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Designing Change, the theme of this year’s Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards, could not be more appropriate given the spotlight on gender parity and the federal government’s probe into whether there is a pattern of bias against
hiring female directors in Hollywood.
Yet for nearly four years, WIF, which holds its Crystal + Lucy Awards on Wednesday evening, has been conducting an awareness campaign and raising funds for research on the falling-out points for women, leading to the Systemic Change Project that is already showing results.
The project grew out of extensive research and an inaugural summit for 50 professionals held last November in which executives, agents and creatives brought their ideas for solutions to the table, augmented by best practices from medicine, finance, technology and politics.
“The idea was to work together to create change,” says WIF president Cathy Schulman. “The key thing that resulted was to create a peer-to-peer fix-it system. The process has been slow because there hasn’t been peer pressure. The idea is that decision-makers will listen to progressive ideas for change from people they normally listen to, such as studio heads working with agents and producers.”
Director Catherine Hardwicke’s recent experience is a prime example. Within days of the summit, she got a call from a participant that led to a directing job on a DreamWorks television project — and then another gig, executive producing and helming the first two episodes of USA Network’s crime thriller “Eyewitness.”
Programs to Help Female Filmmakers Wif’s programs include monthly screening and speaker series, a finishing fund, scholarship and mentorship programs, and a PSA production program. Goal Wif partners with the Sundance Institute for the Systemic Change Project with actionable goals to achieve gender parity. Wif documents the accomplishments of women in the industry by filming them for its Legacy Series, housed at the UCLA Film & Television Archive. $1.5k Women in Film was founded in 1973 as a nonprofit dedicated to equal opportunities for women. It has 1,500 members. $75k Wif awards eight to 15 grants annually, totaling $50,000-$75,000 and eight scholarships for amounts from $2,000 to $25,000. +7k Wif’s social media campaign #52FilmsByWomen has more than 7,000 people committed to watching a female-made film every week and posting about it. 200 The Finishing Fund awards millions in cash and in-kind services to over 200 films internationally. 100 Up to 80-100 members are mentored yearly by pros.
“I’m sure that all this noise and excitement made it easier for me to get approved,” she says. “People want to be on the right side of history and do something positive instead of getting shamed in the media, like the article revealing there were no women directors on several studios’ upcoming release schedules. All this attention is great and it’s making
people think twice — and some people are already taking action.”
On the set of HBO’s “Vinyl,” director S.J. Clarkson worked with a crew of about 50% women — for the first time in her directing career. “There’s a risk aversion in this business and women get caught in that. It’s been a systemic problem, partially because of a lack of role models, which is discouraging,” she says. “But women should not accept limitations.”
Helmer Lesli Linka Glatter agrees, saying, “You have to be incredibly tenacious and everyone needs a hand. Everyone needs the door to be opened a little bit and any person who is working, male or female, has had someone grab the hand and help. And that’s what the women that are working have to do.
“And the men! I’ve been incredibly mentored by men as well, you have to do that. I’ve had so many mentors along the way but one of the first people who really sat down with me was (director) George Miller. I met him in Tokyo when I was living there and he was one of the first people who really gave me a helping hand. I got to thank him this year, which was amazing.”
Change is slow, but is coming, she says. “I think we’re at a tipping point now.”
Television writer Marjorie David has also seen change since the days when it was considered progressive to have one woman scribe in a room. “People do respond to consciousness-raising and external pressure,” says David, a Wgaw board member who is on NBC’s upcoming “Taken.” “Most people now are very aware that a diverse staff is a better staff, making the atmosphere better and more creative. What we need to do is open the door even more.”
“It feels like the conversation has changed and that we’re at a tipping point — like there was for gay marriage,” says Marielle Heller (“The Diary of a Teenage Girl”), the only woman nominated in the feature film directing categories at this year’s DGA Awards. “I hope the needle will move and we won’t have just article after article about this and then nothing happens.”
Schulman also feels optimistic about change. “My colleagues are hearing for the first time interest in hiring women not just for gender-specific content or lead characters,” she says.
