The first annual Women In Film Members Create Mini Upfronts was held on Friday, January 13th, at the William Morris Endeavor screening room in Beverly Hills. We had over 90 attendees, including executives from Lionsgate, NBCUniversal, Fox, CBS, OWN, STX, WME, CAA, UTA, and Gersh.
The event was Executive Produced by Women In Film members Lagueria Davis and Jennifer Mangan.
At the event, 23 WiF members screened their trailers, with a networking reception immediately following. Projects were either feature films, television pilots, digital, or documentaries.
Several executives have had very positive reactions to the projects. Adrian Ward of Pacific Mercantile Bank called the trailers “quality of the highest standard.” He has invited each of the filmmakers to speak with him about funding and sales opportunities to be found through PMB. We will keep you updated on this and other opportunities as projects move forward.
The Mini Upfronts began when Lagueria pitched the idea at the WIF Members Create meeting, and Jennifer immediately jumped on board. A new event was born! Over the next six months, they worked together to create selection criteria, opened up submissions to WIF members–they received over 100 within the month!–secured 15 industry judges from both studio and independent companies, including people within development, acquisitions, casting, marketing, finance, and international operations. There were two rounds of judging, leading up to the semi-finals and then the finals. The top 23 trailers were screened at the Mini Upfronts. Communication with everyone was key throughout the entire process.
While the judging took place, Jennifer and Lagueria got to work securing sponsors and creating the event program. Our sponsors included Final Draft, Don Francisco Coffee, Macadamia Hair Products,Trojan, Luna Bars, True Talent Management, and Chapman University Entertainment Legal Services.
While working on these avenues, they partnered with Larry Laboe of New Filmmakers Los Angeles, who helped secure the event space and food/beverage sponsors for the reception.
Women In Film President Cathy Schulman said of the event, “Nothing makes me happier than watching members of Women In Film utilize our community and support to create extraordinary work. Jennifer and Lagueria conceived of and executed the mini upfronts, and the program will now become a permanent part of Women In Film’s commitment to supporting diverse women in media.” Jennifer and Lagueria look forward to working with Cathy and other WIF members to make the Mini Upfronts an annual event.