The entire NFFTY/The Talented Youth family is mourning the loss of a bright light and steadfast leader, Kathy Reichgerdt.
As the silent founder of NFFTY, Kathy emanated the spirit of doing good for others and worked tirelessly in the early days to help establish the organization as a non-profit, setting the foundation for the festival that exists today. As the original Treasurer, she handled all of the financials for the organization, but her impact was much wider than that. She was a mentor to many of the earliest NFFTY filmmakers, providing guidance and encouragement that would eventually set the stage for the NFFTY community to grow into the incredibly supportive international network that exists today. She also helped establish the NFFTY Parents network, which has grown into a large group of wonderful adults working together to share ideas about how to best support the ambitious young filmmakers in their lives.
Beyond NFFTY, she was a caring mother to NFFTY co-founder Jesse Harris. When the original blueprint vision for the festival was drawn up, she was the very first supporter and devised ways to turn the idea into reality. She worked tirelessly for over 7 years to ensure that the festival was successful each year without receiving financial compensation. She cared deeply about Jesse and never wavered in her support of the festival. She was truly a gift to us.
In a post announcing her passing, Jesse wrote:
"She was wildly intelligent, always yearning for new information and insights. She somehow was good at everything and had limitless skills and knowledge. And she used those talents for good. Her whole life she was doing work to help others. From running a non profit for local farmers in the early days of Pike Place to her decades long business helping people with disabilities and veterans start and build their own businesses, she was always helping people do great things. She helped me with so many of my ambitions and projects all my life, but nothing can compare to her helping me found and build NFFTY. Always behind the scenes, but the true co-founder of the festival from day 1 who did so much and enabled it to be what it became to help so many thousands of young filmmakers."
We thank you, Kathy, for everything you did to empower and encourage young filmmakers around the world. Your impact will live on forever through NFFTY.