- Hillary Atkin
Kristen Stewart could not have looked any more beautiful when she arrived at the annual Thirst Gala in Beverly Hills on Monday night. The actress - who recently returned from the South of France - turned heads in a sexy lace dress and was all smiles as she posed for photos with Governor's Award recipient Catherine Hardwicke and Thirst Project CEO Seth Maxwell. The annual event - which raises funds to provide safe water sources in developing nations - also brought out Lance Bass, who took to Instagram to share a photo of him and Kristen, writing, "With #KristenStewart at the #ThirstGala for @ThirstProject -honoring amazing people fighting the world's #WaterCrisis." While the American Honey actress attended the fete solo, she was seen holding hands with ex-girlfriend Alicia Cargile just last month. Keep reading for more of Kristen, then look back at all the people she's dated. »
- Monica Sisavat
28 years ago today, Tom Hanks and Penny Marshall delivered us the sweet and charming story of a 12-year-old who wished to be big. It was on June 3, 1988 that Big opened in theaters. It was the film that solidified Hanks as a major Hollywood talent and earned him his first Oscar nomination. Big is also significant for being one of the earlier success stories for a female director. It was the first feature film directed by a woman to gross over $100 million at the box office. Other notable June 3 happenings in pop culture history: • 1955: Marilyn Monroe film The Seven Year Itch opened in theaters. • 1969: Star Trek, the original series, concluded on NBC. • 1983: WarGames opened in U.S. theaters, after premiering out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival. • 1987: The Untouchables opened in theaters. • 1992: During his presidential campaign, Bill Clinton played “Heartbreak Hotel” on the saxophone on The Arsenio Hall Show. »
- Emily Rome
We Do It Together, a nonprofit production company, has announced the short-film omnibus "Together Now" as its inaugural feature. Each segment will be directed by and starring a woman, with Robin Wright, Catherine Hardwicke, Katia Lund, Patricia Riggen, Haifaa Al Mansour, Malgorzata Szumowska and Melina Matsoukas slated to direct. Freida Pinto and Juliette Binoche, meanwhile, have been confirmed as the first two actresses. Read More: Federal Investigation Launched Into Hollywood's Lack of Gender Equality Female empowerment will serve as the overarching theme of the project, with each individual segment being shot in a different country. Carol Polakeff, Shelby Stone and Chiara Tilesi are producing "Together Now," which begins shooting this July. Wdit in general and this film in particular are aimed toward closing the gender gap and achieving at least a semblance of parity — male filmmakers outnumber their female counterparts in Hollywood by 9-to-1. Read More: »
- Michael Nordine
Non-profit production company We Do It Together has set its first feature project, Together Now. An omnibus of short films, it will see each segment directed by a woman with a prominent actress in a lead role. Robin Wright, Catherine Hardwicke, Katia Lund, Patricia Riggen, Haifaa Al Mansour, Malgorzata Szumowska and Melina Matsoukas will each helm one of the seven installments. Freida Pinto and Juliette Binoche are the first two actresses confirmed. The theme will be… »
Robin Wright, Catherine Hardwicke, Freida Pinto and Juliette Binoche are joining forces for a new omnibus film Together Now, to be produced by the nonprofit production company We Do It Together. The company’s first feature, Together Now, will be comprised of seven short films, each of which will pair a woman director with a prominent actress to tell what producers promise will be an inspiring story. The directors who have come on board include Wright, Hardwicke, Katia Lund (All the Invisible Children), Patricia Riggen (The 33), Haifaa Al Mansour (Wadjda), Malgorzata Szumowska (Elles) and Melina Matsoukas (Beyonce’s Formation). Pinto and
- Gregg Kilday
It’s that time of year again. The 2016 Tribeca Film Festival is upon us, and unfortunately things began on a bit of a bum note. Festival head Robert De Niro defended the controversial (and frankly, irresponsible) anti-vaccination documentary, “Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe,” only to rescind those comments and the festival to pull the film the next day. But hey, what's a film festival without some controversy? That issue aside, Tribeca 2016 has its share of programming goodies, not the least of which are amazing talks with filmmakers and actors like Baz Luhrmann, Francis Ford Coppola, Jodie Foster, Tom Hanks, Tina Fey, Alfonso Cuaron, Ethan Hawke, Patti Smith, J.J. Abrams with Chris Rock, Michael Cera, Catherine Hardwicke, Andrea Arnold, Ira Sachs, Joss Whedon, Mark Ruffalo and many, many more. The eclectic festival has its array of riches. From discovery titles, documentaries (where the fest usually excels in their choices), dramatic titles featuring directors and. »
- Katie Walsh
Julie Delpy: "Blake Edwards is really the inspiration for this film." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze
Doris Day and Rock Hudson, Pink Panther with Peter Sellers, Wolf Rilla's Village Of The Damned, Mervyn LeRoy's - not Nick Cave's - The Bad Seed and designing with Emmanuelle Duplay and Pierre-Yves Gayraud, came up as Karl Lagerfeld goes underground in Julie Delpy's poking Lolo, starring Vincent Lacoste, Danny Boon, Karin Viard and Delpy herself.
