19 for ’19

The time has come for Hollywood to hibernate over the holidays, but we don't want to bid the year farewell without acknowledging 19 of our top moments from 2019 at Women In Film!


So much wonderful content was created by our members, like Nisha Ganatra‘s LATE NIGHT, Nzingha Stewart‘s TALL GIRL, Andrea Berloff‘s THE KITCHEN, Autumn McAlpin‘s MISS ARIZONA, and Deborah Liebling-produced “Pen15.”

Caitlin McCarthy was a semifinalist for the Academy Nicholl Fellowship, and Film Finishing Fund grantee Christina Choe and INSIGHT fellow Avril Z. Speaks were announced as Sundance Momentum Fellows.


It was a Marvel-ous year as the Marvel Cinematic Universe concluded its “Infinity Saga.” WIF member and mentor in our Mentoring Program, Sarah Finn, served as the casting director on all but one of the Saga’s 23 movies. ReFrame Ambassador Victoria Alonso has produced the MCU films since 2008, and WIF member Pinar Toprak composed the score for CAPTAIN MARVEL. [more]


Five new members were elected to our Board of Directors: Tracy McGrath, Amazon Studios Original Movies; Vanessa Morrison, Fox Family; Andrea Nelson Meigs, ICM Partners; Syrinthia Studer, Paramount Pictures; and Talitha Watkins, CAA. [more]


At our Annual Gala, we introduced new awards: the Entrepreneur in Entertainment Award, Amy Poehler; the Emerging Entrepreneur Award, Issa Rae; and the Members’ Choice Award, which went to directors Anne FletcherDebra GranikMarielle HellerMimi Leder, and Chloé ZhaoElizabeth Debicki was the Max Mara Face of the Future, and WIF Board President Emerita Cathy Schulman received the Crystal Award for Advocacy. [more]


This summer we announced our partnership with Pepperdine University on Entrepreneurial Pathways, a new initiative seeking to identify the drivers and inhibitors of funding for women-owned businesses in the screen industries. [more]


ReFrame announced the inaugural class of ReFrame Rise directors: Desiree AkhavanHaifaa al-MansourPatricia CardosoHanelle CulpepperSydney FreelandZetna FuentesTina Mabry, and Meera Menon. [more]

Haifaa al-Mansour‘s THE PERFECT CANDIDATE premiered at the Venice Film Festival, and is Saudi Arabia’s official submission for the International Feature Film Oscar. [more]


The WIF x Black List feature writing residency kicked off with a three-day intensive. Mentors and advisors included Haifaa al-Mansour (WADJDA, ReFrame Rise Fellow), Jessica Bendinger (BRING IT ON), Andrea Berloff (THE KITCHEN), Aline Brosh McKenna (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”), Liz Hannah (LONG SHOT), Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith (LEGALLY BLONDE). The fellows in attendance were Sylvia Batey AlcaláDevi GowniAlyssa LernerAnya MeksinErin Rodman, and Bo Shim.

Just this month, Erin Rodman‘s script made the Black List.


San Diego Comic-Con brought a lot of exciting announcements and panels, and ReFrame Director Alision Emilio spoke on the “Women Rocking Hollywood” panel. She was joined by Liesl Tommy (RESPECT, “The Walking Dead”), Gloria Calderón Kellett (“One Day at a Time”), Catherine Hardwicke (TWILIGHT, MISS BALA), Cheryl Dunye (“Queen Sugar”), Jen McGowan (RUST CREEK, Glass Elevator), Angela Robinson (“True Blood,” PROFESSOR MARSTON AND THE WONDER WOMEN), and C Fitz (JEWEL’S CATCH ONE, “Queen Sugar”). Moderated by Leslie Combemale (WomenRockingHollywood, Cinema Siren).


This summer, the Think Tank for Inclusion & Equity (TTIE) launched, and Women In Film is proud to sponsor this important initiative. TTIE published a publicly-available report that speaks to the experiences of a broad spectrum of diverse TV writers through quantitative and qualitative self-reported data.


