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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Producing Alum Irene Méndez Featured in Multiple Festivals

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    Producer and director Irene Méndez has been incredibly busy since graduating from New York Film Academy’s producing school, working on multiple films that have made several festivals and garnered a great deal of press and attention from the industry.

    Irene Mendez

    Méndez originally hails from Madrid, Spain. In 2016, she enrolled in the 1-year Producing conservatory at New York Film Academy (NYFA). While studying at NYFA’s New York city campus, acquiring strong project management skills as well as a hands-on filmmaking education from experienced industry professionals, Méndez completed production on several films in multiple roles. 

    This included her own film Tinnitus, which she wrote, directed, and produced, as well as several NYFA thesis films—From Me to Me, directed by Moe Myat May Zarchi; Lighter and Cigarettes, directed by Rafael Cintra; and Almost, directed by Mahair Kahn. These projects, as well as other films Méndez produced, have accrued numerous awards and Official Selections from film festivals around the world.

    Almost (2017), which Méndez worked on as 2nd Assistant Director and Script Supervisor, was an Official Selection in the New York Indian Film Festival. From Me to Me (2018), which she co-produced, won Best Woman Filmmaker at the Barcelona Planet Film Festival and was an Official Selection in Myanmar’s Wathann Film Festival.

    Lighter and Cigarettes (2017) was produced by Méndez and was a Semiinalist at Los Angeles CineFest and an Official Selection for both the Los Angeles SR Film Festival and Hope Film Awards. Additionally, it was part of the Short Film Corner at the world-renowned Cannes Film Festival.

    Tinnitus (2017) was a Finalist or Semifinalist at multiple fests, as well as an Official Selection of New York Film Screenings, Women’s Only Entertainment Film Festival, Bridgwater and Taunton College Film Festival, Hope Film Awards, Barcelona Planet Film Festival, and the Los Angeles SR Film Festival.

    Irene Mendez

    After graduating, Méndez also produced Obini Bata (2018) which was directed by Damian Calvo. The short documentary profiles the first women to perform with Batá drums in Cuba, drums traditionally forbidden for women. The film has won the Audience Award for Best Short Film Documentary at the Edmonton International Film Festival and has been an Official Selection at Lady Filmmakers, Women in Film and Television Atlanta, The Pan African Film Festival, and The Chicago Feminist Film Festival.

    Méndez is also in postproduction for Agua Desgasta Roca, a documentary short about a rock climber diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The film has already won the Premios Solidarios from Fundacion Merk. 

    Currently, she is working on two additional documentaries, Los García, and Costus. Los García, a feature film, was featured as part of the Focus CoPro pitching event at the Cannes Film Festival. It was also one of five winners at the La Incubadora competition, and was featured at Abycine.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Producing alum Irene Méndez on the multiple successes of her films to date, and looks forward to following her career as it develops!

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    February 4, 2019 • Documentary Filmmaking, Producing, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 713

  • Beloit International Film Festival

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    Kicking off its ninth year, the Beloit International Film Festival celebrates and showcases independent films from all around the world — 120 films from 30 countries. This includes documentaries, features and shorts. The New York Times has recently given BIFF attention, recommending the festival as one of six alternatives to Sundance Film Festival. Starting on February 14, 2014 and wrapping on February 23, local Wisconsin residents and film lovers from around the country fill more than a dozen venues, ranging in size from 40 seats to the 700 seat Eclipse Center.

    “From the outreach educational programs of BIFF, which brings thousands of students together to create films and develop critical viewing skills, to the Silent Film Showcase, and more than 120 films and artists from 30 countries, we have watched BIFF grow in its international reputation,” says sponsor, Diane Hendricks. “With the addition of BIFF PLUS Music, and programs like BIFF Latino, BIFF for the Deaf, and the classic film closing party, BIFF has truly moved up another notch and I am honored to be a sponsor.”

    If you’re interested in purchasing tickets to BIFF, CLICK HERE.

    Tomorrow’s Classics Today – The Beloit International Film Festival from Beloit International Film Fest.

