UPDATES

October Premieres

October 1, 2021

Mark your calendar for this month’s television premieres and film debuts, featuring women behind the scenes of the top creative roles.

Friday, October 1

  • “Blue Bloods” season 12 – Executive Produced by Siobhan Byrne O’Connor
  • DIANA: THE MUSICAL – Produced by Beth Williams; Edited by Kate Sanford
  • “Magnum P.I.” season 4 – Executive Produced by Barbie Kligman
  • “Maid” – Executive Produced by Erin Jontow, Stephanie Land, Molly Smith Metzler, Margot Robbie
  • MAYDAY – Directed, Written, Produced by Karen Cinorre
  • MY NAME IS PAULI MURRAY – Directed, Written by Julie Cohen, Betsy West; Written, Produced by Talleah Bridges McMahon; Cinematography by Claudia Raschke
  • “S.W.A.T.” season 5 – Executive Produced by Alison Cross
  • THE ADDAMS FAMILY 2 – Produced by Gail Berman, Alison O’Brien, Danielle Sterling
  • THE GUILTY – Produced by Lina Flint, Riva Marker, Svetlana Metkina, Kat Samick
  • THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK – Produced by Nicole Lambert
  • TITANE – Directed, Written by Julia Ducournau
  • VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE – Written, Produced by Kelly Marcel; Produced by Amy Pascal; Edited by Maryann Brandon
  • VINCE CARTER: LEGACY – Produced by Laurie Berger, Katie Zakula

Sunday, October 3

  • “America’s Funniest Home Videos” season 32 – Executive Produced by Michele Nasraway
  • “Call the Midwife” season 10 – Created, Executive Produced by Heidi Thomas; Executive Produced by Pippa Harris, Ann Tricklebank, Mona Qureshi
  • “On My Block” season 4 – Created, Executive Produced by Lauren Iungerich
  • “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” season 2 – Executive Produced by Gale Ann hurd

Wednesday, October 6

  • “CSI: Vegas” – Executive Produced by Ann Donahue, Carol Mendolsohn
  • “Meet, Marry, Murder” – Executive Produced by Gillian Carter, Michelle Trachtenberg
  • “The Bradshaw Bunch” season 2 – Executive Produced by Lisa Shannon, Leola Westbrook
  • “Tough As Nails” season 3 – Executive Produced by Louise Keoghan
  • V/H/S/94 – Directed, Written by Chloe Okuno, Jennifer Reeder

Thursday, October 7

  • “15 Minutes of Shame” – Executive Produced by Jessica Conway, Allyson Luchak, Monica Lewinsky, Kristy Sabat
  • “Baker’s Dozen” – Executive Produced by Suzanne Rauscher, Tara Siener, Sandy Varo Jarrell
  • “Bull” season 6 – Executive Produced by Kati Johnston
  • “Ghosts” – Executive Produced by Alison Carpenter, Debra Hayward, Martha Howe-Douglas, Alison Owen, Angie Stephenson
  • “One Of Us Is Lying” – Executive Produced by Erica Saleh
  • “One Lane Bridge” season 2 – Created by Pip Hall; Executive Produced by Kathleen Anderson
  • “United States of Al” season 2 – Created, Executive Produced by Maria Ferrari

Friday, October 8

  • JACINTA – Directed, Produced, Cinematography by Jessica Earnshaw; Produced by Holly Meehl, Nimisha Mukerji
  • JUSTIN BIEBER: OUR WORLD – Edited by Vicky Lim
  • LAMB – Produced by Hrönn Kristinsdóttir, Sara Nassim, Klaudia Smieja; Edited by Agnieszka Glinska
  • “Leverage: Redemption” – Executive Produced by Kate Rorick, Rachel Olschan
  • MUPPETS HAUNTED MANSION – Produced by Chelsea DeVincent; Edited by Alexandra Amick
  • “Nancy Drew” season 3 – Developed, Executive Produced by Noga Landau; Executive Produced by Melinda Hsu Taylor, Stephanie Savage, Lis Rowinski
  • NO TIME TO DIE – Written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge; Produced by Barbara Broccoli
  • “Pretty Smart” – Executive Produced by Pamela Fryman, Kourtney Kang
  • “Shark Tank” season 13 – Executive Produced by Yun Linger
  • SOUTH OF HEAVEN – Produced by Amanda Presmyk
  • THE RESCUE – Directed, Produced by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

Sunday, October 10

  • “Buried” – Executive Produced by Mika Timor
  • “SEAL Team” season 5 – Executive produced by Sarah Timberman
  • “The Equalizer” season 2 – Developed, Executive Produced by Terri Edda Miller; Executive Produced by Debra Martin Chase, Queen Latifah, Liz Friedlander 

Monday, October 11

  • “The Baby-Sitters Club” season 2 – Created, Executive Produced by Rachel Shukert; Executive Produced by Lucia Aniello, Naia Cucukov, Lucy Kitada

Wednesday, October 13

  • “Batwoman” season 3 – Developed, Executive Produced by Caroline Dries
  • “Dopesick” – Executive Produced by Beth Macy, Karen Rosenfelt
  • FEVER DREAM – Directed, Written by Claudia Llosa; Music by Natalie Holt
  • “Legends of Tomorrow” season 7 – Executive Produced by Sarah Schechter, Grainne Godfree, Keto Shimizu

Thursday, October 14

  • “Guilty Party” – Executive Produced by Rebecca Addelman
  • “Legacies” season 4 – Created, Executive Produced by Julie Plec

Friday, October 15

  • BERGMAN ISLAND – Directed, Written by Mia Hansen-Løve; Produced by Lisa Widén; Edited by Marion Monnier
  • HARD LUCK LOVE SONG – Allison R. Smith
  • INTRODUCING, SELMA BLAIR – Directed by Rachel Fleit; Edited by Sloane Klevin
  • NEEDLE IN A TIMESTACK – Produced by Zanne Devine
  • THE LAST DUEL – Written, Produced by Nicole Holofcener; Produced by Jennifer Fox; Edited by Claire Simpson
  • “You” – Created, Executive Produced by Sera Gamble

(To be updated with premieres for the second half of the month!)

WIF Stands in Solidarity with IATSE

September 27, 2021

We, the undersigned, support the protection of workers and their rights to safe workplaces, reasonable work hours and rest, and living wages. As advocates of people underrepresented and under-protected in the entertainment industry, it is imperative that we uphold safe and regenerative working conditions, especially as we all continue to weather the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We encourage anyone who considers themselves a champion for representation and justice to stand with us in support of Hollywood crew members. Read and sign on to IATSE’s petition for a fair deal, and continue to support organizations fighting to make our industry safer for all people.

The Blackhouse Foundation
Brown Girls Doc Mafia
Film Fatales
Muslim Public Affairs Council – Hollywood Bureau (MPAC)

New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT)
Pop Culture Collaborative
Sundance Institute
Think Tank for Inclusion and Equity (TTIE)

Visual Communications
WIF (Women In Film)

2021 Emmy Winners

WIF congratulates the women who have taken home the Television Academy’s top honors at this year’s Emmy Awards!

