Family Ties

By Meghana Mudiyam

My motto for how I was going to approach work as a new mom was, “different, not less than.” However, I was wrong. If anything, it’s better! I’m a better artist (nothing like a child to keep you playful and present), better professional (why, hello, time management skills I never knew I had), and better collaborator (if you can be empathetic through a toddler melting down for GIVING him the toy he just asked for, you can handle any team). I wish I could go back and tell myself this at the early stages of my pregnancy because, at the time, an unpleasant experience had me almost convinced otherwise.

A manager I was planning to sign with rescinded her offer when I mentioned my husband and I were trying for a baby, calling my desire to be a mother a “red flag.” I was devastated. When I became pregnant, besides the strangest craving for cheese, the feeling I felt most strongly was fear. I was deeply afraid about the implications for my career. Thankfully, other women in the industry were incredibly supportive and encouraging. I found countless examples of women who were rocking both their careers and their roles as moms, which showed me that it was absolutely possible. Sadly, though, even amongst them, stories of unsupportive teams, perceptions, and structures were common. Directly or indirectly, the story being told far too often was that being a parent was career limiting. It’s time for a new story.

As we all know, knowledge and community are powerful antidotes to fear and misinformation, and one of the best things we can do is start a conversation that empowers parents and parents-to-be. I am so grateful that WIF was interested in working with me to make this conversation a reality, and while there is more to talk about than can be covered in one evening, I believe this is a really important first step.

Being a parent does change everything, and I would be remiss to sugarcoat the fact that being a working mom can be hard. Really, really hard. But it’s true what they say—the most rewarding things often are, and my baby is one of the greatest gifts in my life. While everyone’s situation is unique and there are a number of factors to consider in deciding to start a family, whether or not one can still have a thriving career should NOT be one of them.

Join WIF on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 for an informative and validating session on how to survive and thrive as a parent in the entertainment industry. We’ll be joined by a panel that includes showrunner Erin Cardillo and actor/Moms In Film leader Jennica Schwartzman to discuss how to manage your career while taking care of your family.

About Meghana Mudiyam

Meghana Mudiyam is an actress, writer, and serial fish-out-of-water. Originally from Huntington Beach, she moved to Bangalore, India to begin her acting career, where she was the lead of several Kannada-language films. While in India, she observed firsthand how changing global dynamics were impacting local markets, and interest in learning more brought her back to the U.S. At the Lauder Institute and the Wharton School, Mudiyam earned a dual Master’s in international studies and business administration, her thesis comparing the drivers of domestic and international success of Indian, French, and Spanish films. Now based in L.A., Mudiyam is back to her first loves of acting and writing. Her diverse experiences have shown her how beautifully and similarly messy and hilarious we can all be at our core, and she loves exploring that theme in her work. Mudiyam also serves on the National Asian Pacific American Media Committee for SAG-AFTRA.

The WIF Speaker Series is co-sponsored by the City of West Hollywood and the West Hollywood Women’s Advisory Board. It is also presented with the support of the City of West Hollywood’s WeHoArts Program. For more information, please visit www.weho.org/arts or follow via social media @WeHoArts.

Now Streaming:Make it Work!

Watch WIF Presents: Make It Work!—a one-hour variety special combining music, comedy, and fun celebrity guests—exploring the issues and solutions for getting women back to work. The special benefits WIF’s Hire Her Back campaign, calling for industry-wide action to rebuild a workforce that hires women and people of color equitably as we recover from the COVID-19 crisis. Now streaming on The CW app and at CWtv.com.

WIF Awards Retrospective

Entrepreneur in Entertainment Award

This award celebrates the ongoing achievements of an individual whose work nurtures the advancement of their female collaborators. Integral to the conscientiousness of the recipient’s professional endeavors are principles accordant with the mission of WIF. Just as their creative output is shaping the landscape of high-quality stories and entertainment, their influence is benefiting the conversation about gender parity in our industry.

  • 2019 – Amy Poehler

Emerging Entrepreneur Award

This award honors a promising talent in the fields of film, television, and/or digital media, whose professional pursuits are resulting in progress for the next generation of talented women. Its recipient has demonstrated a foundation for her career comprising of accomplishments marrying creative achievements and business acumen.

  • 2019 – Issa Rae

WIF Members’ Choice Award

This is an opportunity for WIF L.A. members at all levels to participate in the recognition of a singular talented woman making her mark on the entertainment landscape. As a response to the oversight of female directors in almost every major awards show earlier in the 2019 season, the award’s inaugural focus was women directors whose narrative features had a U.S. theatrical release in 2018.

