Fabrega, of the HBO comedy series ‘Los Espookys,’ will offer a masterclass while NYC Commissioner Anne del Castillo of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment receives the festival’s inaugural Industry Visionary Award
The Fusion Film Festival, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts’ premier student film festival celebrating women and non-binary creators in film, TV and new media, will screen the work of emerging filmmakers and present panels on representing female sexuality and media criticism April 12-15 at the school, 721 Broadway in New York City. A preview of the upcoming action-comedy, Polite Society, followed by a Q & A with director Nida Manzoor, is also on the bill. All events are free of charge.
In its 21st year, the festival celebrates women thriving in all corners of film and television. Featuring work from established and emerging filmmakers along with panel discussions and networking events, the festival aims to spotlight women who are working behind the camera and to build community across the industry.
The spirit of belonging and believing in each other forms the foundation of a true community, Fusion’s student organizers say.
“At Fusion, our mission is to highlight and celebrate voices that aren’t always heard in the mainstream media,” said Fusion Co-Director Lucy Walkowiak.
Added Co-Director Kenzie Packer, “We aim to create a community where you can be yourself as an artist. That’s what we find most meaningful in our work as leaders.”
Fusion Faculty Advisor Prof. Susan Sandler of the Kanbar Institute of Film and TV credits a vital network of alumni as key to the festival’s success. “Coming home to Fusion has become a place of joy, validation and connection,” she said.
Opening this year’s festival is the Fusion Industry Visionary Award luncheon honoring Anne del Castillo of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. Castillo led the economic recovery of New York City’s arts and nightlife industries from the devastating pandemic. Tisch School of the Arts Dean Allyson Green will present the award at the invitation-only event.
Among the festival’s highlights are a masterclass with Fusion’s Woman of the Year, Fabrega, a comedian, writer and showrunner of Los Espookys, the HBO Max comedy series about a group of friends who bring their love of horror movies to a Latin American country. Insider’s Libby Torres will interview Fabrega, following a screening of two episodes of Los Espookys (both directed by and starring Fabrega.)
Filmmaker Manzoor – the creator of We Are Lady Parts – will screen her debut feature and chat with Rehana Mirza, playwright/screenwriter and Tisch adjunct professor. Polite Society follows a British Pakistani teenager (and aspiring stuntwoman) who attempts to save her older sister from a semi-arranged marriage by performing an elaborate heist. The film opens in theaters nationwide on April 28.
Also scheduled are “Doc in the Works,” a pitch competition for documentary filmmakers with live critiques from industry judges including Robert Y. Chang, Coordinating Producer of POV, the longest-running independent documentary showcase on American television, and Nicole Borzorgmir, Senior Editorial Producer, VICE News.
Other events include a panel on the state of film and television criticism with journalists from publications including HuffPost and Time, and a conversation with professionals who work with and think about the representation of female intimacy and desire from filmmakers to intimacy coordinators.
Below is the full schedule of the 2023 Fusion Film Festival. Sponsors for this year’s festival include Canon, Final Draft, Avid, Adobe, AbleCine, and Gotham Sound. All events are free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. Note that several times and rooms have been updated.
Wednesday, April 12
Fusion Industry Visionary Award Luncheon
Tisch Dean Allyson Green will present Commissioner del Castillo with the inaugural Industry Visionary Award.
Thursday, April 13
Sex on the Screen: Representing Female Sexuality and Intimacy
6:30 p.m., Tisch Theater 006
A discussion about the representation of female sexuality and desire, the relationship between feminism and the commercialization of sex, and gender politics in intimate scenes. With moderator Magdalene Taylor, writer on sex and culture, and panelists Heath Maria, intimacy coordinator at Plan B Entertainment, NYU professor Enid Zentelis, Amy Northup, Kanbar Film & TV Intimacy Coordinator, and Brittany Huckabee, producer of the documentary Hot Girls Wanted. Eventbrite reservation.
Friday, April 14
Docs in the Works Pitch Competition
3-6 p.m., Tisch Theater 006
A pitch competition giving filmmakers in the early stages of production on their documentary films the opportunity to receive feedback from top industry professionals. Eventbrite reservation.
Friday, April 14
Preview Screening of Polite Society
Directed by Nida Manzoor
6:30-8:30 p.m., Tisch Theater 006
Screening followed by Q&A with Manzoor moderated by Rehana Mirza. Manzoor is the creator behind We Are Lady Parts, the critically acclaimed television series. Polite Society is a boisterous and original action comedy that follows a British Pakistani teenager (and aspiring stuntwoman) as she attempts to save her older sister from a semi-arranged marriage by performing an elaborate heist. Eventbrite reservation.
Saturday, April 15
Opinionated: A Panel on Critiquing & Analyzing Media
12-1:30 p.m., Tisch Theater 006
A conversation about the difference between criticism and reviews, the challenges facing women in the field and the responsibility of film and television writing with Phoebe Chen, Candice Frederick, Judy Berman, Devika Girish, Susannah Gruder and Beatrice Loayza. Eventbrite reservation.
Saturday, April 15
Masterclass: Woman of the Year Ana Fabrega
2:30-4:45 p.m., Tisch Theater 006
Inventive comedian, writer and showrunner of Los Espookys, Fabrega offers an informal masterclass on writing, performance, and producing. The conversation is moderated by Insider’s Libby Torres; the program begins with the screening of two episodes of the series. Eventbrite reservation.
Saturday, April 15
Finalist Screenings and Awards Ceremony
6-10 p.m., Tisch Theater 006
Screenings of the finalists of the Fusion Film Festival 2023 Competition, awards presentation and closing reception. Eventbrite reservation.
About NYU Tisch School of the Arts
For over 50 years, the NYU Tisch School of the Arts has drawn on the vast artistic and cultural resources of New York City and New York University to create an extraordinary training ground for artists, scholars, and innovators. Today, students learn their craft in a spirited, risk-taking environment that combines the professional training of a conservatory with the liberal arts education of a premier global university with campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, Shanghai and 11 academic centers around the world. Learn more at www.tisch.nyu.edu.