Speaker Series

Next Event: Women In Hollywood Reinventing Themselves

The entertainment business is a high-octane pressure cooker always testing our talent and stamina, and female success is never an easy, straight line. Most of us have spent some time holding our career ladder in space – either we got laid off or opted-out of a toxic situation – or we leaned-in to parenting or caregiving. At some point, we found ourselves at home. But now is not the time to retreat. The only way we are going to reach gender parity is to get back in the game AND create a pipeline of smart and capable women in film. This panel will help you kickstart your next move…

This panel will help you kickstart your next move…..


Moderator – Film & TV Producer, Author

Deborah Jelin Newmyer has been a careerist for over forty years, collecting W-2s and paying taxes at eleven different jobs. Whenever she is asked, Deborah lists her occupations as Film & TV Producer and Single Mom. Deborah spent more than a decade of her career scouting and developing films such as Jurassic Park, The Color Purple, and Schindler’s List, as well as the Amblin television series Amazing Stories and ER. In 2006, Deborah took over the reins of Outlaw Productions from her late husband, Bobby Newmyer, and is currently a freelance producer credited with The Ugly Truth, the NBC series, The Sing-Off, and The Good Lie. Since the birth of her first of four children, Deb has been juggling work, family and adventure. Deb’s had high-powered jobs that came with corner offices and a view, but she also put together an entire TV series in a converted garage. She’s been a productive force in a mom & pop family business, and had been given a comfy seat in the corporate boardroom. She’s been the boss and been bossed.  She’s fired some and been fired herself. She’s been underpaid and handily-paid. Deborah knows she was blessed with kind and healthy children,  a productive career,  and a generally happy life, yet all her expectations had to seismically pivot when her husband–Bobby Newmyer –suddenly passed away at age 49,  a decade ago.  A new template for her life had to be found.

Onward…somehow. Their re-configured family moved houses, got a puppy, Deb kept working, and some kids went off to college. They laughed, cried and carried on. Through the years Deb’s juggling has improved, and – miraculously – their holiday cards still find their way to a mailbox before Christmas.




CEO & Co Founder iRelaunch

Established in 2007, iRelaunch is the pioneering company in the career reentry space. iRelaunch runs career reentry conferences and events for employers and individuals returning to work after a career break, and also works directly with over 30 blue chip companies to create career reentry programs to engage with the return-to-work pool. Carol wrote the seminal Harvard BusinessReview article “The 40-Year-Old Intern about mid-career internships and is a regular HBR contributor. Her TED talk on relaunching careers has been viewed over 1.5 million times and translated into 29 languages. Carol is the co-author, along with Vivian Steir Rabin, of the career reentry strategy book Back on the Career Track, long referred to as the “Bible of Career Reentry.” Carol’s return to work at Bain Capital after 11 years out of the full-time workforce is documented in a Harvard Business School case study. Carol was named to the 2017 Thinkers 50 Radar list of 30 leading management thinkers. She is a finalist for the 2017 Thinkers50Distinguished Achievement Awards in the “Talent” category, and she received the 2017 “Enterprising Woman Award” from the Women’s Enterprise Development Center. iRelaunch is a finalist for the 2017 MassTLC Build a Better Workforce Award. Carol is a graduate of Pomona College and Harvard Business School. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts and has four grown children.



SVP, Original Movies & Miniseries, Lifetime

Tanya Lopez was named Senior Vice President, Original Movies and Miniseries, of Lifetime in 2007.  Based in Los Angeles, she is responsible for developing and overseeing all original movies, miniseries and limited series for Lifetime, the number one cable network for original movies among all of the key demographics.  Other notable movies launched under Lopez’s leadership are Steel Magnolias, the Emmy nominated Ring of Fire, Drew Peterson: Untouchable, and Call Me Crazy: A Five Film, a critically-acclaimed anthology of five short films with interwoven stories about mental illness from executive producers Jennifer Aniston, Marta Kauffman, Kristin Hahn, Kevin Chinoy and Francesca Silvestri, and starring Jennifer Hudson, Melissa Leo, Octavia Spencer, Sarah Hyland, Jason Ritter and Melanie Griffith. Lopez joined Lifetime from ICM, where she was a television packaging agent from 1987 to 2006. Prior to ICM, she was Vice President of Drama Series at CBS from 1995 to 1996, when she oversaw such programs as American Gothic, Nash Bridges and The Client.  Lopez began her career at William Morris. Lopez is also very dedicated to community service.  In 1982, she helped found “One Voice,” a Los Angeles non-profit organization devoted to helping families, living at the poverty level, maintain their independence.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from California State University at Northridge.