     

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    January 22, 2014 • Film Festivals • Views: 3514

  • Brooklyn Girl Film Festival

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    Here is something for the female filmmakers at the New York Film Academy. The 3rd Annual Brooklyn Girl Film Festival, which runs from March 27-29, 2014, is now open for submissions. Brooklyn Girl Film Festival’s mission is to showcase the work of women filmmakers from around the world, and bring these artists together for networking in a fun, informative and supportive environment. In a seemingly male dominated industry, the BGFF Films are sought in which a woman plays a key role as a director, writer, or lead animator. Features, documentaries, shorts, music videos, experimental and animated works are all considered. All genres are welcome as well.

    For efficiency, all submissions are accepted through Withoutabox here: http://tinyurl.com/685g46d

    Official Selections will be in competition for an Audience Choice Award in two different categories, feature film and short film.

    Deadlines For All Submissions:

    • Regular Deadline: December 7, 2013 
    • Late Deadline: January 4, 2014 
    • Extended Deadline: January 11, 2014

    A three-day annual event that takes place in March, BGFF features screenings that include filmmaker Q&A, workshops, an opening night reception, special events and an awards ceremony. BGFF attendees include local filmmakers as well as those from around the country and the world. Programs and events are designed not only for filmmakers, but anyone interested in the moving image.

    What Filmmakers Are Saying About the Brooklyn Girl Film Festival:

    “Brooklyn Girl Film Festival is a fantastic festival. They communicate with and care about the filmmakers and provide a warm place to showcase work by women filmmakers. We had a wonderful time at the Festival!” – Amanda Melby – director of “Kerry and Angie

    “I was really blown away by the films that screened at Brooklyn Girl Film Festival. These are film Makers that have big careers ahead of them, many very established already and really very cool people doing very important work. April, The festival director and the festival team made the whole experience enjoyable as a filmmaker and an audience member. The talent here was pretty amazing! The Brooklyn Girl festival has the pulse of upcoming film makers from all over the world!!!” – Megan Corry, Director “The Smell of SandFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    November 5, 2013 • Film Festivals • Views: 662

  • How Long Should a Short Film Be?

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailMy September One-Year Filmmaking students are screening their thesis films this week and, once again, this issue of length has come up. Although we recommend that students keep their films to 10-15 minutes, many of my students have made films that are 20-25 minutes.

    The problem is that film festivals are inundated with hundreds, sometimes thousands of film submissions all competing for a place in, what is in all likelihood, a 2-hour program of shorts. Because festivals often have a cut off of 30-minutes for short films, few of these films get accepted. Film festivals want to help and support as many filmmakers as they possibly can, and accepting a 25-minute film into the festival means the five 5-minute filmmakers are going to be excluded.

    So, my advice to my students (and makers of short films, in general) is to keep the film as short as possible. Naturally, you have to do justice to your stories. You can’t squeeze a 30-minute story into a 10-minute package without ruining it. But there’s no question in my mind that with every minute you add to the length of your film, the odds of getting your film accepted decreases.

    Case in point: When my son Bret was 14, he took our summer program for high school students. In that program, he made 3 very short films. The first was 90 seconds, the second 2.5 minutes, and his last film 3 minutes. Although they were very well done for a first-time filmmaker, they were not brilliant. And yet he was able to get each of them into over 10 film festivals.

    Believe it or not, even a 90 second film will open doors for you. One of my son’s films, managed to get into the LA International, at which point, he was contacted by writers, composers and even agents. In fact, the agent who represents Renee Zellweger contacted him to see if he was interested in hiring Rene for his next film!  Now, clearly the agent did not know that he was dealing with a 14-year old. I imagine he (and the other agents) just download the names of the filmmakers from the festival website and start sending out email inquiries.

    So, although I understand that as you grow as a filmmaker it’s natural that you desire to make longer and longer films to demonstrate your ability to handle professional shoots, it is in your best interest to keep the running time short. Remember, festivals include your titles in the running time, so don’t put 5 minutes of credits at the end of the film. Many students are under the mistaken impression that the more names they can run past the screen at the end of their film, the more impressed the audience will be. The problem is that the audience has just seen your film and they’re only going to be as impressed as your film makes them. So keep your titles moving quickly. Just make sure they slow down when it gets to your name. After all, you’re the one you should be promoting.

    Food for thought.

    -Claude Kerven, NYFA NYC Chair of Filmmaking
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    August 26, 2013 • Film School, Filmmaking • Views: 58203