Governors Award

Debbie Allen

Outstanding Comedy Series

“Ted Lasso”: Liza Katzer, Co-Executive Producer; Jane Becker, Supervising Producer; Jamie Lee, Supervising Producer; Tina Pawlik, Produced by

Outstanding Competition Program

“RuPaul’s Drag Race”: Mandy Salangsang, Executive Producer; Michele Mills, Executive Producer; Zoe Jackson, Co-Executive Producer; Lisa Steele, Co-Executive Producer; Michelle Visage, Producer; Alicia Gargaro-Magaña, Producer; Jen Passovoy, Supervising Producer

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series

“Hacks” (There Is No Line [Pilot]): Lucia Aniello, Directed by

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

“The Crown” (War): Jessica Hobbs, Directed by

Outstanding Drama Series

“The Crown”: Suzanne Mackie, Executive Producer; Oona O’Beirn, Producer

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Jean Smart as Deborah Vance, “Hacks”

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II, “The Crown”

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie

Kate Winslet as Mare Sheehan, “Mare of Easttown”

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Hannah Waddingham as Rebecca Welton, “Ted Lasso”

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher, “The Crown”

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie

Julianne Nicholson as Lori Ross, “Mare of Easttown”

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

“Saturday Night Live”: Lindsay Shookus, Producer; Erin Doyle, Producer; Caroline Maroney, Producer

Outstanding Variety Special (Live)

“Stephen Colbert’s Election Night 2020: Democracy’s Last Stand Building Back America Great Again Better 2020”: Tanya Michnevich Bracco, Co-Executive Producer; Denise Rehrig, Co-Executive Producer; Emily Gertler, Supervising Producer; Sara Vilkomerson, Supervising Producer; Paige Kendig, Producer

Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded)

“Hamilton”: Jill Furman, Executive Producer; Maggie Brohn, Executive Producer

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”: Liz Stanton, Executive Producer; Laura L. Griffin, Producer; Kate Mullaney, Producer; Catherine Owens, Producer; Marian Wang, Producer

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

“Hacks” (There Is No Line [Pilot]): Lucia Aniello, Written by; Jen Statsky

Outstanding Writing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie

“I May Destroy You”: Michaela Coel, Written by

Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series

“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”: Ali Barthwell, Liz Hynes, Joanna Rothkopf, Chrissy Shackelford, Seena Vali, Writers

Creative Arts Emmys

Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series

“Keke Palmer’s Turnt Up with the Taylors”: Keke Palmer as Barbie / Gammy Tay / Lil Thad / Miranda / Rick

Casting for a Comedy Series

“Ted Lasso”: Theo Park, Casting by

Casting for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie

“The Queen’s Gambit”: Ellen Lewis, Casting by; Kate Sprance, Casting by; Olivia Scott-Webb, Casting by; Tina Gerussi, Location Casting; Anna-Lena Slater, Location Casting; Tatjana Moutchnik, Location Casting; Stephanie Maile, Location Casting

Casting for a Reality Program

“RuPaul’s Drag Race”: Goloka Bolte, Casting by

Character Voice-Over Performance

“Big Mouth” (A Very Special 9/11 Episode): Maya Rudolph as Connie the Hormone Monstress

Contemporary Costumes

“Pose” (Series Finale): Analucia McGorty, Costume Designer; Michelle Roy, Assistant Costume Designer; Linda Giammarese, Costume Supervisor

Contemporary Hairstyling

“Pose” (Series Finale): Tene Wilder, Hairstylist; Lisa Thomas, Hairstylist

Contemporary Hairstyling for a Variety, Nonfiction, or Reality Program

“Saturday Night Live” (Host: Maya Rudolph): Jodi Mancuso, Department Head Hairstylist; Cara Hannah, Key Hairstylist; Inga Thrasher, Hairstylist; Amanda Duffy Evans, Hairstylist; Gina Ferrucci, Hairstylist

Contemporary Makeup (Non-Prosthetic)

“Pose” (Series Finale): Sherri Berman Laurence, Department Head Makeup Artist; Nicky Pattison Illum, Key Makeup Artist; Jessica Padilla, Additional Makeup Artist; Jennifer Suarez, Additional Makeup Artist

Choreography for Scripted Programming

Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square: Debbie Allen, Choreographer

Contemporary Makeup for a Variety, Nonfiction, or Reality Program (Non-Prosthetic)

“Saturday Night Live” (Host: Elon Musk): Amy Tagliamonti, Key Makeup Artist; Kim Weber, Makeup Artist; Joanna Pisani, Key Makeup Artist; Young Beck, Key Makeup Artist

Costumes for a Variety, Nonfiction, or Reality Program

  • Black Is King: Zerina Akers, Costume Designer
  • “The Masked Singer” (Super 8 – The Plot Chickens! Part 2): Marina Toybina, Costume Designer; Grainne O’Sullivan, Costume Supervisor; Gabrielle Letamendi, Assistant Costume Designer; Lucia Maldonado, Assistant Costume Designer
  • Sherman’s Showcase Black History Month Spectacular: Ariyela Wald-Cohain, Costume Designer; Patty Malkin, Costume Supervisor; Erica Schwartz, Assistant Costume Supervisor

Directing for a Documentary/Nonfiction Program

Dick Johnson Is Dead: Kirsten Johnson, Directed by

Documentary or Nonfiction Special

Boys State: Laurene Powell Jobs, Executive Producer; Nicole Stott, Executive Producer; Shannon Dill, Co-Executive Producer; Amanda McBaine, Producer

Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking

76 Days: Pluto: Jean Tsien, Produced by

Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes

“WandaVision” (Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience): Virginia Burton, Costume Supervisor

Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

“Saturday Night Live”: Maya Rudolph as Host

Guest Actress in a Drama Series

“The Crown” (48:1): Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II

Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special

“Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy”: Eve Kay, Executive Producer; Amy Entelis, Executive Producer; Molly Harrington, Supervising Producer

Main Title Design

“The Good Lord Bird”: Abigail Fairfax, Illustrator/Animator

Music Supervision

“I May Destroy You” (Ego Death): Ciara Elwis, Music Supervisor

Original Music and Lyrics

“WandaVision”: Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Music & Lyrics

Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program

“RuPaul’s Drag Race Untucked”: San Heng, Executive Producer; Mandy Salangsang, Executive Producer; Jen Passovoy, Supervising Producer

Period and/or Character Hairstyling

“Bridgerton” (Art of the Swoon): Lynda J. Pearce, Assistant Department Head Hairstylist; Claire Matthews, Hairstylist; Tania Couper, Hairstylist

Period Costumes

“The Queen’s Gambit” (End Game): Gabriele Binder, Costume Designer; Gina Krauss, Assistant Costume Designer; Katrin Hoffmann, Assistant Costume Designer; Nanrose Buchmann, Assistant Costume Designer; Sparka Lee Hall, Costume Supervisor

Picture Editing for a Structured Reality or Competition Program

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” (Condragulations): Jamie Martin, Lead Editor

Picture Editing for an Unstructured Reality Program

“Life Below Zero” (The Other Side): Jennifer Nelson, Additional Editor

Picture Editing for Variety Programming

“A Black Lady Sketch Show” (Sister, May I Call You Oshun?): Daysha Broadway, Supervising Editor; Stephanie Filo, Editor; Jessica Hernández, Editor

Production Design for a Narrative Period or Fantasy Program (One Hour or More)

“The Queen’s Gambit”: Kai Karla Koch, Art Director; Sabine Schaaf, Set Decorator

Production Design for a Narrative Program (Half-Hour)

