Reel Works 23rd Annual ChangeMaker Gala

No Rest for the Weekend
2 min readMay 17, 2024

by Jason Godbey

On Tuesday, May 14th, Reel Works held their 23rd Annual ChangeMaker Gala at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in midtown Manhattan. This year’s list of honorees included: actor/ producer Sanaa Lathan (pictured above with Reel Works Co-Founders John Williams and Stephanie Walter), Reel Works Board Member, Chris Poindexter, and Focus Features President of Distribution Lisa Bunnell.

“I am so excited to be here. I love this organization. I love the work that they do with the youth,” Said Lathan when asked how it felt to be honored by Reel Works. She went on to say, “We need to have these kids in this industry. We need all these different perspectives, and it’s my honor to be here.”

Reel Works began in 2001 when TV producers John Williams and Stephanie Walter were hired to teach teens to create a documentary film about retired Merchant Mariners out of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park YMCA. Now in its 23rd year, Reel Works has grown to serve over 1,600 youth annually from middle school through high school and beyond, developing them as artists and citizens and helping them graduate, pursue higher education, and launch careers in media. Reel Works is the only filmmaking program that matches teens 1:1 with professional filmmaker-mentors to tell their stories and have their voices heard.

It’s a powerful combination that changes lives while creating startling and original films that have been seen by millions of viewers worldwide. Through our MediaMKRS workforce development program, Reel Works partners with industry leaders, educators and government agencies to create pathways from classrooms to careers for talented early-career professionals to build a more inclusive media workforce. Outside of New York City, Reel Works has expanded to partner with various I.A.T.S.E. locals across the country to help introduce hands-on training and credentialing programs to interested participants of all ages nationwide. For more information visit their website.

We’ll be featuring our red carpet coverage of the gala on an upcoming episode of No Rest for the Weekend, so be sure to follow us.

Originally published at on May 17, 2024.



No Rest for the Weekend

No Rest for the Weekend is a video podcast and blog dedicated to being an independent voice covering the world of entertainment.