Go, ladies!: Congratulations
to Jill Soloway and Lisa Cholodenko, who
won Emmy Awards for directing a Comedy Series and a Limited Series
respectively! Despite being grossly outnumbered in nominations, exceptional women
are still taking home top trophies.
Lesson: Nell Scovell wrote about another golden age
for women in TV – 1990 – in The New York
Times. “There have always
been women who were successful against the odds,” she said. “Now we need to
change the odds so more women can be successful.”
Reed!: Acclaimed DP and director Reed Morano, who we toasted at
NYWIFT”s Women Below the Line Party this year, will direct
Ellen Page in Lioness.
Cine Qua Non Lab – Creative Paradise for Screenwriters
Imagine two full weeks where creativity is your only priority.
Then, picture yourself in a majestic location, surrounded by writers from
around the world, where you are supported by a generous staff and brilliant
mentors to help you tell the best version of your story possible. And… you’re
eating epically delicious food.
The view from paradise, a.k.a. the Cine Qua Non Lab International Screenwriter’s Workshop
It sounds too amazing to be real, yet this only begins to
describe the Cine Qua Non Lab International Screenwriter’s Workshop. Located in Tzintzuntzan, a
small gem of a town in the Sierra Madre Mountains in Michoacán, Mexico, this
lab gives screenwriters the
opportunity to work intensively on feature-length narrative scripts in an
environment structured to foster professional collaboration and high-caliber
script development. I was lucky enough to be one of ten writers from around the
world in the 2015 Lab last month, which included artists from Mexico, Turkey,
Brazil, Columbia, Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador and the United States.
The workshop sessions
are held in English, and led by the brilliant Christina Lazaridi, a
professor at Columbia and Princeton Universities as well as an accomplished
screenwriter, whose many accolades include an Academy Award Nomination (Best
Live Action Short). Artistic Director Jesús Pimentel Melo, an internationally
celebrated filmmaker, co-founded the lab with Christina, Ladimer Haluke, Sarita
Khurana and Lucila Moctezum, who are all filmmakers that are passionately committed
to supporting fellow artists. Jesús and Ladimer set a tone of unparalleled
hospitality by opening their beautiful home to participants for delicious meals
and inspiring writing spaces, all of which overlook the beautiful Lake
Pátzcuaro. My favorite spot is aptly nicknamed the “VIP Lounge,” a shady pavilion
that is a writing space by day, where writers are periodically brought coffee,
cookies and melon water… until the daily pre-dinner cocktail hour… when wine
and appetizers are served, and occasional guest artists give talks while the
sun sets over the lake. In all cases, writers are treated like VIP’s – and
everything that happens there is in service to the creative process.
“The VIP Lounge,” Debra’s favorite writing spot at the retreat.
The workshop and living spaces are each down the road from the
house, a beautiful walk along the lake away. But
the experience begins at home, a few weeks ahead of the lab, when participants
read each other’s work. We are introduced to each other’s projects before we
meet in person. Our backgrounds are so diverse, but we share a common passion
for film, and when we come together, we are already excited about each other’s scripts.
Christina balances her own wisdom about story and structure with her unique
ability to lead the group in comprehensive discussions about each project. Her
methods help each writer reconnect with what first made him/her passionate
about the project, which is inevitably where the magic of each story lies.
participant has three opportunities to present work, meaning that script
becomes the group’s focus for a full hour. Everyone works hard to give each
other the best feedback possible. This in-depth approach to the scripts that
begins in the workshop continues in spontaneous conversations every day – at
meals, on walks to and from the workshop, and in small self-created “mini-workshops.”
We develop a shorthand to discuss our characters, stories and writing
challenges. This became a unique way to get to know each other as people and to
develop intense friendships.
In addition to
the group sessions, each participant has two one-on-one meetings with Christina
to work through questions, focus on points brought up in the workshop, and to
create an action plan to take the project to the finish line. Each writer also
has a good amount of independent writing time and numerous beautiful indoor and
outdoor workspaces to choose from for quiet, peaceful inspiration.
Like every Cine Qua Non Lab class
before us, on our last day we planted an olive tree. Jesús explains the tree represents our hard work, and that when it bears fruit,
our projects will come to fruition. He encourages us to return to visit our
tree, which marks our spot, and solidifies our lifelong connection to this
place and to each other. Artists leave
with more clarity about how to bring their scripts to their full potential and with
a reinvigorated drive to bring these projects to life.
2015 Cine Qua Non Lab participants
Cine Qua Non Lab was founded in 2010. Recent alumni success
stories include La Jaula de Oror, by writer/director Diego Quemada-Díez, which premiered in Cannes in 2013,
and won numerous awards at Cannes and around the world, including multiple Ariel
awards in Mexico in 2014, and is currently playing select theaters in the
United States; as well as writer/director
Maris Curran’s Five Nights in Maine, which will premiere at Toronto this year, and stars
Dianne Wiest and David Oyelowo.
I encourage my
fellow NYWIFT members to apply and experience this dedication to craft and
professional development. Each year, ten filmmakers from around the world are
selected to participate. Applicants must have completed feature film scripts
that are ready for the revision process, and should be developing their first
or second feature film. To learn more, please visit http://cinequanonlab.org/
- Debra Kirschner is a New York based writer/director and NYWIFT member, who
workshopped her script, Mallwalkers, at Cine Qua Non Lab in August 2015.
