By Leslie Blanco

About Leslie Blanco

25-year-old writer who also enjoys photography and film. Aside from freelancing, Leslie currently has a blog on feminism, health and food. Constantly seeking adventure, she lives to dream, explore, and create.

Review: Bushwick Film Festival Opening Night’s “In Case of Emergency”

In Case of Emergency film still, Bushwick Film Festival
Still from In Case of Emergency, the opening night film at the 2017 Bushwick Film Festival. L-R: Stefanie Sparks (as Sarah), Jenni Ruiza (as Melinda) and Phoebe Robinson (as Charlene).

October 12th was the 10th Annual Bushwick Film Festival‘s opening night, which showcased the film “In Case of Emergency,” directed and written by Stefanie Sparks. Sparks has been working in film for half her life; In Case of Emergency is her second feature film.

Entering the film festival was a bit daunting for me—I don’t usually attend these types of events. To celebrate the opening night, there was a red carpet reception at the well known House of Yes (2 Wyckoff Ave). Photographers, journalists, and other press and filmmakers were in attendance and mingling amidst bright flashing lights. I was mostly looking forward to the film screening and hadn’t thought about networking, but was approached by a director/producer and a couple of artists. It was a pleasant surprise but also appreciated. Once I entered the theater, I was taken aback by the grandiose scene. The night started off with an emcee and an interview with the founder and CEO of Bushwick Film Festival, Kweighbaye Kotee. She’s an 11-year resident of Bushwick with a passion for independent films.

“Stories are the best way to bring people together,” Kweighbaye says. Her hope with BFF is to inspire women; in particular, women of color. She chose Stefanie Sparks’ film In Case of Emergency to kick off the opening night and the festival itself. “What I’m looking for is diversity on and off camera. An extra bonus with this film is that it was local,” Kotee says. Continue reading

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Thursday Spotlight: Ever Present With George Underwood, Photographer

Self portrait, George Underwood
Self portrait, George Underwood

Many artists’ studios feel like a cluttered curation, and sometimes they can be intimidatingly bohemian, but George Underwood’s creative haven in Greenpoint is surprisingly tidy and welcoming. The large prints on the walls and huge projector screen above, accompanied by a few audience seated chairs below compliments the fact that he is a devoted and driven photographer who is passionate about his work. Underwood, 30, views photography as more than just a hobby, but as a way to document modern day interactions in a fast-paced society. Being an only child of a single mother, he spent his alone time quietly observing places and people in his town, which sparked a love of photography through stilling those moments in time as an outside observer. From George’s own lens, literally and figuratively speaking, he captures how people interact with a space and with each other, surrounded by the technology ever so present in their lives. Continue reading

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