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Lauren Gunderson Tops American Theatre’s Most-Produced Playwrights List
22 September 2017 2:01 PM, PDT
Lauren Gunderson: careergirls/YouTube
“I and You” scribe Lauren Gunderson is the most-produced playwright in the United States, American Theatre confirms. The publication has put out the 2017–2018 edition of its annual ranking and Gunderson is at the top of the list with 27 plays. This is her third consecutive year on the list. 2016–2017 saw her at №2, bested only by August Wilson, and she was №8 on the 2015–16 edition.
“This is a breathtaking landmark for me, because it is a testament to long-standing friendships and creative partnerships throughout our diverse and inspiring national theater community,” Gunderson told American Theatre. “I hope this is another encouraging and motivating moment for women in theater as well. Stories by and about women can and must be produced across the country to complete the deep generational narrative that our art form so uniquely puts forth. Stories by and about women aren’t just for women but for all of us.”
Gunderson is a screenwriter and author as well as a playwright. Her plays include the “Pride and Prejudice”-inspired “Miss Bennet,” romantic epic “Emilie: La Marquise du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight,” and “Ada and the Engine,” a biographical work about trailblazing mathematician Ada Lovelace.
The other women on American Theatre’s list are Lisa Kron (“Fun Home”), Dominique Morisseau (“Detroit ‘67”), Quiara Alegría Hudes (“In the Heights”), Kate Hamill (“Sense and Sensibility”), and Lorraine Hansberry (“Raisin in the Sun”). The details of their rankings are below. List adapted from American Theatre.
1. Lauren Gunderson: 27
(including 8 co-writing credits)
4. Lisa Kron: 15
(including 13 co-writing credits)
5. Dominique Morisseau: 15
8. Quiara Alegría Hudes: 10
(including 5 co-writing credits)
14. Kate Hamill: 9
18. Lorraine Hansberry: 8
Lauren Gunderson Tops American Theatre’s Most-Produced Playwrights List was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Rachel Montpelier
“Being Mary Jane” Showrunner Erica Shelton Kodish Inks Overall Deal with CBS TV Studios
22 September 2017 1:01 PM, PDT
Erica Shelton Kodish is heading back to CBS. The “Good Wife” alumna has signed a multi-year overall deal with CBS TV Studios after serving as showrunner on the fourth season of Bet’s “Being Mary Jane.” The writer-producer’s new post will see her “developing new television projects for broadcast, cable, and streaming services,” according to Hollywood’s Black Renaissance.
After kicking off her career as a story editor for “Cold Case,” Kodish moved her way up to writing and co-producing the crime series. Her other writing and producing credits include “Covert Affairs” and “Hawthorne.”
“Getting my writing career off the ground seemed insurmountable,” Kodish has said. “After graduate school a professor told me to expect it to take five to eight years to launch your career. It took every bit of that. I wanted desperately to be in a television writing room and I couldn’t even seem to land a writing assistant position. It was very difficult because others seemed to be having a much easier time of it. But I’ve learned in this business, it does you no good to compare yourself to others. None. In the end, it didn’t really matter that it took me a little longer to get there. What matters is that I persevered. Yes, there were some who got there faster. There were others who took a lot longer, too. In hindsight, I noticed that the only people who didn’t eventually break through were the ones that gave up.”
When asked what advice she’d give to women of color pursuing a writing career, she emphasized, “It takes a village. For me, it was a patchwork of African-American writers, a tight group of women writers, women of color, and a couple key mentors who made it possible for me to have a writing career. For a Woc the challenges are steep. That’s the reason it’s important to have a network of people with whom to discuss these challenges. This group made it possible for me to persist when I was full of self-doubt or just dealing with the everyday challenges of the business.”
“Being Mary Jane” Showrunner Erica Shelton Kodish Inks Overall Deal with CBS TV Studios was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
Playwright Lauren Yee Wins the Kesselring Prize
22 September 2017 12:01 PM, PDT
Yee: Goodman Theatre/YouTube
Lauren Yee’s adding another highlight to her 2017 reel. Earlier this year the playwright debuted “In a Word” Off Broadway to rave reviews, and now she’s been named as the winner of the National Arts Club’s 2017 Kesselring Prize. The honor, given in recognition of an emerging playwright, includes $25,000 and a two-week residency at the club, The New York Times reports.