WEEKLY ROUNDUP: EMMY RECAP, CAREER ADVICE & MISSING: FEMALE DPs
Uzo: Uzo Aduba, one of the presenters at this year’s NYWIFT
Designing Women Awards, won
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama the Emmy Awards this weekend. She
thanked all those in her life who, she said, “let me be me.”
legend: In an interview
with Vulture, filmmaker Nancy Meyers talks working moms, the stigma of
“chick flicks,” Instagram and working with the greats.
Meryl!: Meryl Streep, who funded the Writers Lab for women over 40, spoke
to the LA Times
about her new role in Suffragette and
her ongoing support for women in film. “My
story is disappearing,” she said. “And I can’t allow it, on behalf of my
daughters and also my son.“
During my fist six months as Community Engagement Coordinator for New York Women in Film & Television, I have been struck by how warm, welcoming and nurturing our members are with one another. No one exemplifies this more than NYWIFT member Jennifer Snowdon. At NYWIFT events, it seems as though she knows everyone in the room. And in the rare event she is not friends with someone yet – well, she soon will be. “I’m a major networker,” Snowdon said.
A member of NYWIFT since 2008, Snowdon has taken full advantage of NYWIFT programming, volunteer opportunities and networking events in order to advance her career as a makeup artist. She has been hired frequently to do work on films by NYWIFT members – and then gone on to do even more work through their recommendations.
She joined the organization after she worked with Maria Pusateri and Jendra Jarnagin – both NYWIFT members – on the feature film Split Ends. “Maria invited me to join NYWIFT and both she and Jendra have recommended me for several films,” Snowdon said. “I’ve worked with Jendra on four films and one off-Broadway show, with film as the stage set.”
Around the time of the 2008 financial crash, NYWIFT held open networking sessions with New York Women in Communications, Inc. (NYWICI). Snowdon attended and said the sessions were packed. “We practically filled the place because so many people had lost their jobs. I was going to look for work and also to just support people,” she said. There, she met Barbara Masry, who subsequently hired her for several gigs.
Snowdon has been “in the business” since 1994. “I was the artist who couldn’t figure out my medium. I was a stay-at-home mom and got a divorce,” she said. A mentor called her and asked her to do the makeup for an event – her first professional experience. “It was on the high def camera being built for Sony in 1994. I saw my makeup on one of the first HD monitors. It’s why I call myself an ‘HD makeup artist!’”
Snowdon attended one of the first Career Support Workshops offered by NYWIFT member and career coach Joanne Zippel. “It was awesome,” she said. “You’re defining your own direction, you’re defining your passion, looking at what gets in the way. She has all these exercises to guide you in getting really clear on your direction. It’s so freeing.”
She met NYWIFT Board of Directors member Simone Pero in the workshop, and through Pero she got to be the lead makeup artist at a Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment (GATE) event in Los Angeles. “[GATE] brings together people who want to do movies with a message,” Snowdon said. She arranged the crew and did the makeup for many of the presenters.
Through other NYWIFT connections, Snowdon was offered a job as makeup artist on the PBS American Masters episode The Ground on Which I Stand about playwright August Wilson. “My first person to do was James Earl Jones. I did 44 interviews over two years. 27 of them are in the film,” she said. She found this job particularly inspiring. “We got to listen to all the interviews about this man who was a self-taught poet and playwright. I didn’t get a higher education because I had a reading disability. Reading is not easy [for me] but visualizing is awesome. It was so encouraging to me that I spent August in Canada working on my first screenplay.”
Snowdon was thrilled to attend this year’s Designing Women Awards, where she was able to reconnect with two former colleagues – Orange is the New Black star Alysia Reiner (“She worked on one of the first films I did 15 years ago and we wrote an article together on healthy makeup”) and Designing Women honoree costume designer Ann Roth. “I met Ann while I was working last summer on [the film] Lounge Act,” which stars Nathan Lane, Gabriel Byrne and Frances Conroy and is seeking distribution. “It’s not been shown anywhere and I’m dying to see it!”
Snowdon also praises social media for helping her make connections. Strangers have reached out to her through LinkedIn, where she maintains a detailed profile complete with glowing recommendations, to offer her work. She feels that keeping her reel on her LinkedIn profile is a great way to promote her skills.
“[NYWIFT member] Amy Leland did my reel and she loved my makeup so much that she asked me to do her short film,” Snowdon said. The short they did together, Echoes, will screen at the NYWIFT Member Screening at Anthology Film Archives on September 29.
“Amy and I met at the NYWIFT Below-the-Line party a couple of years ago – we call it our anniversary now!” she said. The Below-the-Line party is an annual event that celebrates women working in the oft-unsung below-the-line crafts.
Like many other NYWIFT members, Snowdon is committed to nurturing the next generation of artists. “I have apprentice makeup artists. People who are just starting out,” she said. “I’m encouraging them to become [NYWIFT] Next Wave members. I really mentor them when I’m working with them – trying to save them the time, money and agony that I spent learning things the hard way.” She also enjoys teaching, and has offered special classes to NYWIFT members on topics such as makeup for your career and high-def makeup for actors auditioning on tape.
