Columbia Filmmakers Take Home Best Short Film Award at New Faces, New Voices Film Festival

Angeline Dimambro
August 18, 2021

Hector's Woman (La Mujer de Hector), written & directed by Columbia University Film Program student Ricardo Varona and produced by fellow student Annie Pettinga and alumnus Tony Yang '20, recently won the award for Best Short Film at the New Faces, New Voices Film Festival

The New York based festival, now in its third year, dedicates itself to discovering and highlighting new works often ignored by the mainstream media and the Hollywood system. Alumni of the festival have gone on to secure theatrical and streaming distribution deals with companies such as Netflix, Sony Pictures Worldwide, and more. NFNV specializes in amplifying inclusive and diverse voices from around the world, showcasing stories from underrepresented communities including filmmakers of color, female filmmakers, members of the LGBTQ+ and disabled communities, as well as works by military veterans.

After over a year of virtual festivals and postponed screenings, NFNV Film Festival organizers, filmmakers, and audiences gathered at the Brooklyn Alamo Drafthouse Cinema for an evening of cinema and community.

Hector's Woman (La Mujer de Hector) tells the story of a young Puerto Rican mother whose personal sense of abandonment is analogous to the island's own desertion in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

The award-winning short film will also screen at the upcoming New York Latino Film Festival from September 13-19, 2021.

Ricardo Varona is a filmmaker who was born in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. He is a Miloš Forman Directing Fellow, Equity Diversity & Inclusion Representative, and MFA Directing candidate in Columbia University’s Film Program. Having lived most of his life on the island, Varona’s work constantly bounces back and forth between Puerto Rico and the US. His stories center family matters, sexuality, class, and cultural identity.

Annie Pettinga is an American filmmaker living in New York City. She is a graduate of Syracuse University's College of Visual and Performing Arts where she received a BFA in Film with a concentration in Directing and a Minor in Drama. She has also studied Film at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague and Acting at Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City. Pettinga is currently a Screenwriting and Directing MFA candidate at Columbia University. She is the director of the short film We Don't Eat (2020). Outside of her work as a filmmaker, Pettinga is a video and installation artist, curator, and one of the co-founders of the feminist art collective Girl on Girl Collective.

Tony Yang is a Chinese-American film producer based in New York City. He has produced three feature films and over twenty short films including LeotardSnow QueenAliceTin ElephantMan Of War, and Pettinga’s We Don’t Eat. His films have screened at numerous festivals including the Traverse City Film Festival, San Diego Asian Film Festival, Chelsea Film Festival, Oceanside International Film Festival, Austin Spotlight Film Festival, and Miami International Film Festival. In addition to his film producing, Yang has also worked on several TV series, including The Get Down (Netflix), Mating (Showtime), and Agent Carter (ABC). Yang holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Film and TV Production from Michigan State University and is an alumnus of the Film MFA Program at Columbia University.