“In a Word” follows the aftermath of a child’s disappearance. Yee’s other credits include “Ching Chong Chinaman,” a portrait of a Chinese-American immigrant family, and comedy “The Hatmaker’s Wife.” Up next for the playwright is “The Great Leap,” which, according to the source, “follows an American basketball team traveling to Beijing in the 1980s, and will come to the Atlantic Theater Company in May.” The play made the 2017 Kilroys List, as did Yee’s “Cambodian Rock Band,” a daughter-father story. The list recognizes new works by female playwrights. All of the 37 plays selected this year were written by non-white, female-identifying scribes.
“I was someone who always wanted to be a writer,” Yee has said. “It was not until high school that I stumbled into playwriting. I love dialogue. I love how language hits the ear. And I think it was this love of hearing words out loud that pushed me into theater in particular.”
The Kesselring Prize will be presented to Yee at the National Arts Club on November 5.
Playwright Lauren Yee Wins the Kesselring Prize was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
Dan Harmon Calls Out Misogynist “Rick and Morty” Fans
22 September 2017 11:01 AM, PDT
“Rick and Morty” co-creator Dan Harmon has been known to speak his mind — he has a history of Dgaf tirades in person and on Twitter. Harmon recently delivered another impressive rant to Entertainment Weekly, and this time he was venting his frustrations about the sexist online backlash to the newly gender-balanced writing staff on “Rick and Morty.”
Harmon spoke with EW about the online harassment writers Jane Becker and Jessica Gao were forced to deal with after writing the episodes “Rickmancing the Stone” and “Pickle Rick.” “These knobs, that want to protect the content they think they own — and somehow combine that with their need to be proud of something they have, which is often only their race or gender,” Harmon said of the sexist fans. “It’s offensive to me as someone who was born male and white, and still works way harder than them, that there’s some white male [fan out there] trying to further some creepy agenda by ‘protecting’ my work.”
The “Community” creator mentioned that, while he was expecting some sort of negative reaction after welcoming women into the writers’ room, he hates the misogyny that the hiring changes have inspired. “I was familiar going into the third season, having talked to Felicia Day, that any high-profile women get doxxed, they get harassed, they get threatened, they get slandered. And part of it is a testosterone-based subculture patting themselves on the back for trolling these women,” he said. “I think it’s all disgusting.”
While it’s a relief to know that Harmon has his writers’ backs, he seemed to underestimate the prevalence of racism and sexism outside of particularly hateful online enclaves. “I’ve made no bones about the fact that I loathe these people. It fucking sucks,” he prefaced. “And the only thing I can say is if you’re lucky enough to make a show that is really good that people like, that means some bad people are going to like it too. You can’t just insist that everybody who watches your show get their head on straight … And I’m speaking for myself — I don’t want the show to have a political stance. But at the same time, individually, these [harassers] aren’t politicians and don’t represent politics. They represent some shit that I probably believed when I was 15.”
Unfortunately for all of us, many of these “knobs” do represent politics. You only have to look to the Oval Office and the events of Charlottesville to see that plenty of people push their creepy, white male agenda in the real world. They don’t just exist on “Rick and Morty” Reddit threads.
Harmon served as showrunner on the NBC comedy “Community” for the series’ first three seasons before being fired. He returned as co-showrunner for the fifth and sixth seasons. After the show’s much-maligned, Harmon-less fourth season, Harmon took to his podcast in 2013 to draw an unpleasant, pretty sexist comparison between his former series and rape. “It’s exciting. There’s something awesome about being held down and watching your family get raped on a beach,” he said. “It’s liberating. It makes you focus on what’s important.” He also likened watching the fourth season to “flipping through Instagram and watching your girlfriend just blow everyone.” After making the comments, Harmon penned an apology on Tumblr.
He’s not the first person to make a rape joke and definitely won’t be the last, but at least Harmon seems to have grown throughout the past four years. Flawed as they are, his recent remarks to EW and willingness to go to bat for “Rick and Morty’s” women writers are proof of that.
Dan Harmon Calls Out Misogynist “Rick and Morty” Fans was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Rachel Montpelier
Trailer Watch: A Writer Announces Her Plan to Commit Suicide and Seeks an Heir in “Maya Dardel”
22 September 2017 10:01 AM, PDT
Academy Award nominee Lena Olin plays an internationally renowned poet and novelist busy orchestrating one helluva plot twist in her own life in Magdalena Zyzak and Zachary Cotler’s “Maya Dardel.” “My work is in decline. I see no need to birth a few more mediocre books,” says Maya (Olin) in a new trailer for the film. But rather than quietly retire, she’s decided to take a more radical approach to dealing with the issue: she announces on National Public Radio that she plans to kill herself.