  • 2019 – Anne Fletcher (Dumplin’), Debra Granik (Leave No Trace), Marielle Heller (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Mimi Leder (On the Basis of Sex), Chloe Zhao (The Rider)

Crystal Award for Advocacy in Entertainment

This reenvisioning of the iconic Crystal Award is a clarification of the award’s identity, continuing the tradition of celebrating those who, through their success, are creating increased opportunities for the advancement of women working throughout the screen industries: in front of and behind the camera.

  • 2019 – Cathy Schulman

Crystal Award Retrospective

Established in 1977 to honor outstanding individuals who, through their endurance and the excellence of their work, have helped to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry.

  • 2018 – Brie Larson
  • 2017 – Elizabeth Banks
  • 2016 – Denise Di Novi, Lianne Halfon, Lynda Obst, Jane Rosenthal, Paula Wagner and including former Crystal Honorees Lauren Shuler Donner, Lucy Fisher, Paula Weinstein
  • 2015 – Nicole Kidman
  • 2014 – Cate Blanchett
  • 2013 – Laura Linney
  • 2012 – Viola Davis
  • 2011 – Annette Bening
  • 2010 – Donna Langley
  • 2009 – Jennifer Aniston
  • 2008 – Diane English & The Ensemble Cast of The Women
  • 2007 – Renée Zellweger
  • 2006 – Lauren Shuler Donner, Jennifer Lopez, Diane Warren
  • 2005 – Sandra Bullock & Gesine Prado, Jamie Foxx, Jaime Rucker King & Nina Shaw
  • 2004 – Gwyneth Paltrow
  • 2003 – Debra Hill, Nina Jacobson, Diane Lane
  • 2002 – Halle Berry, Laura Ziskin
  • 2001 – Glenn Close, Whoopi Goldberg, Amy Pascal, Juliet Taylor
  • 2000 – Barbara Boyle, Jessica Lange, Nikki Rocco
  • 1999 – Drew Barrymore, Amy Heckerling, Marcia Nasatir, Paula Weinstein
  • 1998 – Lucy Fisher, Gale Anne Hurd, Meryl Streep
  • 1997 – Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, Bette Midler
  • 1996 – Angela Bassett, Jodie Foster, Audrey Hepburn (posthumously), Anjelica Huston, Buffy Shutt, Kathy Jones
  • 1995 – Kathleen Kennedy, Meg Ryan, Sharon Stone, Alfre Woodard
  • 1994 – Nora Ephron, Polly Platt, Joan Plowright, Susan Sarandon
  • 1993 – Julie Andrews, Kay Koplovitz, Michelle Pfeiffer
  • 1992 – Maya Angelou, Diahann Carroll, Martha Coolidge, Lily Tomlin
  • 1991 – Ruby Dee, Penny Marshall, Jessica Tandy
  • 1990 – Marcy Carsey, Jean Firstenberg, Lee Remick
  • 1989 – Dawn Steel, Susan Stratton, Fay Wray
  • 1988 – Suzanne De Passe, lee Grant, Loretta Young
  • 1987 – Dorothy Jenkins, Renee Valente, Ann-Margret
  • 1986 – Marilyn Bergman, Marion Dougherty, Sally Field
  • 1985 – Lina Wertmüller, Meta Wilde, Elizabeth Taylor
  • 1984 – Mary Tyler Moore, Brianne Murphy (ASC), Barbra Streisand
  • 1983 – Margaret Booth, Bette Davis, Ruth Gordon
  • 1982 – Dede Allen, Jay Presson Allen, Cicely Tyson, Hannah Weinstein
  • 1981 – Verna Fields, Jane Fonda, Sherry Lansing
  • 1980 – Carol Burnett, Fay Kanin, Kathleen Nolan
  • 1979 – Lillian Gish, Barbara Schultz, Ethel Winant
  • 1978 – Lillian Gallo, Pauline Kael, Shirley MacLaine
  • 1977 – Lucille Ball, Nancy Malone, Eleanor Perry, Norma Zarky

Lucy Award Retrospective

This award for innovation in television was established to pay tribute to the great star, comedienne, producer, director, studio owner, and creator—Lucille Ball. The Award is given annually to talented individuals who exemplify the extraordinary accomplishments embodied in the life and work of Lucille Ball.

