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    Shira    Levin

    Writer / Filmmaker

     It all begins with story...

  • Shira Levin

    A bit about me

    I'm a native New Yorker. Originally an actress, I segued into writing screenplays. My first script was an adaptation of Anne Tyler’s first novel, “If Morning Ever Comes,” later optioned and developed by American Playhouse. Another adaptation, a novella of “Lipstick on the Host,” by Irish author Aidan Mathews, was optioned and put into development by World 2000.

     

    Other feature scripts include, “Common Ground,” “There Will Be A Fish,” “Hair of the Dog,” “Four Eyes,” “Ain’t That A Kick,” and "Franny" (a pilot).

     

    In 2012, I wrote and directed my first short film, LAST DAY. This turned out to be the first of a trilogy, which includes OLD JUNK (2013) and UPSIDE DOWN (2014). My other short films are UPROOTED (2014) and WALKIN' (2014). In September 2016, I directed my first feature film, GOOD GRIEF AKA STARFISH, which I also wrote. The film is currently in post-production.

     

    For six years, I was Director of Development for Martin Scorsese's company, Cappa Productions. During that time I was Associate Producer and Script Consultant on two feature films: "Brides" aka "Nyfes," starring Damian Lewis, directed by Pantelis Voulgaris, executive produced by Martin Scorsese and "Deuces Wild" (MGM/UA). Prior to that, I worked at Universal Pictures (NY) for two years as assistant to the VP Production and managed the story department.

     

    I was a juror two times for Minnesota Film Fund and a judge for McKnight Screenwriting Fellowship/IFP North, and an IFP Panelist. I also taught "The Business of Writing" for Film' at The New School.

     

    Currently, I teach screenwriting at New York Film Academy. In addition, I'm a psychotherapist (LCSW). To me, this is a perfect complement to my work as a writer/director/filmmaker.

     

    Member of New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT)

    Member IFP

    Emeritus Member of Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE)

     

     

     

     

     

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    Current Project

    STARFISH (new title)

    an indie feature film

    written and directed by

    Shira Levin

  • GOOD GRIEF a.k.a STARFISH

    An indie feature...

    A female driven story about grief, healing, friendship, family and love. It's touching, funny and a tad romantic.

     

    A film for viewers who like stories about people and relationships.

     

    It's also a film for dog lovers and for anyone who has experienced loss.

     

    In September 2016, we completed shooting this film in a small seaside town in Connecticut and two locations in New York. Currently, we're in post-production. We are still fundraising and looking for support for all phases of post-production, so if you want to help us, check the film's website: http://starfishfilms.strikingly.com

     

    Articles about the film from Harbor News (Connecticut newspaper):

     

    http://www.zip06.com/news/20160419/levin-writes-feature-film

     

    http://www.zip06.com/news/20160816/shira-levin-begins-filming-of-x2018good-griefx2019-in-westbrook

     

  • TRILOGY

    Three stories where "invisibles" become visible through unexpected connections.

    Watch it on Vimeo. Password required. Contact me.

    Upside Down (2014)

    A 10 year-old girl befriends a transgender woman in her building, against her mother's wishes.

    * OutWest Film Fest 2015

    * Black Bear Film Festival 2015

    * The American Psychological Association

    Film Festival 2015

    * Northside Film Festival (Brooklyn, NY) 2015

    * XpoNorth 2015 Film Festival (Scotland)

    * Springfield LGBT Film Festival (AUDIENCE

    CHOICE AWARD WINNER) 2015

    * Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film

    Festival (India) 2015

    * Translations: Seattle Transgender Film Festival 2017

    Old Junk (2013)

    An isolated but vital old man discovers a box of junk that he transforms into a sculpture.

    *  Global Peace Film Festival

    *  Black Bear Film Festival

    Last Day (2012)

    On the day a young man plans to kill himself, an unexpected encounter presents him with opportunity for change.

    * Black Bear Film Festival

    * The Animal Film Festival

    * A.C.T. Film Festival

    * The National Museum of Animals

    (Los Angeles)

  • Endorsements

    Old Junk

    Anne Tyler - author 

    «That was a beautiful movie. I loved every closely observed second of it — very touching. Thank you so much for telling me it existed.

    I hope it gets lots of attention and appreciation.»

    Old Junk

    Paul Griffin - writer

    «It was so beautiful, from start to finish. I loved the music too. The classical was so pretty and quiet, and perfect for the picture. I loved the end title song too. The reveal of the “dolls” at the end was so great. It was so sad but so inspiring too, how Horace just kept going, finding ways to make his day meaningful, making art no matter what. The old pictures were wonderful. It was perfect from the opening frame to the last. Horace is my hero. I always dreamed of living that long, to get to relax and feed the squirrels and just take in the day and notice all the beauty around. Bravo. Bravo. Bravo.»