Maya explains, “I don’t have any family so I’m going to need an heir and executor. I want young but professional writers of poetry and the guy I pick gets my house, and my archive, and my publishing rights when I’m gone.”
The men vying for the role “are challenged intellectually, emotionally, erotically, until one of them begins to fathom Maya’s end game,” the film’s official synopsis hints.
“You’re never going to kill yourself. You just wanted attention,” one of the wannabe heirs accuses Maya.
“Maya Dardel” marks Zyzak and Cotler’s directorial debuts. The pair also penned the script for the drama, which made its world premiere at SXSW this year. The film opens in NY and La on October 27 with additional cities to follow.
Trailer Watch: A Writer Announces Her Plan to Commit Suicide and Seeks an Heir in “Maya Dardel” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
Apply Now for Fork Films’ Documentary Grants
22 September 2017 9:01 AM, PDT
Abigail Disney, documentary filmmaker and CEO and President of Fork Films: Wgbh News/YouTube
Documentary filmmakers, take note: Fork Films’ annual open call for doc grant applications is here. The New York-based production company will accept applications via an online submission form from now until October 10, 2017 at 11:59 pm Est.
Feature-length non-fiction films in development, production, and post-production are eligible for grants. “We seek films that promote peacebuilding, human rights, and social justice with a particular emphasis on projects that bring women’s voices to the forefront and foster a culture of understanding,” a press release announcing the grants explains.
According to Fork Films’ website, awarded grants generally range from $10,000 to $50,000. Proposals for fiction films, docu-dramas, series, student projects, and outreach campaigns will not be considered. Applicants must be 18 years old or older. Grants will be awarded in April of 2018.
Founded in 2007 by CEO and President Abigail Disney, director of “Armor of Light,” and Chief Creative Officer Gini Reticker, Fork Films has supported nearly 90 documentaries. The most recent batch of projects to receive funding include Aideen Kane, Lucy Kennedy, and Maeve O’Boyle’s “11 A Day,” an exploration of abortion in Ireland, and “Same God,” Linda Midget’s look into the controversial firing of a black, female professor at Wheaton College who suggested that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.
For more application instructions and guidelines, head over to Fork Films. Questions about the application process can be directed to the org’s Director of Grantmaking, Kat Vecchio, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Apply Now for Fork Films’ Documentary Grants was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
Doctor Comedy Being Developed at NBC, Sugar Lyn Beard to Star
22 September 2017 8:01 AM, PDT
Sugar Lyn Beard is stepping into scrubs. The “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” actress is set to star in a new comedy series about a female doctor that’s being developed by NBC, Deadline reports. The project hails from Beard, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (“Preacher,” “This Is the End”), and Sony Pictures TV.
The untitled half-hour show follows Dr. Olivia Boudreau (Beard). Described as a “35-year-old hard-charging Doogie Howser-style prodigy,” Olivia’s life gets turned upside down when “she has a complete breakdown in the operating room and loses her medical license,” the source summarizes. She resorts to moving in with her “estranged hippy mom and her mom’s two best friends, who team up to help get her back on her feet, while teaching her all the life lessons she missed by going to med school.”
Beard, whose acting credits include “Sausage Party,” “50/50,” and “Weeds,” penned the script alongside Guy Endore-Kaiser (“Comedy Central Roast of James Franco”). Both will serve as executive producers.
CBS also has a woman-penned comedy about a female doctor in the works: Lisa Parsons’ “Love/Sick,” which is based on the South Korean series “Emergency Couple.”
Viewers will be saying goodbye to Dr. Mindy Lahiri, TV’s most beloved gynecologist, later this year. The sixth and final season of Mindy Kaling’s “The Mindy Project” debuted on Hulu earlier this month.
Doctor Comedy Being Developed at NBC, Sugar Lyn Beard to Star was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
Susanna Nicchiarelli’s “Nico, 1988” Acquired by Magnolia Pictures
22 September 2017 7:01 AM, PDT
Susanna Nicchiarelli’s award-winning drama about Christa Päffgen, better known as Nico, has secured distribution. Deadline reports that Magnolia Pictures snagged the U.S. rights to “Nico, 1988” and is planning a theatrical release for sometime in 2018. Trine Dyrholm (“The Commune”) portrays the Danish multi-hyphenate, who is best known for providing vocals on the Velvet Underground’s debut album, being a muse to Andy Warhol, and acting in Warhol’s “Chelsea Girls” and Federico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita.” She was also a musician and songwriter.