  • 2018 – Channing Dungey
  • 2017 – Tracee Ellis Ross
  • 2016 – Taraji P. Henson
  • 2015 – Jill Soloway
  • 2014 – Kerry Washington
  • 2013 – The Women of “Mad Men”: Christina Hendricks, January Jones, Elisabeth Moss, Jessica Paré, Kiernan Shipka
  • 2012 – Bonnie Hammer
  • 2011 – Nina Tassler
  • 2010 – Courteney Cox
  • 2009 – Holly Hunter
  • 2008 – Salma Hayek
  • 2007 – Shonda Rhimes and the Women of “Grey’s Anatomy”
  • 2006 – Geena Davis
  • 2005 – Debra Messing & Megan Mullally
  • 2004 – Blythe Danner
  • 2003 – Gail Berman-Masters, Stockard Channing, Sheila Nevins, Lily Tomlin
  • 2002 – Rosie O’Donnell, Anne Sweeney, Tyne Daly & Amy Brenneman
  • 2000 – Marcy Carsey, Phillis Diller, HBO’s “If These Walls Could Talk” and “If These Walls Could Talk 2” (Creators and Cast: Jane Anderson, Cher, Ellen DeGeneres, Anne Heche, I. Marlene King, Susan Nanus, Nancy Savoca, Sharon Stone, Suzanne Todd, Jennifer Todd, Michelle Williams)
  • 1999 – Normal Lear & Bud Yorkin, Camryn Manheim, HBO’s “Sex and the City” (Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon)
  • 1998 – Diahann Carroll, Kay Koplovitz, Barbara Walters, Shari Lewis (posthumously)
  • 1997 – Carol Burnett, Roseanne, Jean MacCurdy
  • 1996 – Garry Marshall, Marlo Thomas, Angela Lansbury, Madelyn Pugh Davis
  • 1995 – Tracey Ullman, Elizabeth Montgomery (posthumously), Imogene Coca, Fred Silverman, Brianne Murphy
  • 1994 – Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, Gary David Goldberg, Susan Lucci

MaxMara Face of the Future Award® Retrospective

Each year, MaxMara presents this award to an actress who is experiencing a turning point in her career through her work in the film and television industries, through her contributions to the community at large, in recognition of her outstanding achievements, and her embodiment of style and grace.

  • 2019 – Elizabeth Debicki
  • 2018 – Alexandra Shipp
  • 2017 – Zoey Deutch
  • 2016 – Natalie Dormer
  • 2015 – Kate Mara
  • 2014 – Rose Byrne
  • 2013 – Hailee Steinfeld
  • 2012 – Chloë Grace Moretz
  • 2011 – Katie Holmes
  • 2010 – Zoë Saldana
  • 2009 – Elizabeth Banks
  • 2008 – Ginnifer Goodwin
  • 2007 – Emily Blunt
  • 2006 – Maria Bello

Bruce Paltrow Award Retrospective

The Paltrow Mentorship Award, in honor of the late director and great mentor Bruce Paltrow, is awarded to an entertainment industry professional, who in the course of their career, has shown an extraordinary commitment to mentoring and supporting the next generation of filmmakers and executives.

  • 2015 – Sue Kroll
  • 2008 – Sherry Lansing
  • 2007 – Kathleen Kennedy

Dorothy Arzner Directors Award® Retrospective

Dorothy Arzner was the first woman member of the Directors Guild of America. This award was established in her honor to recognize the important role women directors play in both film and television.

  • 2017 – Mira Nair
  • 2016 – Lesli Linka Glatter
  • 2015 – Ava DuVernay
  • 2014 – Jennifer Lee
  • 2013 – Sofia Coppola
  • 2011 – Pamela Fryman
  • 2010 – Lisa Cholodenko
  • 2009 – Catherine Hardwicke
  • 2007 – Nancy Meyers
  • 2006 – Joey Lauren Adams, Lian Lunson, Nicole Holofcener
  • 2003 – Debbie Allen
  • 2001 – Betty Thomas
  • 2000 – Mimi Leder
  • 1993 – Barbara Kopple

Sue Mengers Award Retrospective

The Sue Mengers Award, named for the legendary agent and given for the first time in 2015, is presented to a representative who is, and has been, instrumental in guiding careers. Sue Mengers was an icon in the entertainment industry. She was one of the most influential talent agents of her time, when women were not the norm, and she was devoted to her clients.

  • 2016 – Hylda Queally
  • 2015 – Toni Howard

Kodak Vision Award Retrospective

Crystal + Lucy Awards®

  • 2013 – Rachel Morrison
  • 2012 – Anette Haellmigk
  • 2011 – Reed Morano
  • 2010 – Cynthia Pusheck
  • 2009 – Petra Korner
  • 2008 – Mandy Walker
  • 2007 – Uta Briesewitz
  • 2006 – Maryse Alberti
  • 2005 – Tami Reiker
  • 2003 – Pauline Heaton
  • 2002 – Carolyn Chen

Crystal Awards

  • 2001 – Amy Vincent
  • 2000 – Lisa Rinzler
  • 1998 – Sandi Sissel
  • 1997 – Nancy Schreiber
  • 1996 – Roxanne Di Santo

Lucy Awards

  • 2000 – Joan Churchill
  • 1998 – Liz Ziegler
  • 1997 – Judy Irola
  • 1996 – Linda Brown