Christine Swanson earned her MFA in Film from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and was selected by its faculty as the Willard T.C. Johnson Fellow, the most prestigious fellowship given to the student who has achieved high standards in his or her work. CNN identified Christine as one of the most promising filmmakers to emerge from NYU’s graduate film program since Martin Scorsese, Ang Lee, Oliver Stone and Spike Lee (Christine’s NYU directing teacher). Christine earned a BA degree in Communications and Japanese from the University of Notre Dame.

Christine has developed, written and/or directed movie projects for HBO Films, Magnolia Pictures, State Street Pictures, TV One and Faith Filmworks. Christine received a 2015 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Directing in a Television Motion Picture for For the Love of Ruth. She also directed three original cable movie premieres for TV One entitled, To Hell and Back starring Ernie Hudson and Vanessa Bell Calloway, For the Love of Ruth starring Denise Boutte, Loretta Devine, Gary Dourdan and James Pickens, Jr. and the TV One record breaking biopic Love Under New Management: The Miki Howard Story starring Teyonah Parris, Darius McCrary and Gary Dourdan.

Other award-winning projects Christine has written and/or directed in her career include: Two Seasons (winner HBO Short Film Competition, Sundance selection), All About You starring Renée Elise Goldsberry, Terron Brooks and Debbie Allen (winner Audience Choice Award Chicago International Film Festival, Grand Jury Prize Hollywood Black Film Festival, Festival Award at the Pan African Film Festival and the Film of the Year Award at The Santa Barbara African Heritage Film Series); All About Us starring Boris Kodjoe, Ryan Bathe and Ruby Dee (invited to the prestigious Heartland Film Festival, The Chicago International Film Festival and the Cannes Festival du Film Panafricain); and Woman Thou Art Loosed starring Kimberly Elise and Loretta Devine (Santa Barbara International Film Festival and Blockbuster Audience Award for Best Feature Film at the American Black Film Festival).

Christine is also a professor for the University of Georgia’s MFA Screenwriting Program and an advisor to the Film and Television program at the University of Notre Dame, her alma mater. Christine resides in Los Angeles with her husband, Michael, and their children.



Executive Chairwoman EKO

Nancy Tellem is the chief media officer and executive chairwoman of Eko, a start-up focused on interactive music videos. Prior to Eko, Nancy was the onetime Entertainment and Digital Media President of Microsoft, and the former President of CBS Television Studios where she oversaw programming, development, production, business affairs, and networks operations. Tellem was the second woman in TV history to hold the top entertainment post at a major broadcast network. She was named the third most powerful woman in entertainment in 2003 by the Hollywood Reporter.


Monday, 10/23. Doors at 7 PM
West Hollywood Library

(WIF Members, be sure to log in for your free ticket)


This event 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 WeHo Arts program. For more information, please visit www.weho.org/arts or follow via social media @WeHoArts.

The Women In Film Speaker Series features filmmakers and industry leaders across many areas of entertainment who share valuable professional insights into the art and craft of film, television, and media-making. Past events have included experts in production, entertainment law, pitching, digital funding and crowdsourcing, screenwriting, and many more. Speaker Series events also always provide Members and guests time to network and learn more about who’s in the room. The Speakers Series is generally held monthly on the last Monday of the month. It is co-sponsored by the West Hollywood Women’s Advisory Board. Please visit our calendar or sign up for our newsletter to find out about the next event!



