NYWIFT Season Kickoff…On the Road to the Emmy’s at the Museum of the Moving Image

It’s time for one of the most popular events of the year – the Annual NYWIFT Season Kickoff celebrating our fabulous members!

Raise a glass to toast the 2019-2020 programming season and welcome new Board President Jamie Zelermyer and our newly elected board members, followed by an intimate conversation with several of the Emmy nominees we are proud to call part of the NYWIFT community.

Catch up with your NYWIFT friends (and make some new ones!) as you mingle at the Museum of the Moving Image before we move into the theater for a panel discussion. A diverse mix of nominees – representing the wide array of professions that make up the NYWIFT community – will offer behind-the-scenes insight into some of this year’s most celebrated television programs: Senior Associate Producer Brittany Clemons (Outstanding Research, Hope & Fury: MLK, the Movement and the Media – NBC), Producer Cyndee Readdean (Outstanding Historical Documentary, Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities – PBS), Producer María Villaseñor (Outstanding Business, Consumer or Economic Report, Future of Aging – Retro Report and Quartz) and Costume Designer Melissa Toth (Outstanding Period Costumes, Fosse/Verdon – F/X).

Date: Monday, September 9th, 2019

Time: 6 – 7 PM Reception
         7 – 8 PM Panel

Place: Museum of the Moving Image – 36-01 35th Ave, Astoria, NY 11106

Free to attend. Please register in advance.


Welcome Remarks

Warrington Hudlin is a veteran producer of motion pictures, television, and online media. His work challenges the false dichotomy between social concerns and popular entertainment. Best known as the producer of the landmark African American films House Party, Boomerang, and Bebe Kids, and television specials, Cosmic Slop and Unstoppable. His most recent work is a VR production: Kung Fu #MeToo in addition to developing The Siege of Detroit, a genre busting episodic original drama for OTT platform distribution. As the founding president of BFF (aka the Black Filmmaker Foundation), Hudlin has been a pioneering organizer of the black film movement for four decades. Hudlin organized NYC’s first ever annual black film festival (1979) and the first ever National Conference of Black Filmmakers (1980). Hudlin was the co-founder and curator of the Acapulco Film Festival (1997 to 2001). Hudlin is the Vice Chairman of the board of trustees of the Museum of the Moving Image and curator of two monthly film series, Fist & Sword and Changing the Picture. He is Disruptor Foundation Fellow and recipient of the Inaugural Diversity Award from the Mayor of the City of New York. He was a founding board member of the Independent Feature Project (IFP) and a founding the advisory board member of the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE) and the Tribeca All Access (TAA) of the Tribeca Film Festival.

David Winn is Senior Vice President, of the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, a national broadcast journalism competition recognizing excellence in news and documentary across all broadcast and online platforms. Mr. Winn directs all aspects of the competition—from the writing of the rules, through the processing and judging of over 1,800 entries per year, to the staging of an annual award ceremony attended by the national broadcast journalism and documentary filmmaking community. Mr. Winn’s tenure coincides with a transformational period in the media landscape, and he has overseen and helped implement a number of improvements and innovations in the News & Documentary competition as a result. Among these are: restructuring the award categories and judging procedures; the shift to an online submission and screening process; the opening of the competition to digital media, including original reporting and documentary filmmaking produced for the Internet and streaming services. During his tenure the competition has seen a significant increase in the number of submissions per year which are now at the highest level in the 40-year history of the competition. 


Brittany Clemons is a development producer at Jigsaw Productions. Prior to development, Brittany contributed to documentary television as a story producer and associate producer. The majority of her work has been featured on PBS, including Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, and the celebrity genealogy series Finding Your Roots. She has also served as a senior associate producer on NBC’s documentary special Hope & Fury: MLK, the Movement and the Media, and as a story producer on the upcoming AMC documentary series Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America.

Cyndee Readdean is award-winning New York-based producer, director and writer. She produced Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities and Freedom Summer, a Peabody Award-winning documentary, with director Stanley Nelson. Both films premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and aired on PBS. Most recently Readdean directed an episode of Reconstruction: American After the Civil War, a PBS series and the ABC film The FBI and the Panther. Currently she is producing a Peacock Productions series for MSNBC. In addition to producing and directing for television, she served as a story producer on Blackout, a VR documentary that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and produced 15 permanent exhibit films for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Melissa Toth has been designing costumes for feature films for over 20 years. Notable credits include the highly acclaimed Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and the critical and commercial favorite Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, both of which earned her Costume Guild nominations. She has collaborated with Kenneth Lonergan on each of his films, most recently on the Oscar-winning Manchester by the Sea. Melissa is a first-time Emmy nominee for Outstanding Period Costumes for her work on the F/X sensation Fosse/Verdon. She also designed the costumes for Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, NY and How and Why, Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret and You Can Count On Me (Sundance Grand Jury Prize), Tom McCarthy’s The Cobbler, Win Win, and The Visitor, Greg Mottola’s Adventureland, Curtis Hanson’s Too Big To Fail, Woody Allen’s Hollywood Ending, and Todd Solondz’s Welcome to the Dollhouse (Sundance Grand Jury Prize). Melissa is a recently minted member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and received a 2017 NYWIFT Designing Women Award. She lives in Manhattan with her husband Aaron, a film editor, and their two daughters, Zarouhi and Araxi.


María Villaseñor is a print reporter turned documentarian. After covering housing and health, as well as arts and fashion, she developed an unexpected beat in futurism. She’s currently a reporter/producer at Retro Report, where she worked on an award-winning short documentary web series that examines emerging technologies and future trends with an emphasis on placing these innovations and predictions within a historical context. She was once a middle school math and science teacher, and keeping the attention of a room full of tweens was great practice for making engaging documentaries.



NYWIFT Board President Jamie Zelermyer (Moderator) has been a New York based Producer and Production Executive for the past 20 plus years. Currently she is Producing IFP Week 2019 which is a signature program of the Independent Feature Project (IFP.) Most recently she was the Program Manager of Made In New York: Pilot Competition, a program founded by The Mayor’s Office of Film Media and Entertainment to tackle gender inclusivity in the television industry. Jamie Executive Produced the two winning half hour pilots and Executive Produced season 1 of the winning show entitled Half Life starring Larisa Oleynik and Nancy Giles. Prior to this she produced Ratter starring Ashley Benson and Matt McGorry which was released by Sony Worldwide in March 2016. She was the VP, Physical Production at Focus Features / Rogue Pictures for six years ending in November 2012. At Focus she oversaw such movies as AdmissionOne DayJane EyreSin Nombre and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. Prior to Focus Jamie was a Line Producer and Production Manager working on films such as Igby Goes DownBoys Don’t Cry and You Can Count on Me. Over the years, she has had the privilege to work with a number of notable directors including Steve McQueen, Lone Scherfig, Kenneth Lonergan, Cary Fukanaga and Kimberly Pierce. Jamie is an adviser on NYWIFT’s The Writers Lab, a program for female Writer’s over 40 funded by Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman. She is a graduate of Bard College. 

September 9 @ 6:00pm
6:00 pm — 8:00 pm (2h)

Museum of the Moving Image

36-01 35th Avenue

Astoria, NY 11106

Free to attend.

Please register in advance.



Join the conversation on social media:
#nywift | @nywift

NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.