“WandaVision”: Sharon Davis, Art Director; Kathy Orlando, Set Decorator

Production Design for a Variety, Reality, or Competition Series

“Saturday Night Live” (Host: Kristen Wiig): Melissa Shakun, Art Director

Production Design for a Variety Special

“The Oscars”: Alana Billingsley, Art Director

Prosthetic Makeup

“The Mandalorian” (Chapter 13: The Jedi): Samantha Ward, Makeup Artist

Short Form Comedy, Drama, or Variety Series

“Carpool Karaoke: The Series”: Sheila Rogers, Supervising Producer; Diana Miller, Producer

Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series

“Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man”: Morolake Akinosun, Producer

Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie

“The Queen’s Gambit” (Exchanges): Michelle Tesoro, ACE, Editor

Sound Editing for a Comedy or Drama Series (Half-Hour) and Animation

“Love, Death + Robots” (Snow in the Desert): Dawn Lunsford, Foley Editor; Alicia Stevens, Foley Artist

Sound Editing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour)

“Lovecraft Country” (Sundown): Paula Fairfield, Sound Designer

Sound Editing for a Limited or Anthology Series, Movie, or Special

“The Queen’s Gambit” (End Game): Mary-Ellen Porto, Sound Editor; Rachel Chancey, Foley Artist

Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour)

“The Mandalorian” (Chapter 13: The Jedi): Bonnie Wild, Re-Recording Mixer; Shawn Holden, CAS, Production Mixer

Special Visual Effects in a Season or Movie

“The Mandalorian”: Abbigail Keller, Visual Effects Producer

Special Visual Effects in a Single Episode

“Star Trek: Discovery” (Su’kal): Aleksandra Kochoska, VFX Producer; Kristen Prahl, VFX Producer Ghost VFX; Leslie Chung, VFX Supervisor Crafty Apes

Structured Reality Program

“Queer Eye”: Jennifer Lane, Executive Producer; Jordana Hochman, Executive Producer; Rachelle Mendez, Executive Producer

Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video Control for a Special

Hamilton: Abby Levine, Video Control

Writing for a Nonfiction Program

The Social Dilemma: Vickie Curtis, Written by

September Premieres

September 1, 2021

September is the biggest month of the year for television premieres, and some long-awaited film openings. We’ve got your viewing calendar for the month all set, highlighting the women behind-the-scenes of the top creative roles throughout the landscape of screens big and small:

Thursday, September 2

  • What We Do in the Shadows” – The third season of the supernatural comedy mockumentary series premieres on FX; executive produced by Stefani Robinson

Friday, September 3

  • CINDERELLA – The Camila Cabello-led retelling of the classic fairytale debuts on Amazon Prime; directed & written by Kay Cannon; produced by Shannon McIntosh; music by Jessica Weiss; edited by Stacey Schroeder
  • KAREN – This BET Original Movie debuts theatrically and on demand; produced by Mary Aloe, Gillian Hormel, and Taryn Manning
  • Money Heist” Season 5 of the Spanish crime drama returns to Netflix; executive produced by Cristina López Ferraz and Sonia Martínez
  • SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS – The next installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe debuts in theaters, and will be available to stream at home on Disney Plus Premiere beginning on October 18; edited by Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir
  • THE GATEWAY – A new crime thriller co-starring Olivia Munn; edited by Suzy Elmiger and Trish Fuller
  • YAKUZA PRINCESS – An action thriller set amongst the Japanese community in Brazil; written by Kimi Lee; written & produced by Tubaldini Shelling
  • ZONE 414 – A new sci-fi thriller; produced by Deborah Shaw-Kolar

Tuesday, September 7

  • Impeachment: American Crime Story” – The 3rd season of ACS, starring Beanie Feldstein as Monica Lewinsky, premieres on FX; executive produced by Sarah Burgess, Nina Jacobson, Sarah Paulson, and Alexis Martin Woodall

Thursday, September 9

  • TIME IS UP – An Italy-set romance starring Bella Thorne; directed & written by Elisa Amoruso; written by Patrizia Fiorellini; cinematography by Martina Cocco; edited by Irene Vecchio

Friday, September 10

  • KATE – Mary Elizabeth Winstead stars in this action-thriller premiering on Netflix; produced by Kelly McCormick; edited by Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir and Sandra Montiel
  • Lucifer” – Season 6 premieres on Netflix; executive produced by Sheri Elwood, Iidy Modrovich, and KristieAnne Reed
  • LuLaRich” – A four-part docuseries chronicling the infamous multi-level marketing scheme premieres on Amazon Prime; executive produced by Blye Pagon Faust and Cori Shepherd Stern
  • MALIGNANT – The horror feature debuts in theaters and on HBO Max; story by Ingrid Bisu and Akela Cooper
  • THE CARD COUNTER – This thriller co-stars Tiffany Haddish; produced by Lauren Mann
  • QUEENPINS – This scam comedy co-led by Kristen Bell and Kirby Howell-Baptiste will be available on Paramount+; directed & written by Gita Pullapilly; produced by Linda McDonough; edited by Kayla Emter
  • SMALL ENGINE REPAIR – A film adaptation of the black comedy play; music by Kathryn Kluge

Monday, September 13

  • Y: The Last Man” – The long-awaited comic book adaptation debuts on FX; executive produced by Eliza Clark, Aïda Mashaka Croal, Louise Friedberg, Nina Jacobson, Melina Matsoukas, Mari-Jo Winkler

Tuesday, September 14

  • BAD CANDY – A horror anthology feature; co-directed and written by Desiree Connell

Friday, September 17

  • BEST SELLERS – A dramedy co-starring Aubrey Plaza; directed by Lina Roessler; produced by Arielle Elwes; cinematography by Claudine Sauvé
  • BLUE BAYOU – A drama co-starring Alicia Vikander; produced by Poppy Hanks and Kim Roth
  • CRY MACHO – The latest Western from Clint Eastwood debuts in theaters and on HBO Max; produced by Jessica Meier
  • Do, Re & Mi” – This new animated musical series premieres on Amazon Prime; executive produced by Kristen Bell and Jackie Tohn
  • EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE – This coming-of-age musical adaptation debuts on Amazon Prime; music by Anne Dudley
  • LADY OF THE MANOR – This comedy starring Judy Greer and Melanie Lynskey premieres theatrically and on demand; produced by Dori A. Rath; edited by Annette Davey
  • PRISONERS OF THE GHOSTLAND – Sofia Boutella co-stars in this new action flick premiering on demand; produced by Lauren Rister
  • Sex Education” – The third season of this beloved series returns to Netflix; executive produced by Laurie Nunn
  • THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE – Jessica Chastain stars in this biopic; produced by Chastain along with Kelly Carmichael, Gigi Pritzker, and Rachel Shane; edited by Mary Jo Markey
  • THE MAD WOMAN’S BALL – Adapted from Victoria Mas’ novel and starring its writer/director, the film will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and be released on Amazon Prime; directed & written by Mélanie Laurent; produced by Axelle Boucaï; edited by Anny Danché
  • THE NOWHERE INN – A genre-bending music mockumentary; written/produced/starring Carrie Brownstein and St. Vincent; produced by Lana Kim; music by St. Vincent; edited by Ali Greer
  • THE WONDERFUL: STORIES FROM THE SPACE STATION – A new documentary; directed by Clare Lewins

