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
NYWIFT member Maleni Chaitoo is an actress and a producer. She is known for her appearance in the “New York, I Love You” episode of Master of None and her role as Kayla on the web series Don’t Shoot the Messenger, on which she is also an executive producer. The series is a comedy about a socially awkward sign language interpreter who, despite being fluent in two languages, still “fumbles through life in NYC hopelessly lost in translation.” In addition to having Deaf and hearing cast members, the series also had Deaf and hearing directors, designers, and crew working side by side.
Chaitoo states that her proudest achievement was receiving the Loreen Arbus Disability Awareness Grant at the 2016 NYWIFT Muse Awards, “I was quite amazed, inspired, and honored to see all of these attendees laughing at a short video clip of me playing [the] Kayla character in the episode three. It was amazing sharing our joy with our audiences.”
Don’t Shoot the Messenger is available for streaming on YouTube.
Ruth E. Carter is an American costume designer (and NYWFT Designing Women honoree!) with an unparalleled ability to develop an authentic story through costume and character. And this year she became the first African American woman to win an Academy Award for costume design for her work in Black Panther.READ MORE
Barbara Hammer: Our industry lost a legend this week, pioneering queer experimental filmmaker Barbara Hammer. A recent Vanity Fair interview highlighted the inclusive spirit that...READ MORE
Production Designer Hannah Beachler created the iconic looks of "Creed," "Moonlight," and Beyonce's "Lemonade" before taking on the fictional world of Wakanda in "Black Panther," which won her a 2019 Academy Award. She is the first-ever African American - male or female - to take home that honor.READ MORE
Joi McMillon made Oscar history in 2018 when she became the first African American woman nominated for Best Achievement in Film Editing for Moonlight. But the road to the Oscars wasn’t straight or smooth.READ MORE