What is next for Jennifer Snowdon? She hopes to establish a writing habitat in Sooke, Vancouver in the next few years and continue to work bi-coastal from there. “Call me and I will come!” she said laughing. She is developing Vancouver and California contacts in the meantime.
Taking Joanne Zippel’s Career Workshop again helped her focus on a new direction. “I have two films [I want] to write now. I’ve picked out a place on Victoria Island facing the Pacific Ocean – it’s my writing habitat,” she said. “Joanne’s second workshop helped me shape this new direction as I have two very spiritual films based on my experience.”
In the meantime, you can still catch her at the next NYWIFT Night Out, connecting with old colleagues — and meeting new ones.
Register for NYWIFT programs, including the monthly NYWIFT Night Out, on our website.
- Katie Chambers
IT’S HAMMER’S TIME, SOME TRUTHS & THAT SCARE.
On the seventh floor of one of the busiest office buildings in New York City, the employees of the Writers’ Guild of America, East are usually wrapping up their day at 6 PM, sending last minute emails and shutting down their computers for the night. However, on the evening of June 18th, approximately one-hundred eager attendees, from college students to seasoned professionals, streamed into WGAE’s open and welcoming space to hear some of America’s finest female screenwriters speak about women writers redefining the small screen landscape.
The event was sponsored by the Writers’ Guild of America, East; the Lower East Side Film Festival; and New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT). The WGAE and LESFF have been hosting this event for the last few years, but NYWIFT came aboard for this year’s event and brought in its own diverse membership. NYWIFT member Janete Scobie helped produce the event.
After Scobie had attended similar panels mostly involving male writers, she knew that creating a panel of strong and diverse women was important. The panelists represented a broad range of writing styles, small screen landscapes, and backgrounds. Among the panelists were Laura Eason (House of Cards), Alison McDonald (Roots, Alpha House, Nurse Jackie), Natalia Leite and Alexandra Roxo (Be Here Nowish), and moderator Lauren Duca (creator of Middlebrow and an entertainment reporter for The Huffington Post).
(Panelists Laura Eason, Alexandra Roxo, Natalia Leite and Alison McDonald)
“Right now, it’s a golden time in television,” said Scobie, herself a writer of novels and dramatic TV scripts. With the recent explosion of quality programming and plethora of excellent shows with strong female leads, it was vital to create an opportunity for other women (and men) to see that the seed had been sown for women in screenwriting. Scobie explained that Netflix and other new media channels give fresh outlets to diverse voices. “This expansion has created more opportunities, incredible growth of quality programming, and powerful stories that were not part of the television landscape before,” she said. “There are more opportunities for women to create their own content and get it produced. Shows with strong female leads and diverse casts are wildly successful and can make money.”
The evening was filled with interesting and varied answers to the questions posed by the audience and by moderator Lauren Duca. However, one common theme amongst the panelists’ responses was the importance of creating one’s own opportunity. There’s no one way to writing success; the panelists all came from different backgrounds. McDonald and Roxo attended film school and acted with various organizations, while Eason’s position on House of Cards was her first experience writing for television in her entire career – she began as a playwright.
With a predominantly female audience, the inevitable question of “Where are we now?” persisted throughout the evening. As illustrated by the panelists, although women and people of color have more opportunities than ever before, getting into the industry and finding success is not always easy. “I can’t say how many times my scripts were rejected because they were the voice of a black woman or [because] they involved a more diverse cast of characters,” McDonald said. “Agents said [this script] wouldn’t be successful so I just tucked it away in a drawer for eight years until I finally sold it to ABC.”
Those looking to break into “the business” often struggle with networking and gaining an advantage by having a mentor in the field; not everyone has connections when just starting out. Roxo suggested an interesting paradox among women: they know they need to open up to other women in order to get one a job, but they can also feel intensely competitive with one another. Women can be a risk to each other, Roxo said, as writing teams will often already have their “token woman, or token person or color, whichever fills their diversity requirement.” McDonald agreed, stating, “We need to cultivate a network. NYWIFT is a great example of women supporting other women.”
After finally getting a foot in the proverbial door, one of the greatest challenges that each panelist had experienced at one point (or at many points) in her career was being a woman in a male-dominated industry. Writing and development in film and television is still dominated by white men. When discussing the pitfalls of the profession, McDonald said, “Women are a risk to producers. I’ve often experienced a crew who were not women-friendly. We’re fighting a perception of weakness, and there’s an atmosphere of anarchy.”
Roxo agreed, explaining the difficulty of being a female leader. “It’s tough for some men to get past the idea of a woman being in charge. I’ve been on a few sets where I was directing or producing and I had men under me who would make rude, sexual remarks while I was speaking or just would ignore me,” Roxo said. “You have to be firm to show you mean business and to be taken seriously, but then you’re fighting the trope of being the ‘bitch’ men make us out to be when we’re in charge since we’re not passive.”
While Eason did not experience such overt sexism, she still felt pressure when first stepping into the House of Cards writers’ room. “I remember feeling a bit out of place at first. It’s overwhelming when you’re one of the only women sitting in a room full of experienced male writers, especially when you have never written for television before,” Eason said, “but I reminded myself to stay confident because the person that hired me had read my plays and enjoyed them and thought I was good enough to write, so why shouldn’t I believe the same?”
