In honor of Women’s History Month, NYWIFT looks back at some of the remarkable women who have shaped the film, television and digital media industries through the decades.
By Mellini Kantayya
Sandra Osawa is a director, producer, and writer. She is a member of the Makah Nation of Washington State.
One could argue that news coverage of Native American issues is still vastly lacking today. Thus, Sandra Osawa was a true ground-breaker in 1974 by directing, producing, and writing NBC’s first news program on Native American issues. She later also became the first Native American filmmaker to produce a POV program for PBS, Lighting the 7th Fire.
Lighting the 7th Fire (1995, PBS)
“I jumped into the film world early,” Osawa said. “At a time when no other Indians were producing. I did so mainly because the images I saw of Indian people in everyday life and the images I saw on the screen were so vastly different. I also thought it was difficult for us to achieve the political victories we sought in the 60’s and 70’s because our image in the media was so poor. I thought American Indians should be portrayed as contemporary figures with a vibrant culture, full of humor and strength, and with our own inspiring role models.”
NYWIFT member Jill Salvino is an accomplished storyteller and commercial director with over 200 awards to her name, including an Emmy. But one of her proudest accomplishments is also one of her most recent – her feature documentary directorial debut Between the Shades. Profiled in The New York Times in April under the quippy headline “How Gay Are You?” the documentary asks just that, yet so much more. Salvino spoke to us about the process of making the film, working with her documentary subjects and what she hopes to accomplish with the film’s educational release.READ MORE
Emmy Noms: Congrats to all the NYWIFT members nominated for Primetime Emmy Awards this year! Can’t wait to watch and cheer you all on. Tom...READ MORE
Nancy Schwartzman: Last week NYWIFT hosted a Twitter chat with director Nancy Schwartzman of Roll Red Roll, available now on PBS’ POV. If you haven’t...READ MORE
Death Row Stories explores the fallibility of the ultimate criminal penalty, capital punishment. Narrated by current and former death row inmates, each episode of Death Row Stories seeks to unravel the truth behind a different capital murder case and poses tough questions about the U.S. capital punishment system. Six NYWIFT members who worked on the show, including Board Member Kathryn O'Kane, share the insight they gained into the criminal justice system through their work on the show.READ MORE