“Nico, 1988” takes an atypical approach to telling Nico’s story. Rather than depict the glamorous height of her fame, the film “centers on the final two years of Nico’s life in 1987 and 1988, approaching 50 and living a solitary life in Manchester,” the source summarizes. “Her manager Richard (John Gordon Sinclair) convinces her to hit the road again and tour Europe to promote her latest album. Struggling with her demons and the consequences of a muddled life, she longs to rebuild a relationship with her son, whose custody she lost long ago.”
The biopic won the Horizons competition at this year’s Venice Film Festival.
Nicchiarelli’s previous credits include “Cosmonaut” and “Esca viva.”
You can check out a trailer for “Nico, 1988” below.
Susanna Nicchiarelli’s “Nico, 1988” Acquired by Magnolia Pictures was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
TV Adaptation of “I Mom So Hard” Web Series Coming to CBS
21 September 2017 2:01 PM, PDT
We approve so hard. The Hollywood Reporter writes that Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedley’s popular web series “I Mom So Hard” is on its way to CBS as a multi-cam comedy. The “sizable pilot production commitment” will see series’ creators Hensley and Smedley topline the new show and write it with Michelle Nader (“2 Broke Girls”). Rob Thomas (“Veronica Mars”) is set to executive produce alongside Danielle Stokdyk and Dan Etheridge.
Launched in spring 2016, “I Mom So Hard” features comedians and friends Hensley (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) and Smedley (“Literally So Busy”) riffing on their kids, husbands, and the sometimes-absurd minutiae that goes into being a mother who is also a person. The expense of children’s princess costumes, fitting exercise into a packed schedule, and the horrors of the holidays are all topics Hensley and Smedley have covered in bite-sized episodes.
The duo are also taking “I Mom So Hard” on the road. Their “Mom’s Night Out: Summer Break Tour” kicks off October 10 in Kitchener, Ontario.
A female-led comedy is past due at CBS. The network made headlines this spring when it unveiled its sausage party of a fall 2017 lineup and when CEO Les Moonves shrugged off the criticism, saying, “The best pilots went at the end of the day and we think our track record is Ok.”
You can watch “I Mom So Hard” videos on the series’ website or on YouTube. Check out a recent ep, “I Princess So Hard,” below.
TV Adaptation of “I Mom So Hard” Web Series Coming to CBS was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Rachel Montpelier
Trailer Watch: A Woman Grapples with Trauma in Jessica M. Thompson’s “Light of the Moon”
21 September 2017 1:01 PM, PDT
“How about you let me decide how I feel?” Bonnie (Stephanie Beatriz, “Brooklyn Nine- Nine”), a rape survivor, tells her boyfriend Matt (Michael Stahl-David, “Narcos”) in the trailer for “The Light of the Moon.” Bonnie has been trying to get her life back on track but finds herself unable to move on. Her frustration boils over when Matt misguidedly tries to comfort her by saying he doesn’t expect her to “get better” immediately. “Oh my god, get better?” Bonnie scoffs.
“The Light of the Moon,” which marks Jessica M. Thompson’s feature directorial debut, doesn’t depict a simple road to recovery. Bonnie initially wants to keep the assault a secret and act as if nothing happened. However, it’s not long before Bonnie realizes that her life has permanently changed — if “getting better” is even possible, it won’t be an easy, straightforward process.
“It is not a stereotypical courtroom drama, or an unbelievable rape revenge fantasy; it is an intimate and realistic portrayal of the first six weeks after a serious trauma and the struggles of one woman,” Thompson said of the film in an interview with us. “I wanted to create a raw and realistic portrayal of trauma and recovery, which is told solely from the victim’s perspective. I was sick of seeing assault overused in mainstream media — usually by male writers — as a mere plot device and it was not explored in an honest and real way. Hopefully, this film will help change that and encourage a more open dialogue about an issue that affects more than one in five women.”
“The Light of the Moon” took home the Narrative Feature Audience Award at SXSW this year. The film hits theaters November 1.
Trailer Watch: A Woman Grapples with Trauma in Jessica M. Thompson’s “Light of the Moon” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Rachel Montpelier
Jessica Williams to Star in Showtime Series
21 September 2017 12:31 PM, PDT
Jessica Williams’ star continues to ascend. Last month brought news that the “Daily Show” alumna’s podcast with Phoebe Robinson, “2 Dope Queens,” is being adapted by HBO, and now comes word that Williams is set to star in a new Showtime series. Deadline broke the story.
