Films series puts projects showing ‘NYC immigrant experience’ in spotlight

A free film series highlighting the work and stories of female immigrants has returned to New York City for the fourth year, with screening dates expected through June.

The Women Filmmakers: Immigrant Stories festival, which kicked off last week, rounds up movies and TV scripts that delve into the “NYC immigrant experience” within the five boroughs from varying perspectives, according to a release. Topics range from the story of a woman forced to marry her building’s janitor to escape deportation (“Katcha’s Unexpectedly Long Journey to the Beach,” Nada Stjepanovic) to the tale of a Pakistani wife who follows her husband’s nightly escapades to the city’s gay bar scene (“Nowhere,” Apoorva Charan).

The series was first launched in 2015 by advocacy group New York Women in Film & Television to “help vital stories reach a wider audience,” the group’s executive director Terry Lawler said. The inaugural event — funded by the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs and City Council members — included only five screenings, which was doubled to 10 by 2017 due to a rising interest in the current political climate.

Notable upcoming screenings include an LGBTQ film themed evening, with screenings of “Nowhere” and “Nobody’s Watching” by New York filmmaker Julia Solomonoff on April 26 at The Museum of the Moving Image (6:30 p.m.) and a grouping of projects by first-generation immigrants only on May 12 at Maspeth Town Hall (6:30 p.m.).

For the first time, this year’s event expands from its regular setting in Queens — at locations like The Museum of the Moving Image and Maspeth Town Hall — to include dates on Staten Island, which have not yet been announced.

“The film screenings in Richmondtown this summer are really exciting and I hope they will encourage and inspire the current and future women filmmakers in our community,” Council Member Joseph Borelli, whose office financially backs the series, said in a statement.

The upcoming Staten Island portion of the series is expected to feature works by Italian immigrants and other local filmmakers and stretch into May and June. For a full lineup and to score tickets, visit nywift.org.

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