It’s this kind of self-confidence that women must have in order to be successful; the belief that they too can compete with the best no matter gender or race is vital to survival in a fiercely competitive industry. As these diverse women explained throughout the evening, each person’s story is worth telling. “We’ll definitely see more shows that reflect this diversity and the reality that different groups/communities experience,” said Scobie. “I’m excited about this time in television and hope my stories will be produced, too!”
NYWIFT produces more than 50 programs such as this one throughout the year. Check out the NYWIFT website for a listing of current panels, workshops and networking events.
- Gabi Bisconti
WEEKLY ROUNDUP: MORE JOY, NAIVE MEN & ANIMATED WOMEN
of the top five highest grossing indie films of 2015 feature women leads.
Even better? Three of them are over the age of 50.
NYWIFT Muse Honoree Robin
Wright says “we need a female Che Guevara” to fight Hollywood
sexism. “We need a revolution.”
Read: The Moveable Fest printed Transparent
Soloway’s full speech from at Cinefamily, in which she discusses
the male gaze, the shaming of female desire and the need for women’s voices in
forward to the timely film Freeheld,
starring Julianne Moore as a terminally ill woman fighting to have her pension
benefits transferred to her domestic partner (Ellen Page). It’s based on the
documentary by Cynthia Wade, which was funded in part by the 2007 NYWIFT
Adrienne Shelly Foundation Grant. The first
trailer was released this week.
Maslany finally earned her first Emmy
nomination this year for playing not one but six leading roles on Orphan Black, one of my favorite shows.
for thought: Teo Bugbee points out in this
piece for The Daily Beast that, with the exception of Amy Schumer
in Trainwreck, most strong women
making waves at the recent box office appear in science fiction.
to arms: Homeland
director Lesli Linka Glatter says that Hollywood
must proactively address the “disconnect” that occurs at the
hiring level when it comes to giving jobs to women. She is one of only two women
nominated for an Emmy for directing a narrative series this year.
U.S. women’s soccer team received $2 million dollars after winning the World
Cup for a third time. The men’s team earned $8 million for losing in the first
this petition and tell FIFA to pay women fairly.
Disney CEO Michael
Eisner says that a woman who is beautiful and funny is “impossible
to find.” He’s just not looking hard enough.
Wonderful: Saw I’ll See You in My Dreams this weekend. An amazing
performance by Blythe Danner in a well-made and well-written film.
NYWIFT PANEL DISCUSSION: YOUR FIRST CO-STAR AUDITION
New York Women in Film & Television presented Your First Co-Star Audition, an all-star
panel of casting professionals on May 18, 2015 at Madiba Harlem. A “co-star” is
generally a one-to-two-line credited television role which can provide
excellent exposure for an actor and often represents the next big step in her career.
The room teemed with excitement as the panelists filed in. Five
casting directors and one talent agent participated in the event, each one
sharing his or her own perspective on the audition process. Those who sat on
the panel included casting directors John Andrews (The Good Wife, Person of
Interest), Rosalie Joseph (The
Mysteries of Laura, Body of Proof),
Kim Miscia (Gossip Girl, Gotham, Mad
Men), Kimberly Skyrme (House of
Cards, Unsolved Mysteries), Meredith Tucker (Veep, Boardwalk Empire, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and talent agent
Shirley Faison. From props to kissing scenes, the speakers covered a wide range
of “dos and don’ts” every actor should know when fine-tuning her strategy and
honing into her inner waitress, bartender or flight attendant.
The definition of co-star varies from project to project,
depending more on budgeting concerns than the size of the role. Many co-star
roles are in fact multidimensional characters representing a wide breadth of
challenges, allowing actors to demonstrate and explore their own range. As
panelist John Andrews suggested, casting talent is often akin to finding “a
needle in a haystack,” and as a result, a wide range of individuals may be seen
for a given role. In this instance, courtesy goes a long way when standing out
from the crowd. Arriving early, printing out your sides in advance, and waiting
to put on your coat and other belongings once you leave the audition space can
go a long way in any casting director’s book.
Much as it is essential to prepare for an interview through
research, learning about the project beforehand is crucial to scoring a great audition.
Learning the correct pronunciation of major characters’ names and understanding
the mood of a program not only signals an actor’s commitment to the role, but
may also guide her choices when delivering lines in the audition space. Many of
the panelists stressed the importance of watching the program before coming
into the audition, as it is nearly impossible comprehend the essence of a show
without first experiencing it as an audience member. Additionally, dressing to
acknowledge the time period or role may help further convince a casting
director that the actor is good fit for a particular project. This is not to
suggest, however, that an actor should arrive wearing a hoop skirt and
pantaloons. Instead, choosing smart pieces that could work for multiple
different roles, like a simple blazer for a lawyer or a business woman, is
enough to suggest a commitment to the part without taking out a second
mortgage. Panelist Rosalie Joseph suggested that certain simple props, such as
a water bottle or cell phone, can also aid an actor in painting a more colorful
picture during an audition, so long as it does not ultimately detract from the
Once an actor has chosen her wardrobe, and perhaps a
tasteful prop, what then? Portraying a character can often be challenging, especially
when the character is limited to one or two lines. “Every actor at every level
can succumb to nerves,” offered panelist Kim Miscia. To aid in this, a casting
director or assistant may suggest an activity or give insight as to what a
character was doing moments before, to ease an actor into a more natural
performance and state of mind. Many of the panelists also suggested memorizing
the sides when possible. As long as the actor does not completely depart from
the script, improvising a few lines to lead into the scene may also be
acceptable. Of course, it is important for the actor to make a strong choice as
to how to represent a character, but remain flexible to suggestions when they
are given. “Don’t be married to your choice, [be ready to] make adjustments” panelist
Meredith Tucker said. If a callback is granted, don’t use it to deviate from
the original performance: a callback is usual given because a casting director saw
potential during the original read.
