Fujifilm Programs

New York WILD Film Festival x Fujifilm:
Supporting Emerging Filmmakers

2024 New Voices in Filmmaking Program

New York WILD and Fujifilm are delighted to continue the New Voices in Filmmaking Program for the second year. Selected emerging filmmakers will attend the festival, receive individual feedback on their films, and network with the WILD community.
New York WILD is grateful for the continued partnership with Fujifilm!

New Voices in Filmmaking Program Host

Learn more about Varina’s work here!

Varina Shaughnessy
Creative Producer, Fujifilm North America
U.S.A.

Varina Shaughnessy is the Creative Producer at Fujifilm North America and the story finder behind many of the projects and campaigns that Fujifilm NA creates each year. Over the years, she has produced and directed marketing videos and docu-series for Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Fujifilm, the Oregon Bureau of Land Management, and various nonprofits. Before working in the film industry, she worked with social justice focused non-profits in India and Uganda. Originally from Birmingham, AL, Varina has moved around the world over the last decade but currently resides in Portland, OR where you’ll find her running on the many trails or skiing down Mt. Hood. 

Varina is hosting the 2024 cohort and conducting 1:1 meetings on Friday, April 5, 2024 at The Explorers Club for the New Voices in Filmmaking program.

Meet the 2024 Participants!

McKenna Asakawa
Native Seeds: Supplying Restoration (75 min)
U.S.A.

McKenna Asakawa is a director, producer, writer, and editor who makes documentaries about our connection to natural and built environments in the Western U.S. Growing up in the Japanese American community in Colorado, McKenna gained a deep love of western landscapes and stories that celebrate diverse people of color who have long sustained and shaped the West. McKenna’s films help people learn or feel something about systems that are often huge, complex, and faceless like infrastructure, land use, and supply chains.

Learn more about McKenna’s work here!

Jess Donnelly
Holding the Frontline (27 min)
Canada

Jess Donnelly is an emerging documentary cinematographer currently based in Toronto, Canada, on a mission to make a mark in the world of conservation. 

Having originally found a passion with wildlife photography, Jess has been on a journey to capture moments and share unique and compelling stories through film. With conservation and wildlife at the forefront of her projects, Jess is dedicated to bringing awareness to issues and turning the spotlight on those who are making a positive impact on the world. This has led to collaborations with non-profit organizations worldwide such as Global Conservation Force in South Africa and Saving the Blue in Andros, Bahamas. 

Now turning the lens back home, Jess is currently working on a film that speaks to the threats wolves are facing throughout North America.

Learn more about Jess’s work here!

Jared Wahkinney
How the Land Remembers Us  (23 min)
U.S.A.

Jared Wahkinney (Comanche), calls Lawton, Oklahoma home but is now based in Oklahoma City. A filmmaker and photographer, Jared directed “How the Land Remembers Us,” a film close to his heart, aiming to promote cultural resilience and belonging within National Parks. In addition to filmmaking, Jared works for the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program, focusing on Conservation within Indigenous communities’ and their outdoor recreation goals.

He is also a dedicated family man, cherishing his role as a husband and father of two. Jared’s goal in filmmaking is to keep giving Indigenous stories and knowledge a voice.

Connect with Jared here!

2023 Participants

Teresa Cebrián Aranda
Stay the Course (22 min)
United States of America

Teresa Cebrián Aranda is a Spanish-born journalist and documentary filmmaker based in Washington, D.C. With a background in international development, she has experience covering stories on gender, race and economic inequality. Teresa began her career as an editor at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome. She now works as a researcher and production assistant for Counter Space, an Emmy-nominated food show on VICE TV. Raised in a multicultural environment, Teresa has a passion for people and cultures and is fluent in Spanish, English, French and Italian. She received a B.A. from Brown University and holds a Dual Master’s Degree in Journalism and International Affairs from Columbia University.

Learn more about Teresa’s work here!

Chris Johns
Kahuli (26 min)
United States of America

Chris’s love for documentary filmmaking was first inspired during his PhD research on micromoths in Hawai’i. Within his own research and that of colleagues, he noticed an abundance of passionate people with compelling stories to tell in new ways. Chris is interested in storytelling, human-centered design, and bringing people together in creative ways to reshape the public’s perception and connection to science and the natural world. Currently, Chris works as a digital strategist and creative director for RTI International where he helps federally-funded science initiatives gain public support.

Learn more about Chris’s work here!

