By Katie Chambers
New York Women in Film & Television is thrilled to welcome new board members to our leadership team for the 2022-2023 season!
A 501(c)3 non-profit, NYWIFT is governed by a Board of Directors, a diverse, accomplished group of women are at the top of their game in TV, film, and media. They steer NYWIFT in advocating for equality, providing unique professional development opportunities, funding women filmmakers, and celebrating women’s achievements.
We sat down with new NYWIFT Board Member Kia Brooks who, as Deputy Director of longtime NYWIFT partner The Gotham Film and Media Institute (formerly IFP), is no stranger to the NYWIFT community! Brooks created The Gotham’s Owning It program that supports women and non-binary media makers and entrepreneurs who break boundaries in the media and entertainment industry, and developed the Expanding Communities program, which provides resources, community space, and industry access to individuals with Disabilities and BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ creators. Her experience in strategic communications and events includes roles at Focus Features, Oscilloscope Laboratories, and Tribeca Film Festival.
How did you first get involved with NYWIFT?
My first involvement with NYWIFT was in 2010 as a publicist for Film First Co. I remember hosting screenings through our various studio clients and having the opportunity to meet and support so many wonderful NYWIFT members. It was one of the first times in my career that I had a chance to see how women and nonbinary filmmakers come out to really support one another’s work and the importance of community.
Why do you love NYWIFT?
I love NYWIFT because of what it represents: strength, resources, support, community. All aspects that are crucial to growing your career in any field, but especially entertainment. I have always seen NYWIFT as an open environment that allows you to be yourself and find your collaborators and supporters. I’m so happy I get to support it in an even bigger way than I ever thought possible.
Tell us about what you do outside of the organization.
I am the Deputy Director of The Gotham Film & Media Institute. Specifically, I oversee The Gotham’s programming and communications and support in development and strategic planning for the organization. Additionally, I am a mother two a 3-year-old daughter. I also see myself as a connector who loves bringing together people together.
What is your fondest memory of working in the entertainment industry?
My fondest memory is very recent! We just finished Gotham Week 2022 and I hosted our inaugural Expo program which specifically brought together organizations who uplift historically excluded voices through conversations and opportunities for them to showcase their work to the Gotham Week audience. Having an opportunity to see these organizations shine and potentially grow their reach through their hard work made feel energized at the potential nonprofit organizations have collectively to make the entertainment industry more inclusive and impactful for creators of all types.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to work in a role that would allow me to bring different people together, to tell stories or support others who tell stories. As a kid that meant birthday parties, and as a young adult it meant as a publicist. I’m now in my dream role having the opportunity to bring people together, specifically storytellers, so I guess dreams do come true!
Inequality in film, television, and media has long been a problem, and righting that imbalance has always been a big part of NYWIFT’s mission. What are your thoughts on the challenges we face? And what are some possible solutions you find effective?
For creators, one of the biggest challenges they face is career sustainability. They often ask themselves: how can I do my creative work but also make a living? As someone who has always found myself to be more of a supporter of creatives than a creative myself that has been something that I really think about constantly, especially as part of my role at the Gotham. These challenges are not insurmountable and the best way I see us finding solutions are collectively, not individually.
As a leader of an organization who looks to solve these challenges at the Gotham and now as a board member at NYWIFT, I hope we can continue to work together to find the resources needed and get into the ears of the decision makers who can be helpful in this quest so that creators can finally get to the point where their work is both creative and lucrative.
What’s the best movie or series you’ve seen recently?
My favorite series recently is Never Have I Ever. As someone who has always been a lover of coming-of-age stories, this one really speaks to me. Not only because the main character is a young woman of color, but also because of the familial relationships and the friendships between characters. Authenticity is huge for me when I watch certain content, and I really see that shining through in this show. It’s also really easy and fun to binge!
What did you do this Summer?
This Summer I mostly worked and spent time with my husband and daughter. I also spent time preparing for my second daughter who will be here in January 2023! I’m so excited to grow the girl group I always wanted to have as an only child!
Do you have social media accounts and/or websites we can share so members can get to know you?
You can find me on Instagram at @KickinitwithKia
Learn more about the 2022-2023 NYWIFT Board of Directors here.
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