Julie is also featured in Caroline Suh's The 4%: Film’s Gender Problem with Anjelica Huston, Patricia Clarkson, Judd Apatow, Christine Vachon, Mira Nair, Michael Moore, Lake Bell, Amy Berg, James Franco, Kristen Wiig, Michael Mann, Paul Feig, Catherine Hardwicke, A. O. Scott, Sam Taylor-Johnson, Dawn Hudson, Jill Soloway, Mary Harron and Amy Heckerling.
Violette (Julie Delpy): "Of course it's not autobiographical."
In Delpy's vivacious comedy of ill-manners. she plays Violette, divorced mother to a pouting, »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
The 2016 Women Texas Film Festival is now seeking submissions for its weekend-long celebration of women’s contribution to filmmaking. The fest plans to screen films featuring women behind the scenes as writers, producers, directors, cinematographers, editors, or composers. Films must have women in at least one of these roles to qualify. All genres, narrative, and documentary films are eligible. Films shorter than 45 minutes will be designated as shorts. Films longer than 45 minutes qualify as feature length. The earlybird deadline for submissions is May 16 with the regular deadline set for June 15. Applicants will be notified of their status by July 15. The festival jury prize for best feature and best short will be announced at a later date. The festival will feature moderated Q&As with filmmakers, panel discussions, networking events, and a gala night with a filmmaker red carpet. The Women Texas Film Festival is a not-for-profit organization designed to highlight »
Netflix’s “Gilmore Girls” revival will stage a “Parenthood” reunion with Mae Whitman set to make an appearance. Also in today’s TV news round-up, an actor from “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” has been cast in a comedy pilot . . .
Though details on Whitman’s cameo appearance are being kept under wraps, TVLine, which first broke the news, reports she will share a “really fun (albeit small) moment with Graham” that will please “Parenthood” fans. Speaking of fans, Whitman has previously made her “Gilmore Girls” obsession public with social-media posts.
- Elizabeth Wagmeister
The 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, running April 13-24, has unveiled its lineup of Tribeca Talks panels and conversations with some of the industry’s most successful filmmakers, artists, and executives including J.J. Abrams, Andrea Arnold, Anthony Bourdain, Francis Ford Coppola, Katie Couric, Alfonso Cuarón, Jodie Foster, Ricky Gervais, Catherine Hardwicke, Donna Karan, Baz Luhrmann, Patti Smith, Joss Whedon, Olivia Wilde, Samantha Bee, and more. Tribeca Talks: Directors Series, intimate one-on-one discussions with acclaimed directors, this year includes Alfonso Cuarón, Andrea Arnold, Jodie Foster with Julie Taymor, Joss Whedon in conversation with Mark Ruffalo, J.J. Abrams speaking with Chris Rock, and Baz Luhrmann with Nelson George. »
- Jeff Sneider
While the Epix première of Caroline Suh's The 4%: Film’s Gender Problem, hosted by Christine Baranski, Maria Bartiromo, Joanna Coles, Katie Couric, Cristina Cuomo, Natasha Lyonne, Alec Baldwin, Baz Luhrmann, Marlo Thomas and Robbie Myers was going on, Julie Delpy was premiering her own film Lolo. She is featured in the series, along with Anjelica Huston, Patricia Clarkson, Judd Apatow, Christine Vachon, Mira Nair, Michael Moore, Lake Bell, Amy Berg, James Franco, Kristen Wiig, Michael Mann, Paul Feig, Catherine Hardwicke, A. O. Scott, Sam Taylor-Johnson, Dawn Hudson, Jill Soloway, Mary Harron and Amy Heckerling.
The day after the premieres, Julie and I met for a conversation on Lolo, which began with us discussing the differences between French and American filmmaking.