Mariel Rodriguez-McGill
Stay the Course (22 min)
United States of America

Mariel Rodriguez-McGill has a passion for telling inspirational and compelling stories. She began her career as a producer, director and editor at Rocky Mountain PBS in Denver, Colorado, where she helped develop the webseries “Great Ingredients,” and the historical documentary series “Colorado Experience.” Mariel served for three years as Colorado’s Deputy Film Commissioner and recently directed her first feature-length documentary, “Built Beautiful,” which explores the intersection of architecture and neuroscience as they relate to health and well-being. She’s currently working as a producer on Blue Chalk Media’s “From the Source,” a food-themed docuseries for the Magnolia Network. She received a BA from Boston College and holds a MA from the University of Denver.

Learn more about Mariel’s work here!

Alexander Arjoon
Coast Land (26 min)
Guyana

Siblings Alex and Victoria Arjoon own REEL Guyana — a Production Service Company in Georgetown, Guyana that seeks to tell the stories of the country’s forever-changing environment, and to educate the world of the rich biodiversity and cultures Guyana has to offer. Their hope is to get these stories told from a unique perspective so that Guyana can solidify its global identity through film.

Learn more about REEL Guyana here!

Victoria Arjoon
Coast Land (26 min)
Guyana

Ella Van Cleave
Our Coast (12 min)
Canada

Ella is a natural history film and TV researcher currently based in Vancouver, British Columbia. In 2019, Ella graduated with a degree specializing in conservation biology and science communication before going on to work in the world of wildlife rehabilitation with MARS Wildlife Rescue in the Comox Valley. In 2021 she completed an MA in Wildlife Filmmaking at the University of the West of England in partnership with the BBC Natural History Unit where her final thesis film, featuring a young fisherman from Campbell River, was shortlisted for the BAFTA Student Awards.

As a diver raised on Vancouver Island, Ella has a soft-spot for marine ecosystems and the communities built around them. She cares most about stories that reflect deep connection to place and explore the human communities at the heart of conservation.

Learn more about Ella’s work here!

FUJIFILM Create Forever Award: Best Student Film

For the second year, New York WILD and Fujifilm are teaming up to present the FUJIFILM Create Forever Award @ New York WILD for Best Student Film! This award honors the best student film with a cash prize and the opportunity to travel to New York to receive the award and participate in a post-screening Q&A.

The 2023 recipient is Ryan Wilkes, director of “Mutinda,” which is screened at the Saturday Day Program.

Learn more about Ryan’s work here!

Ryan Wilkes
Mutinda (13 min)
Canada

Ryan Wilkes is an emerging documentary cinematographer and director, and holds a PhD in Bioengineering. Through documenting adventurous pursuits, new discoveries, and conservation-related endeavors, Ryan enjoys exploring the relationship between people and the natural world. His passion for filmmaking was born when he moved to New Zealand to pursue his PhD at the University of Canterbury. Inspired by the beautiful scenery around him, he and his camera became regulars in the backcountry of the South Island. Since then, Ryan’s adventures have included swimming with humpback whales in Tonga, exploring the remote fjords of northern Norway, tracking mountain gorillas in the impenetrable forest of Uganda, and paragliding off of the world’s tallest freestanding mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro. Ryan was a 2021 Jackson Wild Media Lab fellow and a 2021 Being Black in Canada filmmaker.

Conor Ferris
Seabird (20 min)
United Kingdom

Based in Bristol, UK, Conor Ferris is well versed in moving pictures. Transitioning to stills was a welcome challenge, and an opportunity to explore his steadfast creative beliefs in a new medium. He combines image making with an age-old passion for science. The work often contains the magnificence of the natural world, as well as its fragility.

Conor has used his keen artistic eye to direct two award-winning short films, created during his time at the National Film and Television School. He’s since gone on to build a landmark documentary series with the BBC Natural History Unit.

Photo 2022 © Michael Bulbenko | FUJIFILM X-E4 camera and XF16-80mmF4 R OIS WR, 1/60 sec at F4.5, ISO 3200

Learn more about Conor’s work here!

Mutinda, Winner 2023
Director: Ryan Wilkes

“Mutinda” is the transformational story of Kenya’s once most wanted Poacher, Mutinda Ndivo. After a life of killing treasured animals and running from the authorities, a decisive moment occurred that changed him forever. Mutinda is now an award-winning wildlife protector, working as a conservation ranger for Big Life Foundation’s Dog Unit.

See more of Ryan’s work here!

Seabird, Winner 2022
Director & Producer: Conor Ferris

Since he was a boy, acclaimed writer Adam Nicolson has been visiting remote islands that were once filled with seabirds each summer. After witnessing the distressing decline of these colonies first hand, he shares a unique perspective on the resilience of life in the face of catastrophe.

See more of Conor’s work with Fujifilm here!