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Poster for the short film FLOWER


Q&A with Misty Copeland, director Lauren Finerman, and producer Leyla Fayyaz, moderated by JBFC Senior Film Programmer Monica Castillo

Groundbreaking ballerina Misty Copeland brings her new short film Flower to the Jacob Burns Film Center, straight from its premiere at the TriBeCa Film Festival!

Misty Copeland stars alongside Babatunji Johnson and former Dance Theatre of Harlem and Complexions Contemporary Ballet principal dancer Christina Johnson. Paying homage to Black silent films of the 1920s, Lauren Finerman (Ballet 422, Paper Birds) directs a poignant, dialogue-free story about a young woman named Rose (Copeland), who has had to place her dreams on hold as she cares for her ailing mother Gloria (Johnson), who is living with dementia. As Rose struggles to keep a roof over their heads, she watches the neighborhood around her fade away—much like her mother’s memory—until the mysterious Sterling (Johnson) helps to highlight the everlasting culture of community and the power of strength through unity, bringing Rose renewed hope for the future.


Q&A with Misty Copeland, director Lauren Finerman, and producer Leyla Fayyaz, moderated by JBFC Senior Film Programmer Monica Castillo
Q&A with Misty Copeland, director Lauren Finerman, and producer Leyla Fayyaz, moderated by JBFC Senior Film Programmer Monica Castillo
Sunday, Jun. 11 2023, 2:00
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  • Misty Copeland is a Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre, the first Black woman to be promoted to the position in the company's 75-year history in 2015. She has performed some of the most iconic classical ballet roles, including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake; Juliet in Romeo & Juliet; Giselle; Manon; Coppelia; Kitri in Don Quixote; and Firebird. Copeland is an avid philanthropist and an ambassador for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, of which she is also an alum, and is the founder of The Misty Copeland Foundation. She is a bestselling author of several adult and children’s books, and is co-founder of Life In Motion Productions, as well as the athletic wear brand Greatness Wins alongside Derek Jeter, Chris Riccobono, and Wayne Gretzky. Copeland is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Time Magazine Time 100 Most Influential People in the World, Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year, Black Girls Rock! Award, and most recently, the Spingarn Medal, the NAACP’s highest honor.
  • Lauren Finerman is a Film Director and Screenwriter specializing in the expression of kinetic storytelling and cinematic choreography. Lauren is a deeply emotional storyteller whose work often touches on issues of social justice and structural transformation through a feminist lens. Her background as a dancer and circus performer informs her ability to tell rhythmic stories for screen, as did her time as the in-house filmmaker at New York City Ballet, where she worked on projects including Jody Lee Lipes’ feature film Ballet 422 (Tribeca Film Festival/Magnolia Pictures) and Sarah Jessica Parker’s series City.Ballet (AOL.ON).  Her work has screened around the world, including Paper Birds, a 1950s circus narrative which received multiple nominations and awards internationally and was optioned for the feature-length film script. She is currently in production with Tidetivity Studios on a feature documentary, Montaño, which explores the fight for women’s equality in Olympic Sports.
  • Leyla Fayyaz is an Emmy-Winning journalist, writer, and producer with nearly two decades experience in broadcast television working for major media companies like Sony Music, Cablevision, Fox Entertainment/O&O, Disney/ABC, and Viacom/Comedy Central. Fayyaz began her career in the entertainment industry as a professional ballerina with American Ballet Theatre upon winning the Grand Prize at the very first Youth America Grand Prix competition. She is an alumnus of the HARID Conservatory and recipient of their Jeannot B. Cerrone Award for outstanding artistic achievement. In 2015, Fayyaz co-founded Life in Motion Productions with Misty Copeland with the goal of bringing more representative voices to multimedia platforms through a focus on dance-based narratives.

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