In the 1990's there was a Northern California chapter of Women in Film and Media International called NCWIFT. Unfortunately, due to management issues it folded. The current incarnation of Bay Area Women in Film & Media began as Cinema Chicks in founding Board Member Liza Maine Seybold’s living room back in February 2001. In 2003 Liza gathered together a board of directors, incorporated as a nonprofit organization and became part of the larger network of Women In Film and Television International (WIFTI), changing our name to Bay Area Women In Film and Television (BAWIFT).
In May 2003 we officially became Bay Area Women in Film and Television (BAWIFT), a non-profit chapter of the Women in Film and Media International network. Women In Film & Television International (WIFTI) is a global network comprised of some 37 Women In Film chapters worldwide with over 10,000 members, dedicated to advancing professional development and achievement for women working in all areas of film, video, and other screen-based media.
The first Women In Film chapter was in Los Angeles. They technically own the trademark to the Women In Film name. You cannot technically use the WIF name unless you clear it with LA. The largest chapter is NY. (Those two are the most influential and largest in the network.) Chapters around the US and worldwide started and WIFTI was formed. No individual belongs to WIFTI directly. It is a network of all the chapters and once in a chapter, individuals get the benefit of being a part of WIFTI. Each chapter pays annual membership to WIFTI (costs $2/member per year).
In January of 2009, we were renamed Bay Area Women in Film & Media (BAWIFM) to better reflect the diversity and growth of the Bay Area as the heart of the digital media and technology industry and the growth of digital media for screen-based media distribution. As of February 2010 there are now more than 1,000 women members on BAWIFM's 'Chicks Chat' discussion list.
BAWIFM is a run by a volunteer Board of Directors who have each made a two (2) year commitment to BAWFIM and agree to attend 12 monthly Work Meetings to make it all happen.