Fusion Film Festival, NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ premier student film festival celebrating women in film, television, and new media, will launch its new year with a screening of Tisch Alum Desiree Akhavan’s feature debut, Appropriate Behavior, on November 13, 2014 at 7 p.m. The screening will take place at Cantor Film Center (36 East 8th Street), and marks the opening date for submissions to the 2015 Fusion Film Festival in February.
A multi-day film festival with screenings, industry panels, pitch meetings, master-classes, and student showcases, the Fusion Film Festival showcases the work of current NYU students and NYU alumni who have graduated within the past 3 years. The 2015 Festival will take place February 26-28, and submissions will be accepted until January 4, 2015.
Appropriate Behavior, a hit comedy at the Sundance Film Festival, is a frank, funny look at contemporary relationships and their pitfalls from triple threat Desiree Akhavan, writer, director, and star of the film. Shirin (Desiree Akhavan) is twenty-something, bisexual, and Persian-American—and decidedly not out to her traditional parents, who are busy fussing over her overachieving brother’s impending nuptials. Recently single after a bad break-up with her girlfriend, Maxine (Rebecca Henderson), sardonic Shirin tries to figure out what went wrong, even as she makes a fresh start with a new apartment, a new job teaching filmmaking to out-of-control kids, and a headfirst plunge into the deep of the dating pool.
Influenced by the work of Woody Allen and Julie Delpy, Akhavan has written and directed a bold debut film inspired by her own experiences as an Iranian-American bisexual. For her, “life is always slipping back and forth between comedic farce and tragic melodrama” and she aims to capture that “messy grey area, where there are no clear villains or heroes” in her film. The Tisch Grad Film alum has been praised for her feature debut: a fresh, funny, and relatable take on the coming-of-age and coming-out narratives. She was featured as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film.” Rolling Stone raved “Akhavan is very much her own artist—with a polyglot urban voice that comes off like an unholy cross between Fran Lebowitz, Junot Diaz, Tina Fey, and Hanif Kureishi.” Akhavan will also appear in the next season of Lena Dunham’s HBO comedy, Girls.
Festival organizers selected Appropriate Behavior because it mirrors the same values as the Fusion Film Festival itself.
“Fusion embraces the idea that you can be bold, daring, funny, dark, witty, charming, spontaneous, etc. as a filmmaker regardless of your gender,” said co-director Natalie Erazo. “This year’s festival is all about showcasing the ‘doers’ in the industry, like Desiree Akhavan.”
A Q&A will follow the Appropriate Behavior screening. Cast members Anh Duong, Arian Moayed, and Rebecca Henderson will participate along with Casting Director Allison Twardziak, DP Chris Teague, and Editor Sara Shaw.
The Fusion Film Festival accepts submissions in 13 categories, including Docs-in-the-Works, an immersive pitch competition in which filmmakers share their in-progress documentaries and receive critiques from top industry professionals. Applicants are encouraged to send in their strongest work; they may submit only one (1) project per category and can submit to a maximum of two (2) categories. To qualify, a woman must be either the director or DP of the film to qualify, with the exception of Docs-in-the-Works, for which a woman must be a key member (i.e. writer/co-writer, director, or producer). Finalists’ works are screened and read by a panel of industry judges. For a full list of categories and rules for qualification, please visit www.fusionfilmfestival.com.
In the past, Fusion has awarded over $12,000 value in prizes to festival winners, and partnering with leading industry software, stores, and more, the festival offers winners a variety of fantastic filmmaking tools. Prizes have included membership to Adobe Creative Cloud, Gotham Sound certificates, and Final Draft 9, the industry’s leading script software.
The Fusion Film Festival is New York University’s premiere film and television festival dedicated to celebrating women in film, television, and new media from student to icon. Fusion was founded twelve years ago at NYU’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts with the mission of encouraging, promoting, and inspiring women filmmakers and the collaboration between the sexes. Every year, Fusion mounts a multi-day film festival with multiple screenings, industry panels, pitch meetings, master-classes, retrospectives, and student showcases.