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
NYWIFT is thrilled to welcome new board members to our leadership team for the 2022-2023 season! Powerhouse entrepreneur Emelyn Stuart, one of our newest NYWIFT Board Members, is the owner and founder of Stuart Cinema & Café in Brooklyn, which in addition to being a screening space will offer distribution deals to independent filmmakers and be a resource hub for artists. She was named Best Producer at LA Web Fest for her series 12 Steps to Recovery, and her feature Life Is Too Short premiered to sold out audiences in New York during its debut screening and in 2017 it was awarded Best Feature Film domestically and internationally at various film festivals.READ MORE
New York Women in Film & Television is thrilled to welcome new board members to our leadership team for the 2022-2023 season! Globetrotting new NYWIFT Board Member Shruti Ganguly is an award-winning filmmaker and writer based between New York and Oslo. Ganguly was a member of the Obama Administration’s ECCO committee of 30 leaders and creators in entertainment, chairing its Asian Caucus, and is on the Creative Council for Emily's List. She has produced films that have premiered at Sundance, Venice, Tribeca, Telluride, and Berlin, and is currently writing for Secret Daughter for Amazon Studios, which will star Priyanka Chopra and Sienna Miller.READ MORE
When NYWIFT Board Member Kathryn O’Kane headed off to direct season two of The World According to Jeff Goldblum for Disney+ it was, in her words, “the worst of times” – the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, before vaccines were available and film production felt particularly dangerous and fraught. But the difficult work paid off, and has led to the best of times! Season two of the docuseries, which follows the beloved quirky actor as he pulls on the thread of a familiar topic to unravel a world of fascinating secrets, has been nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special.
We checked in with Kathryn to offer our congratulations, learn more about the filming process, and discuss what’s next for her.