NYWIFT Talks: After the Picket Line: The Continued Road to Pay Equity and Sustainability

Join us for NYWIFT Talks co-presented with Woodstock Film Festival, as we continue the conversation on the road to pay equity and sustainability for creatives. Where do things stand now that a tentative deal has been made? Are people back to work, or is fallout happening since studios scaled down writing teams during the strike? And are actors seeing more equitable deals?

Come hear from the experts and those who were on the front lines, union members from Writers Guild of America East (WGAE) and Screen Actors Guild/AFTRA.

Panelists include Rebecca Damon (SAG-AFTRA Executive Director, New York Local, Labor Policy & International); Linda Powell (SAG-AFTRA Executive Vice President); Sarah Montana (Screenwriter, Writers Guild of America, East); and Celine Robinson (Television writer, Co-Executive Producer, WGAE member). Moderated by Thelma Adams (Writer, two-time Chair of the New York Film Critics Circle). Introduced by NYWIFT Board Member and VP of Development Kim Jackson.


Date: Monday, February 26, 2024

Time: 5:00pm ET

Location: Zoom (Link will be sent with confirmation email)

Price: Free to attend




Rebecca Damon is Executive Director, New York Local, Labor Policy and International Affairs for SAG-AFTRA. A champion for workers’ rights, Damon’s leadership includes strengthening New York’s right of publicity and digital image rights for the benefit of all members. She was  recognized as one of the most noteworthy figures on the front lines of New York by City and State Labor Power 100 and is the recipient of multiple awards for her advocacy. Damon served as executive vice president, the union’s second-highest elected national office, and president of the NY Local. She was a key architect of the SAG-AFTRA merger. Damon is a vice president of the New York State AFL-CIO Executive Council, a member of the New York City Central Labor Council, a member of the New York City Film and Television Production Industry Council, a board member of PowHer NY, and a vice president of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation.


Linda Powell was elected Executive Vice President of SAG-AFTRA at the union’s biannual convention in October 2023. She is a New York-based actor who has appeared on Broadway and off, and can be seen in television shows such as Dopesick, Modern Love, House of Cards, Chicago Fire, Madam Secretary, and Law & Order: SVU. Her film credits include The Report, The Courtroom, I Think I Love My Wife, and American Gangster. Most recently, she enjoyed a long run starring as Neil Diamond’s therapist in the Broadway bio-musical A Beautiful Noise. As a Vice Chair of the TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee, Powell played an integral role in the union’s recent strike and subsequent contract ratification. A National Board member since 2012, her election to Executive Vice President makes her the first African American to serve in the top tier of leadership since the merged union’s inception. Powell also serves as a trustee of the SAG-AFTRA Health and Pension plans, is Chair of the Board of Advisors to the Colin Powell School at the City College of New York, and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity.


Sarah Montana is a WGA screenwriter, writer, and public speaker. She has written several screenplays for the Hallmark Channel, including Rescuing Christmas, Love to the Rescue, A New Year’s Resolution, and the Christopher Award winning Two Turtle Doves. Her play, The Girl, The Ghosts, and the Minotaur was a winner of the Life Jacket Theater Company’s Proof of Concept Reading Series. She is sought after public speaker about resilience, trauma, and forgiveness, which has led to speaking engagements at TEDx, women’s conferences, corporate retreats, colleges, and podcasts. Her viral talk “What Shapes You Can’t Break You” was featured on Goalcast and now has tens of millions of views. Her TEDx talk “Why Forgiveness is Worth It” is featured on TED.com, has received millions of views, and has been incorporated into college curriculums and therapeutic practices. She is a Gateless Writing Method certified teacher and teaches students of all ages how to fall in love with the creative process. She’s also a representative for Film/TV/Streaming on WGA East Council. Stay in touch at sarahmontana.com, facebook.com/sarahmontanawriter or @sarahemontana.


Based in New York, Céline Robinson is a television writer, co-executive producer, and proud member of the Writers Guild of America, East. She has worked on shows such as Law & Order: SVU, American Rust, Grendel, and is currently staffed on a new yet-to-be-officially-announced show for AppleTV+.


Photo credit: Emily Assiran

Thelma Adams (Moderator) has been a film and media critic for the past three decades for The New York PostUs Weekly, and, currently, AARP.org and The Wrap. With Woodstock Film Festival Executive Director Meira Blaustein, she initiated a series of panels over twenty years focusing on empowering women in film and media. The two-time Chair of the New York Film Critics Circle, has also written essays, celebrity profiles and reviews for VarietyThe Boston GlobeThe New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Yahoo, The Hollywood ReporterParadeMarie Claire, and The Huffington Post. She co-produced the Emmy-nominated Feud: Bette and Joan. The valedictorian of her history class at the University of California, Berkeley, she received her MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University. She’s the author of the best-selling historical novels Bittersweet Brooklyn and The Last Woman Standing, and Playdate, which Oprah Magazine described as “a witty debut novel.”


Kim Jackson (VP of Development, NYWIFT Board of Directors) is recognized for producing dozens of notable independent films. Her early creative expression began with dance and choreography, and that has remained the spark that ignites her creative passions. Majoring in environmental science, she has a natural curiosity for how things work. “Producers begin food chains which feed all life.” Technology is of special of interest to Kim, as it relates to serving and advancing humanity. She’s the co-founder of the creative studio Evotion, and is active on several boards, including New York Women in Film & Television, ACE Programs for the Homeless and The Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts and Humanities at Simmons University. Kim is a member of the p.g.a. and Producers Union.


Presented by:

New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) advocates for equality in the moving image industry and supports women in every stage of their careers.  An entertainment industry association for women in New York, NYWIFT energizes women by illuminating their achievements, presenting training and professional development programs, awarding scholarships and grants, and providing access to a supportive community of peers. To learn more about NYWIFT please visit: www.nywift.org. Please become a member and join the movement of women to ensure women gain their rightful place in the media and entertainment industry.  

The Woodstock Film Festival (WFF) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that nurtures and supports emerging and established filmmakers, sharing their creative voices through an annual festival and year-round programming to promote culture, diversity, community, educational opportunities and economic growth. 

WFF provides innovative mentoring and inspired educational programs benefitting filmmakers, students and diverse audiences, while serving as a powerful cultural and economic engine for New York’s Hudson Valley and beyond. Such efforts have consistently resulted in the festival being hailed as one of the top regional film festivals worldwide.

February 26 @ 5:00pm
5:00 pm — 6:00 pm (1h)

This program will take place virtually as a webinar via Zoom. Please register in advance, and all registrants will receive a link to attend the webinar the day of the event.

We encourage you to download Zoom in advance.

Free event.



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.