Budding Bed-Stuy filmmaker Stephanie Ibarra embarks on first solo film, seeks local support

Bedstuy filmmaker Stephanie ibarra short film
Bed-Stuy filmmaker Stephanie Ibarra has scored her first grant and relies on Brooklyn’s film industry community to see her next project on the big screen.
Photo courtesy of Stephany Ibarra.

Lights, camera, action. 

Filmmaking is much more than writing, acting, shooting and editing — there is also fundraising, crowdfunding, applying for grants and more. Yet sometimes, it is all a one-person job. That is the case for Bed-Stuy-based director Stephanie Ibarra, who is in the early stages of working on her first solo film.

Born in Queens to a family with Colombian ancestry, Ibarra has found the inspiration for her planned short film by going back to her roots, in the south of Chile, where “the landscape became the main character,” she said.

The film, to be titled “Todo El Tiempo En El Mundo,” which translates to be “All the Time in the World,” will be about a woman who believes that she is living in isolation in the Andes region, just off the route of the seven lakes that connect Argentina and Chile in Patagonia, only to realize she is not completely alone. Ibarra said the mood of the film will be meditative and calm, while taking moviegoers through a visual experience, within the same genre as “Nomadland” (2020) and “Into the Wild” (2007), until some surrealist elements are put into the mix.

“I don’t know what it is about the Andes, they are so mystical and full of energy,” she said.

The idea for the film was sparked by her own experience of spending time completely off the grid in rural Chile with a view of an inactive volcano and some very deep forest. The rural area is about a 30-minute walk uphill from the nearest road.  

“I was alone, it was just me and this land and it was inevitable to form a really special relationship,” the filmmaker said.

Ibarra also drew inspiration from the Portuguese short film “Flores,” by Jorge Jácome, which shows a natural crisis scenario driven by an uncontrolled vegetation plague that invades an island left to military forces to control. Ibarra’s interpretation presents elements of modern-day colonialism on another side of the world as her protagonist encounters unexpected guests. 

“The land starts proving these characters and the movie becomes a journey of how she reacts to them and how they expand her world,” said the director. “To make this happen, it is just a matter of getting a crew of seven people to this location.” 

Filming, however, is only one step in the process for the film to come to fruition. She is currently encountering a financial challenge, which involves raising $13,000 in order to put it together. Ibarra is hoping to raise the funds before shooting the film in November and releasing it in the spring of 2025.

“It’s a commercial business and it’s hard for artists to get their projects completed,” said Ibarra, who has already scored a grant of $500 and equipment access from the Nukhu Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that strives for media diversity and representation. 

“That money can maybe feed the crew the whole week,” she said. “Having the support of any organization shows credibility. These people believe in my project, and it helps me feel less alone.”

Nukhu aims to help BIPOC independent filmmakers. The foundation is gearing up for its 9th annual festival in 2024.

“The media industry is driven largely by profits, and a very small number of wealthy individuals determine the majority of film content that’s available for public consumption,” said Sanjay Singh, founder of Nukhu. “Communities that are underrepresented and underserved in everyday life are likewise underserved and underrepresented in the world of film and art. Nukhu Foundation is committed to providing those communities with a voice, and Nukhufest puts the power in the hands of the people to elevate that voice.”

Ibarra is also counting on the Brooklyn film industry network for help. She is taking a crash course on crowdfunding for Brooklyn filmmakers and once the film is done, she plans to submit it to No Budge, a streaming platform for young and emerging filmmakers created by Bed-Stuy’s local filmmaker Kentucker Audley.

“It’s hard for people to find short films, that’s why this platform and local theaters are so important,” she said.

No Budge hosts an acclaimed short film festival at Nitehawk each year. 

“With this film, I want to make my grandma proud,” she said. 

For updates on “Todo el Tiempo En El Mundo,” follow Ibarra’s progress here.