WIFMPIT Pittsburgh

Profile Updated: March 10, 2015
Address: Pittsburgh, PA USA
Website/Homepage: www.wifmpit.org
Number of Members: 100+
President/Chair: Faith Dickinson, President. Lisa Smith-Reed, Board Chair
Yes! Attending Reunion
Mission Statement

Women In Film and Media of Pittsburgh (WIFM) is dedicated to improving the status and portrayal of women in film, video and other screen-based media. With an emphasis on education, we serve our members and the community by providing access to opportunities in the industry and working with other non-profits dedicated to helping women and children. We are passionate about our vision to empower, promote, support and mentor the community through a network of valuable programs, contacts and events.

Our vision is to serve women in our community by assisting them in reaching their goals to create or improve their careers in the film and television industry. With our programs, events and opportunities, we strive to educate, inform and develop values and strengthen the foundation of women in the industry.

About Your Chapter/History

Women In Film and Media was founded in 2005 and is one of over 40 chapters located throughout the world. The mission of all the chapters is to assist primarily women who need assistance entering the workforce and learning more about the industry.

The first Women In Film chapter was started over 30 years ago when several women got together and decided to help each other climb up the ladder past the glass ceiling. They agreed that if one woman got a job or saw an opportunity for work, that they would help the other women in the group and would work on each other's projects.

From that, the organization grew into a worldwide organization that helps women in the fields of film, video and television and all the jobs that are related to those fields.

The success of the Women In Film chapters is illustrated in all the careers that have been launched, the people who have been helped and the programs and events that have been introduced.

The organizations not only helps women who are members of the organization, but also help the community and the businesses with which they connect.


• We have successfully chosen our fourth non-profit organization for production of a public service announcement. This non-profit is Hair Peace which financially assists women and girls who are suffering from the loss of hair due to chemotherapy treatments. Hair Peace provides funds for purchasing a wig when insurance coverage does not assist. We completed the PSA which has a production value of over $250,000. The PSA was done for the non-profit for a mere $4,500.00 thanks to the many volunteers.

Our last PSA was Crisis Center North which assists women who are in an abusive relationship. This program produces a PSA (commercial) for the non-profit at no cost to them. We begin with their ideas and concepts, create a script, shoot the PSA, edit it and provide it to the non-profit for distribution.

• Assisted the community in Pittsburgh by helping Crisis Center North and the SIDS Cribs For Kids programs by promoting them within the region.

• WIFM has worked with over 50 women in the last year to provide them with the tools they need to move forward in their careers. With the PSA Program we have mentored many women in the production process. We have personally met with many women to assist them with their careers by interviewing them and recommending a path to guide them towards their goals.

• WIFM executive committee members have worked together to visit colleges and universities and discuss careers and the importance of remaining in Pittsburgh.

• Provided scholarships to women enrolled in film and TV programs totaling nearly $8,000 in five years.

• Developed classes, panel discussions and training sessions for our members and the community to assist them in strengthening their skills and knowledge.

Brief Description of your Key Programs

Public Service Announcement Program
WIFM assist non-profit organizations that help women and children by producing a PSA (commercial) for them at little or no charge to the non-profit.

We begin by receiving submissions from the non-profits and then choosing three of those to come in for a more in-depth interview to learn more about them. We then choose one non-profit to meet with and discuss their needs, mission and the message they want to broadcast.

WIFM then gathers a team of professionals who meet with the non-profit to begin working on a script and interviewing women to work on the PSA and to mentor others.

The production team takes the project from an idea to a fully produced PSA benefiting the community, the non-profit and everyone who works on the project.


Talking With Series
We arrange to have professionals in the film and television business serve on a panel to discuss how they got into the business and provide advice to the audience as to how they too can achieve their goals.

Our initial panel discussion brought in women and men who are involved in all types of film production in Pittsburgh. They talked about their experience, how they got into the business and why they chose to remain in Pittsburgh.

Other panelists we have brought in included AFTRA & SAG representatives, talent agents, casting directors, voiceover artists, studio production engineers, screenwriters and camera operators.

On one occasion, we brought in women in television, women anchors, engineers and camera operators to a Chatham University venue.

We have also worked with Point Park University, Chatham University, University of Pittsburgh and the Art Institute to hold events and also to alert students to our events.
Measurement of Success: The many programs that we have offered has helped large numbers of people and we see that our sessions are attended by ‘regular’ who find the programs we do very helpful for their careers.

Several workshops have been repeated because attendance was so great and many asked for another session and have been specific about what type of classes they would like to see and the content of the programs they would like to have.



Opal Award Program
The Women in Film and Media's (WIFM) Opal Awards honor local women who contribute to the Pittsburgh media industry and other filmmakers who positively impact the region's economic development.

The Patti Burns Award specifically recognizes women in television for their achievements and contribution to Pittsburgh.

Previous Opal Award winners include: Amy Lamb, Melissa Martin, Donna Belajac, Anita Harnish, Yvonne Zanos, Producer Suzanne DeLaurentiis, HubTV CEO Margaret Loesch, Actress/Singer Shirley Jones and most recently, Kim Moses, Producer of The Ghost Whisperer.

The Opal Awards also serve as a fundraiser for our scholarship, PSA, and other educational programs that we provide to the community each year.

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Posted: Dec 26, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Summit - Plenary

Posted: Dec 26, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Summit 2014 Opal Awards