In 2018, it has become more common to celebrate women in film. However, Fusion Film Festival –– an annual festival run by Tisch students and faculty that promotes women in the film industry –– has been doing that for 15 years.
The festival’s motto for this year was “Where Change Begins” and the events it hosted, from April 5 to April 7, proved true to this phrase. Panels full of professional directors, producers and writers illustrated the power of women in the film and TV industry.
Fusion Film Festival worked to not only showcase undergraduate and graduate student work, but to facilitate a discussion of what being a successful woman in the industry looks like. Prominent women in film engaged with the audience to give insight into what they do and how they’ve achieved success.
A clear highlight was Friday night’s “Artists & Activists” panel. It featured Raeshem Nijhon, the co-founder and executive producer of Fictionless; Brittany “B.Monét” Fennell, an NYU Film & TV graduate thesis student and creator of the show “Q.U.E.E.N”; documentary filmmaker Nneka Onuorah, among other accomplished women.
The members on the panel discussed their work and how they’ve found a way to be activists in different areas despite the sexism they’ve faced in their work environments. Besides answering general questions, the filmmakers spoke to ideas that were important even without a Film & TV background, also discussing the recent re-emergence of the #MeToo movement. One of these was the idea of a supply chain and how individuals care about where certain products come from and not others.
“Why don’t we care as much about our content and who makes it?” Nijon asked.
On Saturday morning, NBC’s Karen Horne, senior vice president of Programming Talent Development & Inclusion, talked to a group about her work and what led her to influential position in the industry. When discussing breaking into the industry, Horne gave the audience a new sense of confidence about suceeding in a competitive environment.
The festival closed with the screening of the festival finalists’ works, followed by an award ceremony to hang the winners. This event was the biggest of the festival, and excitement and passion radiated through the room.
The winners included the graduate film “Shelter” by Tisch graduate Na’ama Keha, the undergraduate film “Sampaguita” by Tisch senior Shalemar Colomathe, animated film “How Can You Know Where to Go if You Do Not Know Where You Have Been” by Tisch alumna Mizuki Toriya, the Sight and Sound film “Pricks” by Tisch student Carolina Diz, the music video “IUD” by Tisch alumna Mia Cioffi Henry and the web series “Michael & Anwar” by Tisch student Isabel Mitchell.
Showcasing the work of diverse women not only gave them the credit they deserve but worked to prove Fusion’s motto “Where Change Begins” true.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, April 16 print edition. Email Brooke LaMantia at [email protected]