Monday, September 20

  • 9-1-1” – Season 5 premieres on Fox; executive produced by Angela Bassett, Kristen Reidel, and Alexis Martin Woodall
  • Dancing with the Stars” – Season 30 (yes, thirty!) premieres on ABC; executive produced by Tyra Banks, Ashley Edens, Madalyn Meyers
  • The Big Leap” – A new dance competition series premieres on Fox; executive produced by Liz Heldens and Sue Naegle
  • The Voice” – The 21st season premieres on NBC; executive produced by Audrey Morrissey, Kyra Thompson, and Amanda Zucker

Tuesday, September 21

  • New Amsterdam” – The medical drama’s fourth season premieres on NBC; executive produced by Kate Dennis
  • Our Kind of People” – The new drama series starring Yaya DaCosta premieres on Fox; executive produced by Claire Brown, Karin Gist, and Pamla Oas Williams
  • The Resident” – Season 5 debuts on Fox; executive produced by Amy Holden Jones and Elizabeth Klaviter

Wednesday, September 22

  • Alter Ego” – The new avatar-based reality singing competition debuts on Fox; executive produced by Matilda Zoltowski
  • A Million Little Things” – Season 4 premieres on ABC; executive produced by Dana Honor
  • Chicago Fire” – Season 10 premieres on NBC; executive produced by Danielle Claman Gelber and Andrea Newman
  • Chicago Med” – Season 7 premieres on NBC; executive produced by Diana Frolov and Danielle Claman Gelber
  • Chicago P.D.” – Season 9 premieres on NBC; executive produced by Danielle Claman Gelber
  • Home Economics” – The 2nd season of this family comedy premieres on ABC; executive produced by Kim Tannenbaum
  • The Conners” – Season 4 of the sitcom reboot premieres on ABC; executive produced by Sara Gilbert and Debby Wolfe
  • The Goldbergs” – Season 9 of the retro family comedy premieres on ABC; executive produced by Annette Sahakian Davis and Anne Mebane

Thursday, September 23

Friday, September 24

  • DEAR EVAN HANSEN – The Broadway hit adaptation; edited by Anne McCabe
  • Goliath” – Season 4 premieres on Prime Video; executive produced by Jennifer Ames
  • I’M YOUR MAN – A sci-fi romance; directed & written by Maria Schrader; written by Emma Braslavsky; produced by Lisa Blumenberg

Sunday, September 26

  • Bob’s Burgers” – Season 12 premieres on Fox; executive produced by Holly Schlesinger, Nora Smith, Lizzie Molyneux Logelin, and Wendy Molyneux
  • Family Guy” – The 20th season premieres on Fox; executive produced by Cherry Chevapravatdumrong and Kara Vallow
  • Supermarket Sweep” – The 2nd season of this reality reboot premieres on ABC; executive produced by Alycia Rossiter
  • The Great North” – The 2nd season of the animated comedy returns on Fox; executive produced by Minty Lewis, Lizzie Molyneux-Logelin, and Wendy Molyneux
  • The Rookie” – Season 4 debuts on ABC; executive produced by Michelle Chapman and Liz Friedlander
  • The Simpsons” – The 33rd season debuts on Fox; executive produced by Carolyn Omine

Monday, September 27

  • The Good Doctor” – The medical drama’s fourth season premieres on ABC; executive produced by Liz Friedman and Erin Gunn

Tuesday, September 28

  • Ada Twist, Scientist” – This animated children’s series debuts on Netflix; executive produced by WIF Board Member Chris Nee, Andrea Beaty, Tonia Davis, Priya Swaminathan, and Michelle Obama
  • La Brea” – The new sci-fi drama series premieres on NBC; executive produced by Naomi Cleaver and Rachel Kaplan

Thursday, September 30

  • Grey’s Anatomy” – Season 18 of the landmark hospital drama premieres on ABC; executive produced by Debbie Allen, Betsy Beers, Zoanne Clack, Meg Marinis, Stacy McKee, Marti Noxon, Joan Rater, Jeannine Renshaw, Shonda Rhimes, and Krista Vernoff
  • Station 19” – The firehouse-set “Grey’s” spinoff airs on ABC; executive produced by Betsy Beers, Stacy McKee, Ellen Pompeo, Shonda Rhimes, and Krista Vernoff

Interview: Really Love Director Angel Kristi Williams

August 25, 2021

Really Love, the new feature from director Angel Kristi Williams and co-writer Felicia Pride is a gorgeous evocation of the richness of Black love, culture, and urban life, via the story of Isaiah (Kofi Siriboe, “Queen Sugar”), a struggling artist, and the enchanting woman who changes his life, Stevie (Yootha Wong-Loi-Sing, THE PARADISE SUITE). Set in a gentrifying Washington, D.C., the film offers an incredible tapestry of music and art, from visual artists like Meleko Mokgosi and Chanel Compton to the songs of Ari Lennox and Kamasi Washington.

Read on for our interview with Williams, in which she discusses working with her director of photography on the color theory that informed the film’s palette, explains her process for connecting with her cast and crew on a story, and shares the Spotify playlist that kept her inspired during her creative journey.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.


WIF: You’ve shared that this story had been with you for a long time, since you were—I think—seventeen. What was it, exactly, that you were most interested in capturing in this story?

Angel Kristi Williams: Yeah, well, I mean, one thing that I’ll say is that Felicia brought this love story to me. But my first experience with love was at the age of 17. So, what was important to me when Felicia and I decided to collaborate was, I sort of grew into that process. I had to become comfortable with being vulnerable enough to allow my own experience with love to be a part of the story. And once I fully allowed that to happen, that’s when the film got financing, that’s when I found my actors. That’s when, you know, everything just began to fall into place. But, you know, I think artists tell very personal stories, [but] there’s a wall that—especially when it’s about love and heartbreak—you don’t want to, you know, sort of put your business on front street.

But I learned that not being willing to do that was blocking the film and my process. And so the film really broke me open in some of the best ways. I walked away from production feeling like a new woman. What was important to me is to just show, like, Black people living and breathing and working and creating. And there’s no trauma; they’re just tying the space that they’ve created for themselves, that they feel facing. That, for me, was the most important.

WIF: What sorts of things were you saying to your department heads to convey what you were hoping to get out of the final project—whether it’s with the colors or the lighting or the music and the sound? Because it is so rooted in a look and a certain feeling.

AKW: We use color theory. I’m forgetting—I’m blanking on the artist’s name, but it was this psychology of color that my cinematographer, Shawn Peters, shared with me very early on. And the ironic thing was that when I read it, and it describes just how different colors embody different emotions and how you can use color to embody different emotions. I was unconsciously choosing those colors, not really realizing what they represented. And then once he shared that with me, then that became sort of the the language; that created our color palette.

WIF: Your cast received a special jury award for performances at SXSW. Can you talk a little bit about what you think characterizes the way you direct actors? What’s your approach?

AKW: The way that I approach working with actors in this film, Really Love, it really raised my bar in that regard because, just the level of trust that we all had across the board. I mean, there was just so much trust. And I’d like to, you know, build the world for the character, like even outside of what’s in the screenplay. So I made playlists; I sent them history on D.C. And in the film, Steve is a Howard alum, so I wanted her to really understand what it meant to be a Howard grad and what it meant to live in the city and what the culture felt like and what it looked like and what the language sounded like. So, I was trying to just give them so much, so that they could dig in and create these full characters. And so for me, process is about everything, everything that happens before you even get to set. And those conversations, just about character and story, and what’s important, I think really gave them the freedom and also allowed them to trust me that what we ended up creating was something that feels—I hope it will feel full for people, and rich.

