Letter from the CEO – October 2022

October 2022

Dear NYWIFT Community,

The Fall is here and it feels like Summer swept over us like a fast cloud on a sunny day. Wickedly beautiful yet so quick that it is hard to understand that it actually happened.

There are so many things I would like to write about. I’d like to mention all of the incredible successes that I have seen – women and non-profit organizations that have accomplished so much during the pandemic. It is actually exhausting just thinking about it. Because we all know that the last three years it felt like we had to have Wonder Women strength and superpowers to get anything done.

NYWIFT is proud of the work that we have accomplished during the pandemic. Please take a look at this video produced for us by Jennifer Dean for the 2022 WIFTI Conference that shows what we have been up to.

Films were shot, edited, and many had virtual premieres via apps. It is one of new ways of doing things. However, while we have done many NYWIFT Industry Screenings and Member Screenings virtually, we still believe there is a place for the community gathering at a theatre where the creative team comes together to show their work. On September 9th, we gathered at The Quad to co-present Kavery Kaul’s The Bengali as part of our NYWIFT Member Screening Series in partnership with the Indo American Arts Council. The film was screened to a packed house — literally not a seat to be had! Journalist Samira Asma-Sadeque moderated the Q&A.

Check out the trailer!

Rashiek Smart (NYWIFT), Fatima Shaik (Documentary Subject), Katie Chambers (NYWIFT), and Kavery Kaul (Filmmaker) at The Bengali screening


The film was also screened in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Royal Theater the following week. Please check thebengalifilm.com to watch out for future screening dates and tell your friends about it. Fingers crossed the film will be considered by The Academy. We’d love to see Kavery and her crew on the Oscars red carpet.

If you’re not a NYWIFT member yet, please join our community today so you can be considered for these industry activities and submit your project for the Member Screening Series.

We are now planning a super cool event as part of the SOHO International Film Festival where board member Sybil Reymundo-Santiago is the Executive Director and Head of Programming. NYWIFT Creative Showcase: Members at the SOHO International Film Festival on October 12 will feature a screening of films by members Jenn Shaw, Julie Neira Campoverde, and Emily Friedman, followed by a talkback. Please join us. Katie Chambers curated the film presentation of NYWIFT Member shorts and will be moderating the Q&A.

To join us, NYWIFT members have complimentary access here.

In addition, in October – we are back in-person at the Hamptons International Film Festival. We are happy to announce that NYWIFT will host our annual NYWIFT Brunch at the Hamptons on Sunday, October 9 from Noon to 2:30 at Mulford Farm.

To join us NYWIFT Members are granted complimentary entrance to the brunch and tickets for the Women Calling the Shots Short Film Showcase are discounted. The shorts program begins at 4:15 – tickets are going fast but are still available here.  

Transition always happens in the Fall. The leaves change color, and it is stunning to see the NYC landscape. On September 29, NYWIFT held our traditional NYWIFT board transition dinner, where the NYWIFT Board acknowledges and welcomes its newly elected board members and has a “thank you” dinner for those who have completed their terms. Welcome new Board President, Leslie Fields -Cruz!

Learn more about the NYWIFT board of directors on our website.

There are no words that would accurately describe the deep dedication, countless hours of work, and often humorous approach these ladies have taken to move NYWIFT forward. A heartfelt thank you to the incredible Jamie Zelermyer, our outgoing President, for your steadfast approach during the pandemic; Christine Bragan for her innovative strategic development and partnership support; Casper Wong for keeping us on point regarding technology and its impact on our future; Kathryn O’Kane for concrete contributions to our Advocacy and Educational work; Kerry Fulton for her business acumen and writing skills; and Alex Cirillo for her Special Events savvy.  

Cynthia Lopez, Jamie Zelermyer, and Leslie Fields-Cruz at the Board Transition Dinner


Also, had I mentioned? The Board has appointed me as CEO given my contributions and dedication to the organization during my now almost four years of service. I in turn have also approved some staff title changes given the amazing NYWIFT crew’s work. Please see our staff page for updates.

We are back together again but then again, even a pandemic couldn’t keep us apart. Our mission to work collectively to create a more equitable media working environment continues.

Enjoy the pumpkins, preserves and the chill in the air and of course the spooky movies…



Cynthia Lopez
New York Women in Film & Television