The comedy series, which the network scored “in a competitive situation,” sees Williams re-teaming with frequent collaborator Jim Strouse, who directed her in features “The Incredible Jessica James” and “People Places Things.” The pair will write and exec produce the as-yet untitled project that follows an aspiring science fiction writer (Williams) who lives in Brooklyn.
Williams made history as the youngest correspondent to ever join “The Daily Show.” She left the late-night series to pursue other projects in 2014. Her other credits include “Girls” and “Just for Kicks.”
“I’m turning down roles that don’t feel like they add to society,” Williams has said. “I don’t want it to feel like I’m doing something that’s really offensive that sets women back or sets black women back. If I feel that it sets women or black women back, it’s offensive to other people, I want no part of it.”
Jessica Williams to Star in Showtime Series was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
Diablo Cody Signs Overall Deal With Warner Bros. TV
21 September 2017 12:01 PM, PDT
Cody: Dp/30: The Oral History Of Hollywood/ YouTube
Diablo Cody is taking the next step in her relationship with Warner Bros. Television. The Oscar-winning “Juno” screenwriter has signed a multi-year overall deal with the studio, The Hollywood Reporter confirms. She recently worked with them on an ABC comedy pilot, “Raised by Wolves.” Unfortunately, the U.S. adaptation of Caitlin Moran and Caroline Moran’s UK series of the same name didn’t get a series pickup. The new pact will see her creating and developing new projects for Warner Bros.
Cody created Showtime’s Toni Collette-starrer “United States of Tara” and co-created Tig Notaro’s semi-autobiographical Amazon series “One Mississippi.” The former aired from 2009–2011, and the sophomore season of the latter series dropped on September 8. Her feature writing credits include “Ricki and the Flash,” “Young Adult,” and “Jennifer’s Body.” She made her directorial debut with 2013’s “Paradise.”
“I’m perhaps alone amongst my colleagues because I like talking about women’s issues in film, and feminism,” Cody said back in 2013, before inequality on-screen and behind-the-scenes was being discussed as openly and frequently as it is today. “I think a lot of women don’t like to do that. It’s usually, ‘Can we please turn the conversation back to my work?’ For me, it’s an important part of who I am.” She explained, “I feel like so much of the reaction to my work and to me is connected to the fact that I’m a woman, so I can’t avoid that conversation. A part of my career is that I am a woman and I’ve committed myself to writing roles for women. I cannot separate myself from that and say, ‘Oh, can we please just talk about my work?’ That is my work.”
Diablo Cody Signs Overall Deal With Warner Bros. TV was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
Kate Winslet’s Lee Miller Biopic Secures Financing and Distribution
21 September 2017 11:01 AM, PDT
Winslet in “Wonder Wheel”
Kate Winslet has been attached to play American war photographer Lee Miller since 2015, and yesterday marked a major step forward for the project. According to Deadline, Entertainment One snagged worldwide rights for the biopic, and will both finance and distribute the film.
Miller began her career as a model in New York. She later became an artist who collaborated with Picasso before finding her way to photography. She served as a correspondent for Vogue, where she published photos documenting the events and effects of WWII, including the London Blitz and concentration camps. Miller suffered from Ptsd when she returned home.
The drama is based on “The Lives of Lee Miller,” a biography written by Miller’s son, Antony Penrose. Penrose has given producers — including Winslet —full access to Miller’s original photographs and diaries. Neither a screenwriter nor a director has been named.
This role could very well lead to Winslet’s eighth Oscar nomination. She won in 2009 for “The Reader,” where she played a woman who served as a guard at a Nazi concentration camp.
Jennifer Lawrence is also set to play a photojournalist on the big screen. The “mother!” star will portray Lynsey Addario in an adaptation of the her best-selling memoir “It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War.”
Winslet was recently announced as the recipient of SAG-aftra Foundation’s Actors Inspiration Award, an honor that pays tribute to artists for their career achievements and charitable work. Her latest pic, “The Mountain Between Us,” hits theaters October 6. The drama centers on two strangers who survive a plane crash but are left stranded on a remote, snow-covered mountain.
Kate Winslet’s Lee Miller Biopic Secures Financing and Distribution was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
Women’s Media Summit Issues White Paper & IDs Strategies for Fighting Gender Inequality
21 September 2017 10:01 AM, PDT
Nearly six months after its inaugural meeting, the Women’s Media Summit has unveiled its promised action plan for combating gender inequality in the media. The Summit released a white paper that serves as “the blueprint for a new national movement to achieve gender justice in entertainment media.” A press release for the document explains, “The stories and images in media are influential in shaping virtually every aspect of our lives, and it is vitally important for women to take their rightful place as equal participants to and contributors in our cultural narrative.”