WIF: How long did you actually have with the actors before you started filming? Did you have an extensive rehearsal period, a getting-to-know-each-other period with all of the cast?

AKW: Oh no, not at all. I mean, Kofi was still in production on Queen Sugar. So a lot of that work, it would happen in between setup. He would call me, we would FaceTime while he was in New Orleans. I was in Baltimore. We would just talk about character. I would send him Spotify playlists that he could listen to. Those conversations kept growing and building. Every time we had a conversation, we would continue where we left off. With Yootha, my producers made it happen, that she could come a few days earlier. So, she actually came from Amsterdam—I don’t remember how many days, but it was enough for her to like, go to a go-go and to stay in an apartment and see… you know, she had never been in D.C.

And it was really important to me, for her to at least plant her feet in the city and see what it felt like and what it smelled life. It’s an independent film, so you know, they are doing these things because they want to do that extra work. Not because we had all these resources to make that happen. But they were just really passionate about the process and what they needed to embody the characters.

WIF: Do you tend to work with the same crews often? Where are you finding people that you work with?

AKW: Yes, I’ve definitely loved working with the same people over and over and over again, like my producer Mel Jones. [Director of Photography] Shawn Peters; we hadn’t worked together until this project, but he and I have a lot of mutual friends and I was an admirer of his work. But yes, I have so many collaborators in Baltimore. I have a collective of artists that are in Baltmore. But this project also introduced me to my composer, whom I’m never gonna let go; my costume designer; my head of makeup, Ngozi [Olandu Young]. I remember calling her and I was like, “I’m coming to Baltimore. This project has no money.” I asked her to recommend someone and she was like, “I’ll do it.” And was like, “What?” You know? And we went to high school together in Baltimore.

I think that, as artists, we spend so much time creating work that, I think if you can have community in [that] work, that it just makes the process so much better. And I think that process is more important than the product, you know what I mean? For me, just having a particular kind of collaborators is like, number one, supreme for me.

WIF: Let’s talk about the music in this film and how crucial it is. How exactly do you work with your music supervisor or with your composer? Are you bringing songs to them, saying, “I want this song in particular,” or, “I just want something to sound like this; this is the kind of sonic landscape I’m trying to create here”?

AKW: So, I love music. I listen to music all day long. It’s such a huge part of my process that the reason that the playlist even exists is because when Felicia and I were still working on the screenplay, I needed music to help me imagine the film. I was listening to different things to turn to that mindset. But also it’s hard for me not to imagine what things sound like. I was trying to sort of figure out, well, what type of music does he listen to? What type of music does she listen to? What types of music would they listen to together? And what’s his music sound like when they make love for the first time?

For me, all of those things were important. And so they were in the screenplay. And so, when my music supervision team came on board, I shared with them the playlist, which is now ten hours long, because it was growing over the course of two years. And I still, you know, listen to that playlist.

It’s funny, some of the music that was on that playlist is in the film. I heard it, like many, many years ago. And then, of course there were things like, “Angel, we can’t afford this. We don’t have the budget for this.” My music supervision team was amazing in that they listened to that playlist. They read the screenplay and we had conversations. So they also brought so much new music to me. I was like, this is a D.C. story. Like, let’s get some local artists in here, you know what I mean? So we got, you know, Ari Lennox, April + VISTA, and Oddisee. People who are making great, great music, but also just kind of embody what it means to be from this particular place. The music is like one of the things that I’m the most proud of.

WIF: What was the process of taking the script to market and pitching it to places like MACRO, who ultimately said, “Yes, there’s a home for this here.”

AKW: One of my other producers, Aaliyah Williams, she and I were friends. We met through a mutual friend when I first moved to L.A. And she, at the time, was COO of Digital at MACRO. She was the one who walked the screenplay into MACRO. I was on the set of my producer, Mel Jones, who had created and was directed a web series that MACRO was financing and producing. I was on her set, shadowing her, and Aaliyah and I just started chatting and she was like, “What are you working on?” I was like, “I think I’ve found the screenplay that I want to be my first feature.” And she was like, “Well, what is it about?”

I said, “You know, it’s Love Jones meets Blue Valentine set in D.C.” And she was like, “I need to read that.” It was December, and you know, in December, like around the 15th, L.A. shuts down, and nobody’s coming back until like, the second week in January. So I hesitated to send the screenplay, but that next morning was a Saturday. I said, “Angel, send her the look book and send her the screenplay.” Thinking, she’ll get to it when she gets to it.

And on Sunday morning I had a voicemail and an email and she said, “So, I wasn’t ready to read the screenplay, but I looked at the look book and it was so dope that I said, ‘Let me just read, like, the first ten pages.'” She said, “I read the first ten pages and I couldn’t stop.”

She said, “What are we doing? We need to make this now.” And so she gave the script to Stacey King, Charles King’s wife, and she read it and told him, “You have to read it.” After he read it, it took him, I think, about two months, which was the most excruciating two months of my life. And he read the screenplay and asked Felicia and I to come in and pitch it. I left that meeting feeling full and feeling like that story was in me at that point. And the next day, I get a call and they’re like, “We have Charles King for you.” He gets on the phone and he said, “Never before have I been so impressed with a filmmaker’s vision for a project, and I’ve met a lot of filmmakers.” He said that MACRO wanted to fully finance this film.

And then we started the journey, and we were in production a year later.

Shorts Night Details

WIF’s annual Shorts Night showcases our members’ best short content of the previous two years. Women filmmakers and filmmakers of underrepresented genders are invited to submit short narrative or documentary projects, 20 minutes of length or shorter. Projects chosen to screen will be notified by early January. The virtual event will feature the films followed by a Q&A with the creators, and will be open to the public.

Submissions must be directed and/or written by an active WIF Los Angeles member in good standing. Only active WIF Los Angeles members may submit the form. You can join WIF here.

Rules & Terms

  • Finished short films, 20 minutes or under
  • Completed between 2019 and 2021
  • Directed, written, and/or produced by an active WIF Los Angeles member in good standin
  • Submitted by an active WIF Los Angeles member in good standing
  • Link to full film included in submission form is required for consideration

* All videos will be compiled into a single QuickTime file for showcasing the night of the event. We will be collecting high-res video files from selected filmmakers once selections have been made.

Program Dates

  • September 23, 2021: Applications open
  • October 25, 2021: Applications close
  • Participants will be notified in early January 2022
  • January 12, 2022: Shorts Night event

For questions, please contact the WIF Programs Team at programs@wif.org.

Upcoming Events

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with our upcoming virtual events including Laptop Cinema Club, Conversations & Connections, the WIF Speaker Series, and more.

• October 13–14: Latino Media Fest, featuring WIF Director of Programs Maikiko James
• October 14: WIF Black Member Forum Networking Mixer
• October 28: From Your Nightmares to the Screen: New Female Voices in Horror
• Date TBD: Survivors in Community: Sexual Harassment Support Space

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Emerging Producers Program Launches

Click here for press release.

Congratulations to the participants of the first cohort of WIF’s Emerging Producers Program

The one-year course provides women and non-binary people, early in their producing careers, the information and entry points they need to advance. Through master classes, mentorship, and advising, participants will gain valuable insights into the fundamentals of creative and physical production, the various tracks producers can take, and how to start a successful independent business. Participants, who were selected by a jury of industry leaders and veteran producers, have experience in producing shorts, digital content, commercials, series, documentaries, and are focused on building careers across various producing tracks in both film and television.

