Last night at the Sunshine Cinemas in the East Village, nonprofit film organization, Cinereach, gave its third group of film Fellows a wonderful showcase opportunity to exhibit their finished short works (two docs and two narratives) in front of a packed house of industry guests, family and friends. The screening was followed by a wonderful party around the corner from the theater at Rayuela. Let it never be said that the Cinereach guys and gals do not know how to throw a great shindig. (Pictured from left to right, Fellows Gabriel Long, Courtney Hope, mentor Laurie Collyer, mentor Jeremy Kipp Walker, and Reach Out Winner, Anthony Morrison. Photo courtesy Nicole Cordier.)
The evening was the culmination of Cinereach's 2010 Reach Film Fellowship program for emerging filmmakers, an intensive seven-months during which four Fellows--Nadia Hallgren, Courtney Hope, Gabriel Long and Anthony Morrison--were paired with mentors Marilyn Agrelo (Mad Hot Ballroom), Laurie Collyer (SherryBaby), Annie Sundberg (The Devil Came on Horseback) and Jeremy Kipp Walker (Half Nelson) to realize their creative visions. Over the course of the seven months, the filmmakers also participated in a series of workshops led by sixteen advisers, including Yoni Brook (Bronx Princess), Dan Cogan of Impact Partners, Tze Chun (Children of Invention), Cara Cusumano, associate programmer, Tribeca Film Festival, Ingrid Kopp of Shooting People, and several other shining lights of the New York indie film scene. Each Fellow received a grant of $5,000 and other production support throughout the program.
The evening was presented by Cinereach founder and executive director, Philipp Engelhorn, its creative director, Michael Raisier, communications and fellowships manager, Reva Goldberg, grants manager, Adella Ladjevardi, and Margaret Shafer, operations manager.
Anthony Morrison, the Reach Out 2010 award recipient, who received a $5,000 grant for future work, presented his nonfiction film Bye, which follows a two-year-old autistic boy through his first months of school in the Bronx. The other nonfiction piece was by Nadia Hallgren (who, unfortunately, couldn't make it last night). Her excellent film, Love Lockdown, tells the story of a young Bronx mother of two little girls as she waits to learn the fate of her incarcerated fiancée. She communicates with him through a popular late-night radio show called Lockdown Love where people can call in and send messages to their loved ones doing time in prison. To my mind, this was the strongest and most cinematic piece of the four. Hallgren shows much promise and was lucky to have the whip-smart Annie Sundberg as her mentor.
The two accomplished narratives both contained wonderful performances by their young actors. Courtney Hope created and directed Wild Birds which tells the story of two sisters who have run away to the forest from an abusive mother. And Gabriel Long presented his film, The Drawing, about a young boy navigating a complex relationship with his older brother. A special mention must be given to Diogo Taveira (pictured); this kid has major screen presence and was a sharp casting choice by Long.
Reva Goldberg also announced that Cinereach is now seeking applicants for its 2011 Reach Film Fellowships. Click here for more information and an application. Applicants must have completed at least one short film and must reside in the New York Tri-State area from August of 2010 through April of 2011. The deadline is Monday, July 12.