2017 Speaker Series

January – Women In Film Shorts Night: SECRETS & DISCOVERIES
CRUSH (Rosie Westhoff)
EVERYBODY DOES IT (Megan Brotherton)
NODAL (Linda Dahlem)
TATTOO YOU (Lisa Kenner Grissom)
THE GIRLS I KNOW… GET THEIR HANDS DIRTY (Lauren Ciaravalli & Victoria Vaughn)
WASTE (Justine Raczkiewicz)

February – Navigating the Landscape in the New Golden Age of Television
Stephanie Allain, Executive Producer, “Dear White People,” “Crushed”; Women In Film BOD
Davah Avena, Writer/Producer “East Los Angeles,” “Devious Maids,” and “Daytime Divas”
Amy Israel, SVP Original Programming, Showtime Networks
Nancy Schreiber, Prolific, award-winning cinematographer
Moderated by Kirsten Schaffer, Women In Film Executive Director

March – Tales from the Trenches
Joan Harrison, Head of Scripted Development, Asylum
Iris Grossman, Talent Manager, Echo Park Entertainment
Ilene Kahn Power, Former Vice President of HBO Films
Moderated by Lucy Webb, Producer, Writer, Actress & Comedian

April – Special “I Love Dick” Screening and Panel
Jill Soloway, Creator of “I Love Dick”
Sarah Gubbins, Creator of “I Love Dick”
Kevin Bacon, Star of “I Love Dick”
Moderated by Kirsten Schaffer, Women In Film Executive Director

May – Building a Truly Inclusive Media Culture
Tchaiko Omawale (Writer/Director/Producer, SOLACE)
Gina Reyes (Story House Entertainment)
Negin Salmasi (Writer/Director/Producer)
Roya Rastegar (LA Film Festival, Director of Programming)

June – 2017 Mini Upfronts Recap Screening

Pecado Original – Jean Lee
No Light and No Land Anywhere – Amber Sealey
Crowns – Halee Bernard
Pathways – Florencia Krochik
5th Passenger – Morgan Lariah
#iAmThatBoy – Lagueria Davis
Or Die Trying – Chelsea London Lloyd
Kimi Hanna Fashionista Ninja – Ren Hanami
California’s Forgotten Children – Melody C. Miller
Mixed – Aris Mendoza
On the Market – Cameran Surles
Dark Arts – Bao Xiong
Shiner – Gabriela Gonzalez
Surviving Me: The Nine Circles of Sophie – Leah Yananton
The Do-Over – Jennifer Mangan
Somebody’s Mother – Mandy Fabian
Battery Park – Annunziata Gianzero
2 Self Help Books Away From Being Perfect – Kimberly Young
A Whole New Irving – Alexandra Komisaruk
Proud of Me – Adrianne Richards and Mandy Fabien
Everything but a Man – Nnegest Likké
Stretched – Zoe Quist

July – PR and Marketing: Insight to Navigating your Project for Success

ANDREA CHUNG, Independent Film Producer and Film Executive
MICHELLE CZERNIN von CHUDENITZ MORIZN, Founding Partner, Popular Press Media Group (PPMG)
PAMELA RODI – Creative Director, Rodi Marketing & Strategic Marketing Consultant
LISE ROMANOFF, Managing Director / CEO of Vision Films, Inc

Leah Gordon. International Marketing & Media Consultant


2016 Speaker Series

January – Member Shorts Night : Truer Words


“The Haircut,” directed by Alexis Korycinski
“Kimi Kabuki,” directed by Yoko Okumura
“Muted,” directed by Rachel Goldberg
“Stealth,” written by Melissa Hoppe and directed by Bennett Lasseter
“Wayward,” directed by Kira Richards Hansen and produced by Pelle Folmer

Curated by Morgan Green and Ashley Chrisman

February – The Directors’ Panel 
Lake Bell (In a World, Children’s Hospital)
Nisha Ganatra (Transparent, Chutney Popcorn)
Jennifer Phang (Advantageous) 
Moderated by Effie T. Brown (Dear White People, Real Women Have Curves) 

March – Music in Television 
Colleen Fitzpatrick, Vice President of Music at Nickelodeon, Kids & Family
Frankie Pine, Music Supervisor (Army Wives, Magic Mike, The Newsroom)
Alicen Schneider, SVP NBCUniversal Television Music Division
Moderated by Thomas Golubić, Music Supervisor (The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Six Feet Under)

April – Good Rep 
Tara Kole (Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown)
Jennifer Levine (Untitled Entertainment)
Chelsea Radler (CAA)
Dana Sims (ICM)
Jonathan Howard ( Thor, The Dark World)
Moderated by renowned entertainment attorney, Nina Shaw (Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano)

