The board of the Fusion Film Festival — launched 11 years ago — received a record-breaking 445 submissions this year. firmly establishing the festival as the premier student-run film event at NYU. The scale and magnitude are unparalleled by organizations across various media and disciplines.
Next month, the success will continue for co-directors and Tisch students Natalie Erazo, Darian Lanzetta, Nicole Quintero and Lucy Ross, with support from faculty advisor Susan Sandler.
The three-day festival will conclude by naming the first Fusion Film Festival Woman of the Decade — outgoing Tisch dean Mary Schmidt Campbell. During her tenure, Campbell has made great strides to increase the number of female students at Tisch.
Before this closing ceremony, Fusion will host a variety of events, ranging from typical festival fare such as screenings and industry panels to pitch meetings and master classes.
This year, one panel topic will be women in animation. Another panel will comprise writers and producers from the television shows “House of Cards,” “Nurse Jackie” and “The Americans.”
Susan Margolin, president of Documara Entertainment Group, will discuss film distribution at a brunch. There will also be a screening of “Gregory Go Boom,” the Sundance award-winning short by NYU alumna Janicza Bravo featuring Michael Cera.
Ross said the workload is comprable to a full-time job.
“But then you see your peers’ work on the big screen and have your breath taken away,” Ross said. “It just really makes you step back and go, ‘Wow. This is why we do this. This is why I’m here.’”
Quintero also said despite the hard work, the product of Fusion is well worth it.
“We have created a platform for female filmmakers and storytellers to show their work and be celebrated,” Quintero said. “We’re getting our message out there.”
The co-directors agreed that there is a lack of recognition for women in film and that the festival’s mission is to change that. They noted that, while many women are involved in the film industry, there are not enough opportunities to honor their work.
“[Fusion is a] necessary response to the disparity between genders in the film industry,” Erazo said.
Yet, while Fusion strives to recognize women in film, the co-directors stress that the festival wants to encourage collaboration in the industry.
“We are the champions of gender collaboration,” Erazo said. “People still know us as the ‘women’s festival,’ when we really just want to be known as a collaborative festival.”
The co-directors hope that audiences and those in the industry will begin to appreciate film the way their festival does.
“One day, the industry won’t be so focused on the ‘who’ and will be more focused on the ‘what,’” Ross said. “Great work is great work, whether it’s made by a dude or a dame is irrelevant when the story is authentic and inspiring.”
The Fusion Film Festival opens March 6 and will run through March 8. All events are free and open to the public.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Feb. 26 print edition. Marissa Elliot Little is a staff writer. Email her at email@example.com.