This year, New York Women In Film and Television brought the annual cocktail party to the new Bowlmor Lanes location in Times Square. It did create a more lively atmosphere than the annuals I've been to in the past. There were also great speeches from NYWIFT committee chairs, as this is the time of year, not only to welcome new members but to get some of them (and existing members who haven't yet participated) to sign up for some committees. I avoided taking the plunge my first couple years as a member even though there were several committees that really interested me. It was a combination of concern over my lack of expertise in a particular area and that I wouldn't have the time with my work schedule. Turns out both points weren't really an issue. First of all, committees are delighted to have people participate whether they are trained in the subject or mission of the committee or not (at least that's been my experience so far). Not to say committees don't want to recruit those with expertise. They definitely do (and if you know your film preservation stuff, please contact the WFPF committee!), but they really just want enthusiastic people that are interested in bringing what they can to the table and learning more along the way. Secondly, if you're really interested in what a committee does, you find that you schedule time for it. Sometimes work does get in the way and that requires that you're less involved during some months, but there's no reason to avoid signing up in the first place unless you know you can't make it to a meeting or participate at any time in the foreseeable future. Everyone has their career and most committees are very understanding that not everyone can be totally available 24/7.
I started going to the Women's Film Preservation Fund meetings when work was a little slow for me. Of course, work got busy again, but I've still managed to be a part of things and I'm still learning a great deal. I personally find my involvement very rewarding. The committee is a good size and it does feel good to have some sort of small hand in seeing films made by women get restored and preserved. Meeting people of all different backgrounds in film and television has been great too. There are some amazing ladies that really know their preservation stuff too and they are great about sharing their knowledge.
At the cocktail party this year, I signed two more committee lists. I may not get involved in both, but they were interesting enough to find out more. To me, it's one of the best things about having a NYWIFT membership. The events are great too and some of the committees are even about the events if that interests you.
To learn more about NYWIFT and it's committees, go to nywift.org. You can also take a look at their calendar of events. This fall's range from special screenings, to film festivals, to panel discussions on script analysis and Unions, Guilds and Locals and more. And of course I have to add WFPF upcoming screenings of Make Out (1970, 5min) by Geri Ashur, Growing Up Female (1970, 53 mins) by Julia Reichert and Jim Klein and Janie's Jane (1970, 25 mins) by Geri Ashur, Bev Grant, Marilyn Mulford, all at Lincoln Center on 10/24.
There's most always something to attend and it's just starting with the fall season.