Finally, conduct outside of the audition room can make or
break an actor’s reputation within the casting community. Submitting yourself
to projects or roles is frowned upon, but sending an occasional postcard with
your headshot is a good way to keep in communication with casting directors
without overwhelming their office.
While walking into an audition room may be intimidating, it
is important to understand that for a casting director, casting is what Miscia
called a “personal business,” one which depends on mutual respect, appreciation
and collaboration. Hard work pays off in the end, even if you don’t always book
the part. As panelist Kimberly Skyrme suggested, “You may not be right [for the
role] today, but you will be remembered for the next time.”
Terry’s Picks: Doc on Industry Bias, Jessica Williams Talks Money, Meryl Streep Writes to Congress
26-minute documentary from Bloomberg Business sheds a harsh light on the institutional bias
against women in the film industry.
point: The Daily Show’s Jessica
Williams reminds us that while it might be nice to see a woman’s face
on a $10 bill, real change is measured by how much money women earn.
Meryl: Meryl Streep, who funded our Writers Lab
for women over 40, sent
a letter to every House rep and senator asking
them to make gender parity a part of the US Constitution by putting the Equal Rights Amendment
(ERA) back on Congress’s agenda.
stop listening to Lauryn Hill’s cover of “Feeling
Good,” one of many great Nina Simone covers that will be released
along with the documentary What Happened,
Miss Simone?, which hits Netflix on Friday.
done: Another great film with a female lead breaks records! Inside Out, a coming-of-age tale that follows five
anthropomorphic emotions inside the mind of a young girl, had the highest-grossing
for a Pixar movie this weekend.
Financing Day Follow Up: We had a great discussion about the different
distribution windows that now exist for independent filmmakers at our Film
Financing Day event on Saturday. Brian Newman of the Tranparency Project let us
know about this great distribution glossary they have developed.
It’s always a challenge to
see all the films you want to see at a film festival, but it’s also difficult
figuring out which films you should
watch- many are making their world premieres and have yet to be reviewed. I attended
Press & Industry (P&I) screenings with my TFF Industry badge. I also watched
some films online after their premieres as well as on my mobile devices during
my commute. (Though very few of the features were available online, most of the
shorts were.) One drawback to not seeing a public screening, however, is the
loss of community from a shared audience experience. P&I screenings also
didn’t include the usual Q&A with the director and cast.
Even with the various outlets
to watch them, I still didn’t see all the films I wanted to see. But here are
some of my favorites:
I watchedIn My Father’s Houseat
a P&I screening and I was instantly taken by the journey of rapper/artist
Che “Rhymefest” Smith as he tries to reconnect with his estranged father.
Sadly, he discovers that his father is homeless and an alcoholic. The story is moving and heartwarming, as
Smith faces challenges helping his father while struggling with his own
fatherhood. Directors Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg did an excellent job of storytelling,
using Che’s powerful songs and Paul Brill’s exhilarating score as an integral part
of the film.
I saw The Wolfpackat a sellout
public screening. After a chance meeting in the Lower East Side, director/cinematographer
Crystal Moselle filmed the Angulo family’s six boys over four years. The
documentary filmmaker in me was intrigued by their story, which had all the
elements of a successful character-driven doc. Locked away from New York City by
their overprotective father and homeschooled by their mother, they were rarely ever
allowed outside. They entertained
themselves by watching movies, including Batman:
The Dark Knight and Reservoir Dogs,
and acting them out with elaborate homemade costumes and props. After the oldest
boy turned 15 and started to rebel, they finally went out to explore the “real
world” beyond their apartment. Moselle revealed she had shot over 500 hours of
footage, which she and her editor, Enat Sidi, had whittled down to the
82-minute final cut.
Director Camilla Nielsson’sDemocrats,
the TFF Award-winner for Best Documentary, is thecompelling story of two politicians from rival parties in Zimbabwe
who help create provisions for the country’s new democratic constitution. As you’re
taken on this captivating journey, you’re often left wondering if one of them
is going to be “taken out” at any time because of perceived disloyalty to the
existing corrupt authoritarian leadership. Nielsson and
producer/cinematographer Henrik Bohn Ipsen filmed for over three years with
unprecedented access to these key players.
Baseball fans will enjoy
director Jonathan Hock’s documentary Fastball. The film weaves the history
and technical details of a “fastball” with interviews with some of the great
fastball pitchers and hitters. I learned a lot and now appreciate the enormous
amount of skill it takes for a batter to hit a fastball. I had never been much
of a baseball or sports fan; however, since the major leagues are scouting my
nephew, I wanted to learn more about the game!
I had the most surreal
experience watching Albert Maysles’ wonderful documentary,In Transit. The random,
engaging conversations captured from passengers on the Empire Builder,
America’s busiest cross-country train route, ranged from inspirational to
poignantly sad and sucked you in. There are touching scenes of an elderly man who
knew Martin Luther King Jr. speaking with a young man about being a good father.
