Welcome to NYWIFT Talks, a weekly series to bring updated news and vital information about the impact of COVID-19 and current events on the media and entertainment industry. Industry professionals will be in conversation discussing what you need to know about theatrical releases, digital advances, virtual tools, festival opportunities, production updates and more.
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On Feb 10th, NYWIFT commemorates Black History Month by revisiting the legacy of Media Arts Organizations and how they’ve contributed to the rich accomplishments and contributions of BIPOC creators.
Media Arts organizations have had a rich legacy of supporting, inspiring, and training BIPOC creators for decades. In this week’s installment of NYWIFT Talks, Part 3, learn more about how The Black TV & Film Collective, Brown Girls Doc Mafia, Color Congress, and Third World Newsreel have accomplished their missions during the pandemic and economic crisis.
These organizations provide key solutions and grassroots connections to Latinx, Black, Asian, and LGBTQIA+ content producers. What strategies did they employ to remain relevant and thrive during the pandemic? What were their gains and losses as part of the Black Lives Matter movement?
Speakers included: Okema T. Moore (The Black TV & Film Collective), Iyabo Boyd (Brown Girls Doc Mafia), Sonya Childress (Color Congress), and JT Takagi (Third World Newsreel).
Moderated by NYWIFT Board President and Executive Director of Black Public Media Leslie Fields-Cruz.
Date: Friday, February 10, 2023
Time: 4PM ET
Okema T. Moore is an Emmy Nominated, PGA producer and rising director. She produced the narrative 2019 ABFF winner Little Apple, and The Future is Then which was a Tribeca NOW 2019 selection. She has directed and produced branded content for Lifetime, Netflix, Nickelodeon, DreamWorks, FOX, and Disney/Marvel. Her most recent work includes docs The Color of Care (OWN), Unladylike (PBS/American Masters) and Klutch Academy (BET), as well as culinary hits The Kitchen and Beat Bobby Flay (Food Network). She Showran and Directed her first series in 2021, Hella Late! with Hollie Harper (BRIC TV), and was a fellow for Minority in FILM’s inaugural Branded Lab for directors, while running the Black TV & Film Collective’s Black Producer Fellowship. Okema also serves on the boards of The Black TV & Film Collective and New York Women in Film & Television.
Iyabo Boyd, Executive Director of Brown Girls Doc Mafia (BGDM) is also a screenwriter, director, and producer working in fiction and documentary film. Originally from Denver, Iyabo graduated from NYU’s Tisch School with a BA in Film & Television, and is currently based on Munsee Lenape, Wappinger and Schaghticoke land, also known as the Bronx, New York. Before founding BGDM in 2015, Iyabo had a long history of supporting women filmmakers with positions at industry institutions Kickstarter, Good Pitch, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Tribeca Film Institute, Topic.com, Hamptons Film Festival, and IFP. From 2015 to 2017 Iyabo also founded and ran Feedback Loop, a consulting company for documentary filmmakers. Named a “Black Visionary” by the Sundance Film Institute, Iyabo was a 2019 Rockwood JustFilms Fellow at the Ford Foundation, and a 2021 recipient of both DocNYC’s New Leader Award and Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival’s Impact Award.
Sonya Childress is a cultural strategist who believes in the transformative power of film. She co-directs the Color Congress, an ecosystem-builder that resources, supports, and connects organizations led by people of color that serve nonfiction filmmakers, leaders, and audiences of color across the US and territories, with Sahar Driver. As Senior Fellow with the Perspective Fund, she supported projects that moved the documentary field towards equity and transparency. She spent two decades leading impact campaigns and distribution strategies at Active Voice, California Newsreel and Firelight Media, where she piloted a fellowship for impact producers of color. She is a board member of the Center for Cultural Power, a member of the Documentary Accountability Working Group, a working group member for ‘The Lens Reflected’ study, and was a 2015 Rockwood JustFilms Fellow.
JT Takagi is the Executive Director for Third World Newsreel. Takagi is an award-winning independent film maker and sound recordist. Her films are primarily on Asian/Asian-American and immigrant issues and include Bittersweet Survival, The #7 Train, The Women Outside and North Korea: Beyond The DMZ, which all aired on PBS. As a sound engineer, she has recorded for numerous public television and theatrical documentaries with Emmy and Cinema Audio Society nominations including the 2018 Oscar nominated and Emmy winning Strong Island by Yance Ford, Black Panthers: Vanguard Of The Revolution and Tell Them We Are Rising by Stanley Nelson, and others. She also manages Third World Newsreel, a non-profit alternative media center, and serves on the boards of both community and national organizations working on peace and social justice.
Leslie Fields-Cruz (moderator) started at Black Public Media, formerly National Black Programming Consortium, in 2001 managing grant making activities that supported the production and development of documentary programs for PBS. By 2005, she was the Director of Programming, leading the distribution of all funded programs to public television. In 2008, with six independent titles in need of a public television broadcast, Fields-Cruz launched AfroPoP: The Ultimately Cultural Exchange, a documentary series highlighting the variety and depth of the global black experience. AfroPoP has garnered several awards and is the only national public television series focused solely on stories from the black experience. In the fall of 2014, Fields-Cruz became BPM’s third Executive Director. Though she keeps the pulse on the development of program content and its distribution across public media platforms, she is focused on growing BPM’s resources to enable it to support more stories about the Black experience.
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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.