Creative Careers | Three Early-Career Filmmakers on Audience-Building and Engagement

Creative Careers | Three Early-Career Filmmakers on Audience-Building and Engagement

With help from Eugene Hernandez, Deputy Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, we explore the relationship of three filmmakers to their audiences.

Films are created for audiences to experience, and audiences in turn are essential to a filmmaker’s career. With help from Eugene Hernandez, Deputy Director of The Film Society of Lincoln Center, we explored the relationship of three filmmakers to their audiences. 

In a new short video series, Flavio Alves, Eliza Hittman, and Yance Ford share unique insights around finding and interacting with audiences. They touch on topics including the use of social media, working with outreach partners, making personal appearances, and making themselves part of the distribution campaign. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Each video is available for viewing here, with short preview clips and more on each filmmaker below.

Yance Ford is director of Strong Island, winner of the “Special Jury Award for Storytelling” at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. He graduated from Hamilton College in 2004, and studied film in the Production Workshop at Third World Newsreel. He is a Sundance Institute Documentary Program Fellow, a MacDowell Colony/Fledgling Fund fellow, a Creative Capital Grantee, and he has been featured in Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film.” Ford is a former Series Producer of POV, the PBS documentary series. Strong Island was nominated for an Academy Award in 2018 and is currently in the running for Emmy Award in documentary filmmaking. It is Ford’s first film.

Flavio Alves is a Brazilian who was granted political asylum in the United States in 1998. Shortly thereafter he attended Columbia University, where he earned a degree in Political Science. In 2007, Alves returned to school to study film production at New York University. Since then, he has directed and produced more than 20 films, including the award-winning short films, The Secret Friend (2010), and Tom in America (2014), which was named “Best Short Film” by the National Board of Review. His first feature film, The Garden Left Behind, is Fiscally Sponsored by NYFA and will premiere in the fall of 2018. It is the first film to be funded substantially though sales of donated items on eBay.

Eliza Hittman grew up in Flatbush, Brooklyn. She received a BA degree in theater and drama from Indiana University in 2001 and an MFA degree from the School of Film/Video at California Institute of the Arts in 2010. Her short film Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight (2011) premiered at Sundance. Hittman was nominated as “Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director” at the Gotham Awards and for the “John Cassavetes Award” at the Indie Spirit Awards for her first feature, It Felt Like Love (2014). Her second film, Beach Rats, won the Directing Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2018. Hittman teaches at Pratt Institute.

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Image and Videos: Melissa Friedling/Slouch Productions for NYFA

Amy Aronoff
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