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.
NYWIFT Talks are free for all to attend.
On this virtual NYWIFT Talks, we have an honest and up-to-date conversation about Roe vs Wade and the future of a woman’s right to choose. Now is the time to re-organize, assess our current political landscape and discuss the best strategies to protect women’s reproductive rights. We’ll speak with creative content makers, activists and policy experts to discuss how best to support the movement.
In discussion with Dina Montemarano (Research Director of NARAL Pro-Choice America), Steffie van Rhee (Battleground), Allison Rhone (Senior Director, Social Media for Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund), Tia Lessin and Emma Pildes (The Janes). Moderated by Natasha Del Toro.
Date: Thursday, November 17, 2022
Time: 4PM ET
Tia Lessin was nominated for an Academy Award for her work as a director and producer of the Hurricane Katrina survival story Trouble the Water, winner of the 2008 Sundance Grand Jury Prize and the Gotham Independent Film Award. She directed and produced Citizen Koch, about the rise of the Tea Party in the Midwest, which also premiered at Sundance and was shortlisted for an Oscar in 2014. The Janes is the third feature-length documentary that Tia has directed. In 2001, Tia received the Sidney Hillman Award for Broadcast Journalism for directing the documentary short Behind the Labels about the labor trafficking of garment workers on U.S. Saipan. Tia was on the producing teams of Palme D’Or winning Fahrenheit 9/11,”Academy Award winning Bowling for Columbine, and the Grammy-winning No Direction Home: Bob Dylan. She produced the film Where to Invade Next and executive produced Fahrenheit 11/9. Her work on the 1998/99 television series The Awful Truth earned her two Emmy nominations, one arrest, and a lifetime ban from Disneyland. Tia is a past fellow of the Open Society Institute and the Sundance Institute and has served as an advisor to IFP, Sundance and Creative Capital artists. Her filmmaking has been supported by The Bertha Foundation, Chicken & Egg, Cinereach, Creative Capital, The Ford Foundation’s JustFilms, Fork Films, the International Documentary Association’s Pare Lorentz Fund, the MacArthur Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program.
Emmy-nominated filmmaker Emma Pildes has an extensive background in, and boundless love for, non-fiction storytelling. The Janes is Emma’s directorial debut. As one of Pentimento Productions’ principal producers, Emma produced Spielberg, Jane Fonda in Five Acts, and Very Ralph — all for HBO Documentary Films. Spielberg had its world premiere at the New York Film Festival in 2017 and was later nominated for an Emmy. Jane Fonda in Five Acts had its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival in 2018 and its international premiere at Cannes Film Festival. The film was nominated for the 2019 Emmys. At PBS’s American Masters, Emma helped to produce the Emmy and Peabody-award winning LennoNYC, Emmy-award winning Inventing David Geffen, as well as American Masters: Billie Jean King. Born and raised in Chicago, Emma graduated from Sarah Lawrence College and is based in Brooklyn, NY. She is a member of the Directors Guild of America.
Allison Rhone is the Director of Social Media for Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund. In her role, she oversees the development and execution of the social media strategy across all their national channels on both the health and advocacy brands. Before joining Planned Parenthood, Allison led and developed digital marketing campaigns for industry-leading clients across several sectors, including Tribeca Film Festival, Target, HBO, and Proctor & Gamble brands such as Pantene, CoverGirl, and affinity platform, My Black is Beautiful. Allison loves terrible reality TV and good books when she’s not working. She is based in NJ.
Steffie van Rhee is a Dutch documentary filmmaker & producer. She believes that sharing people’s personal stories can catalyze (social) change and create a deeper understanding of different realities and experiences. Dedicated to amplifying female narratives and bringing projects into the world that highlight other underrepresented perspectives, she is often found working on projects focusing on women’s issues, or that are driven by diverse creative teams. Steffie is the co-producer of Cynthia Lowen’s Battleground, following three women who lead formidable anti-abortion organizations to witness the influence they wield. She is also the associate producer of Lowen’s previous feature Netizens, about women & online harassment. Other recent credits include co-producer of the six-part Netflix original documentary series Race: Bubba Wallace and producer of AMC’s upcoming documentary All of Them Witches, rewriting what you think you know about witches. Steffie is a 2021 Film Independent Doc Lab fellow and a 2020-2021 Impact Partners Documentary Producers fellow. Additionally Steffie is an active member of Brown Girls Doc Mafia, the Documentary Producers Alliance, and NYWIFT.
Dina Montemarano is the Research Director at NARAL Pro-Choice America, where she leads messaging, opposition, and disinformation research on abortion. Dina is particularly focused on shaping the narrative around abortion, and finding creative, effective ways to persuade and mobilize the reproductive freedom majority. Prior to NARAL, she worked on Senator Warren’s and Vice President Harris’ Presidential campaigns, and at Global Health Strategies, where she managed communications programs for the Gates Foundation. Dina has a BA from the University of Notre Dame and a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, and is originally from Staten Island.
Natasha Del Toro (Moderator) is an award-winning journalist and host. She reported and produced investigative documentaries for Fusion’s Naked Truth, which became a popular docu-series on Netflix and was part of a consortium of journalists that won a Pulitzer for their reporting on the Panama Papers. She currently hosts PBS’s long-running America Reframed on World Channel and appears regularly as a correspondent on Al Jazeera’s Fault Lines, a current affairs documentary show, where she has reported on the Catholic sex abuse scandal, corrupt cops in Baltimore, and FEMA’s failed response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. A Fulbright scholar, she also anchored a news magazine on Facebook Watch called Mic Dispatch and worked for PBS’ Frontline World and Time.com, traveling across the U.S. with internationally acclaimed photographer Joakim Eskildsen to create a book and multimedia website on poverty in America called American Realities. That project led to an Emmy award-winning documentary by KQED and Center for Investigative Reporting called Hunger in the Valley Of Plenty. Born to Puerto Rican parents and raised in North Carolina, she is bilingual and proud of her southern and Latino roots.
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.
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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.