May – Diversity In Practice  
Grace Borrero Moss (Manager of Entertainment Diversity Initiatives, NBC Entertainment)
Brett King (Vice President, Creative Programming, Diversity & Inclusion for Sony Pictures)
Gina Reyes (Director, Creative, Fox Audience Strategy)
Heather Washington (Manager, Emerging Writers Program, NBCUniversal).
Moderated by Ellen Huang, Director, EEO & Diversity at SAG AFTRA

June- No Speaker Series 

July – New Trends in Distribution
Sumyi Antonson (VP of Marketing & Distribution, Drafthouse Films)
Danielle DiGiacomo (VP of Acquisitions,The Orchard)
Sean Flanagan (Marketing and Sales Manager, Quiver)
Grace Royer (Independent Film Group, UTA)
Laura Lewis (Film Finance Agent, CAA)

August – Perfect Pitch
STEPHANIE ALLAIN – Producer, Homegrown Pictures; Director, LA Film Festival
NAKETHA MATTOCKS – VP Original Movies, Disney Channels Worldwide
TANYA LOPEZ – Senior Vice President, Original Movies, Lifetime

September – VR Pioneers
ALETHEA AVRAMIS, Producer – Specular Theory
NANCY BENNETT, Chief Creative Officer and General Manager of Virtual Reality – Two Bit Circus
KIMBERLY COOPER, Founder & CEO – Prologue Immersive
CATHERINE DAY, Head of Unscripted – Jaunt
EVETTE VARGAS, CEO, Writer, Director, Multiplatform Storyteller – Digital Reign Productions
LOUISA APRING, VR Consultant and Head of Industry Relations / Interim COO Innerspace VR

OCTOBER — Clearing the Hurdle
LAKE BELL (director, IN A WORLD)
MICHELLE SATTER, Founding Director of Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program

NOVEMBER– Producing 101
Deniese Davis (“The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl”)
Kelly Thomas (SPA NIGHT)
Giulia Caruso (SPA NIGHT)
Ashley Chrisman, Independent Producer/Women In Film Staff


2015 Speaker Series

June – What Film Festival Programmers Want
Jacqueline Lyanga of AFI
Roya Rastegar of Los Angeles Film Festival
Kim Yutani of Sundance
Lucy Mukerjee Brown of Outfest

July – Perfect Pitch
Deborah Liebling, President of Ben Stiller’s company Red Hour Films
Amy Baer, CEO of Gidden Media
Stephanie Allain, Director of the LA Film Festival and producer of Beyond the Lights and Boyz n the Hood
Naketha Mattocks, VP of Original Movies at Disney Channels Worldwide

August – The TV Market

Shelby Stone, producer of HBO’s Bessie
Sasha Alexander, actor on hit TV show Rizzoli and Isles
Sandra Stern, COO of Lionsgate TV
Donna Pennestri, Associate Publisher of Variety
Moderated by Sharon Lawrence

September – The Business of Digital
Ronit Cohn, Fullscreen Director of Talent Relations & Marketing
Laura Fischer, Yahoo Originals Head of Production
Tamara Krinsky, Pemberley Digital Co-Producer, Writer & Story Editor
Robyn Marshall, Awesomeness Films Executive
Brittany Turner, Adaptive Studios VP, Digital Video

October –  Facts & Figures: Exploring the Data on Inequality in Film
Stacy L. Smith, Ph.D., Director of the Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative – USC Annenberg
Adriana Alberghetti, Partner – WME
Maria Bello, Actor, Activist Author and Producer
Michael De Luca, Producer

November – Inclusion On Screen: Casting for Today’s Audiences
Sharon Bialy, (The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad)
Sarah Halley Finn (Crash, Iron Man, Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy)
Vickie Thomas, (Straight Outta Compton, The Hateful Eight, D’Jango Unchained)
Gary M. Zuckerbrod (Pulp Fiction, Cold Case, Rizzoli & Isles)


Highlights from 2014 include:

Emily Best: Crowdfunding to Build Independence, Seed&Spark
Joanna Colbert: Producer & Casting Director
Dara Marks: Script Consultant, How To Write Your Best Story
Gita Pullapilly: Case Study on Financing for the Indie Film, BENEATH THE HARVEST SKY
Elsa Ramo of RLaw, PC: How To Legally Protect Yourself When You Create, Produce, & Exploit


Thank you

WeHo Arts aqua_closed