Living in the era of COVID – Letter from the Executive Director July 2022

Dear NYWIFT Community,

It’s Sunday, and I have an action-packed day. I’m driving to Montauk, Long Island for the 3rd Annual Montauk Film Festival but stopping in Sag Harbor to attend the Bay Street Theater closing matinee of Anna in the Tropics starring NYWIFT member Iliana Guibert. It was an amazing performance, the cast was outrageous, and I had wished I was able to encourage more NYWIFT members to attend this intimate and unique rendition. The entire ensemble was fantastic, plus the set and sound engineering were first rate. They of course got a standing ovation. Brava, Iliana and the entire team. To learn more about them please click here.

I write to you while I am attending the Montauk Film Festival from Sole East Resort – one of the new partnerships that we developed during COVID to give our members an opportunity to be included and attend the festival screenings in person, if possible. We understand it is a long way from NYC, but we have also developed partnerships with Rooftop Films, Music Box Films, and The Museum of the Moving Image to ensure our members have access to a variety of indoor outdoor events this Summer. Join us this Sunday at the MOMI screening of NYWIFT member Nadia Tass’s The Big Steal, and August 13th for our next collaboration with Rooftop Films, a screening of Riotsville, USA.

The Women in Film evening at Montauk on Sunday, July 24 included four short films along with a Q&A with filmmakers on a beautiful lawn outdoor screening. The filmmakers included NYWIFT member Mohana Rajakumar, Ju Martins, Krystal Kwok, and Jacqueline Xerri.

On the heels of a good day, always comes heart breaking news in COVID-land. I received an email from NYWIFT Board Member Leslie Fields-Cruz that the founder of Black Public Media (formerly the National Black Programming Consortium), Mable Haddock, had passed away from complications of kidney disease. Mable was a mentor, a friend and an outrageous renegade who fought for truth and equity wherever she went.

I remember the first time I met Mable, she tapped me on the shoulder after I was speaking my mind at a creative meeting at PBS, and said, “You feisty – jury is still out on you. You might be too spicy for these folks. I like you already.”  For years, we saw each other at different meetings, rallies, and high-level events. In 2019, before the pandemic, we saw each other at a Black Public Media event and she gave me a big hug and said, “Girl, you’re like a weed. They try to kill your fresh ideas and you just pop up somewhere else and make them happen.”

Much love to you, my friend. Although I never said “I love you” … I hope you understand the important role you played in my life.

The second negative news I received was about the passing of Gloria Allen. Gloria was a trailblazing transgender activist who ran a charm school for trans youth and was the subject of NYWIFT member Luchina Fisher’s GLAAD Award-nominated documentary Mama Gloria, which is now airing on PBS. We were proud to show the film in our NYWIFT Member Screening Series in November, and even prouder to have Mama Gloria herself participate in the Q&A. You can watch the inspiring conversation here.

We hope that both of you are in peace and the pain is gone.   

If you are feeling overwhelmed, overworked, and under-appreciated at home, at work, or in the community, know that many of us are tired but it is all part of the process of recovery. In year three of a pandemic, economic crisis, or political upheaval it is hard to catch a break or try to thrive despite the circumstances. We hope that you will attend our partnership programming, industry screenings, and membership networking events to keep that community spirit strong.

Rest when you are tired. Naps are healthy!

And enjoy the sunlight,



Cynthia Lopez
Executive Director
New York Women in Film & Television