The white paper suggests seven strategies to achieve equality for women on and offscreen:
Litigation against gender discriminatory practicesLobbying policymakers at the federal level to address persistent gender discrimination in entertainment mediaTax credits to encourage the hiring of more female filmmakersDevelopment of a financing network for female filmmakersDevelopment of a promotion fund to advertise films made by womenMarketing to educate the public about the issue of gender discrimination in HollywoodA consumer campaign to encourage viewers to vote with their dollars for gender equity in Hollywood
“The Women’s Media Summit was so deeply powerful because we came together as a community of women and created The White Paper,” the Summit’s keynote speaker, Alysia Reiner (“Orange Is the New Black”), stated. “As an actress and producer who loves hiring other women and breaking both statics and status quo, I love that we are helping create an actual system to reward those choices.”
“Hollywood has kept women filmmakers shut out for decades because it is allowed to self-regulate and faces no effective oversight body,” added Summit co-chair Maria Giese. “Now is the time to stop relying on inside-industry solutions and demand the opportunity for equal participation.”
In spring of this year, more than 100 thought leaders met in Provincetown, Ma for the first Women’s Media Summit. Led by event co-chairs Giese and Dr. Caroline Heldman, the Summit attendees used their three days together to discuss the state of gender in the entertainment industry and brainstorm solutions to address the insidious issue. Alongside the white paper, the Summit also developed two new programs as a result of the meeting: The Women’s Media Action Coalition (WeMac) will oversee implementation of the seven strategies and GradeMyMovie.com is a resource that grades films based on the number of women and people of color employed in behind-the-scenes-roles.
You can read the entire “White Paper on Gender Inequality in Film and Television” here.
Women’s Media Summit Issues White Paper & IDs Strategies for Fighting Gender Inequality was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Rachel Montpelier
Sabrina the Teenage Witch “Riverdale” Companion Series in Development at The CW
21 September 2017 9:01 AM, PDT
Melissa Joan Hart in “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”
Sabrina the Teenage Witch is coming back to the small screen. The CW is developing a project based on the Archie Comics’ character, but it’s not a reboot of the ’90s series led by Melissa Joan Hart. Touted as darker and grittier than the original sitcom about a magically-inclined high school student with a talking cat, the potential show, titled “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” is being “eyed as a companion series to ‘Riverdale’ for the 2018–19 season,” Deadline reports.
“The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” is said to be a “dark drama in the horror genre.” According to the source, the project “reimagines the origin and adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch as a dark coming-of-age story that traffics in horror, the occult and, of course, witchcraft. Tonally in the vein of ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ and ‘The Exorcist,’ this adaptation finds Sabrina wrestling to reconcile her dual nature — half-witch, half-mortal — while standing against the evil forces that threaten her, her family, and the daylight world humans inhabit.”
“Riverdale’s” 13-episode freshman season featured three episodes directed by women and four written or co-written by women. The former puts the teen drama slightly above the broadcast average and the latter lags slightly behind. Hopefully the female-led “Sabrina” series will include more women working behind the scenes.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch “Riverdale” Companion Series in Development at The CW was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland, & Amy Poehler Join Forces for New Netflix Comedy Series
21 September 2017 8:01 AM, PDT
Lyonne capturing our feelings of excitement on “Orange Is the New Black”
“Orange Is the New Black” star Natasha Lyonne, “Sleeping with Other People” writer-director Leslye Headland, and “Parks and Rec” alumna and national treasure Amy Poehler are teaming up on a new project for the small screen. An untitled comedy series the trio created has received a straight-to-series order from Netflix. Lyonne will star in the eight-episode series, and will also pen it alongside Headland. A press release from the streamer announced the glorious news.
Hailing from Universal Television, the series follows Nadia (Lyonne) “on her journey as the guest of honor at a seemingly inescapable party one night in New York City,” according to the project’s logline. Lyonne, Poehler, and Headland all serve as executive producers.
“So excited to get cracking with the intensely brilliant Leslye Headland, the Goat with a heart of gold Amy Poehler, and Netflix, the safe haven I’ve been searching for since the ’80s,” said Lyonne. “Deeply moved to work with such heavy hitters and to share our show with the world.”
Headland added, “These women are heroes of mine and to work with them at a company that promotes originality and creativity is a thrill.”