We hosted our first showcase of Film Finishing Fund recipients as part of our Stella Artois grant program. Centered on the theme “On Community and Impact,” the short film SANTUARIO and the feature documentary UNITED SKATES were screened before a panel discussion and reception. Moderated by WIF Director of Programs Maikiko James, the panelists included SANTUARIO Director/Producer Pilar Timpane and cast member Lesvi Molina; UNITED SKATES Director/Producer Dyana Winkler, Composer Jongnic “JB” Bontemps, and cast member Phelicia Wright; and Rev. Deborah Lee, the Executive Director of the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity. [more]


The Production Program held its first-ever Short Film Showcase, where JUST A DRILL and SIGNAL screened for an exclusive group of industry leaders. Filmmakers Chloé HungBo ShimJes AndersonJulianne DonelleSabrina Stoll, and Megan Jordan were able to address the crowd at the panel discussion. [more]

Later this year, JUST A DRILL was selected for the LA Shorts Fest, and Chloé Hung was announced as a participant in the Geffen Playhouse Writers’ Room residency.


This year saw the establishment of the WIF Latina Leadership Cohort—led by Jeanette Guaman and Yasmine Campbell—a group of dedicated industry professionals committed to improving Latinx representation both on screen and behind the scenes. 


Women in Film and Television International (WIFTI) held its biennial summit alongside The Power of Inclusion. WIF’s Kirsten Schaffer presented and moderated panels including “ReFrame: Power in Numbers,” “WIFTI Collective Challenges and Action Plans,” and “#MeToo, Where To?”


Lina Wertmüller received an honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards, and Women In Film was privileged to host a luncheon in celebration of her and her career. Directors like Nancy MeyersLisa Cholodenko, WIF Board Member Nisha Ganatra, and Martha Coolidge attended to toast the first woman ever to receive a Best Director Oscar nomination. As WIF Board President Amy Baer said, “the honor is long overdue—42 years in the making. [more]


Film Finishing Fund grantee THE BODY REMEMBERS WHEN THE WORLD BROKE OPEN and its filmmakers Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn had an exciting year! The film screened at a dozen international festivals, was acquired by Ava DuVernay‘s ARRAY Releasing, and it is now available to stream on Netflix. [more]


The WIF Help Line for Sexual Harassment and Misconduct expanded thanks to our partnerships with New York Women in Film & TV (NYWIFT) and Women in Film & Television Atlanta (WIFTA). Pro bono attorneys are available for callers in California, New York, and Georgia, and local mental health and emotional support services currently serve the cities of Los Angeles, New York City, and Atlanta. [more]


Thousands of people attended our Screening and Speaker Series events in 2019. Speaker Series offerings included panels on intimacy coordination, unscripted content, VFX, queer cinema, crowdfunding, and music composition. Screening Series guests included directors Marielle HellerKasi LemmonsMimi LederJill CultonJill Soloway, and Olivia Wilde.


At last month’s annual ReFrame Convening, two ReFrame Rise director fellows, Hanelle Culpepper and Meera Menon, met with some of the WIF INSIGHT fellows: Jessica ShieldsWinnie KempKase PeñaMeenakshi Ramamurthy, and Shandrea Evans.

Earlier this year, Kase Peña was announced as a recipient of Sundance’s Launch Grant.


The Production Program had a history-making year! The short BFF was created and crewed by the first fully Latinx filmmaker team in the program’s history: director Elia Urquiza, producer Elisa Lleras, and line producer Nuria Anson. The program’s first team wherein all of the fellows are queer women of color, created the short SLICE, written and directed by Alexi Gonzalez, produced by Nicole Scott, and line produced by Natalie Baldini.

Finally, this has been an exciting year for the Women In Film staff, as a number of creative and inspired women have joined the team! Each of us is so appreciative of your support and participation as we ring in the new year—any gifts made to the Women In Film Annual Fund help us to continue the important work advancing the careers of women working in the screen industries.

Happy Holidays! Best,

Kirsten, Maikiko, Amy, Alison, Genevieve, Ashley, Melissa, Katherine, Ebony, Toni-Marie, Whitney, Lars, Angel, Ashley, and Lupe