You can feel the young man’s pain as he talks about his abusive childhood. Later,
a female passenger confesses her marriage is in transition. She’d always been a
wife, a mother, or “somebody’s something,” but on the train, she says, “I was
just me…I came cross-country to find myself… and I wish I could get back on the
train.” The film, Maysles’ final project before his passing, won a TFF Special
Jury Award. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Maysles a few years ago at a TFF
party. It’s hard to believe we no longer have the privilege of seeing more of
his amazing, unparalleled work.
Meadowland is a heartbreaking story, with outstanding
performances from lead actors Olivia Wilde and Luke Wilson as the parents of an
abducted child. I could not hold back my tears in one gut-wrenching scene where
Wilde’s character learns the fate of her son. A very talented supporting cast,
including Giovanni Ribisi, Elisabeth Moss, and John Leguizamo, were also
fabulous. Director/cinematographer Reed Morano’s dual talents shine in making
this story come to life. It is one of those films that will stay with you for a
Lily Tomlin gives one of her
best performances yet inGrandma and Julia Garner is
excellent as her granddaughter who unexpectedly shows up on her doorstep in
need of some cash. An urban road trip unfolds
as they visit old friends and old flames to come up with the money. Supporting
actors Marcia Gay Harden and Sam Elliott further enrich this moving family
drama, directed by Paul Weitz.
Anesthesiais an enticing New York storyfromactor/director/writer
Tim Blake Nelson, a fellow New Yorker himself, who gives a strong performance
playing one of his own characters. The talented cast, which includes Sam
Waterston, Glenn Close, Gretchen Mol, K. Todd Freeman, Michael Kenneth
Williams, Kristen Stewart and Jessica Hecht, are all on top of their craft here.
The story follows the chain of events leading up to the mugging of a popular
Columbia University philosophy professor (Waterston), revealing how the
characters’ lives intersect.
This year was one of TFF’s
best for shorts, in my opinion, and I watched them in all ways available- theater, iPhone, iPad, and on my home
computer. These are my favorites:
TFF offers more than
just movies! Some other events I had the pleasure of attending included:
NYWIFT Tribeca Tea Talk – NYWIFT President Alexis Alexanian,
President of Production at Locomotive, spoke with Jackie Lee, Senior VP,
Features Business Development at post-production services firm Company 3,
and Brunella Lisi, Director of New York Marketing at payroll
company Entertainment Partners about the challenges of independent film
production. One of the main takeaways from their conversation was to always
bring people onto your project who have more experience than you do.
Tribeca Film Institute’s Sloan Works In Progress Scene
Readings – The actor in me is always interested
in readings of projects “in the raw,” and I very much enjoyed the scene
readings from these grantees’ screenplays. Skillfully directed by Abigail Zealy
Bess, the talented actors included Ellen Burstyn and Remy Auberjonois. The four
titles read were The Catcher Was a Spy,
Deep Sea Divers, House of Tomorrow, and The
Man Who Knew Infinity; Picking Cotton,
still in development, had an oral and visual presentation. I’m looking forward
to seeing all these films come to fruition.
The event was part of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation/TFI partnership to
develop and produce new feature films with science and technology themes and
characters. The Imitation Game, winner
of the 2015 Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, is a project that came
out of this program.
Lost, an Oculus
Story Studio Experience - Wow! This was an awesome immersive virtual
reality experience. You’re led into a small room, where a special viewer and
headphones are placed on your head. A six-minute animated movie starts and you
are magically transported into a forest where a small robotic creature is
trying to find its way. A giant robot appears and searches for the smaller one;
you can feel the ground shake as it walks. The giant robot looks down at you
and suddenly, it’s right in your face! This was a very cool way to end my time
WEEKLY ROUNDUP: DRAMA’S QUEENS, LIFETIME’S NEW THEME.
Bravo! The Broadway production Fun Home made feminist history this week when Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron became the first all-female writing team to win Best Original Score.
Oh, please: 37-year old Maggie Gyllenhaal was turned down for a movie because she’s “too old” to play the love interest of a 55-year-old man. “It made me feel bad, and then it made me feel angry, and then it made me laugh,” she said. At least she can laugh…
Loved the final episode of Mad Men. Happy that Joan, the real feminist in the group, is starting her own production company. There are women in New York that started production companies at about the same time. NYWIFT members. Sorry that Peggy didn’t join in. But loved the cut from Don Draper’s hippy-dippy meditation scene to the “I would like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony…” coke commercial. Someone had to think of that…why not Don Draper
Storm the gates! That’s Transparent creator Jill Soloway’s advice for women filmmakers from her keynote speech at the AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women. She said change will come “when we’re all wilder louder, riskier, sillier, unexpectedly overflowing with surprise.”
New York Women in Film & Television includes many powerful, dynamic and diverse entertainment industry leaders among its membership. As we celebrate our Spring Membership Drive – with 50% off our initiation fee now through May 15 – we’re spotlighting several members this month.
Second in our series spotlighting NYWIFT Board Members is an interview with Eileen Newman. Eileen is currently the Executive Director of the Center for Bronx
Non-Profits and previous to that served as Managing Director of the Tribeca Film
Institute, Executive Director of the National Board of Review and Senior
Director of Programming at the Independent Feature Project. She also earlier in her career served as the Executive Director of Film/Video Arts. Active in the New
York film community, she serves on the Boards of the New York Production Alliance,
Manhattan Neighborhood Network (Board Chair) as well as on the Advisory Board of NYWIFT.
