Anissa “Tori” Isaacs playing Christine Kringel in “Santa Woman”

Spark Media Project

POUGHKEEPSIE — Spark Media Project is proud to announce that an original youth-produced film, Santa Woman, was selected from hundreds of submissions from across the country as one of the top five finalists in the Tribeca Film Institute’s “The America I Am” Competition. The film will be showcased at the Tribeca Film Festival and receive a red carpet premiere at Ellis Island on April 19.

“Santa Woman”

Created by Poughkeepsie youth producers Anissa “Tori” Isaacs and Nyah Sharrock, with mentorship from Forge Producer Ari Williams (himself a former student), Santa Woman was produced in a two week film intensive in winter 2016 at Spark Media Project. The film chronicles the turbulent adventures of Christine Kringel, a young black woman entering a Santa competition, and directly tackles issues regarding stereotypes and discrimination, while also challenging the representation of young black women in film. “Santa Woman is a wonderful example of storytelling excellence”, says Sharese Bullock-Bailey, organizer for “The America I Am” Competition. “The filmmakers use brilliant comedic writing and creative direction to raise social awareness.”

Nyah and Tori working with their Tribeca mentor, Stephanie Ching.

The Tribeca Film Institute provided youth producers a $1,000 production budget to re-shoot the film to showcase at the Festival. Over the course of the last two months, youth producers worked with their Tribeca filmmaking mentor, Stephanie Ching, whose documentary “After Spring” was executive produced by Jon Stewart, to increase the production value and enhance the artistry of the story. Her advice and guidance helped the youth tighten their storytelling to increase the depth and reality of the world of the film.

“The youth devoted an incredible amount of time and effort to fine-tune this film: coming in on weekends, pushing through long hours of re-shoots, and always digging deeper to do the best possible job”, says Mary Ellen Iatropoulos, Director of Education at Spark Media Project. “This project was a true labor of love, and Spark couldn’t be happier that their hard work is being recognized by leaders of the industry in this way.”

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