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!
#26: Charlayne Hunter-Gault
By Mellini Kantayya
Journalist and author Charlayne Hunter-Gault began her career as a reporter to The New Yorker (where she still contributes) and was the Harlem bureau chief for The New York Times in 1986, specializing in coverage of the urban black community. She spent 20 years with PBS NewsHour where she was a national and international correspondent as well as a substitute anchor. She is a former foreign correspondent for National Public Radio, and the Public Broadcasting Service.
During her association with The NewsHour, Hunter-Gault won additional awards: two Emmys and a Peabody for excellence in broadcast journalism for her work on Apartheid’s People, a NewsHour series on South Africa.
She is the author of four books and spent six years as CNN’s Johannesburg bureau chief and correspondent. Amongst her many awards and accolades, Hunter-Gault holds thirty-six honorary degrees and was honored with the Washington Press Club Foundation’s Life Time Achievement Award.
NYWIFT Member Panayiota Pagoulatos shares memories from her trip to Cannes 2022 - her first time back on a plane since 2019! She met with WIFTI leaders from all over the world and shared this sage advice: "If you find yourself at an international market or film festival—whether it’s the first or the fiftieth time—look for your people. Whether a business partnership comes out of it or not, staying connected, sharing your experiences, and hopefully learning a thing or two, that’s the pulse that will help keep you going in this tough-as-nails industry."READ MORE
Cynthia Lowen’s latest documentary "Battleground" offers an eye-opening window into the anti-choice movement, featuring three women from varying walks of life who have dedicated themselves to rendering abortion illegal. Per the Tribeca website: “Told with restraint and balance, director Cynthia Lowen seeks to clarify rather than condemn, and presents a new point of entry for this challenging topic.” While the film itself clearly aligns with progressive pro-choice advocates (who also appear throughout) it offers a fascinating perspective on the sheer systemic power of the anti-abortion movement and the perilous future, felt painfully today, of Roe v. Wade. "Battleground" was Executive Produced by NYWIFT member Ruth Ann Harnisch and co-produced by member Steffie van Rhee, who sat down with us to discuss the premiere and how this film – from this particular perspective – came to fruition.READ MORE
Violet Du Feng’s "Hidden Letters" tells the story of Chinese women trying to balance their lives as independent women in modern China while confronting the traditional identity that defines but also oppresses them. Connected through their love for Nushu—a centuries-old secret text shared amongst women—each of them transforms through a pivotal period of their lives and takes a step closer to becoming the individuals they know they can be. Hot off her 2022 Tribeca Festival premiere, Director Violet Du Feng, an Emmy-award winning documentarian, spoke to us about Nushu, modern-day China, women’s equality, and her filmmaking process.READ MORE
Signe Baumane’s "My Love Affair With Marriage" is a brilliant animated film for a decidedly adult audience. It’s a semi-autobiographical musical exploration of love, sex, romance, and gender as viewed through the lens of neurochemistry – not your average animated love story! New York Women in Film & Television was proud to present Baumane with a NYWIFT Ravenal Foundation Feature Film Grant for the film, and even prouder to then see it premiere at the 2022 Tribeca Festival! We sat down with Signe to discuss her wildly inventive, intelligent, and very fun film.READ MORE