Program Mentors—Jenn Asaro (VP, Physical Production Finance, Warner Bros.), Chelsea Barnard (Booksmart, If Beale Street Could Talk), Yolanda Cochran (SVP, Live-Action Long-Form Production, Nickelodeon & Awesomeness), Linda Goldstein Knowlton (We Are the Radical Monarchs, Code Black), Niija Kuykendall (EVP, Film Production, Warner Bros.), Monica Levinson (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, The Trial of the Chicago 7), Lyn Sisson-Talbert (Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, Bookmarks), and Jeanette Volturno (Partner & Co-Founder, Catchlight Studios)—in addition to a number of other advisors, will serve throughout the year to give advice and teach best practices as the participants embark on forming their LLCs and/or producing projects.

“In our work, we’ve seen a growing need for resources dedicated specifically to producers,” says WIF Director of Programs Maikiko James. “As we continue to make strides for gender parity in our industry, it’s critical to support underrepresented producers. This cohort represents extraordinary talent that we are committed to supporting in sustainable careers.”

This program is made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. It is also supported by eMinutes, which is waiving its fees for legal services including forming LLCs, for participants of the WIF Emerging Producers Program.

The Emerging Producers Program participants are:

Apoorva Charan is an L.A.-based producer who was born in India, raised in California, and started her career at FremantleMedia Singapore as a digital producer. Charan received her M.F.A. in Film from Columbia University and has produced over twenty short films including LONELY BLUE NIGHT, which won the Audience Award at AFI Fest 2020, was an official selection at the Atlanta Film Festival, was a finalist for the HBO APA Visionaries award, and is available to stream on HBO MAX; 空间 DISTANCE, which premiered at the 29th Singapore International Film Festival 2018, and won Film Pipeline’s Best Film Award 2020; and INTERIORS, which premiered at TIFF 2018 and was an official selection for Clermont-Ferrand 2019. Charan was a 2019 Project Involve Creative Producing fellow, a 2020 Film Independent Creative Producing Lab fellow, is an Executive Leadership mentee for the Salon’s inaugural class, and has worked in development at Big Beach, Walt Disney Studios, and Blue Harp. Her producing projects include GULAAB, a feature film which participated in the Open Doors Hub at Locarno in 2018, Film Independent’s Fast Track in 2020, and is a collaboration with Arte Germany; and “Horizon,” a series in development at Ivanhoe.

Lydia “Sue-Ellen” Chitunya is a filmmaker who hails from Zimbabwe. She is a 2019 Georgia State University “40 Under 40” honoree and a graduate of the UCLA Professional Producing Program. Her success as a short film producer was recognized with membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She is a Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation Fellowship award recipient. Chitunya has participated in various artist development programs including: Film Independent Producing Lab, WIF INSIGHT, 2019 Industry Academy, Rotterdam Lab, Film Independent’s Project Involve, and Berlinale Talents. Her varied work experience includes marketing for Disney College Program and programming for Zimbabwe, Atlanta, and Slamdance Film Festivals. She recently worked as a Post Production Coordinator on Marvel Studios’ AVENGERS: ENDGAME (2019) and BLACK PANTHER (2018).

Luz Agudelo Gipson, a Colombian native, attended Columbia College Chicago, where she received a B.A. in Film and Video. She is proud of her immigrant roots, which have allowed her to experience the U.S. through a different lens. Her works include several award-winning short films and countless commercials for many brands, most notably the “Obama for America” 2008 presidential campaign, which received the Titanium and Integrated Lions Grand Prix award at Cannes. Currently, she is a Senior Producer at the leading advertising agency FCB. She was a 2016 Film Independent Producing Lab fellow, a 2018 TFI Network fellow, and participated in WIF’s 2019 Film Financing and Strategy Intensive with the Spanish-language film GIRL WITH CHILD.

Vanessa Haroutunian (they/she) is a queer producer, artist, and curator. Haroutunian received their B.A. in Film & Electronic Arts from Bard College, where they were awarded the Jerome B. Hill Award for Documentary Excellence. Haroutunian recently produced the short film “Flourish”, directed by Heather María Ács, which won Best LGBTQ Short at the Big Apple Film Festival, and has screened at various festivals including Oscar-qualifying HollyShorts, OutFest Fusion, NewFest, London Shorts, and at BAM’s Programmers Notebook series. Haroutunian also produced the short film “Flock”, directed by Ariel Mahler, which is currently being developed into a feature with Haroutunian attached to produce. The feature screenplay of Flock was a finalist for Diverse Voices’ 2021 Screenwriting Lab. This year, Haroutunian teamed up with co-creators Daquisha Jones and Ariel Mahler to produce a special season of the web series Bad Ally: Quarantine Chronicles. Haroutunian is currently in post-production on a short film entitled “Blue”, directed by Tae Braun and HK Goldstein, starring two transgender leads that has been supported by InsideOut’s Re:Focus Fund. Haroutunian’s goal is to produce films that fill the gaps in the film industry, creating opportunities for diversity, inclusivity, and intersectionality in front of and behind the camera. 

Takara Joseph was born in the Virgin Islands and raised in Atlanta. She is a 2020 Film Independent Project Involve fellow and a Daytime Emmy-nominated producer and director of the 13-time Daytime Emmy-nominated series “Giants,” which originally premiered on Issa Rae’s YouTube channel, where it amassed over 6 million views. “Giants” is currently streaming exclusively on BET+. Praised for its authentic portrayal of the Black millennial experience, “Giants” has won Best Drama at the Streamys, the Indie Series Awards, and the International Academy of Web and Television Awards. She also created the series “Unapologetically Black,” which was an official selection for the Pan African Film Festival and the BronzeLens Film Festival. Most recently, she produced the short film JUNEBUG, which was an official selection for the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival, Pan African Film Festival, and American Black Film Festival. Takara recently signed on to produce her first documentary film, SOCIAL BEAUTY, chronicling how influencers are changing the standards of the mainstream beauty market. Her company, Silhouette Productions, is focused on telling impactful stories that explore the human experience and drive conversation.

Quan Lateef-Hill is a multi-hyphenate producer, filmmaker, and creator developing and producing multi-platform content in television, film, digital, podcast, live event, and experimental production. Throughout her 20-year career, Lateef-Hill’s award-winning body of work has included scripted and unscripted content and experiences with studios and networks such as Viacom/BET/Vh1, Quibi, New York Times, Discovery, NBC, PBS, Bravo TV, Issa Rae Presents, Refinery29, Doc Society, Tool of America, Phenomenon, Citizen Jones, AFROPUNK, BLACK GIRLS ROCK!, and others. She has produced and directed talent around the globe, including locations such as London, Paris, Johannesburg, and Brasil. Many of her roles have included development, packaging, pre- and post-production, staffing, impact strategy, talent booking, and management. Lateef-Hill formed Too Qute Productions in 2009 to produce and create projects that expand current perspectives of marginalized communities and focus on the narratives of women, youth, and people of color. Her goal is to inspire change and use storytelling to shift the global consciousness. Recently, she was an inaugural member of the 2019 Blackhouse Foundation/Independent Film Project (IFP) Multicultural Producers Fellowship, supported by HBO.