She often speaks on panels about independent media and has been a juror and
panel member for the Miami International Film Festival, the Jerome Foundation
and the Department of Cultural Affairs.
When did you join NYWIFT? What was
happening in the industry at that time and where were you in your career?
can’t remember when I joined, it was so long ago! I was working in a junior
high school as a librarian and running a visual literacy program using
independent films with students. It was a program funded by NYSCA in
partnership with a wonderful place called the Media Center for Children. I was
on the board of that organization and another board member said that I “had to
join New York Women in Film” (it didn’t include television then), so I did. The
industry was not going through the huge changes that came later and led us to
where we are now. I was also teaching film at Adelphi University, and had to
carry the 16mm projector from the film office to my classroom.
Can you share the top three things you get out of your membership?
always been the community, the community, the community for me. Even when I
first joined and I wasn’t as entrenched in the film community as I became
later, I loved being able to work on programs with other women who loved film
and were committed to finding ways for women to have a voice. It is still the
relationships with terrific women that make me value my membership.
What excites you about the network
of women you’ve met?
I think it
is the diversity of the kind of work they do, everything from making their own
films, to working for Planned Parenthood to include their message in various
media, to the below-the-line women, to television executives – many of these
women I would never have met without NYWIFT.
How has NYWIFT helped your career
and professional development?
directly responsible for my going from part-time work in the sector to running
Film/Video Arts. Beth Dembitizer was the president and I was on the board, she
was on the Board of Film/Video Arts and asked if I would meet with people from
F/VA to give them suggestions on grant-writing. I spent some time doing that,
then was asked to join the board, then became president of the board and
eventually became the Executive Director. In true New York six degrees of
separation fashion, I worked closely with Duana Butler who is now working at
NYWIFT as the Program Coordinator. From F/VA I worked at IFP and eventually at
Tribeca Film Institute.
Have you worked on committees?
Yes, at a
certain point early in my membership I realized that I wasn’t meeting as many
people as I wanted to, so I joined the Program Committee so that I could work
on programs and meet new people. I loved it and it totally changed my relationship
with the organization, leading to my being asked to run for the board. I have
also over the years been on the Membership Committee.
How has NYWIFT been involved at
different stages of my career changes?
When I was
working directly for film organizations, my membership had a constant connection
to my work. Now I am running the Center for Nonprofits at Hostos Community
College in the Bronx. I work with nonprofits across all sectors from social
service organizations to arts organizations. I have been able to bring some of
my contacts and expertise to bring films and filmmakers to the college. It’s a
fun part of being here.
Can you share an important NYWIFT
moment with us?
always been a huge fan of the Film Forum and when I was on the board years ago,
I lobbied with another board member to have Karen Cooper, the ED, receive a
Muse Award. When she received her award, I was sitting next to her on the dais
and she told me how happy she was that there was a fan on the board.
Where do you see the opportunity
for women in the industry today?
is not an easy road, but I think women who are using a variety of ways to raise
money to get their work done (Kickstarter, etc.) have a better chance of having
their voices heard. And yay for organizations like Tangerine Entertainment and the long
standing Women Make Movies for helping women make their work and have the work
seen. In some ways, what works is “doing it for ourselves.”
What are your thoughts on all the
recent buzz around the dearth of women in front of and behind the camera? How
would you shake things up?
This is a
regrettably tough time for women in the media. I am happy that at least there
seems to be some attention being brought to the fact that the numbers are awful
in terms of women working in the business. I am glad that organizations like
Tangerine Entertainment and other organizations dedicated to work by women exist and I hope
that NYWIFT becomes an even louder, more aggressive voice advocating for
Want to join New York Women in Film & Television as we fight for equality in the entertainment industry? Meet and network with amazing members like Eileen? Visit nywift.org/join now through May 15 and take advantage of our special Spring Membership Drive discount.
WEEKLY ROUNDUP:MOTHER’S DAY MOVIES, LIFETIME OPPORTUNITIES & IT’S NOT “SWOOZY”
A Must Watch: Tina Fey, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer tell it like it is about women of a certain age in Hollywood in this very NSFW sketch.
Enjoyed: how the tables are turned during press for The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Cosmopolitan asks Mark Ruffalo all the sexist questions the press usually saves for Scarlett Johansson, while letting Scarlett talk about her stunt work. #AskHerMore
York Women in Film & Television includes many powerful, dynamic and diverse
entertainment industry leaders among its membership. As we celebrate our Spring Membership Drive –
with 50% off our initiation fee now through May 15 – we’re spotlighting several members this month.
First up: Annetta Marion. An award-winning
director, Primetime Emmy-nominated producer and current NYWIFT board member, Annetta
Marion’s experience in television and film includes documentary and reality
television, as well as narrative film, commercials, music videos, and internet
content. Marion is currently directing the acclaimed TV series Oprah’s Master Class, profiling entertainment icons
including Tim McGraw, Vanessa Williams, Cicely Tyson, Berry Gordy, and Lenny
Kravitz. She was the showrunner on season three of the series when it was
nominated for a Primetime Emmy, a first for the network. Annetta’s
producing experience includes ESPN’s 30-for-30
feature documentary You Don’t Know Bo,
which earned the highest-ever rating in the network’s history. She’s a
graduate of AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women and a member of both the Director’s
Guild of America and the Producer’s Guild of America.
