Letter from the CEO – June 2023

June 1, 2023

Dear NYWIFT Community,

As I boarded the Scandinavian flight to Copenhagen and later the flight to Nice and then the car to Cannes, all I could think about was the long journey we have all had during the pandemic. Where the fight for human rights and dignity exploded and the world economy shook and we were not sure what the consequences would be. We lost so many lives and careers, and it seemed that while we struggled to learn Zoom, Viber, WhatsApp, and multi-line Skype calls, we were somehow flooded with more to do than less.  

Right before I left, three friends lost their loved ones – including Dean McCann, who died peacefully in his sleep. Dean and I worked together at the NYC Mayor’s Office of the Media and Entertainment during my tenure as Commissioner and I will always remember his raspy voice saying, “Hey Commish!” and his easy-going, resourceful ways, trouble shooting and making sure all the productions shooting on the ground in NYC had what they needed. He will be sorely missed!

And now, on a sunny day in May, I traveled overseas for the first time since COVID began.

Cannes Film Festival – I’m back from la Croisette!

I have just returned from Cannes, where NYWIFT just had our first official event at the renowned film festival. We were proud to present a panel discussion on Women Storytellers from the Arab World in collaboration with the Royal Film Commission – Jordan, U.S. Embassy in Jordan, and WIFT GCC.

The illuminating conversation was followed by a luncheon and international press announcement of  “Hakayaha: Stories of Women in Jordan,” our new two-year collaboration with RFC Jordan, funded by the U.S. Embassy, a professional development program designed to support 30 aspiring filmmakers in Jordan with training labs and guidance through all aspects of serialized production, mentored by NYWIFT directors, producers, and writers.

Mira Nimri (Royal Film Commission – Jordan) and Joyce Pierpoline (NYWIFT Board Member)


A special thank you to NYWIFT Board Members Joyce Pierpoline and Yvonne Russo for all the assistance in making this initiative and special event at Cannes a reality.

You can read more about it in our coverage in Deadline.

Tribeca Festival – an economic engine for NYC that feeds the creative community.

Moving from one major festival straight into another, we are thrilled to have 15 NYWIFT members at the Tribeca Festival next week!

NYWIFT is proud to officially co-host six films by women filmmakers at the festival, including Every Body; Breaking the News; Cold Copy; The Listener; The Gullspang Miracle; and Apolonia, Apolonia – and NYWIFT members will get a discount to the first screening of each of them.

Please check out all of our NYWIFT members featured. I have to give an extra plug for NYWIFT Board Member Joyce Pierpoline, co-producer of Steve Buscemi’s The Listener featuring Tessa Thompson (pictured above). It’s not to be missed!

They are hot tickets, so be sure to reserve yours now at nywift.org/events.

NYWIFT stands with the Writers Guild of America

NYWIFT continues to stand with our members and friends in the Writers Guild of America as they seek a sustainable livelihood and just compensation for their work.

Thank you to the NYWIFT Education and Advocacy Committee, NYWIFT The Writers Lab founders, and NYWIFT members (Tami Gold, Pam Sporn, Avis Boone, Michelle Simone Miller, and many others) who came out with us earlier this month as part of the NYWIFT contingent on the picket lines, to hand out water and snacks and present a united front.

It means so much to those in the trenches to see that the NYWIFT community has their backs. (And yes, we were in good company with stars in our midst – some of our members even got donuts from Lin-Manuel Miranda himself!)

NYWIFT Summer Updates

Our Board Elections begin this month, so please remember to review the candidates when you get the email introducing them, join us at our Meet the Candidates Night (TBA), and cast your vote. This is for MEMBERS ONLY!

On the programming front, stay tuned for a new NYWIFT Master Class virtual series to be announced very soon.

And SAVE THE DATE for our Creative Workforce STEM Summit – presented in person at the Paley Center on Wednesday, June 21, and virtually on Thursday and Friday June 22-23. Our speaker line-up will knock you into orbit! You’ll see.

Muse 2023

Finally, if you celebrated Muse 2023 at Cipriani 42nd Street in March, thank you for joining us for our triumphant return in person! Over 700 people attended, 56 corporate partners supported us, all major unions had a presence, and 50+ volunteers made the magic happen behind the scenes.

Thank you to WNYC and Next Millennium Productions for your professional crew on-site recording the event. We will let everyone know about the upcoming broadcast in the Fall.   

Help us grow our NYWIFT community

As you can see, we are expanding our reach internationally, enhancing our festival partnerships, developing new professional development opportunities, and taking our time-honored Muse Awards experience to the next level. There is no better time to become a NYWIFT member.

If you’re not a member yet, we sincerely hope you will join us now. Our membership drive is running through the end of June, during which you can take advantage of a significant discount.

Please, become a member today at nywift.org/join

And if you’re already a member – THANK YOU!


Thank you to our NYWIFT members for your support, for attending MUSE 2023, and to the board and crew that make the seemingly impossible possible every day. I appreciate your passion and soul for moving forward. Together, I do believe we can accomplish anything.

We have come a long way,



Cynthia Lopez
CEO | Executive Director
New York Women in Film & Television