Announcing: 2022 NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music and Theatre Recipients

Announcing: 2022 NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music and Theatre Recipients
Image: Sarah Teale (NYC Women's Fund Documentary Short '22)'s "Fogo Azul: A Powerful Noise," Adriana Portela conducts samba reggae drumming bands Dida & Fogo Azul, Photo Credit: Carin Van Der Donk

The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) Awarded a Combined $2 Million in Funding to 89 Projects

The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) has announced the selection of 89 projects, led by female-identifying creatives, that will receive finishing grants in the third round of the NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music and Theatre. The $2 million awarded in this round brings the grand total of funding to $5.5 million, allocated to a total of 246 recipients (94 in 2020’s second round and 63 in 2019’s first round).

This groundbreaking initiative, intended to address the underrepresentation of women in film and digital media, music, and theatre, is administered by New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). The 89 grants were awarded to projects in the following categories: 

  • 18 General Music – each received up to $20,000 
  • 16 Theatre Productions – each received up to $50,000 
  • 12 Classical/Jazz/Experimental Music – each received up to $20,000 
  • 10 Fiction Short – each received up to $25,000 
  • 8 Documentary Features – each received up to $50,000 
  • 8 Documentary Shorts – each received up to $25,000 
  • 7 Documentary Webisodes/Webseries – each received up to $20,000 
  • 6 Fiction Webisode/Webseries – each received up to $20,000 
  • 4 Fiction Features – each received up to $50,000 
Zoom screen with five tiles--four with one Filipino woman each, one with three dancers entwined on the wooden floor.
Image: Loose Change Productions (NYC Women’s Fund Theatre Production ’22); workshop performance of “Export Quality: Monologues Drawn from True Stories of Mail-Order Brides from the Philippines” via Zoom; December 2021; Featured actors: Francesca Fernandez McKenzie, Precious Sipin, Lydia Gaston, and Emy Coligado; Featured dancers: Melani De Guzman, JP Moraga, and Mark Tan

Several of the third round recipients are well-known in their fields, including:  

  • Shelley Hirsch, awarded this year in the Jazz music category for Her, has performed throughout NYC venues including Alice Tully Hall and BAM, and was a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition in 2017. 
  • Jacquline Christy, whose fiction feature Magic Hour stars actress Miriam Shor, is the recipient of a 2017 Sloan Foundation and Women Make Movies research grant. 
  • LADAMA, the Latin alternative band, will use their funding award to finish and release their third studio album.  

The full lists of categories, awarded projects, and industry panelists who made the selections can be found at

Close up film still of Miriam Shor as Harriet, with red dress and red lipstick, nervous and excited, in a cinema in "MAGIC HOUR"
Image: Jacqueline Christy (NYC Women’s Fund Fiction Feature ’22), Miriam Shor as Harriet in “Magic Hour,” Photo Credit: Dennis Mong

“As Women’s History Month comes to a close, I can’t think of a more fitting opportunity to honor these powerhouses than provide city funding for their creative projects,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “This administration is committed to supporting women-led initiatives, and we are proud to distribute this funding in hopes of transforming the film, television, and theatre industry to a more equitable environment for artists.”

Selected from 1,193 applications, the third round of NYC Women’s Fund projects cover a broad range of topics, represent a diverse group of voices and feature both established and up-and-coming artists. Notable trends include: 

  • 20% of the recipients are from AAPI decent: There is a large collection of works representing the depth and breadth of the Asian American experience and culture recognized this year, including Shelley Cheung Claudon’s documentary short, Laying the Last Track, the untold story of the Chinese railroad workers who built the Transcontinental Railroad as told by their descendants and prominent Asian American activists; Nari Kye’s documentary web series Woori Show, a bilingual educational series teaching audiences about Korean language and culture; and Siyi Chen’s New Shidaiqu music project, which explores the intersection of jazz and the Chinese popular music form, Shidaiqu. 
  • Women in Sports is a prominent theme: Pola Rappaport’s Addicted to Life, Marlo Pora’s Icebreakers and Maria Palacio’s The Fighter in Us, which tells the stories of an aging Paralympian, a group of LGBTQ+ figure skaters and female boxers breaking down barriers, respectively, among others, showcase a recurring theme of women in sports.  
  • Residents of Brooklyn make up more than half of this year’s recipientsBecky Baumwoll’s BKBXKids! Asks Why, transforms a big question about racism into a wide space for interactive exploration; and the musical album Sigs on Seeley St. from Valerie Seeley, tells the story of a formerly incarcerated survivor of domestic violence.  
A hellish city evoking a Bosch painting
Image: Haisi Hu (NYC Women’s Fund Fiction Short ’22), still from “Shopping for Love”

Launched in 2019, the NYC Women’s Fund was created to tackle the underrepresentation and equity challenges that women have historically faced in the media and entertainment industries. Recent studies showed that fewer than 2% of all top-grossing directors were women of color in the last 15 years (“Inclusion in the Director’s Chair”), only eight women of color received a music producer credit across 500 songs (“Inclusion in the Recording Studio”), and females made up only 13% of Broadway directing and writing roles (“Broadway by the Numbers”). 

