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Meet the Funders (Foundations and Film Funds)

There is no substitute for researching a funders’ mission and purpose. In this panel we hear the funders’ POV and gain insight into what they look for in a proposal, grant application and trailer. More importantly, they share their current priorities. Learn common mistakes to avoid before you submit your application and take away strategies that will ensure your project stands out during the panel review.


Brittni Collins
is the Artist Services Manager at Creative Capital, a New York-based, national non-profit that supports innovative and adventurous artists across the country through funding, counsel and career development services. Inspired by the power of external elements to provoke internal changes, Collins began her career in the arts in Atlanta, Georgia with the non-profit Living Walls, The City Speaks. There she was instrumental in the promotion and expansion of tactical urbanism via street art throughout the metro Atlanta area. Prior to joining Creative Capital, she worked with the Principals of Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects and closely studied the practice and design of modernist architectural forms.

Anna Ponder
is the Executive Director of the Tribeca Film Institute. Ponder spent her first six years in New York at the Robin Hood Foundation, where she helmed Leadership Gifts, working with the foundation’s most generous donors including the Board. Before Robin Hood, she was on the campaign trail with Bill Bradley for President as Mrs. Ernestine Bradley’s only traveling staffer. After Robin Hood, Ponder served as Director of Marketing and Investor Relations for several hedge fund firms, including Tudor Investment Corporation, Raptor Capital Management, and High Rise Capital Management. She has a profound interest in and has done considerable work around issues of social justice and narratives for social responsibility.

Kat Vecchio
oversees the grant-making and investment arm of Fork Films where she plays a key roll in developing Fork Films grantmaking strategy and review process as well as serving as the primary contact for Fork Films supported filmmakers and grantees. Fork Films is a New York based production company that creates and supports media that makes an important societal contribution, with a particular emphasis on projects that bring women’s voices to the forefront.

Leslie Fields-Cruz
(Moderator) joined the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) in 2001 administrating NBPC's Production Media Fund. In 2005 she was promoted to Director of Programming and began to oversee the distribution of NBPC's funded programs to the public television system. During her term as Director of Programming, Fields-Cruz laid the initial foundation for the launch of NBPC’s public television series AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange, now entering its 9th season. In 2010 she was promoted to VP of Operations and Programs where she continued to successfully deliver hundreds of hours of national programming to public television while also overseeing the operations of NBPC’s New York office. In the fall of 2014, NBPC’s Board of Director’s appointed Fields-Cruz to serve as the organization’s third Executive Director. 

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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts