Over the course of the last 20 years, the Big Apple Film Festival has screened many excellent films produced by talented filmmakers from all over the world. As our 20th season approaches, we’ve been thinking about some of our favorite BAFF entries in the recent years. (And there are so many that we couldn’t keep this to just one blog entry, so stay tuned for our next post.) Both of the films mentioned below show the magic of filmmaking and how an event as catastrophic as a global pandemic can produce amazing works of art.
Caytha Jenkins’ short film, April Showers depicts two characters caught up in a complicated relationship in the midst of a pandemic. Jenkins found inspiration for the film reflecting on the Covid-19 pandemic and sudden disruption of everyday life, including how people relate to each other.
Jenkins, a 15-year veteran in the filmmaking world, loves storytelling and “the magic of seeing a story come to life on the screen.” Jenkin’s film appeared in the 2022 edition of BAFF, and she looks back on it with excitement. “It's great to share your work with a live audience. There is nothing better. It's also a great way to meet other filmmakers. BAFF is great at connecting filmmakers with audiences, other filmmakers and industry folks,” especially since working in independent film can be a challenge at times.
Since the festival, Jenkins has been hard at work in several different mediums. She has written and directed features that appear on some of the major streaming platforms, including HBO Max and Netflix. Jenkins’ work will also be featured in a limited, Off-Broadway run for a play called Sex Work/Sex Play in September 2023. And in the print medium, Jenkins has a book about her experiences as an indie filmmaker debuting in winter 2023, Off Script.
Women and Elephants
Barbara Stepansky’s short narrative, Women and Elephants, features a couple, Gwen and Paul, who are isolated together... until Gwen decides it is time for the relationship to end. Gwen begins a journey where every day is the same and where the lines between her thoughts and reality are blurred.
Stephansky believes “Women and Elephants” should be “watched like a poem, as it is not linear but it captures a feeling,” that she is extremely proud of. “I had such a fantastic time on this film: I worked with amazing collaborators who were open and creative and added so much to this beautiful script. It was truly a team effort.”
Stephansky, a Los Angeles-based filmmaker, joined the filmmaking scene at the age of 16, as the medium combined so many of her passions in one form. Her favorite part of being in the festival circuit is seeing how others interpret and respond to her work. Stephansky has several projects on the horizon with anticipated release in 2024.