    Upside Down

    Rita Madison - hair & makeup artist

    «Just watched the film. It is terrific!!

    … I love it, everything works so smoothly, and it is a 

    wonderful, heartfelt story!

    I was moved and LOVE the ending!»

     

    Old Junk

    Patti Seitz - family therapist

    «I really loved it even more than the first time I saw it. ... I started crying after seeing it. I just wanted to let you know, how moved I was by it and how much I appreciate your film making and how you are able to illuminate the deepest places and touch our humanity.»

    Last Day

    Paul Griffin - writer

    «Shira got me teary-eyed! So beautiful!!! …

    I'm a sucker for animals-save-the-world stories, but Last Day brought that idea to a much more intimate place, one that I haven't seen in a long time. It's gorgeous -- the cinematography, the acting (both the guy and the kid were fabulous), the sense of place, but most of all the story. Absolutely perfect for this viewer. 

    It has an O Henry feel. …

    So hard to do, to bring a story and a character full circle in just a few minutes, but Shira nailed it. I absolutely loved it.»

    Last Day

    Cathy Curt

    «WOW!  Shira....This was a powerful film....congratulations!  You captured all the emotions beautifully without any words!»

     

    Upside Down

    Will Voelkel - Director of Black Bear Film Festival

    «We love Upside Down!  Like the other two films in the trilogy, it's charming and moving.»

    Uprooted

    Marie Wilson - Psychotherapist

    «...loved UPROOTED.  Never thought a bush could be such an emotionally moving character...»

    The Trilogy

    Nancy Shapiro

    «This cannot wait until tomorrow! I just watched Last Day, Old Junk 

    and Upside Down.  WOW! Gentle messages…incredible photography…

    I loved each one for different reasons.

    I felt so much unstated loneliness in Old Junk…loneliness with so much grace.

    My favorite of the three was Last Day. 

     It was powerful in it's quietness.

    I just had to tell you how moved I was by your beautiful work. Thank you.»

    Last Day, Old Junk

    Judy McVety

    «...Both films are compelling reminders of the commonality of human experience and emotions, the desire to be loved, feeling isolated and hopeless

    and how music, creativity and nurturing bring us together and heal our spirits.

    Each time I watch them I come away with a transformative inspiration

    and quiet celebration, in today's disheartening deluge of bad news,

    of how genuinely good and caring most people are...»

  • Other Films

    UpRooted

    A mini-documentary accompanied by Nancy La Mott singing "Call Me Irresponsible"

    Walkin'

    A music video to Lucy Kaplanski's cover of Woody Gutherie's "This Morning I Am Born Again"

  • PRESS

    Articles about Good Grief aka Starfish

  • Script Consultation

    Bring your project to the next level

    STORY, CHARACTER, STRUCTURE, TRUTH.

    Story, Character, Structure, Truth.  That is my mantra.  

     

    I work with writers - beginners to professionals - to help improve their scripts.   As a consultant, I have worked with screenwriters, playwrights and performance artists.  Before I started teaching, I was Director of Development for Martin Scorsese's company, for six years, where I worked with writers and directors on their projects.  However, I've learned more from teaching than from anything else I've done.  I love to teach, consult and help writers find, develop and deepen their stories.  

      

    I focus on helping you more fully understand and develop your characters in order to be able to create a transformation for them that makes sense for the story you are telling.  I ask many questions with the goal of making you think about your story in ways you might not have imagined.  

     

    I start where you are.  I go at your pace and adapt the way I work to fit your needs.  Please feel free to contact me to discuss your project and how I might help.  We can see if we're a good match.  I'm a writer too… I get it.

     

     

     

    If you are looking for a script consultant, I highly recommend Shira Levin.  Shira’s experience as a writer, director, teacher, and as a script development executive to one the most influential filmmakers in motion picture history, makes her the real deal. With a keen eye and true understanding of story, structure and character development, Shira will provide you with an honest evaluation of your project and offer the type of professional feedback that one rarely gets from story consultants. 

    Rosalie Muskatt, Producer, Inwood Productions

     

    I've had Shira during the first quarter of my Masters at New York Film Academy, and I must say that she was an excellent teacher, not only for the commitment that she shows, but for the professional and strict approach that she has with everybody’s work. She is the kind of person who demands from you a lot as a student and pushes you not to stay in your comfort zone. Every class she fills your brain with new questions, thoughts and makes you move forward and think deeply of what you are writing, of your contents. Along with those, she also has a clear and vast experience with formats and structure. I personally think, that her being a psychotherapist helps you as a writer to really get to the main themes your material is trying to explore and to stay honest with what is believable and what is not. Great teacher, precise and extremely professional.

    Agosto Latino, Writer