Mexican writer/director Michelle Garza Cervera won the 10th Annual Nora Ephron Award for first-time female filmmakers at the 21st Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) with her debut ‘horror’ film Huesera. The New York City fest screened June 8–19, 2022 in person, and selections streamed online through July 3. Huesera was later picked up by XYZ Films, and is now widely available on Video-On-Demand (VOD).
Huesera was inspired by Mexican folklore tales of “the bone woman” who collects skeletal parts. Centered on Natalia Solián’s striking first film performance as Valeria, the visually enthralling film goes beyond the classic Rosemary’s Baby vibe of a frightening pregnancy full of night terrors. Redolent with the supernatural, the disturbing images of bent demonic bodies are matched by the cracking sound design of breaking bones.
Members of the 2022 Nora Ephron Award jury were: Pam Grier (the icon of “blaxpoitation” films); Lisa Addario (director and writer of indie and Hollywood films including Parental Guidance); and actress Amandla Stenberg (the star of The Hate u Give).
We now await Michelle’s next film, an adaptation of Argentinian novelist Mariana Enríquez’s That Summer In The Dark, about two teenage friends obsessed with American serial killers.
The Nora Ephron Award honors excellence in storytelling by a female writer or director embodying the spirit and boldness of the late filmmaker. FF2 Media is proud to provide unique continuous coverage of TFF’s annual Nora Ephron Awardees.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
FF2 Media’s Exclusive Update on Prior Winners of the Prestigious Nora Ephron Award
2013 Farah Goes Bang (USA) Writer/Director Meera Menon
Menon directed episodes of Marvel Studios’ acclaimed Ms. Marvel, streaming on Disney+. Created by South Asian immigrants, the series is based on the comics featuring Kamala Khan, a Muslim American superhero fan teen in Jersey City who discovers she’s inherited super powers. Menon told A. V Club: “I listen to all the South Asian voices, the Muslim voices, and create a space for everyone’s voices to be heard.”
2014 Zero Motivation (Israel) Writer/Director Talya Lavie
Lavie co-created the TV series Sad City Girls about two 20something Tel Aviv roommates from different backgrounds. The show premiered at the Canneseries Festival, and was then nominated for “Best Comic Drama” by the Israel Television Academy. Episodes draw on the creators’ own experiences, Lavie told Variety: “It tells something of our time. It’s an authentic glimpse into our lives.”
2015 Sworn Virgin (Albania/Italy) Co-Writer/Director Laura Bispuri
Bispuri’s third film The Peacock’s Paradise (Il paradiso del pavone), starring Dominique Sanda and Alba Rohrwacher, was nominated for two awards at the Venice Film Festival, including Best Film. It played at theaters in Italy and Germany, and screened in New York at the Italian Ministry of Culture’s Cinecittà/Lincoln Center’s “Open Roads: New Italian Cinema” series.
2016 Adult Life Skills (U.K.) Writer/Director Rachel Tunnard
Ardman Animation is completing filming Tunnard’s co-written screenplay Chicken Run 2: Dawn of the Nugget, for release November 10 on Netflix.
2017 The Divine Order (Switzerland) Writer/Director Petra Volpe
Volpe’s epic award-winning mini-series Labyrinth of Peace continues showing at Jewish Film Festivals around North America, distributed by Menemsha Films, and is now streaming on Chai Flicks.
On to her first American project, Volpe researched and developed her co-written script Frank & Louis about aging, mental health, and the U.S. prison system. Volpe told Deadline about directing the stars: “To work with Laurence Fishburne and Clifton Collins, Jr. on this intimate and emotional story is an absolute dream come true.” Production companies include Participant and Zodiac Pictures.
2018 Little Woods (USA) Writer/Director Nia DaCosta
DaCosta’s re-envisioning of Candyman earned over $77 million worldwide. As the first Black woman to direct a movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (aka MCU), DaCosta is completing The Marvels, due to be released July 28, 2023 by Disney.
DaCosta next will direct for Netflix an adaptation of Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch’s bestseller The Lincoln Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill America’s 16th President – and Why It Failed.
2019 Initials S.G. (Argentina) Co-Writer/Co-Director Rania Attieh
Attieh directed episodes of The Resort for producer Sam Esmail, streaming on Peacock.
2020 Asia (Israel) Writer/Director Ruthy Pribar
The drama played at Jewish film festivals around the country and is now streaming on Chai Flicks.
2021 as of yet (USA) Writer Taylor Garron/Co-Directors Chanel James and Taylor Garron
This pandemic-set film went on to play at several film festivals, and is now available on streaming services. Garron guest starred on the acclaimed series Abbott Elementary and continues to perform at comedy shows. James posted that she “got into digital archiving and turned that passion into curating a music space.”
© Nora Lee Mandel (4/5/23) — Special for FF2 Media
LEARN MORE/DO MORE
Read Nora Lee Mandel’s original 2022 post about Michelle’s win for Huesera.
Huesera is now available on most streaming services including Amazon and Direct TV. Follow this link for a full list of streaming options provided by the Just Watch site.
Watch the Huesera trailer on YouTube.
Follow this link for more information about the annual Tribeca Film Festival.
Learn more about Nora Ephron on Wikipedia.
CREDITS & PERMISSIONS
Photo of lead actress Natalia Soliánin by Huesera’s cinematographer Nur Rubio Sherwell. Used with permission. All Rights Reserved
Wikimedia photo of Nora Ephron with husband Nicholas Pileggi taken by David Shankbone at the 2010 TFF. Nora Ephron died in 2012.