A Note from NYWIFT Executive Director Cynthia Lopez

Dear NYWIFT Community:

Happy New Year 2019!

Thank you for your support and steadfast dedication to creating meaningful work that impacts the way in which people see and experience the world. I am honored to take on the new role of Executive Director of New York Women in Film & Television. I want to thank President Simone Pero, the Board of Directors and Advisory Board, the staff, and former Executive Director Terry Lawler for their assistance in helping us during this transition. A longtime NYWIFT member myself, I’m inspired by how the organization has grown exponentially over its 41-year history. I feel electrified by our collective opportunities.

Throughout my career, I have had the privilege to work with many talented and creative women filmmakers, producers, executives and philanthropists, all with the same ambition to create, facilitate, and inspire. NYWIFT’s portfolio will continue grow as women take their rightful place in the industry in NYC, as we advocate for each other and create meaningful pathways to equity.

At this critical juncture in our industry’s history, it’s important to reflect on how far we have come, while preparing for how far we still have to go. We have made some strides, but our industry continues to face daunting challenges. We are encouraged by recognition for women like Hannah Beachler, the first-ever African-American nominated for an Oscar in production design (for Black Panther), but disappointed by the lack of female Oscar nominees among other key categories including directing, editing, cinematography, composing, and visual effects. Recent studies like Dr. Martha Lauzen’s “Celluloid Ceiling” report and the “Inclusion in the Director’s Chair” study from USC Annenberg show that despite some recent high-profile breakthroughs for women in our industry, growth for women in roles behind the camera have stagnated or even decreased in the last year.

We must continue to make our voices heard. Advocacy is central to NYWIFT’s mission. This year we will be tackling vital issues like equal pay, safe work environments, and new employment opportunities.

Studies consistently show that when a woman is in a leadership role in film, television or digital media, more women are likely to be hired for that production across the board. Our membership of nearly 2,500 supportive women working across all areas of the industry is our greatest asset.

There are approximately 4.5 million women living in NYC. Imagine how many of those women must be part of the film, television, digital and advertising community – let’s continue to grow our strength in numbers. If you’re not a NYWIFT member yet, I hope you will consider joining us this year. For more information on member benefits, go to www.nywift.org/join.

One of our top member benefits is our programming. NYWIFT looks forward to continuing to provide professional development and networking opportunities to cultivate our community of women leaders. We have exciting things in store for this year – including a Power Player Breakfast with powerhouse producer and advocate Abigail Disney on March 1st. And we are in development for a Town Hall on the state of the industry, as well as the return of signature initiatives like The Writers Lab, the Women Filmmakers: Immigrant Stories series, and From Script to Pre-Production. Stay tuned!

I look forward to getting to know all of you in the coming months. I’m thrilled about what we can do together.


Cynthia Lopez

Executive Director