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Immigrant Women Filmmakers Focus of Maspeth Movie Screenings

By Katie Honan | February 18, 2015 4:32pm
 A still from the documentary "Claiming Our Voice" by director Pritheeva Samuel 
A still from the documentary "Claiming Our Voice" by director Pritheeva Samuel 
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Pritheeva Samuel

MASPETH — Immigrant filmmakers and their unique experiences are the focus of a screening series at Maspeth Town Hall.

New York Women in Film & Television are putting on the six-month series featuring female directors who are either immigrants or first-generation Americans at the historic structure on 72nd Street and 53rd Road.

The series kicks off Feb. 27 with three documentaries focused on immigrant women and activism, according to Elizabeth Estrada, an executive assistant with NYWIFT who is curating the event.

"It seemed appropriate to have the first part of the screening series focus on activism," she said, since the overall goal is to show and celebrate immigrant voices.

The group will screen three documentaries, all focusing on immigrant women who are working to better themselves and their community.

"Judith: Portrait of a Street Vendor" is a short documentary from director Zahida Pirani that gives an intimate look at life for a Guatemalan vendor in the city.

"Claiming Our Voice" by director Pritheeva Samuel is about Andolan, an organization of South Asian immigrant workers who put on a theater performance to fight their exploitative working conditions.

And "Living Quechua" from Christine Mladic Janney is about an indigenous South American language that is endangered.

The organization will screen both documentaries and features as the series continues, and it is continuing to go over submissions for future screenings, Estrada said.

Interested filmmakers can still send submissions via email

The program is funded through the Department of Cultural Affairs, which gave $1.5 million to the city council in a new Cultural Immigrant Initiative.