Cynthia López, Executive Director
Cynthia López is an award-winning media strategist, and former Commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, where she implemented strategies to support film and TV production throughout the five boroughs. López is the recipient of many coveted industry awards including: 11 News and Documentary Emmy Awards, a Special Emmy Award for Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking, three Peabody Awards, and two duPont-Columbia Awards. In addition, she received the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) Award for Commitment to Corporate Diversity. Prior to working as Commissioner, López was Executive Vice President and co-Executive Producer of the award-winning PBS documentary series American Documentary | POV, and was involved in the organization’s strategic growth and creative development for 14 years. Her ability to forge strategic partnerships among corporate and public interest media has been a signature of her work. Notable partnerships include: New York Times, Reuters, Al-Jazeera Network, Discovery Communications, The Moth, Story Corps, Harpo Studios and ABC News, NIGHTLINE with Ted Koppel. López is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP), and is proud to have spent her career collaborating with independent filmmakers across all portions of the film and television industry. She served on the Board of Trustees for the Paley Center, NYC & Company, Museum of the Moving Image and the Tribeca Film Institute Latin America Fund Advisory Board. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Latino Public Broadcasting, Manhattan Neighborhood Network and Hunter College IMA Program.
Katie Chambers, Community Engagement Director
Katie Chambers manages both Communications and Membership. Katie guides and manages NYWIFT’s presence both online and off; institutes membership drives; programs monthly screenings and networking parties; builds partnerships with like-minded organizations; co-produces the Muse Awards and Designing Women; and implements strategic communications initiatives for special projects. She will receive national recognition for her work at NYWIFT when she is named one of Association Trends’ top “Young and Aspiring Executives” at their Salute to Excellence in Washington, DC, in Summer 2020, and regional recognition from the New York Society of Association Executives when she receives their “Rising Star” award at the Synergy Awards in May 2020. Prior to joining the NYWIFT team, Katie was a talent agent in the Youth & Young Adult Theatrical division at Abrams Artists Agency in New York City, representing young actors in theatre, film, and television. She was previously a junior agent and assistant to the head of the Youth & Talent Development division at Buchwald, where she also ran the company’s internship program. She has served on the Next Generation Committee of the NY Television Festival, produced a critically acclaimed play at the NY Fringe Festival, and interned for Manhattan Theatre Club and Hollywood producer Scott Rudin. Her writing has appeared in Huff Post, Honeysuckle Magazine and several printed essay collections, and her graphic design work has been used in advertising in publications including Variety 411 and The Hollywood Reporter. Katie graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude from Drew University with a double major in English and Theatre Arts. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barbara Vásconez, Program Manager
Barbara Vásconez is the Program Manager of New York Women in Film & Television. Before joining NYWIFT, she held the position of General Manager at the Quad Cinema for three years. She has worked for a variety of film festivals, including the Tribeca Film Festival, Rooftop Films, Hamptons Film Festival, Montclair Film Festival, Mill Valley Film Festival, DOC NYC, and the Nantucket Film Festival. Her spare time is spent programming panels and creating unique community engagement opportunities for the New York Latino Film Festival and public screenings for Montclair Film Festival. Most recently, she launched and founded the Ville Film Festival in Somerville, New Jersey. Her educational goals include working to develop film programs in New Jersey that improve film education for low income students. She is committed to the importance of film festivals as a means of community engagement. Barbara has a degree in Film and Video Production from the School of Visual arts in NYC.
Easmanie Michel, Finance and Special Projects Associate
Easmanie Michel has worked continuously in the film and television industry since 2004. Michel’s work on films includes Transporter, Hoot and Miami Vice. Television projects include Miami Ink and Burn Notice. Michel is currently producing the feature Caroline’s Wedding, which she co-wrote, which was a finalist for the New York University Fusion Film Festival and it was also one of the scripts selected to participate in the Women at Sundance Financing and Strategy Intensive in 2016. In February of 2018 the script was the Grand Prize Winner of the American Zoetrope Screenplay Contest. Michel received the New York Council on the Arts Individual Artist grant for Caroline’s Wedding 2019 and she is currently completing Certificate in Financial Accounting at NYU. She also has Master’s Degree in Cinema Studies from New York University.
Rashiek Smart, Executive Assistant
Rashiek Smart works closely with the Executive Director and the Board of Directors to provide administrative and IT support. She serves as the primary contact managing board meetings and elections; serves as office manager coordinating closely with communications and programming groups; recruits, trains, and supervises interns and work-study students; coordinates NYWIFT’s grants and scholarship programs; and provides logistical support for special events and projects. Prior to NYWIFT, Rashiek worked in production for the Emmy nominated show Here & Now hosted by Eyewitness News Anchor, Sandra Bookman. She also was an award-winning video journalist for the Verizon Fios 1 show, My Long Island TV, covering news worthy stories all across Long Island. Rashiek graduated from SUNY College at Old Westbury with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications in Mass Media.
Maud Kersnowsi-Sachs, Senior Development and Editorial Consultant
Maud Kersnowski-Sachs leads fundraising efforts and strategies for NYWIFT. Working closely with the Development Committee and the Executive Director, she directs corporate, philanthropic, and government partnerships. Maud also manages publications projects for the organization. Maud has led publications for the Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, and the Association on Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF) and the editor-in-chief of The Independent Film & Video Monthly. She has covered arts, entertainment, and media for publications from Metropolis Magazine to IndieWIRE, where she also held the post of West Coast Editor. She consults on editorial and development projects for a variety of arts and culture organizations. Maud founded and manages a scholarship and engagement program at Bard College’s Fisher Center for the Performing Arts and is a member of the Bard College Board of Governors. She holds a BA in Women’s Studies from Bard College and an MA in Cultural Reporting and Criticism from the NYU School of Journalism.
Sara Tandoi, Membership Assistant
Sara Tandoi currently serves as the Membership Assistant at NYWIFT. She handles day-to-day membership tasks, such as preparing membership applications, keeping up-to-date with membership renewals and event registration, and providing administrative support to the Community Engagement Director. She also assists members with questions and concerns regarding their membership benefits, events, and resources. Outside of NYWIFT Sara is a Filmmaker, Production Assistant, and aspiring TV Writer. She has an extensive background in production, having worked on shows like Manifest (NBC), Gotham (Fox), and Dietland (AMC). Sara graduated from Brooklyn College with a B.A. in Film Production. She previously interned for The Chris Gethard Show, The Onion, and Nine Stories Productions.