NARMIN’S BIRTHDAY is the story of 15-year-old Narmin and her 84-year-old grandmother Ismat, who share a bedroom in their family’s tiny Sheepshead Bay apartment. Though their nights are spent no more than four feet away from each other on parallel beds, the cultural identities they’ve each chosen are worlds apart. As Narmin plans her very American sweet sixteen birthday party, Ismat observes a world that is unfamiliar to her and wonders if someday Narmin will appreciate her heritage.
Jenny Groza is a filmmaker and audio producer based in Brooklyn. Her personal work focuses on social justice issues, and her professional work is in both video and podcast production, with Unlikely Media, a production company she co-founded. She has worked with clients like TED, the NYC Mayor’s Office, and NowThis. She was selected as a Brooklyn Public Media Fellow at BRIC in 2016 and teaches camera, documentary, and podcast courses to high school and adult students. Her documentary work has shown at international film festivals. She has a master’s degree in public policy from The New School, which she attended on a Peace Corps Fellowship, and a degree in video production from Ohio University.
Lydia Cornett is a documentary filmmaker and video producer based in Brooklyn. Her independent work focuses on artistic performance and personal histories while her professional assignments span visual journalism and a wide array of literary content. Lydia was selected as the 2019 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow at the Jacob Burns Film Center and a 2018 CoLab Fellow at UnionDocs. She has assisted filmmakers Chai Vasarhelyi (Meru); Brett Story (The Hottest August); and Ken Burns (East Lake Meadows: A Public Housing Story). A member of The Video Consortium, she has produced video content for The New Yorker, Slate Magazine, The Washington Post, Penguin Random House, and Princeton University. Lydia studied History and Film/Video at Princeton University and is a classically trained violinist & composer.
The eight shorts in the NSF19 OPENING NITE program feature documentaries on New York communities, Brooklyn drag culture, and a firefighter’s love of cinema along with narrative stories about immigration, coming of age, sex, and self-pleasure.