In light of these statistics, the NYC Women’s Fund provides finishing funds that help female creatives bring their projects to fruition, achieve their personal and professional goals, and elevate the creative industries to a more equitable playing field. Several recipients from the first two rounds of Women’s Fund finishing grants have enjoyed success and accolades. A few examples include: 

  • Sara Serpa Santos’ Intimate Strangers, which explores and confronts the history of Portuguese colonialism in Africa, made The New York Times’ list of “Best Jazz Albums of 2021” and The Nation’s list of “Best Albums of 2021.” 
  • Documentary feature Jacinta, which shows the harsh realities of addiction from director Jessica Earnshaw at Ride or Die LLC, received the “Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award” at the 2020 Tribeca Film festival, and was an official selection at both Doc NYC and the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.  
  • Aya Ogawa’s theatrical play The Nosebleed, an autobiographic exploration of their fractured relationship with their deceased father, was a New York Times “Critic’s Pick,” that was described as “impeccably structured and lucidly staged, this play has a disarming sense of welcome, and a down-to-earth ease…”  
Photo composite showing three views of Valerie Seeley--two side profiles and one center
Image: Valerie Seeley (NYC Women’s Fund General Music ’22), Photo Credit: Die Jim Crow Records

“Our mission is to bring opportunity to every New Yorker,” said Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer. “Providing City funding to these talented female creatives is squarely aligned with our Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery, intended to reinvigorate our cultural industries while building back a more inclusive city.”  

“Congratulations to the third round of NYC Women’s Fund grant recipients, whose diverse talents promise to offer audiences a variety of experiences and viewpoints,” said NYC Media and Entertainment Commissioner Anne del Castillo. “As we celebrate Women’s History month, I commend the passion, resolve and resilience of these 89 creatives, who produced inspiring content amidst the social and economic challenges of the pandemic. As the City takes steps to rebuild our creative economies, we continue to focus on addressing the existing gender and racial inequities that have been exacerbated over the past two years.” 

“We are grateful to partner with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment to administer the NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music and Theatre,” said Michael RoyceExecutive Director, NYFA. “We are proud to help support creatives in realizing works that reflect a diversity of voices, perspectives, and experiences, and know how integral these funds are to helping them stay true to their vision. The peer validation that this program provides makes it all the more impactful,” he added. 

An image of a photo collage that depicts a woman with skillets hung on her ears, next to woman with skillet over her mouth, next to woman with skillets covering her eyes.
Image: Alia Haju (NYC Women’s Fund Classical/Jazz/Experimental/New Music ’22), “Bassara” 2019, photo collage by Alia Haju

“Gender discrimination is prevalent in the music and entertainment industry, regardless of whether you are on-air, on camera, the artist, or producer. New York City is the media capital of the world and home to so many talented women creatives who deserve a fair chance to tell their stories, which will captivate audiences. The ‘Made in NY’ Women’s Film, TV & Theatre Fund is an extraordinary initiative that is shattering glass ceilings, increasing representation, while ending the inequities that continue to invalidate women and their experiences. Today’s announcement is the perfect way to celebrate Women’s HERstory Month and create a path towards a future that is inclusive of all,” said Council Member Farah N. Louis, Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus.

“I’m proud to support this initiativethe first of its kind in the nationto fund women-led projects in the areas of media, music, and theatre. Supporting the arts is a vital strategy for making our city a vibrant, exciting, beautiful place to be, and as the Chair of the Council Committee on Women and Gender Equity, I applaud the effort to increase gender diversity in these fields, which have been dominated by men for far too long,” said Council Member Tiffany Cabán.

Please use #NYCWomensFund to participate in the conversation on social media. 

Find out about additional awards and grants here. Sign up for our free bi-weekly newsletter, NYFA News, to receive announcements about future NYFA events and programs. 

Funding for this program is provided by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME).

Amy Aronoff
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