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FILM @ Downtown Urban Arts Festival (DUAF) showcases the best in new short film from new and emerging independent filmmakers from United States and around the world.
Short films make up a unique medium, one that lends itself neatly to subtler scenes and visual experimentation. They also, not-so-coincidentally, carve out a space for voices often quelled in the world of big-budget blockbusters It provides the movie-loving public with access to bold, daring and innovative cinema. (Huffington Post)
Our mission is to promote and stimulate creation and innovation in the film industry and provide support, opportunities for new voices that otherwise might not have been heard. FILM believes that independent films broaden the palette of cinema, seeding the global culture with new ideas, kindling awareness and fostering activism.
In 2017, FILM @ DUAF launched the Brazilian Independent Film Festival (BiFF) at the legendary AMC Empire 25 in Times Square, NYC.
For more information visit 

Film Committee

Desmond Hall, Chair, has written and directed a feature film, A DAY IN BLACK AND WHITE, which was nominated for the Gordon Parks Award and sold to HBO. His screenplay, FRANKIE, a thriller set in Jamaica, was a runner-up at the IFP screenwriting contest. He’s also written and directed a full-length play, STOCKHOLM, BROOKLYN, which won the Audience Award at the Downtown Theater Festival, and afterwards, the Public Theater picked it up for its New Works Series.  He has also been named one of Variety Magazine’s Top 50 Creatives to Watch. He has worked for several Madison Avenue advertising agencies. During his ten years as Associate Creative Director and Executive Creative Director of Spike Lee’s advertising agency, Desmond led creative teams, pitched clients and created award-winning work, including two Super Bowl commercials, one of which was voted the AP Wire Service’s funniest commercial. Various literary, film and theatrical projects are in development.

Sasha Dees worked as a producer on the TV-series On Track, Wassup goes Bronx (MTNL) and Couscous & Cola (Nevejan BNN/IDTV/Al Jahzeera); Documentaries E Minha Cara (T. Harris/Sundance Channel/Arte) which premiered in Toronto, Sundance and Berlinale, Say My Name (N. Peled) which premiered in SXSW, Beperkt Houdbaar/Over the hill (S. Bergman/VPRO), Blood Mondays & Strawberry Pies (C. Schrijber/IKON) which won the Dutch Oscar (Gouden Kalf) for best documentary and The groove of Joseph Bowie (R. van Erven Doorens/NMO); Short films Saint of Avenue B (R.Alberta/PBS), Tree grows out Harlem (C. Woodworth), Twins of Mankala (da Silve/PBS) which premiered in Tribeca, Firmeza Total (Koolhaas/Urhahn/MTV-networks), Straight outa Turkey (Fikret Koc/MTV Networks), Project 7002 (HotelDuvel/Boymans van Beuningen). At this time Dees is producing My American Dream (S. Tjallingii, 15 episodes), Witte Dieren (S. Bennett) and Lorca/Casement Project (D. Antonio Cruz). Sasha is a freelance programmer for various international festivals and venues.                                                    

Rossen Ventzislavov is a philosopher extraordinaire, natural born critic, occasional performance artist and a frontier explorer of the Los Angeles cultural wilderness. He is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Woodbury University. His primary research is in aesthetics, but he is  also an avid reader of continental philosophy, critical theory, history, literature, and art criticism. He has presented and published original research on architecture, curating, psychoanalysis, popular music, literature and ethics. He is a student and occasional practitioner of the arts, forever indebted to them for the bearability of existence. He  is a member of a performance art collective that engages in the practice of “Encounter”— a series of non-scripted gatherings, at which artists explore the limits of their responsiveness to a shared environment. He is a photographer who has an eye for much more than his photographs capture. He is a natural born critic, eager to dissect my aesthetic experiences in conversation and in writing. 

Neyda Martinez is a producer and independent strategic communications and cultural consultant with over 15 years of experience. She completed graduate studies at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs earning an MPA in 2008. She’s served clients such as Hachette Book Group USA, NYC’s Mayor’s Office of Adult Education, and Pernod-Ricard. She is the responsible for communications strategy of public media’s newest documentary series, America ReFramed, was Director of National Engagement for PBS’ documentary special, LATINO AMERICANS, and was part of POV’s communications and marketing team where she worked on campaigns for over 60 acclaimed documentary titles. In 2004, she conceived the music and humanities project, HABANA/HARLEM®. She is the producer of the independent film LUCKY and her initiative, The New Audience Project, garnered a 2008 Rockefeller Cultural Industry Innovation Fund Award. She volunteers on committees for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Uprose and serves on the national board of directors for The Association of American Cultures, as well as for the Bronx-based dance company, Pepatian. An active cultural advocate and leader, she nurtures the next generation with hands-on mentoring. Her contributions have been recognized by El Diario-La Prensa’s Mujer Destacada campaign (2002); (2012); Senator Peralta and the Latin American Intercultural Alliance (2013); and Ford Motor Company’s Mujer Legendaria campaign (2013).


Salvador Bolivar attended The School of Visual Arts, and also studied at The Tish School of the Arts at New York University. He began as a camera assistant and shortly after, crossed over to the lighting department. Wear he felt more comfortable in developing his craft. After seven years of being a lighting technician Salvador has worked on over 4 dozen Independent films, numerous Music Videos, and a Handful of Commercials. As a Director of Photography, Salvador has photographed 8 independent feature, 6 Documentaries, 5 commercials, 2 commercial campaigns, and over a dozen Music Videos. He also has Shot several television programs for such companies such as MTV, BET, Spike TV, CW Net Work, P.B.S., Spanish Broadcasting Systems, and Infinity Broadcasting System. Salvador in 2005 won the best Cinematography award at the San Antonio independent filmmaker’s film festival for his work on "Racket" a short directed by Mike Baez. As well as had some of his films show cased at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2003, and at the 2008 Cannes Film festival.  In 2008, he launched his own Company "Rising Phoenix Film Works." “Fifi Patelito goes to the DMV” is Salvador’s directing debut, a short comedy about an immigrant street vendor who gets lost in translation at the New York city motor vehicles. Salvador is also part of the award wining non-profit “Ghetto Film School” located in the south Bronx. He is also the CBO (Community Based Organization) at the nations 1stfilm high school “The Cinema School." His work has enabled him to share his knowledge of film with young people of all ages, as well has extend him overseas to countries such as France, Italy, Israel, Hong Kong, Macua, Dubai, Columbia, Cuba, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica.

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