Sophie Luo is a producer and filmmaker. Her recent work includes campaigns and videos for TED’s Climate Countdown global initiative, Nike’s SNKRS app, a viral Desus and Mero collaboration with Timberland, and a collaboration with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Justice Democrats. Her short documentary CLOSING ANNISA, which follows acclaimed chef Anita Lo as she shutters her restaurant Annisa after 17 years in the West Village, recently played at Athena Film Festival, Seattle Asian American Film Festival, Omaha Film Festival, and Anchorage International Film Festival. She is currently developing her first feature. 

Alexandra Perez is a producer and production manager who has worked on content spanning television, film, digital, and commercial platforms. Her experience as both a studio production executive and freelance producer has given her unique expertise on projects of every format and budget. She began her production career as a Production Coordinator at Entertainment One before making her way to Blumhouse, as Manager of Production for TV. She transitioned to freelance production on the Blumhouse/Hulu anthology series “Into The Dark,” where she served as Production Supervisor across two seasons. Most recently she has produced commercials and branded content for clients including: BuzzFeed, Uproxx, Amazon Prime Video, Universal Music Group, Walmart, and FabFitFun. Originally from South Florida, she is a first-generation American who graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies before moving to Los Angeles in 2012.

Juliana Schatz Preston is a Colombian-American documentary film producer and director. Her directorial debut, LOS COMANDOS, was shortlisted for the 2019 Academy Awards and was a nominee for the 2018 International Documentary Award. Her short film, WAITING FOR TEARAH, premiered at the Double Exposure Film Festival and was supported by ITVS, FRONTLINE, Firelight Media, Type Investigations, and The Fund for Investigative Journalism. In 2020, Preston won the Silurians Press Club medallion for her Reveal & Type Investigations radio documentary about parents of children with severe mental illness being pressured to give up child custody. In 2018 she was nominated for a Livingston Award for Young Journalists for her film LOS COMANDOS. Preston started Complex World, a youth culture/current affairs documentary series that goes beyond the headlines with in-depth stories told through a pop-culture lens. Preston loves the opportunity to speak with students. She has been a guest speaker for students at Columbia University, York College (CUNY), and IRIS-In / Ghetto Film School, among others. Preston has an undergraduate degree from Northeastern University and attended the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She lives in New York with her husband and two young sons. 

Mentoring Program Details

Program Specifics

Mentees will be assigned to groups of up to eight within their field, generally led by two mentors, each with significant experience in that field. Circles are expected to have at least six group meetings within a twelve-month period. Dates and locations will be determined solely by mentors, and may continue to be virtual for the time being. It is the responsibility of the mentee to be available to attend meetings.

Peer Mentoring: For those who are not accepted to the program, we will offer an opportunity to self-select into peer mentoring circles run by peer mentors (alumnae of the Mentoring Program).

Requirements:

  • In order to be eligible for the Mentoring Program, you must be an active WIF member at the Associate/Creative Level or above. You can learn more about joining HERE.
  • You must be local to Los Angeles in order to participate.
  • You must have a clear career focus that you can articulate in your application.
    • Please note that mentoring circle placement is at the discretion of the WIF Programs Team.
  • There is no cost to eligible members for this application.

Dates

Applications open: Monday, August 9, 2021
Applications close: Tuesday, September 7, 2021
Applicants notified: Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Frequently Asked Questions

Is everyone who applies accepted into the program?

The Mentoring Program is one of our most popular projects, and we are not able to accept all who apply. We will accept 50–80 members (depending on mentor availability) in 2021. Accepted participants will have some experience in their field, and a clear vision of their career trajectory.

Will I receive my own mentor?

The WIF Mentoring Program uses the circle method where each group of eight (8) mentees meet with their two (2) mentors six (6) times over the course of a year. Although there are times when exceptions will be made for underrepresented career tracks, typically no one in the WIF Mentoring Program receives their own mentor.

How soon will I receive my mentor assignments after I am notified?

Mentors will be assigned, and correspondence between the mentors and mentees will begin, by the end of the calendar year.

Can I apply for multiple disciplines?

Yes, you can select any of the circles you feel are right for you and align with your specific career trajectory. Please note that the final determination of which circle to place you in is at the discretion of the WIF Programs Team.

What is a Statement of Interest?

This is your opportunity to tell us the things that we can’t learn from your résumé/bio. Who you are, what your journey has been, what your goals are, what type of help you need, and what type of mentors would be great for you. The format, and exact information included, varies from person to person, but should make clear to the reader your vision for your professional path within three pages or less. A good thing to keep in mind is that this a highly competitive application pool, and you should write your statement accordingly.

How many times do the mentoring circles meet?

Six times in twelve months.

What type of mentors will I get?

Typically, each circle will have two complementary mentors (e.g., one creative mentor and one business-side mentor) who are high-level industry professionals that can speak to the mentees’ discipline. This may vary for certain disciplines, particularly those that are currently underrepresented at WIF.

If I was in the Mentoring Program previously, can I reapply?

Your participation in a previous year of the Mentoring Program does not disqualify you for acceptance into this year’s program, but please note that the WIF Programs Team will prioritize those who have not yet experienced the program when making their final decisions. Should you wish to reapply, you should make it clear in your application that you are hoping to be placed in a different circle than you had been previously, with clear thoughts on why a second round would be beneficial to you.

Will my mentor read/refer my project?

Unfortunately, due to the restrictions placed on our mentors by the companies they currently work for, reviewing your projects for referrals, notes, placement, etc. is not something we are able to offer in this program. However, they may make requests at their own discretion.

For additional questions not covered on this page, please contact the WIF Programs Team at programs@wif.org.

Mental Health and THE REST OF US

June 3, 2021

Although Mental Health Awareness Month is observed in May, WIF is committed to spotlighting the filmmakers, scholars, activists, mental health providers, and projects that uplift this issue throughout the year. Recently, we had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Linda Mills, director of the new film THE REST OF US, which explores a mental health crisis on a university campus in the wake of 9/11 and a cluster of student suicides. Dr. Mills is the director of documentaries like AUF WIEDERSEHEN: ‘TIL WE MEET AGAIN and BETTER TO LIVE. The interview below has been edited for clarity and length.

WIF: Tell us about the genesis of THE REST OF US. You’re currently the executive director of NYU’s Center on Violence and Recovery: what were you seeing in your work that led you to tell these overlapping stories at this time?

Dr. Linda Mills: It became obvious to me that we were not talking about suicide prevention in ways that it needed to be. In particular, we were not talking about the stories of a diverse population who might be experiencing mental health [challenges]. And as we’ve seen in the last several years, there really has been an increase in vulnerability among new populations: African-Americans, Latinx… we’re starting to see an increase in suicidal ideation and attempts. And it was so important that we start to address these issues in popular culture so that people could see themselves inside these stories.

WIF: You bring up the fact that these issues are increasingly becoming apparent to us, the mental health challenges faced by communities that have not had a spotlight. There are some really brutal truths that are laid bare in this film and some tough issues that the audience has to confront along with the characters. For instance, we see students asking, “Hey, would we be having these campus-wide conversations about mental health if the only person who had died by suicide was Stayci, a young black woman?” What were the sorts of conversations that you were having with the writers as this film developed to say, “Okay, we need to foreground this. We need to put this front and center.”

