NYWIFT Talks: Filmmakers and Activists discuss the Black Lives Matter movement, their life’s work, and hope for the future.
In our June 12, 2020, NYWIFT Talks, we brought together vibrant award-winning women filmmakers and activists dedicated to fighting systemic racism to discuss their work and the social justice movement of today. During the conversation, we watched short clips focused on historical women civil rights activists. The purpose of the conversation was to come together and share artistic, political and personal survival stories during this painful time in American history.
The conversation was moderated by NYWIFT Executive Director Cynthia Lopez.
Dawn Porter is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work has appeared on HBO, PBS, Discovery, and Netflix among others. Porter, who is the founder of Trilogy Films, also directed and produced the acclaimed four-hour Netflix original series Bobby Kennedy for President, which was released in 2018 and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. A two-time Sundance festival Director, her film Trapped which explored laws regulating abortion clinics in the South won the special jury social-impact prize at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, in addition to a Peabody and numerous other awards. Her 2013 documentary Gideon’s Army premiered on HBO and won best editing at Sundance. Gideon’s Army was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and an Emmy, and is part of the U.S. Department of State’s American Film Showcase. Her other films include Spies of Mississippi, a critically-acclaimed historical documentary that was part of the Independent Lens series on PBS, and in 2015, Rise: The Promise of My Brother’s Keeper, a film for The Discovery Channel chronicling President Obama’s program to help young men of color succeed.
Shola Lynch is an award-winning American filmmaker best known for the feature documentary Free Angela & All Political Prisoners and the Peabody Award-winning documentary Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed. Her independent film body of work and her other collaborative projects feed her passion to bring history alive with captivating stories of people, places and events. Since 2013 she has also served as the Curator of the Moving Image & Recorded Sound division of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. In 2016, Shola became a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Tami Gold is a professor at Hunter College, a filmmaker, visual artist and activist. She has produced many critically acclaimed documentaries that have consistently been at the forefront of social issues looking at racism, police violence, women’s rights, conditions for workers and labor organizing, violence and discrimination against LGBT people. Tami is the recipient of Rockefeller, Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships; Tribeca Audience Award; GLAAD Media Award; Urban Visionaries Award, Museum of Television and Radio; NY/NJ Video Arts Fellowships; Excellence in the Arts Award from the Manhattan Borough President; AFI Independent Filmmakers Production Fellowship. Tami’s films have been presented at the MOMA, the Whitney, The Chicago Arts Institute, The Kennedy Center, the American and British Film Institutes, Sundance, Tribeca and The New York Film Festival, Slamdance and in over 150 film festivals worldwide.
Yoruba Richen is a documentary filmmaker whose work explores issues of race, space and power. She has directed films in the U.S. and abroad, including Africa, Asia and South America. Her last film, The New Black won Audience Awards at AFI Docs, Philly Q Fest, and Frameline LGBT Film Festival. The film also won best documentary at the Urbanworld Film Festival and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and a GLAAD Media Award. The New Black opened theatrically at New York’s Film Forum and aired on PBS’s Independent Lens. Yoruba’s work has been featured on PBS, New York Times Op Doc, Frontline Digital, New York Magazine’s The Cut, The Atlantic and Field of Vision. Her film The Green Book: Guide to Freedom aired on The Smithsonian Channel in February 2019. Yoruba is a featured TED Speaker, a Fulbright fellow, a Guggenheim fellow and a 2016 recipient of the Chicken & Egg Breakthrough Filmmaker Award. She was chosen for The Root 100 list of the most influential African Americans 45 and under, recognizing her as a leader whose “work from the past year is breaking down barriers and paving the way for the next generation.”
Cynthia López (moderator) is the Executive Director of New York Women in Film & Television, an award-winning media strategist, and former Commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, where she implemented strategies to support film and TV production throughout the five boroughs. López is the recipient of many coveted industry awards including: 11 News and Documentary Emmy Awards, a Special Emmy Award for Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking, three Peabody Awards, and two duPont-Columbia Awards. In addition, she received the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) Award for Commitment to Corporate Diversity. Prior to working as Commissioner, López was Executive Vice President and co-Executive Producer of the award-winning PBS documentary series American Documentary | POV, and was involved in the organization’s strategic growth and creative development for 14 years. Her ability to forge strategic partnerships among corporate and public interest media has been a signature of her work. Notable partnerships include: New York Times, Reuters, Al-Jazeera Network, Discovery Communications, The Moth, Story Corps, Harpo Studios and ABC News, NIGHTLINE with Ted Koppel. López is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP), and is proud to have spent her career collaborating with independent filmmakers across all portions of the film and television industry. She served on the Board of Trustees for the Paley Center, NYC & Company, Museum of the Moving Image and the Tribeca Film Institute Latin America Fund Advisory Board. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Latino Public Broadcasting, Manhattan Neighborhood Network and Hunter College IMA Program.
Every Mother’s Son: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/everymothersson
The Green Book Guide to Freedom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKwHbp_HddQ
About NYWIFT Talks
NYWIFT Talks is a new weekly series to bring updated news and vital information about the impact of COVID-19 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.