We’re counting down the 40 days to NYWIFT’s 40th Anniversary Muse Awards with a look at some of our favorite honorees, all women of vision and achievement who have contributed to the film and television industry. Join us as we look back at #Muse40for40, and buy your tickets for the Muse Awards on Tuesday, December 10th at nywift.org/muse!
#31: Lisa Nishimura
By Kathryn O’Kane
13-year Netflix veteran Lisa Nishimura was the VP of Original Documentary and Comedy Programming when we honored her at 2018; just three months later, she was named the head of Independent Film and Documentary Programming. In 2017, she was named one of the 100 most powerful women in entertainment by The Hollywood Reporter.
Under her leadership, Netflix has provided a global platform for critically acclaimed documentary work including Making a Murderer; Wild Wild Country; Chef’s Table; Icarus; What Happened, Miss Simone?; 13th; White Helmets and Salt Fat Acid Heat. In addition, her team has produced global stand-up comedy specials including Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette and Ali Wong’s Baby Cobra and Hard Knock Wife as well as work from the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle, and Amy Schumer, with forthcoming specials from Ellen DeGeneres and Chris Rock. The current slate of films including Reversing Roe, Shirkers and Quincy, showcases Netflix’s commitment to female documentarians and compelling storytelling.
“I think this is the very reason why I absolutely love and feel so privileged to do the work I do. I get to support incredible storytellers — documentarians, comics – true creators who are the brilliant social commentators of our day.” – Lisa Nishimura at the 2018 Muse Awards
Welcome to NYWIFT, Candece Tarpley! Candece Tarpley, of Sissipahaw/Tuscarora/Tsalagi descent, is a World Champion Powwow dancer, an actress and a poet-storyteller-playwright who has been writing since childhood. Holding her heritage close, she's been a featured performer nationwide, weaving her crafts with the patrons of the Public Library of Boulder Colorado; Middlebury College in Vermont; Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts; the Pequot Museum in Connecticut; the Brooklyn Museum and the Museum of Natural History in New York City, as well as other creative venues. Candece spoke to us about how her Indigenous heritage influences her work, the response to her television series, and her next major projects.READ MORE
New York based filmmaker Melissa Morales is a first-generation Puerto Rican Latina alum from CUNY Brooklyn College with a BA in Film Production, holding a magna cum laude GPA. Melissa is an aspiring writer, director, producer and production designer, and multimedia content creator. She has written, directed, & produced four short films in 2022, with her thesis "Bigger" winning a NYWIFT Emerging Female Filmmaker Award at Brookly College and a NYIFA Best Student Director Award both in 2023! Melissa tells us about receiving the NYWIFT Emerging Female Filmmaker Award, her role as a writer, director, and producer, and more!READ MORE
Welcome to NYWIFT, Hyonok Kim! Hyonok is an award-winning filmmaker and choreographer who creates innovative and experimental film. Hyonok was born in South Korea, then studied film and dance in Paris and New York. Rather than dialogue, her films use dance to express interactions, bringing the emotional experience to the viewer. She choreographed and directed 15 dance films including Weeping Water, For Sunrise, Dance with Horses, Ode on a Korean Urn, Isle of Waiting Souls, Passion & Rebirth, South Sea to Isang Yun and L’Heure de Coq. Her films were shown at international film festivals and broadcasted in France, Germany, Australia, China, Korea, the Netherlands, and the USA. Now, she lives and works in the Bronx. Hyonok shares her inspirations in nature, as a choreographer and as a storyteller here!READ MORE
Meet NYWIFT member Jean Criss, an accomplished woman in media and tech, who has founded four successful e-commerce companies, showcasing brand innovation and ability to create. With certifications in digital media, fashion, and business, Jean is a notable figure in the industry, regularly appearing on TV, podcasts, and live radio shows. She is also a philanthropist and passionate advocate for women in business, actively supporting growth and female empowerment. Jean’s commitment to emerging technologies and trends allows her to navigate these ever-changing territories with resilience and fortitude.READ MORE