Julie Delpy on the gap: "In France it has been »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
“Twilight” director Catherine Hardwicke wants to see Michelle Obama as Hillary Clinton’s running mate in the 2016 Election. “Idea: #DREAMTICKET2016 #ClintonObama2016 @Diane_Warren, plz let @HillaryClinton & @Flotus know!” Hardwicke tweeted Thursday. Twitter users have been posting their Dream Ticket votes on the social-media platform. One user said Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren would make a perfect team, while another called for Ted Cruz to be president while Marco Rubio would be vice president. Also Read: 'Twilight's' Catherine Hardwicke in Talks to Direct Horror Thriller 'Wish Upon' for Broad Green (Exclusive) On Monday night, Hardwicke teased her followers about a “very important idea” she. »
- Beatrice Verhoeven
Christine Baranski, Maria Bartiromo, Joanna Coles, Katie Couric, Cristina Cuomo, Natasha Lyonne, Alec Baldwin, Baz Luhrmann, Marlo Thomas and Robbie Myers invited us to the Epix preview screening of Caroline Suh's The 4%: Film’s Gender Problem, executive produced by Alex Gibney, Stacey Offman, Lynne Kirby, Betsy West, Laura Michalchyshyn and Suh, and included guests Anne Sweeney, Cathy Schulman, Candace Bushnell, Alison Wright, Leven Rambin, Domenico Vacca and Eleonora Pieroni at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.
Caroline Suh: "Manohla Dargis' article where she talked about Ava DuVernay" Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze
The first episode featured Anjelica Huston, Patricia Clarkson, Julie Delpy, Amy Berg, Judd Apatow, Christine Vachon, Mira Nair, Michael Moore, Lake Bell, James Franco, Kristen Wiig, Michael Mann, Paul Feig, Catherine Hardwicke, A. »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
With Twilight in 2008, Catherine Hardwicke became the first female director to launch a successful blockbuster movie franchise (the film grossed $400 million worldwide). But rather than direct the sequel films in the blockbuster series, Hardwicke opted to take on more daring fare, such as Red Riding Hood, a dark re-telling of the fairy tale. But when that 2011 film was both a critical and financial disappointment, Hardwicke found she was no longer a hot commodity in Hollywood. Unlike male directors who are allowed a flop or two, female filmmakers are held to a higher standard, she quickly found. Instead of vying for the next superhero […] »
- Paula Bernstein
Juliette Binoche: "It is a way of starting a wave that will begin to change ideas and consciences.” Photo: Unifrance
French actress Juliette Binoche (Sils Maria) and American actress Jessica Chastain (The Martian) have set up a production company called We Do It Together to finance and promote films that will help to change the image of women on screen.
Others involved in the project include Queen Latifah, Freida Pinto, Ziyi Zhang, and directors Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), Amma Asante (Belle) and Marielle Heller (The Diary Of A Teenage Girl) as well as director Hany Abu-Assad (Paradise Now).
The aim is to find funding from both public and private sources to enable film and television content to be made which will help to counteract the frequently sexist attitudes and female roles offered by Hollywood.
Initially the aim is to make six 15 minute films by women directors - and any profits »
- Richard Mowe
Catherine Hardwicke’s mixed bag of a dramedy, Miss You Already, about two friends dealing with a life-changing illness, eases its way onto Blu-ray this month. In the interests of full-disclosure, I will mention that I almost had to recuse myself from this review after watching the first half hour. My mother underwent treatment for breast cancer ten years ago and, while her case was different from the one presented on film for many reasons, it was occasionally difficult to separate my own emotions from the film’s emotions.
Miss You Already treats of the occasionally fraught friendship between Milly (Toni Collette) and Jess (Drew Barrymore), two close friends who have always been the most important person in each other’s lives. By far the wilder of the two, Milly is happily married to a rock-star husband Kit (Dominic Cooper), while Jess has settled down in a houseboat with her »
- Lauren Humphries-Brooks
Diverse, awe-inspiring and memorable treasures that have sadly fallen off the radar
The noughties were a tough decade for film music fans. Not only was there the unprecedented loss of four great masters in the form of Jerry Goldsmith, Elmer Bernstein, Michael Kamen and Basil Poledouris; the nature of the industry itself began to go through some seismic changes, not all of them for the better.
With the art of film scoring becoming ever more processed, driven increasingly by ghost writers, electronic augmentation and temp tracks, prospects looked bleak. However, this shouldn’t shield the fact that there were some blindingly brilliant scores composed during this period. Here’s but a small sampling of them.
The origin of this project goes as far back in our women's collective memory to the time in the late 80s when Janet Grillo was head of Acquisitions for New Line Cinema and Sara Risher was head of production. I was buying features for Lorimar or Republic Pictures. We did not know at that time that one day, after Janet had completed her directorial debut, the lovely and loving film "Fly Away," that Sara would tell a certain writer-producer. to show her script to Janet as a possible director.
