Screening & Panel Discussion

SUNY Cortland - Brown Auditorium

Saturday, April 21st at 3:30pm

Free & Open to the Public

Join the Blackbird Film Festival for a special "Women in Film" screening session featuring six short films made by women working as professional filmmakers in this ever-changing industry. Following the screening will be a moderated panel discussion addressing the many issues affecting female filmmakers working in film today and brainstorming ways in which we all can work together to create a more safe, fair, and productive work environment on set for everyone.

Introduction by Dr. Kathleen Lawrence

Discussion moderated by Dr. Caroline Kaltefleiter


Elder is an international award winning documentary filmmaker whose work focuses on the practices and ethics of filming across cultural and social boundaries. Elder teaches courses in documentary production, non-fiction studies, ethnographic media, media ethics, visual anthropology, experimental and emerging Internet documentary. Her research focuses on collaborative and participatory media practices, interview practices, Alaska Native cultures, Indigenous heritage, oral histories and climate change.

Elder’s films have won numerous awards and distinctions: In 2006, her feature documentary, Drums of Winter, (Produced/Directed by Elder and Kamerling) was selected to the US National Film Registry in the U.S. Library of Congress. Her films have exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, Cinémathèque Française, Smithsonian Institution, Musée de L’Homme, Freiburg Film Forum, Lumiére Institute, Soviet-American Flaherty Seminar, National Museum of the American Indian, International Center for Photography, Aperture, American Museum of Natural History, European ARTE TV, Parliament of the World’s Religion, IX International Festival of Ethnographic Films in Nuoro, Italy, and the Sofia International Festival of Ethnographic Film. Her films have won four first prizes in the American Film Festival, three Cine Gold Eagles, two Awards of Excellence from the American Anthropology Association. In 2004 she received the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.


Yasmin Mistry is an Emmy-nominated animator and filmmaker. Her work has been displayed worldwide including recent showings at the White House and United Nations as well as at film festivals such as Cannes, SXSW, Tribeca and Clermont-Ferrand. She is the recipient of the Puffin Foundation’s 2013 film grant, the Brooklyn Arts Council’s 2014, 2015 and 2016 film grants, and a finalist for the Real Ideas Studio Micro-grant. Her first live-action film, “Feeling Wanted” was an official selection of more than 20 film festivals. The film won 12 awards and was nominated for Best Short Film of 2015 by Adoption At The Movies.

Yasmin is representing two films at Blackbird 2018:

Family Rewritten and America Heard: Refuge of Hope.


Kit Vinsick (born Christina Vinsick) is a director, producer and writer. Her work frequently addresses social issues. She wrote and produced her feature directorial debut Whisper Me a Lullaby, which won Best Feature Film at Big Apple Film Festival. She has also been recognized with Best Director awards for the short films Uncle Buzzy’s House and Good Bones. Creating the internet based show Gluten Free Food Files earned her a TASTE Award nomination in 2017. Faces of Family, a docu-series she wrote and directed about the private social services organization Family of Woodstock, will be completed in 2017. Currently in development, her script Long Bending Goodbye was selected for the Improv-to-Script program by AND Theatre Co. (NYC). Coming in 2018, Kit produced The Way Forward, a feature film about forgiveness in the father/child dynamic.

Kit is presenting is representing three films at Blackbird 2018 - Good Bones, Summer Salt, and My Name is Somebody.


Aislinn Clarke is a film-maker and writer/director, whose work has been professionally produced for film, stage, and radio. She has an academic background in Film and Scriptwriting up to Master's degree level and has worked in film, TV, theatre, and radio, locally and internationally, for fifteen years. She is a Scriptwriting Lecturer at Queen's University Belfast and is the first woman in Northern Ireland to write and direct a produced feature film, The Devil's Doorway, which was invited to showcase at BAFTA in London, later screened at the Cannes Film Festival and has secured international distribution. Aislinn is also contracted to write and direct feature film The Crossing for Boudica Films (who produced the BAFTA nominated films Iona, The Falling) and another feature film Touched for BAFTA nominated company Rocliffe. Her radio work has been broadcast on BBC radio nationally, as well as in the USA, Canada, and Germany. She has been profiled as a theatre director in The Stage magazine, and her theatre work has toured extensively across the UK and Ireland.

Aislinn is presenting her film, Childer, at Blackbird 2018:


Jennifer produced theatre for many years in California and formed La Vache Enragée Productions, a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit organization, where she produced numerous plays and an annual festival of short plays and silent short films accompanied by originally composed live music. She was a runner-up for the London Sundance/Nokia Competition with her short documentary about the “Underground” Music Scene of the NYC Subways and is currently working on a feature documentary on female filmmakers, The 2nd Sex and the 7th Art (the2ndSexandthe7thArt.com), fiscally sponsored by IFP. Her narrative work includes Through the Valley which screened at the Orlando Film Festival, the Chain Film Festival and for which she was nominated for Best Director at the Northeast Film Festival – and To Live Forever ( toliveforeverthemovie.com) a modern adaptation of the Greek myth of Sybil the prophetess which recently screened at the Nevada Women’s Film Festival in Vegas. As an actor she has appeared in theatre productions, independent film, commercials and television. More information can be found on her website – jenniferdean.biz

Jennifer is presenting her film The 2nd Sex and the 7th Art: Making movies with women about women at Blackbird 2018.


Danielle DellaPorta is a young actress, writer and future filmmaker. At the age of 16, she portrayed the lead role of "Young T" in Strayed, a dark comedy short directed by Heather Edwards and produced/written by Thresa Richardson (whose life the film is based on). Danielle hopes to share her experience from an actors perspective of working with the strong, creative women on this project from age 16 - 82 years old.

Strayed will be screening during the "Women in Film" screening before the panel begins.



Chelsea Gonzalez is an LA based actress, writer, and producer, by way of New York, originally from Florida. She received her BFA in acting from Syracuse University, not too far from Cortland! 

Recent acting credits include ‘The Mindy Project’ (Hulu), ‘Criminal Minds’ (CBS), ‘Castle’ (ABC), ‘The Jinx’ (HBO), and ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil’ (Universal/Blumhouse). 

Susanne and The Man is Chelsea’s first writing and producing project but, now that she’s caught the bug, she plans on many many more in her future. Her goal is to continue to tell stories that empower women in this ever changing industry. Chelsea is represented by Shane Monaco at Authentic Talent and Literary Management.

Chelsea is presenting her film Susanne and the Man at Blackbird 2018.