Fusion Finalists Spotlight: Animation

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By Editorial Co-Heads Rachel Lambert & Siena Richardson.

Many incredible artists will be featured in this year’s Fusion Film Festival screening and competition. We reached out to the finalists from all 12 categories to get to know more about who they are, what inspires them, and how they feel about being a part of Fusion.


Christina Jean Benenati
Major in Film & Television (focus in Animation) – Tisch School of the Arts
Class of May 2015
Film: “Otter of the Underground”

Corinne Stein
Major in Film & Television, Minor in Art History –  Tisch School of the Arts
Class of May 2017
Hometown: Centerport, Long Island, NY
Film: “Deep Trouble”

Isabelle Ghaffari
Major in Film & Television (concentration in Animation) – Tisch School of the Arts
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Film: “The All American Cooking Show with Mitsy Crowe”


How did you decide to become a writer/filmmaker/animator/etc.?

Christina: When I was little, I used to make up stories with my stuffed animals. The grown up version of that is stop motion animation with animal puppets!

Corinne: When I was in middle school, I was really into drawing but only saw it as a hobby and a means to produce Pokemon and Fruits Basket fanart. I actually thought that I wanted to be a chef professionally until I saw Pixar’s Ratatouille (Is that ironic? I’m still not sure.). I was so blown away, from the rendering of the food to the sets, lighting effects, and the story, that I decided I wanted to go into animation production. Ratatouille is still my absolute favorite film.

Isabelle: When I was a child, I would watch South Park when my parents weren’t home. I thought “Hanky the Christmas Poop” was an awesome character, so I decided to create characters of my own.

What inspires you?

Christina: I’m inspired by acts of kindness, children’s books, rad art, and vegetables.

Corinne: When i’m illustrating or animating, I’m often inspired by my dreams, my childhood, fashion magazines, and art history! I love baroque and rococo art, and work by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Yoshitomo Nara, Hayao Miyazaki, and Beatrix Potter.  I also draw a lot from the fantastic artists that I follow online and whatever media is holding my thoughts hostage that particular day.

Isabelle: S/O to N.M., or Natalie Markiles. “Without you, Mitsy would be but a thought!” What a ride…

Why did you submit to Fusion?

Christina: I submitted to Fusion because it plays a key role in supporting and showcasing women’s films in the NYU and Tisch community, and I was thrilled to contribute.

Corinne: I submitted to Fusion because it’s a one-of-a-kind event at NYU. So much commitment and love goes into the planning, and the cause is super-positive and one that should be important to everyone because more diversity in film production means more interesting films, and everyone benefits from that.

Isabelle: The Fusion Film Festival celebrates and acknowledges work developed by women, bringing forward a collection of incredibly hard-working filmmakers and allowing them to share their unique vision. I am grateful to be a part of something so pivotal to the field of filmmaking.

Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you?

Corinne: My friends send me pics when they see mice on the street, and I’ll date the first person to find me a real dalmatian mouse.

The screening of Fusion Film Festival finalists and the awards ceremony will take place at 6:30pm at Cantor Film Center on Saturday, March 5th.