Janet liked it and together they developed it further at L.A. Film Independent. They then won the PGA Script Award. They hired an 18-year-old who had been a child actress and was a Nyu Freshman just finishing a TV Career. She agreed to star in January and the film was shot the following May 2014.
It premiered in Geena Davis’ Inaugural 2015 Bentonville Film Festival in May 2015 where it won the Jury Geena Davis’ new effort to celebrate the work of women and diverse voices in media also is the only festival to guarantee distribution for its winners’ project.
“The goal of the festival is not just to showcase women and diversity—it’s to really have a proactive and powerful effect on the industry,” says Davis, Bff co-founder and founder and chair of the nonprofit Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. “We’re intent on being extremely proactive in showing the films that include women and that are very commercial. Our goal is to show that this is the direction in which things are heading and we should get there sooner.”
"Jack of the Red Hearts” has now arrived in theaters nationwide as of February 26, 2016. "Jack of the Red Hearts”. Arc Entertainment and Trent Drinkwaer who founded the Bentonville Film Festival with Geena guarantees a minimum of one week in AMC theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Mimai, Minneapolis, Orlando, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa and Washington D.C.
On its opening night, Thursday, February 25, Geena Davis, Famke Janssen, Phyllis Nagy (writer, “Carol”), Catherine Hardwicke (director, “Twilight ”) and Danielle Carrig (Svp Lifetime) joined "Jack of the Red Hearts” director Janet Grillo, producer Lucy Mukerjee-Brown and writer Jennifer Deaton for a special screening of the film and Q&A at the YouTube Space in L.A. In conjunction with Broad Focus, Lifetime, the Genna Davis Institute on Gender in Media and the Bentonville Film Festival, the Q&A, moderated by the Wrap’s Sharon Waxman, will begin immediately followed the 7pm screening.
It will play on Lifetime April 20 which is Autism Awareness Month. It will show again at Bentonville Film Festival’s second edition May 3 - 8 of this year.
Bentonville’s strong affiliation with Walmart, the only vendor and the largest still selling DVDs will release it in its stores and on its VOD site.
Anna Sophia Robb portrays “Jack,” a tough teenage runaway on the lam from her parole officer. The conniving street kid brazenly impersonates a trained caregiver and forms a unique bond with an 11 year-old autistic girl named Glory, brilliantly played by newcomer Taylor Richardson. Famke Janssen, as the child's desperate mother Kay, also bonds with the imposter, as a surrogate daughter she can actually talk to. And the girl’s cute older brother Robert (Israel Broussard) falls in love. When the deception is exposed and the cops descend, loving father Mark (Scott Cohen) struggles to hold his family together as the pieces of this puzzle are reshuffled into a new, satisfying whole.
"Jack of the Red Hearts” is directed by Janet Grillo (writer/director of “Fly Away” and executive producer of Emmy®-winning “Autism: The Musical”) and written by Jennifer Deaton. Both have strong ties to the autism community as Grillo is mother to a child on the autism spectrum and Deaton is aunt to a child on the spectrum. The producers are Stefan Nowicki, Joey Carey, Lucy Mukerjee-Brown, and Morgan White.
The film stars AnnaSophia Robb (“The Carrie Diaries,” “Soul Surfer”), Famke Janssen (“X-Men”), Scott Cohen (“One Life to Live”), Taylor Richardson (“Annie”), Israel Broussard (“The Bling Ring”) and John D’Leo (“Unbroken”).
For more information: https://www.facebook.com/jackoftheredhearts. »
- Sydney Levine
Freida Pinto is a renowned social activist who essentially works towards the development of women and the actress has taken yet another step in this direction. Freida along with renowned Hollywood personalities like Jessica Chastian, Juliette Binoche, Queen Latifah, Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke and actress Ziyi Zhang among others will be launching nonprofit organization created to finance and produce content related to women empowerment. This Ngo called We Do It Together will focus on films, documentaries, TV and other forms of media dedicated to create content that will change perceptions of female stereotypes. An insider reveals the thought behind why this team came about this subject, "The move comes after the revelation last fall that the The Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was interviewing dozens of female directors about the discrimination they face in both film and television. Women currently receive only 16% of the episodic TV directing jobs, and last »
- Bollywood Hungama News Network
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