When did you join NYWIFT? Where were you in your career?
joined NYWIFT in 2006. I had just gotten home after a year in LA at AFI’s Directing
Workshop for Women. I was working as a line producer mostly at that point, but
working hard to transition to working as a director.
Do you feel joining NYWIFT has helped your career? What are the top things you get from being a NYWIFT member?
biggest thing for sure is getting to know the other members. Now that I’m more involved with NYWIFT as a Board member, I think it will help my career and professional development more and more. The best thing you
can do is work on a committee to really get to know other members. I’m currently on the membership committee and I really like what we’re doing. I like the panels
and screenings too.
Where do you see the opportunity for women in the industry today?
Our industry, as well as many others, has a long way to go. Parity is when the average woman can get as far as the average man with the same amount of effort, and we’re totally far from that.
What are your thoughts on all the recent buzz around the dearth of women in front of and behind the camera? How would you shake things up?
I’m glad there’s all this buzz, but I really want something tangible to come from it, not just more lip service. I’d take a play from the NFL’s playbook (haha sports metaphor!) and require the showrunners, networks, etc. to interview women candidates for director spots.
What excites you about the network of women you’ve met?
are so amazing and so accomplished. I’m learning so much.
Can you describe an important NYWIFT moment for you?
around the table at my first Board retreat and thinking “Wow, I’m so stoked to
be a part of this group!”
- EILEEN NEWMAN
Want to join New York Women in Film & Television as we fight for equality in the entertainment industry? Meet and network with amazing members like Annetta? Visit nywift.org/join now through May 15 and take advantage of our special Spring Membership Drive discount.
Client: Lifescript.com Writing, editing, content development
Copywriting (flip to spread 2)
content management & outreach
content management & outreach
Client: New York Women in Film & Television
Communications and social media strategy, content development, and writing
Client: Split Rock Films Outreach, audience engagement, and fundraising for documentary
Client: NYWIFT (Seven Women, Seven Sins)
Outreach, audience engagement, and fundraising to preserve 1986 film
Client: New Jersey Life magazines
bio & resume writing
bio & resume writing
I work with creative types, entrepreneurs, and execs to craft their professional bios (website/social media bios, filmmaker statements, artist profiles, executive summaries) and resumes. If you'd like to create a profile that tells your story, I’d love to hear from you.
Writing and Editing | Greater New York City Area, US
Editor with experience managing editorial workflow and training/mentoring staff. Skilled in AMA style, Acrobat Pro, HTML, InDesign, ProofHQ, and Veeva Vault. Therapeutic categories include cardiovascular, diabetes, gastroenterology, immune/infectious diseases, men’s health, mental health, neurology, nutrition, oncology, ophthalmology, pain management, pulmonary, and women’s health.
2015 - Present
Senior Editor / Concentric Health Experience
Lead editor for brand. Help supervise editorial workflow and provide training/mentoring. Collaborate with team on content, referencing, scheduling, and process. Copyedit and fact-check promotional materials from manuscript through print or digital production. Create and maintain style guides and reference lists.
2004 - Present
Senior Editor & Writer / Freelance
Copyedit marketing and patient education materials for health care and consumer advertising agencies (CDMiConnect, H4B Chelsea, PaceInc., Group DCA, The Mixx). Write marketing and editorial content for websites (Lifescript.com), among others:
— Instructor, University of California San Diego Extension, 2011–2013 (part-time) Led online copyediting courses. Created lesson plans and conducted class discussions.
— Copy Editor, New Jersey Life Health+Beauty Magazine, Lambertville, NJ, 2008–2011 (part-time) Sole copy editor for 40,000-circulation consumer magazine. Created style guide and fact-checked articles. Also a copy editor for New Jersey Life and NJL Weddings.
— Assistant Editor, Visions Magazine, Red Bank, NJ, 2007–2009 (part-time) Managed production, coordinated freelance writers, edited and proofread articles, and wrote marketing copy to publish Product Development & Management Association’s trade magazine. Reported to the Editor in Chief.
Senior Medical Copy Editor (staff, 6/2013–12/2013; freelance, 12/2013–11/2014) / The CDM Group
While on staff, I was the lead editor on multiple brands, and I worked with the team on content, referencing, and scheduling, and created and maintained style guides. Copyedited and fact-checked promotional and educational materials for health care professionals and patients from manuscript through print or digital production.
Communications Coordinator / New York Women in Film & Television
Managed internal and external communications for 2,000-member media industry association. Helped direct interns and freelancers. Led social media program and organization's marketing presence at events. Wrote, edited, and produced newsletters, articles, and emails, among other marketing materials. Reported to the Executive Director.
Interim Editor / Lifescript
Wrote, top edited, and researched articles for women’s lifestyle site. Wrote headlines, teasers, and ledes. Developed content, including helping to build content channels.
Medical Copy Editor / The CDM Group
Copyedited and fact-checked print ads and web content for health care advertising agency.
Medical Proofreader / Baxter International Inc.
University of California, Los Angeles
Professional Program in Screenwriting