New York Women in Film & Television is thrilled to welcome new board members to our leadership team for the 2021-2022 season!
A 501(c)3 non-profit, NYWIFT is governed by an 19 member Board of Directors, elected by the membership in late Spring. This diverse, accomplished group of women are at the top of their game in TV, film, and digital media. They steer NYWIFT in advocating for equality, providing unique professional development opportunities, funding women filmmakers, and celebrating women’s achievements.
On NYWIFT’s Women Crush Wednesdays Podcast, Tammy Reese interviewed producer Kim Jackson, one of our newest board members. Here’s a snippet of their conversation.
Please tell us about your career, what you do, and about yourself.
I have been living in New York for 20 years primarily producing independent feature film. I started out of college, I went to Simmons College which is an all-women’s college it’s now become a university. And I have the proud honor of sitting on the Deans Council of The Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts, and Humanities. So being involved with women and an all-women’s organization is part of my own personal legacy. After school, I went out to LA and was working for Disney and Touchstone Television and soon started to take some writing classes to understand what goes into telling a story on screen. I really didn’t study that in school and so I self-studied while I was working at Disney and then found myself in New York.
I’m naturally prone to producing things, I’m a problem solver and like to get things done and accomplish things. So I started to produce and I worked for film festivals when I first got to New York. I was freelancing and going from start of gig to gig and project to project, so film festivals were definitely in the mix, but more importantly, I made connections and understood the exhibition process. I was lucky enough to work for the Hamptons International Film Festival early on when I first moved to New York like 20 years ago. I was an operations manager so I handled the panels and the mentorship with industry and filmmakers. I was also involved with their writer’s program for about two years. I really started working with writers from the script perspective creatively and then got a nice project working for Universal and got my hours for the Local 161.
I really freelanced for a good 18 years, and about five years ago being frustrated by the lack of revenue, income being a producer on the backend. So, being a problem solver I thought there’s gotta be a better way of tracking this and I learned something about technology that was emerging called Blockchain technology. Myself and some partners decided to start a company, raise some capital (in cryptocurrency) and start to build technology software solutions that would be able to track rights revenue and royalty payments for media and entertainment. At the same time because of the long game and we’re still in the process of doing that by the way. Our studio division is busy making and distributing movies. So we’re still developing the software to this day because Blockchain is still very new and we got most of our funding from cryptocurrencies.
Why did you join NYWIFT?
Well again I have a personal legacy of being involved with women and powerful groups of women and certainly, I have been a member of NYWIFT for some time. I think that just timing you know also just being so isolated the last year-and-a-half, I was craving community and really craving inspiration. I was asked if I would be interested in joining the board. I’ve witnessed very impressive activities from them over the last few years and I love the energy that I’ve been seeing and experiencing. I went to a couple of Muse Awards, with this current team, and I just really appreciated the new energy and I thought, “yeah, I think the timing is right.” So really the timing and a craving for wanting to have community and inspiration. So I’m new, and I’m listening and learning and loving what I’m hearing and seeing thus far.
What do you hope to do with the board? What impact do you intend to make as a board member?
I’m still learning and I’m still listening. I’d like to use my skills to support other women and support the success of other women. I think the issues that NYWIFT is interested in tackling [related to equity are] very very important. I think… it’s time for us to be able to rise to the top and have the equity that we deserve. Because it’s women who really are the ones that make things function in all levels of our communities and work environments. It’s the women who make it all happen and it’s time that we’re compensated. So that issue is very important to me.
It’s very exciting currently, you’re seeing so many different voices now that are creating a lot of different stories. It’s exciting to see all the different diversity starting to come to life in storytelling. Educating people to someone’s world can really change their perspective and have them understand people a little deeper. So I hope to get involved in the projects and programs at NYWIFT that help support those things.
What’s a fun fact about yourself that many people may not know about you outside the film industry?
I am a ginormous Prince fan! When he left the planet I was so incredibly devastated that day. I left work early. I said, “I got to go. I’m sorry. I can’t.” I walked around the city and I had my headphones in, I was listening to Prince and I was crying and I walked into a hair salon in Chinatown and I dyed my hair purple. I couldn’t believe it. He influenced me so deeply when I was younger. To this day, if I’m in a bad mood and I throw on some Prince, immediately I’m back to being fine. I think that’s probably something people don’t realize about me.
What can we be on the lookout for from you? Any projects in the works that you can share with us?
I have a film called Down with the King that will be distributed in 2022 by Sony. It premiered at ACID at the Cannes International Film Festival and then it went to the Deauville American Film Festival and won the grand prize. And it is premiering in the U.S. at the Austin Film Festival. And we have our software that will be ready for 2022.
And listen to the full interview with Kim and our three other new board members on the NYWIFT Women Crush Wednesdays podcast below:
Welcome to NYWIFT, Kilara Sen! Kilara is a Japanese female stand-up comedian and actor, moving to New York this summer. Kilara currently is hosting "Japanese Whisky Lockdown" and "Japanese Whisky World" on Dekanta TV. She also appeared on international TV such as Asia's Got Talent, Paul Hollywood Eats Japan, and Welcome to the Railworld. Kilara is gender non-conforming (she/they), a "hikikomori" survivor (a form of severe social withdrawal), and had a wonderful year at Historically Black Colleges. Based on her experiences, she shares her strong and funny voice on mental health, feminism, and diversity. She believes that everyone should be as special and unique as a unicorn. Also, she is the voice breaking stereotypes of Japanese women: the New Pink. Kilara thinks of herself as a Pink Unicorn. Kilara spoke to us about breaking down stereotypes, community support, and finding liberation through comedy.READ MORE
Welcome to NYWIFT, Eunice Levis! Writer and director Eunice Levis is a first-generation Dominican American from the Bronx, New York. Eunice's work focuses on genre-bending stories that combine her love of horror, sci-fi, thriller, and fantasy, often through a diasporic lens. She seeks to disrupt and challenge dominant narratives around technology, race, gender, history, and diaspora identity by altering the stories we tell about them. Eunice spoke to us about her early inspirations, her latest work, and how genre stories offer a unique opportunity to challenge the status quo.READ MORE
Since premiering and winning the Jury Prize in the 2022 Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival (the first to do so from the Indian subcontinent), Joyland has moved audiences worldwide with its human portrayal of the limits of love in the face of patriarchy. The film follows the youngest son in a traditional Pakistani family as he takes a job as a backup dancer in a Bollywood-style burlesque, and quickly becomes infatuated with the strong-willed trans woman who runs the show. The film is both a loving portrait of the people of Lahore, Pakistan, and a painful depiction of how rigid traditional gender roles and repressed sexuality can have a ripple effect that harms the whole community. NYWIFT member Katharina Otto-Bernstein, who produced Joyland, spoke to us about discovering new artists through mentorship, political pushback on Joyland, and how Malala Yousafzai helped the film finally reach Pakistani audiences.READ MORE
Developed in partnership with Sundance Institute and Founded by Hartbeat CEO Thai Randolph and Head of Film Candice Wilson Cherry, WOMEN WRITE NOW is a comedic writing fellowship designed to champion the next generation of Black women in comedy through mentorship, advocacy, production, and exhibition. Now in its second year, this year’s fellowship brought in three emerging writers, Mayanna Berrin, Kianna Butler Jabangwe, and Danielle Solomon to develop and produce their comedic short scripts under the guidance of some of the most influential Black women in comedy. The resulting projects were then brought into production by Hartbeat studios. Cherry and the writers spoke to us about their experience.READ MORE