“Natasha’s humor, humanity, and depth have connected with audiences around the world on ‘Orange Is the New Black,’” said Cindy Holland, Vice President, Original Content for Netflix. “With this new series, she, Leslye, and Amy are creating an ambitious and uniquely formatted comedy that will have viewers guessing as much as they will be laughing.”
No word on when to expect the series, but if Headland’s other projects are any indication, we can expect some dark and frank comedy. “A lot of people think that I’m trying to be shocking with my dialogue or subject matter,” the “Bachelorette” writer-director has told us. “That’s not my goal when I go into a project. I focus on darker things or bad behavior or explicit dialogue because creatively I am more interested in my mistakes and why I made them than my good deeds and my achievements.”
It seems very likely that at least one — but possibly all three — of the show’s creators will direct episodes of the new series. Headland has two features under her belt, Poehler has helmed episodes of “Parks and Recreation” and “Broad City,” and Lyonne directed her first short this year, “Cabiria, Charity, Chastity.”
Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland, & Amy Poehler Join Forces for New Netflix Comedy Series was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
Strength in Numbers: Crowdfunding Picks
21 September 2017 7:01 AM, PDT
“Giving Me Life (In The Land of The Deadass)”
It’s often said that two is better than one. Many of us have found strength in numbers by turning to our friends and families for support, encouragement, and guidance. This month’s crowdfunding picks explore the importance of those who have our backs, whether we’re trying to build our lives in New York City, prevent the future from collapsing (literally), or grappling with trauma after a parent is seriously hurt.
In the new series “Giving Me Life (In The Land of the Deadass),” we meet a group of six ambitious New Yorkers who struggle with the typical aspects of growing up — but through the unique perspective of being young people of color, many of whom are of varying gender identities and sexual orientations.
“The Atavist” follows Jax and Henrietta, two women born over a century apart. The two meet in the present, when scientist Hen is developing teleportation technology. After Jax leaves behind technology from the year 2120, the two must work together to make things right and save the future Jax knows.
The family in “Bring Me an Avocado” suddenly finds itself reeling when mother Robin falls into a coma, leaving father George to take care of his two young daughters with the help of Robin’s sister and best friend. The weight of the grief and trauma eventually forces the family to face the best and worst parts of themselves that emerge when they have to rely on each other.
Here is our latest round of women-created and women-centric crowdfunding picks.
“Giving Me Life (In The Land of The Deadass)” (Web Series) — Written and Directed by Dafina Roberts
“Giving Me Life (In The Land of The Deadass)”
The upcoming series “Giving Me Life (In The Land of The Deadass)” follows the lives of six friends in New York City striving for happiness in a world that’s unceasingly harsh on young people from marginalized communities. The characters confront the universal difficulties of growing up — building a career, finding love, becoming independent — through a still-unprecedented lens, as they are young people of color, many of whom are queer.
“Although we are living through ‘the television renaissance,’ we can only name a small handful of comedy or dramedy series that star diverse actors, whether it be Black, Latinx, and/or Lgbtq,” reads the project’s description. “Giving Me Life” will feature six young talents whose performances will help generate a discussion about the representation of race, gender, and sexuality in media.
Learn how you can support the series, which is a selection of the New York Television Festival’s Independent Pilot Competition, on its Kickstarter page.
“The Atavist” introduces us to two young women who connect across time: Jax, a street-smart young woman from the year 2120, and Hen, a scientist from the 2010s. Inadvertently, Jax is transported to Hen’s time, when the latter is working on developing the very first teleportation technology. When Jax leaves behind some technology in Hen’s world, she alters the course of history and places her own time in jeopardy, forcing her to go on a mission to make things right.
Director Cameo Wood is fascinated by the idea of traveling to a time in our past with the insight and perspective that we have today. “I’ve always wanted to make a movie about the cultural and ethical difficulties in time travel,” she says, “and I want to explore a time in the future when a young black woman would want to visit a period in America’s past.” The film combines the themes of time travel and black womanhood to tell a story about hope for our future.
Visit “The Atavist’s” Seed & Spark page to learn how you can back the film’s production.
“Bring Me an Avocado” — Directed by Maria Mealla
In “Bring Me an Avocado,” we meet a charming Bay Area family consisting of two loving parents, Robin and George, and their two daughters. When Robin suddenly falls into a coma after being robbed at gunpoint, her sister Greece and best friend Jada step in to help George try to maintain some normalcy at home for his daughters.
