The New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT) had it’s 37th annual Muse Awards gala luncheon on Thursday, December 8 at the Hilton hotel in New York City, to recognize and celebrate extraordinary women for their achievements, talent and vision in the entertainment industry.
NYWIFT has supported and empowered women working in the show business for almost 40 years and this annual award ceremony was hosted by actress and CBS commentator Nancy Giles. Exceptional women honored were Mary-Louise Parker (Golden Globe Emmy award actress), Debi Mazar (native New York actress & TV Personality), Martha Plimpton (award-winning actress), Marcia Smith (Co-Founder and president of Firelight Media), Jackie Kelley (COO of Bloomberg Media) and Amy Goodman (executive producer and award winning journalist).
The annual Muse Awards is attended by an exhilarating group of leading executives from every major studio, broadcast and cable networks, film, television and digital media production facilities. Past recipients include Meryl Streep, Claire Danes, Anne Sweeney, Martha Stewart, Robin Wright, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Julianne Moore, Tina Fey, America Ferrera, Julianna Margulies, Blythe Danner, Victoria Alonso, Gabourey Sidibe, Cicely Tyson, and Lucy Liu.
Amy Goodman received the 11th annual Loreen Arbus Changemaker Award. The acclaimed award-winning journalist, host and executive producer of Democracy Now! has covered the East Timor independence movement, Chevron Corporation’s role in Nigeria and recently the standoff at Standing Rock. She co-authored six New York Times bestsellers, her latest one, “Democracy Now!: Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America” looks back over the past two decades of Democracy Now! and the powerful movements and charismatic leaders who are re-shaping our world.
The Loreen Arbus Changemaker Award was created with the generous support of New York Women in Film & Television member Loreen Arbus. Each year, it is given to an individual, organization or corporation in the entertainment industry that has helped to create and bring about significant change to benefit and aid women.
We at Indiewood attended the 37th annual Muse Awards celebration and spoke with Amy Goodman before accepting the award.
Congratulations on the Loreen Changemaker award. How does it feel to be an honoree in this prestigious gala?
I am so moved by my peers. It is a great privilege to be honored by my colleagues. We need to make sure that the media opens up to the world. The media is a huge kitchen table that stretches across the globe and discuss important issues of the day, war and peace; life and death. Anything less than that is a disservice to a democratic society. It’s very important to tell stories about women, the more universal storytelling, the better.
Do you have any advice for women on overcoming challenges they face today?
I encourage women to get involved in the media because it’s a great source of peace on earth. The media is more often wheeled as a weapon on earth, which is why we need the media back.
Your investigative journalism was able to bring the attention of important issues, such as the struggle and Strive of the East Timorese nation and recently the standoff at Standing Rock.
Our job is to go where the silence is. What we are seeing in North Dakota, in Standing Rock right now is an epic struggle for the fate of the planet. It’s being led by native Americans, the largest unification of tribes in decades from Latin America, United States, as well as Canada and many none native allies. They are being met by fiercely militarized sheriff and policemen as well as the national guard. They are being hit with water cannons, militarized vehicles, automatic weapons, in freezing weather and yet they have not stopped. As they say, they are not protesters, they are water protectors. They are trying to save the planet, not just for themselves, but to prevent the pollution of the Missouri river, the longest river in North America that is relying on 10 million people. It is not just the standoff at Standing Rock. Our job is to provide a forum to open up the media, to bring diversity, to cover it all, especially in this critical period. Independent media allows people to speak for themselves. When you are talking about a Palestinian child or an Israeli grandmother, an aunt from Standing Rock, an uncle from Afghanistan: when you hear them describe their own stories, I’m not saying you need to agree of what they say, but you begin to understand where they are coming from. It will make it less likely wanting to destroy them.
Is there a female mentor in your life?
It has always been my beloved late mother on all her teachings, on literature and history. Also my grandmother. They were women with determination who deeply believed in justice.
To find out more about NYWIFT and the Muse Awards click here nywift.org/MUSE
Featured Image: © Francesca Andre Photography