LM: Yeah. So we brought together Ricardo [Pérez González], who was the co-writer with Laura [Moss], and is also somebody who does devising work. “Devising work” is where you bring together a group of experts, activists, people who have considerable experience in a particular area to start to test out what the story might be about. And so we use[d] devising sessions. We had several of them that Ricardo led where we talked about a particular issue of vulnerability, resilience, suicide prevention. We talked about an issue, even 9/11… What would a story look like that might address or try to address this issue? And so we used a diverse group of activists as well as mental health providers—including me—to try and think through, ok what would a story that tells a much more diverse pathway to thinking about mental health look like? And it was through those devising sessions that then, together with Ricardo and Laura, we worked collectively to create a much broader story about complex layers of mental health and how different groups might be affected differently.

WIF: The backdrop for this particular story, the story of confusion and fear and pain and trauma and loss, is the larger trauma of September 11, 2001. How do you see that framing at work in the narrative? What do you think it adds?

LM: What is obvious is that each generation has a particular way [of coping]. School shootings were very much defining [for] Generation Z. I wanted to take this large event because you don’t know exactly how it’s influencing people, but you know that it’s there in the zeitgeist… You don’t exactly know, is it racism? Is it 9/11? Is it the influence of COVID? We never know exactly and can never tie it back precisely, but those events very much influence the levels of trauma and resilience that students can sustain, or certainly the resilience they can find, but also the trauma they can and cannot sustain.

WIF: [THE REST OF US] was really effective in showing the incredibly complicated calculus to uncovering how people respond in any given moment. As you say: is it COVID-19, is it racism? Is it economic precarity? And rather than one thing, it’s this potent cocktail of all of these things at once.

LM: And let me say one other thing, then there is also the personal vulnerability, and that’s what we were trying to capture: the combination of things, which is how somebody comes to the world. And Maddie’s case with her grandmother, who was always smiling and died under these very confusing circumstances, you know, so it’s both the personal, but it’s also this, as you described it, this lurking of what’s going on in the larger culture, and how does that influence people differently? Yeah.

WIF: One of the quietest and most devastating scenes in the film comes when Maddie’s parents come to collect her things from the dorm room that she shared with Amy, and her mother asks the Dean,”Did she talk to anyone?” And the Dean says no, she never reached out to any faculty members or staff at the university. And her mother says, did anyone reach out to her? It’s such a crucial reminder of the things that we owe each other. Can you talk about scenes like that in the script that particularly resonated with you?

LM: Yeah, there were so many… the parents became, in a sense, this wonderful mechanism by which we could illuminate exactly what you’re talking about, which is these moments of our responsibility to reach out to each other and how we just miss them. So part of the film was really to highlight those opportunities for people to see, “Wow, just a small reach across the divide can go a long way.” And I think that institutions have to come to realize, just as the Dean says: I’m a person, I’m not an institution, and this affects me. And so the question is, how do we do better at the institutional level to personalize? And that really has to be a collective action. That has to be that each of us both feel that sense of responsibility at the individual level, but also at the collective level.

And so you start to see universities, colleges, high schools, where there have been contagions, where you start to see the ways in which you build out peer and other programs, to be sure that when you see that vulnerability, it is each of our responsibility to do whatever we can to make sure that if somebody feels that sense of responsibility, and isn’t talking about it, isn’t even asking necessarily, but in this quiet way, you see the signs. And those are the moments in the film that I feel are the most important and the most effective.

WIF: So what would you say to the viewer who recognizes, “Yes, I want to do better. I want to not be purely reactive when a traumatic event like this happens or when I see someone struggling. I want to be more connected. I want that communication to have more substance.” But because they themselves are not a mental health professional, they feel that they don’t have the tools.

LM: I certainly hope that nobody’s walking away from the film thinking that their obligation is to somehow save someone. So, so much of this is building a network of support so that if you happen to be on that front line, all you have to do is create the bridge. There has to be a depth of mental health support that comes in to help everybody feel as though the expertise is there. And it’s really important to understand the difference between the peer support that is so crucial and can be so frontline on the one hand, and on the other hand, not to put further burdens on young people who themselves might be struggling. So that’s the trick. There has to be this direct line between them and the mental health providers who are so essential for providing the kinds of in-depth work that is necessary to be able to resolve a mental health crisis.

WIF: Can you talk about how you create an atmosphere on set where your cast can really safely explore the incredibly challenging feelings that are going to arrive in the course of telling this story? How do you draw out the performances you need? How are you ensuring the mental health and safety of your cast?

LM: We did several days of training first with the crew, so that the crew understood the complexity of what we were facing. And there was a kind of bootcamp associated with the film because it was part of Stockade Works’ initial efforts to try to train people in the film industry. We were sort of dealing with a lot of levels here. One, we were dealing with young professionals in the film industry, and two, we were dealing with really sensitive material. So we did several sessions around what does it mean to be part of [this] effort which we are going to have to explore on set in the rehearsals. By the way, it was 110 degrees. I mean, it was a very low budget film, very difficult circumstances. And so we also were dealing with kind of the physicality of it. But all that is to say, you have to prepare first.

WIF: What sort of advice would you give to other directors to lay the groundwork of doing this kind of preparation with crew for taking care of their teams? 

LM: I would say a couple things. I really worked to cast using as much of my mental health expertise as anything, because I knew that we were going into very challenging territory. So I think that if you’re doing a mental health film that you really need full consultation with a team of people, frankly—I mean, I draw on my own therapeutic expertise, but I didn’t do it alone. I drew on friends and colleagues who had this expertise to make sure that every scene was ultimately delivered in a way that was sensitive to the issues. 

[If] you think that you’re tackling material that really could go to a moment when we’re all struggling with that vulnerability, it’s really important to at least have on speed dial and consultation, mental health support. I think we need to take that very seriously and I think we need to take it very seriously in the film industry.  

WIF: How long was this the shooting process and then the editing process for the film?

LM: I want to say it was 20 days or something. We did a few pickups afterwards, but it was I think it was no more than three weeks. Wow. The editing: a year and a half. That’s what happens in a low budget film. You have to work with what you have. The editing was so necessary and why it took so long; finding the right music and finding the right sentiment and making sure as best as one could that we weren’t in any way advancing or romanticizing suicide. And that really was the highest priority.

WIF: Okay. So last question: where do you see THE REST OF US fitting into the ecosystem of your other films? How do you position specifically the impact filmmaking that you do?

LM: I was really seeking to tell this story in a way that I didn’t think documentary film could. And that’s despite the fact that I’ve done a number of documentary films, from my own personal family story to seeking out the stories of others. So I really felt like if we were going to represent the complex things that we needed to capture, from 9/11 to racism in the system, and the outcomes of mental health, that all of those things had to be well-represented in the film. And the only way you could do that was the liberty of using a narrative approach. So all that is to say it clearly is designed to, from my point of view, to capture a story that one couldn’t really tell in a documentary format.

My goal was to elevate suicide prevention. So how do you do that in a documentary? It’s much, much more difficult because you also have to stay true to what the subjects are telling you, right? And sometimes they tell, they might share with you something that would run counter to what was really this goal of making sure that this was a film about “the rest of us,” those who were left behind. That was the complex array. That was the idea of the narrative feature rather than going in the documentary route. It just offered a kind of freedom that I felt. It was so necessary to telling an authentic story that did not do harm.

Directed by Dr. Linda G. Mills, artist, author, scholar and Executive Director of NYU’s Center on Violence and Recovery, THE REST OF US is available now on demand across most platforms.

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