As time goes on and Robin remains incapacitated, the family dynamic shifts, moving away from the glossy distractions that Jada initially brings to the rigid structure that Greece enforces. Together, the family must grapple with the trauma and grief of missing, and possibly losing, Robin as it brings out the worst aspects of their personalities.
Check out “Bring Me an Avocado” on Seed & Spark to learn more.
To be considered for Women and Hollywood’s biweekly crowdfunding feature, please write to email@example.com. All formats (features, shorts, web series, etc.) welcome. Projects must be by and/or about women.
Strength in Numbers: Crowdfunding Picks was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Kaidia Pickels
Slovenia Chooses Hanna Antonina Wojcik Slak’s “Miner” as Foreign-Language Oscar Pick
20 September 2017 2:01 PM, PDT
Another woman-directed film based on a true story has been added to the foreign-language Oscar race. On Monday Cambodia selected Angelina Jolie’s “First They Killed My Father” as its pick for the 2018 Academy Awards, and now comes word that Slovenia will submit Hanna Antonina Wojcik Slak’s “Rudar,” or “Miner.”
The former is an adaptation of human rights activist Loung Ung’s 2000 non-fiction book, and the latter is based on the experiences of a Bosnian miner who migrated to Slovenia. “In an abandoned mine, he discovers the remains of victims of post-World War II reprisal killings,” The Hollywood Reporter summarizes. “In his determination to fight for a decent burial of the executed people, he goes against his managers and loses his job.”
Other women-directed films submitted for consideration in the foreign-language category include Ana Urushadze’s “Scary Mother,” a psychological thriller, Annemarie Jacir’s “Wajib,” a dramedy about a father and his estranged son, and Agnieszka Holland’s “Spoor,” a crime drama about a woman seeking revenge after hunters kill her dog.
Slovenia Chooses Hanna Antonina Wojcik Slak’s “Miner” as Foreign-Language Oscar Pick was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
Judi Dench to Receive Kirk Douglas Award at Santa Barbara Film Fest
20 September 2017 1:01 PM, PDT
Dench in “Victoria & Abdul”
The celebrated actress’ latest film, “Victoria & Abdul,” recently made its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival. The period drama sees her playing Queen Victoria, whom she previously portrayed in 1997’s “Mrs. Brown.” She depicted Queen Elizabeth in 1998’s “Shakespeare in Love.” Both roles earned her Oscar nominations, and she won for the latter.
“I am especially delighted to learn that Dame Judi Dench will accept the award that bears my name,” said Douglas in a statement. “She is a consummate artist of stage and screen who is a particular favorite of mine. I wish I could have had the joy of working with her, but I am happy for the pleasure of seeing my name coupled with hers in support of the Santa Barbara Film Festival.”
“Victoria & Abdul” hits theaters September 22.
Judi Dench to Receive Kirk Douglas Award at Santa Barbara Film Fest was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Laura Berger
Watch: This Honest Trailer Spotlights Why We Love “Wonder Woman”
20 September 2017 12:31 PM, PDT
Screen Junkies’ new Honest Trailer for “Wonder Woman” breaks down the charm of the much-loved film with one line: “Patty Jenkins bravely asks the question, ‘What if a female-led superhero movie wasn’t absolute garbage from beginning to end and had a powerful message for girls?’”
Sure, that’s an oversimplification of the many things to love about the $819 million-grossing (to date) flick, but it’s accurate. Audiences love the Gal Gadot-starrer because it’s fun, entertaining cinema that’s not a setback for women. Jenkins’ film is a blockbuster you can whole-heartedly enjoy without checking your feminist ideals at the door.
Plus, as the Honest Trailer points out, “Wonder Woman” smartly re-writes the usual gender roles present in superhero flicks. “Chris Pine surprises and delights,” the clip’s narrator observes, “but he’s more than just eye candy. He’s Diana’s emotional support, a voice of caution, and a love interest in constant need of rescue. Hey, they give him the role women always have to play against the male superheroes, didn’t they? I see what you did there.”
Viewers saw it, too — and seemed to dig it. “Wonder Woman” is the highest-grossing live-action film from a female director as well as the woman-helmed film with the highest domestic box office take. Plus, the movie keeps landing Jenkins in the history books. She holds the record for highest domestic opening for a female director, is the top-grossing solo female director at the international box office, and became the highest-paid female filmmaker of all-time when she officially signed on to direct “Wonder Woman 2.”
Watch: This Honest Trailer Spotlights Why We Love “Wonder Woman” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Rachel Montpelier
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