. The seven-day cinema event will celebrate selected independent short and feature length films from around the globe.
“We had over 1,000 entrees from the film industry who wanted a slot in our festival. There is two rounds, so the films are seen by several judges around the country through an online submission process”, Executive Director of SAFILM Adam Rocha told La Prensa.
We have more great perks for donating to the grants initiative to support women and diverse filmmakers at UT. All of the perks are available on the crowdfunding donation page.
The New Orleans Film Society donated 2 All-Access Badges to the New Orleans Film Festival (October 12-20, 2016). Celebrating its 27th anniversary this year, the Oscar®-qualifying New Orleans Film Festival has firmly established itself on the regional film fest circuit as one of the most reputable in the country. It was named by MovieMaker Magazine as one of the “25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” in their 2012, 2013, and 2014 editions, and it was also named by Premium Beat as one of the “Fifteen Fests You Should Enter.”
Bunkhouse has donated a 1 night stay in a Poolside Bungalow (Sun-Wed) at their luxury boutique Hotel Saint Cecilia in Austin. The Saint Cecilia, named for the patron saint of music, was designed by local hotelier Liz Lambert. The property is the epitome of cool: Lambert drew inspiration from artists, musicians and writers from the 1960s and 70s. A Poolside Bungalow has 600 sq ft. All have Hastens king beds with sitting areas separated by French doors, private patios, wet bars and great views. (Value over $600).
Bunkhouse has also donated a 1 night stay at the Hotel San José, a hotel for friends from near and far in Austin, Texas. Built in 1936 as an “ultramodern” motor court, the property has been transformed into a 40 room urban bungalow-style hotel tucked behind stucco walls and set amidst lush garden courtyards. The San José is located on South Congress Avenue, a few blocks from downtown and Lady Bird Johnson Lake in the heart of one of Austin’s favorite neighborhoods. In addition to being a unique place to sleep, the Hotel San José serves as a gathering place and occasional hub of community activity for locals and visitors alike.
Act fast and you could snag one of these great perks for donating to the grants initiative to support women and diverse filmmakers taking advanced filmmaking production classes in RTF at The University of Texas at Austin.
(SOLD OUT) The ATX Television Festival has donated two Weekend Badges, which we are offering for $125 each. You can snag them on the donation page. We only have two, so act fast. The ATX Television Festival Weekend Badge includes access to all panels and screenings at official ATX Festival locations June 9-12, 2016. Though there are thousands of film and music festivals, in and out of Austin, there is nothing like ATX. The focus of the ATX Television Festival is the celebration of the medium of television: looking back at its history, where it is now, and where it is headed.
The San Antonio Film Festival (July 26-31, 2016) has donated 2 badges for us to use as perks for donations. They normally go for $129, but we are giving them away for donations of $50 each. We want to thank the San Antonio Film Festival and the director Adam Rocha, who is an alumni of RTF at UT.
The San Antonio Film Festival sets up an amazing, creative innovative environment for just a few days every year where opportunities for one-on-one networking abound, connections are forged and filmmakers have a slew of unique opportunities to share ideas and advance their careers. As an accessible and inclusive platform for cinema artists, the San Antonio Film Festival also brings together scores of new and original films from across the country and around the world to delight, elevate and edify cinema lovers as well.
The Austin Film Festival October 13-20, 2016 is 4 days of panels and workshops and 8 nights of films and parties. The 2016 Austin Film Festival Conference Badge is a perfect way to experience the full Conference. Gain entry into the panels, select parties and networking events – PLUS be first in line for all eight days of the screenings that make AFF the “not-to-miss” event of the fall season! The festival donated us 2 Conference Badges to use as perks. They are going for $350 now on the AFF website, but you can get a Conference Badge for a donation of only $250 on our crowdfunding page.
The Texas Panic Room in Austin has donated a voucher good for up to ten people to visit. We are offering this voucher as a perk for one person who donates $100 (normally, it would cost $200). Buy it here. So you get to have fun and donate at the same time! “Thank you for reaching out to us for your donation request! We strive to uphold our motto of being “more than just a business” and constantly provide back to our community. We love what your organization does in supporting women and diverse filmmakers on their journey to success!
Watch this video to get a taste of what Austin Panic Room can offer you and your team!
Shayna Brown is donating an hour of ADR to one of the grant recipients this fall. This will not only be a nice improvement on the final quality of the audio of the dialog in someone’s film, but it will be a great learning experience for the grant recipient and her actors to work with a professional like Shayna on an ADR session.
According to a profile in Austin Woman Magazine, “Shayna Brown is the founder, owner and chief cook and bottle washer at Chez Boom Audio, where she excels in the arcane and exacting art of audio (aka automated) dialogue replacement, or ADR. Besides being devilishly good at an indispensable part of filmmaking, she is also one of the few women in a corner of the industry that is often dominated by male egos and testosterone.”
She told us: “Thanks for reaching out. I’d love to help. Count me in! Great thing you’re doing. Rock on.”
Chez Boom Audio
Chez Boom Audio is the leading audio post-production company for TV, film, advertising, and audio books in Austin, TX.
If you donate $250, you can name one of the grants one semester after yourself or a family member. See the donation page for more details how we will honor you or one of your family members.
New Testimonial from UT Student in Support of Fundraiser for Grants to Support Women and Diverse Filmmakers
If you donate $250, you can name one of the grants one semester after yourself, a family member, an organization or a business. See the donation page for more details how we will honor you or one of your family members.
Donate here. If you donate $250, you can name one of the grants one semester after yourself or a family member. See the donation page for more details how we will honor you or one of your family members.
We want to end the days when any film student at UT walks into class on the first day and sees only 1, 2, 3, maybe 5 women in a class of 20. The goal of this initiative, organized by students and alumni, is to raise funds for production grants to support women and diverse filmmakers taking advanced filmmaking production classes in RTF at The University of Texas at Austin.
We are changing film school now, so that we can change Hollywood tomorrow.
Working to End Gender Disparity and Increase Diversity in Film Production Classes at UT
The grants would be open for submissions from people enrolled in certain classes including Advanced Narrative Production, 16mm Production, Advanced Directing, Cinematography, and Undergraduate Thesis. We hope to raise $10,000, which would allow us to give out at least 5 grants each semester of up to $250 each for several years. The amount and number of grants depends on how much we raise. Each semester, we will recruit judges to choose the grant recipients.
The grants will be administered by Women in Cinema, an official UT student organization.
This initiative will benefit film students in RTF, but to understand the wider issue, consider this: in the history of the Oscars only four women have ever been nominated for Best Director and only one woman has ever won the Academy Award for Best Director; no woman has ever even been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography.
Why we are doing this
Morgyn Utzman, RTF senior, Women in Cinema officer, says “a sad reality we are facing in school is the fact that women, the more specialized the production classes get, the fewer women register for those classes. The socialization of women in art is a problem that needs addressing, and incentivizing registering for production classes through a scholarship can make a huge difference in diversity.”