Letter from the NYWIFT CEO – September 2023

September 14, 2023  
Atlanta, Georgia
Airport Terminal T17
JetBlue @ 7:30pm

Dear NYWIFT Community:

I have whiplash, the spiritual kind – where your neck aches, but you have not been in an accident. I have been traveling on a “hunt” – looking for resources for our organization to offer exciting new diverse programs and to continue to build our existing offerings like our NYWIFT Creative Workforce Summit and NYWIFT Membership Services.


This year, the NYWIFT Summit took place in June at the Paley Center and online. Highlights of the three-day hybrid program included: Opening remarks from our program officer Kevin Clark from the National Science Foundation; presentations by aerospace engineer Tiera Fletcher on raising up women in rocket science, Dr. Marc Schiffman on compassionate medical innovations, Dr. Tamatha Fenster on biotechnology and women’s healthcare, Bill Kenworthey on infrastructure adaptations for a warming planet, and Dr. Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina woman in space, who completed nearly 1000 hours of space travel and was the first woman to head the Johnson Space Center. STEM focused creatives included Aftershock co-director Paula Eiselt, The Human Trial filmmaker Lisa Hepner, NOVA producer Caitlin Saks, Latina Sci-Girls producer Maria Agui Carter, and sci-fi filmmakers Eunice Levis and Ayoka Chenzira, among others. We even welcomed our recent NYWIFT Muse honoree Pulitzer Prize winner Maria Hinojosa as a moderator!

If you were not able to attend, please visit our website for more information. NYWIFT members will receive a digital copy of our upcoming NYWIFT STEM Summit Publication when it becomes available. If you’re not a member yet, please join us now.  

The summer flew by quickly, yet as you know many of our creative friends and family that work in the media and entertainment industry are fighting for better contracts, wages, and working conditions. NYWIFT will again join the frontlines to picket on September 29, in support of SAG-AFTRA. If you would like join us please sign up, email us at info@nywift.org. NYWIFT protest signs can be picked up, along with to-go bags that include Kind bars and H2O for the writers and actors on strike. Our advocacy and education committee members VP Christina Kiely and Audrey Rosenberg will lead our efforts and will be present should you want to learn more about how to support.

If you haven’t been following the news about the radical changes within media and entertainment companies, a few highlights include:

  • 11,000+ WGA members are on strike
  • 160,000 SAG-AFTRA members are on strike
  • Negotiations for new contracts had been stalled. Productions on the ground may not be fully operational until January 2024.
  • Media corporations have cut thousands of jobs in the last year.

NYWIFT is thrilled to announce our Masterclass Series to provide creative and technical skills to our members during this transitional time. The series kicks off this Fall on October 16 with acclaimed screenwriter Amy Fox (The Conners, Equity) teaching Writing for Television. We will also shortly announce our November and December offerings which include: Podcasting with Jamie Zelermyer, past NYWIFT President and creator of the hit podcast I Was Never There, and Line Producing led by NYWIFT Board Member Sirad Balducci.

NYWIFT Members can register for these programs for $25. Non-members attend for $45. If you’re not a member yet, please consider joining us now to take advantage of these in-depth virtual learning opportunities.

Sign up now for the NYWIFT Masterclass: Writing for Television!  


At the end of August, I went on a business trip to Los Angeles for the Latino Public Broadcasting Board meeting and to have a few NYWIFT corporate sponsorship meetings. I was struck with the pace of daily life, helicopters overhead moving supplies to Southern California due to the recent flooding, ongoing strikes by our creative workers, news about mass shootings, and wild fires in the north. Yet, in the day-long meeting I learned about brave work of Latino Public Broadcasting, including the new lineup for Voces 2024 and their opportunities for funding. Very exciting! Please check out www.lpbp.org.

This month, I attended the first-ever Color Congress Summit in Atlanta. It was held at a The Gathering Spot, a co-networking space where over 80 non-profit organizations and filmmakers gathered to discuss how best to work together and set a path forward. There were creatives represented from all areas of the documentary spectrum (historical, animation, social impact, contemporary, hybrid and experimental). It was a riveting four days! To learn about the organization more please visit: https://www.colorcongressinitiative.org

While I was in Georgia, we experienced flash flooding. As we were taking a group photo of the Color Congress attendees, the rains descended in a way that I have never experienced before. It is clear that while we are adjusting to the post-pandemic circumstances, the impact of climate change is aggressively showing us it is here.

As I said, I have whiplash some days while the environment in the creative community is tough and downright brutal to survive during these times. Creatives are up for the challenge and continue to reorganize, reinvent, and revitalize how to get it done.

Finally, Happy Birthday to our sisters at WIF LA who are celebrating 50 years! Congrats to  Kirsten and the entire team.




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