Norma Zarky Humanitarian Award Retrospective

  • 2017 – Dan Rather
  • 2014 – Eva Longoria
  • 2013 – George Lucas
  • 2012 – Christina Applegate
  • 2011 – Dame Elizabeth Taylor (posthumously)
  • 2008 – Jeffrey Katzenberg
  • 2002 – David Foster & Linda Thompson
  • 2001 – Pierce Brosnan & Keely Shaye Smith
  • 2000 – Pauletta & Denzel Washington
  • 1999 – Ted Turner
  • 1998 – Tichi Wilkerson Kassel
  • 1997 – Michele Singer-Reiner & Rob Reiner
  • 1996 – Jane Alexander
  • 1994 – Danny Glover
  • 1993 – Mike Farrell
  • 1992 – Lilly Tartikoff
  • 1991 – Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams
  • 1990 – Gary David Goldberg
  • 1989 – Edward James Olmos
  • 1988 – Stacey & Henry Winkler
  • 1987 – Valerie Harper & Dennis Weaver
  • 1986 – Quincy Jones
  • 1985 – Jean Stapleton
  • 1983 – Carmen Zapata
  • 1981 – Gene Reynolds
  • 1979 – Gareth Wigan

Press Releases

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sheryl Crow to Join The CW Network’s Broadcast of “Women In Film Presents: Make it Work!” (08/2020)

WIF Announces the Hire Her Back Initiative Urging Equity in Hiring as the Screen Industries Return to Production (06/2020)

The Black List and WIF Announce Participants for 2020 Feature Residency (06/2020)

WIF, ReFrame, and IMDbPro Launch Curbside Shorts—Two-Minute Filmmaking Challenge to Connect and Support the Creative Community During the COVID-19 Crisis; Support Provided by MPA for COVID-19 Relief (05/2020)

WIF Announces 34th Annual Film Finishing Fund Recipients (03/2020)

WIF Announces INSIGHT Fellows for 2020; The Program Supports Women of Color Filmmakers (03/2020)

WIF and Max Mara Announce Gemma Chan as the Recipient of the 2002 WIF Max Mara Face of the Future Award® (02/2020)

ReFrame and IMDbPro Award a Record 26 ReFrame Stamp Recipients from the Top 100 Grossing Films of 2019 (02/2020)

WIF L.A. Adds Four New Members to the 2020 Board of Directors (01/2020)

13th Annual WIF Oscar® Party Celebration Honoring the 2020 Female Oscar Nominees (01/2020)

Delta Air Lines Expanding Diverse Entertainment Through Industry-first ReFrame Partnership (01/2020)

ReFrame Rise Announces the 34 Leading Industry Executives Serving as Sponsors for its Inaugural Directors Program Created to Address the Ongoing Underrepresentation of Women in Top Film Directing Jobs (10/2019)

The Black List and WIF Announce Participants and Mentors for 2019 Episodic Program (10/2019)

WIF Hosting Inaugural Showcase of Film Finishing Fund Recipients as Part of Stella Artois Grant Program (09/2019)

WIF Sexual Harassment Help Line to Expand Services to New York State (08/2019)

WIF and Pepperdine University Partner on Entrepreneurial Pathways, a New Initiative to Improve Funding for Women-Led Businesses in the Screen Industries (06/2019)

July 29: Summerland

Join WIF and the writer/director of SUMMERLAND, Jessica Swale, in conversation with lead actors Gemma Arterton and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, moderated by journalist Rebecca Sun. The film follows a reclusive writer resigned to a solitary life, until she’s called upon to adopt a young London evacuee during World War II.
Click here to RSVP.

August 6: The Women of Late Night with Seth Meyers

We are lucky enough to have five “Late Night with Seth Meyers” writers to discuss their careers in comedy, how and when career intersects with identity, and current events. Please join us for this fascinating conversation with Amber Ruffin, Jenny Hagel, Allison Hord, Dina Gusovsky, and Karen Chee; moderated by Variety‘s Jenelle Riley.
Click here to RSVP.

July 14: Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story

Join us for a discussion with creator/showrunner Alexandra Cunningham and executive producer Jessica Rhoades of “Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story.” This series spans the ‘60s to the ’80s through the breakdown of a marriage that Oprah deemed one of “America’s messiest divorces,” before it ended in a double homicide. Click here to RSVP.

July 16: The Old Guard

Join us for a conversation on Facebook Live with Netflix’s THE OLD GUARD director, ReFrame Ambassador Gina Prince-Bythewood, moderated by Vulture writer Angelica Jade Bastién. Based on the acclaimed graphic novel, this film brings Charlize Theron back in action. Click here to RSVP.

Sundance Institute Resources for Antiracism Work

Our friends at Sundance Institute have compiled a list of resources that support antiracism work. With their permission, we are publishing this, and encourage you to consult their list of “organizations that accept donations of money or time, mental health offerings geared towards Black individuals, reading and viewing lists for self-education, and resources for becoming a stronger ally.”