The Inaugural Women in Production Summit!

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Photography by Hannah Pniewski

 

WOW – what an incredible night!  When WIFTA partnered with PGA-WIN, Black Women Film Network, Film Fatales and New Mavericks, we wanted to create something big and empowering to inspire and support the talented women in Atlanta’s production community.  And we did just that!

The evening at SCADSHOW started off with 12 powerful women who moved us with personal anecdotes and musings about the ways that confidence can propel us past obstacles real or imagined.  Many of you have asked for additional information about them and you can find it below this summary.

Then we had a short panel discussion that covered the basics of each organization.  With all that we have going on in 2016, we hope you will become an active part of WIFTA.  The power of women supporting women is game-changing!

Finally, some strategies for moving forward were introduced.  WIFTA board member Lisa Moore introduced WIFTA’s Legal Clinic in September – details should be up on our website early next week.  Erin Bernhardt introduced Creative Visions Foundations opportunity (www.creativevisions.org), Christina Campagnola informed us of a program APA is creating with GA Film Academy to offer in-kind support for indigenous indie film projects (for submissions (GFAAPA2016@gmail.com).  And finally Lydia Dean Pilcher, one of the founders of PGA’s WIN program, talked frankly about the need for adding women’s voices to the conversation – on and off screen – and the tools they created to help make that happen (msfactortoolkit.com).  It was fast, it was furious and it was the first.  We’re already thinking about the next one.

We thank SCADFILM for hosting us, Indie Placements LLC, Wild Heaven Craft Beer and Green’s Beverages for sponsoring the Mixer .

Whew!  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did and that you feel inspired to “Make Your Movie Now“!

All the best,

Susan Moss – WIFTA Executive Director

THE CONFIDENCE PIECE:

SHAY BENTLEY-GRIFFIN – Producer/Casting Director/Leader

Website: chezstudios.com

Wrap comments:

Women in Production Summit was just what we needed to promote and support the talented professional women in the Georgia film industry. With the formation of the new “Georgia Women Film Alliance” we plan to make this goal a major part of the Georgia film Industry future. Last night I attended “Georgia Night in LA”. I took every opportunity to promote this important group of filmmakers in our state. Let’s be a part of keeping Georgia one of the top three film centers in the country. I look forward to working with all of you to achieve this goal.

Bio:

As Vice-Chair of the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Advisory Board and founding President of the Georgia Production Partnership, Shay Bentley-Griffin collaborated with industry and government leaders to create and secure passage of Georgia’s highly successful 2008 Entertainment Tax Incentive.

As a Casting Director for more than 225 TV series and feature films, Shay has earned 3 Emmy nominations and her clients include Oscar-winning directors Ang Lee, Clint Eastwood and Robert Altman. As a Producer, Bentley-Griffin now develops and produces Georgia-based original content for television and film and oversees Chez Studios’ diversity of professional training opportunities for actors and other industry creatives.

ERIN BERNHARDT – Filmmaker/Leader/Speaker

Twitter: @erinbernhardt4

Websites:   IMBA MEANS SING // Creative Visions + Rock Your World // Art Farm at Serenbe

Wrap comments:

Thank you amazing ladies for all the inspiration! I would love for you to stay connected by joining the Creative Activist Network – www.creativevisions.org/can – it’s free to join and will get you into many more special screenings, educational events, networking parties + more. If you have any questions or ideas after checking out all the Creative Visions site shares and joining the Network, please feel free to email me at erin.bernhardt@creativevisions.org. Keep up the great work!

Bio:

Erin Bernhardt works at the intersection of marketing, storytelling and impact. She just completed a year-long tour with her first feature film, Imba Means Sing. The film released in December 2015 in 37 languages in over 100 countries. Erin is currently serving as the Director of the Art Farm at Serenbe, a mixed-use 1,000-acre culture- and arts-based community. She is also consulting as the Impact Producer for the Creative Visions Foundation, an LA-based arts incubator. Erin is a former CNN writer/producer and Peace Corp Volunteer. She is a frequent speaker locally and nationally – including TED talks, the UN and the White House. Outside of work, Erin loves adventuring with friends and family, traveling, and practicing or teaching yoga.

EBONY BLANDING – Writer/Producers

Twitter: @ebony_blanding

Bio:

Ebony Blanding is a blooming filmmaker + screenwriter and proud native of Atlanta, GA. Blanding has worked as a freelance writer for various online platforms in which she penned think-pieces for opinion and life and culture columns.

In summer of 2013, Ebony formed an indie art film house with a bourgeoning filmmaker and fellow film student, Amber L.N. Bournett, to create content to address a void of women and people of color in film living in fullness and colorfully in modern and imagined context.

Using authorial cinematographic expressiveness to create more thoughtful characters and artfully crafted visuals, Blanding has written and co-directed award winning short films and web series content on subject matters that are often deemed taboo and advocate for the narratives of those who are largely marginalized by mainstream media.

She is a graduate of Georgia State University where she studied Public Relations and Film & Video.

FRAN BURST-TERRANELLA – Producer/Director/Activist

Twitter: @SissyCarlyle

Bio:

As a producer, director and trailblazer, Fran’s film and television work spans 4 decades, encompasses over 700 productions and has earned more than 100 honors and awards. Her documentaries have aired nationally on ABC, TBS and PBS and her corporate and non-profit clients are of every size and scope.

Her newest project and debut feature film – “The 12 Lives of Sissy Carlyle” — is the wittily insightful story of a young woman who escapes her ordinary life by creating daring, alternate personalities whose fantastic adventures she chronicles in secret journals.

A founding member of WIFTA (1974) and Atlanta Film Society (1976), Fran served as co-president of the Georgia Production Partnership during passage of Georgia’s successful entertainment tax incentive in 2008.

ROBYN HICKS – Writer/Director/Producer

Website: boymeetsgirlproductions.com

Wrap Comments:

On behalf of everyone at New Mavericks, thank you so much for organizing such a special event! I was honored to be there and rep our organization. As a member of New Mavs, Film Fatales, and a grad student at SCAD, I was so excited to see all these worlds collide and get to know the other organizations. I look forward to many more collaborations and events!

Bio:

Robyn Hicks is a writer, director, and producer based in Atlanta, GA. Que Sera, a short film she wrote and directed, was recently awarded the Southern Spotlight Award at the Atlanta Film Festival. Other credits include the award winning short film, Picture Show, along with Nirvana: a short film about lung cancer, inspired by her husband’s cancer diagnosis in 2013. Currently, she is pursuing a MFA in Film and Television at SCAD Atlanta and in production on her debut feature film as a producer. She is also working with her husband, Jonathan Hicks, to develop Que Sera into a feature film.

CARRIE ANNE HUNT – Actor/Writer/Producer

Twitter: @carrieannehunt

Bio:

Carrie Anne Hunt is an actress, writer, and producer originally from Columbia, SC. She started her career on stage and her classical training has proved to be a strong foundation for her current work in television and film. Carrie Anne first realized that she wanted to pursue a professional career as an actress while performing at the acclaimed Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. She is best known for her work in Magic Mike XXL (Warner Brothers), Sleepy Hollow (FOX) and Drop Dead Diva (Lifetime). Carrie Anne is also the founder of Faerie Path Productions, where she is currently developing fantasy adventure series, Otherworld. In addition, she also serves as Vice Chair on the volunteer-based SAG-AFTRA Atlanta Indie Outreach Committee, where she is committed to helping local independent film continue to grow and thrive.

CHERYL JENKINS – Production Accountant/Consultant/Leader

Website: pacsintl.com

Wrap comments:

What a historic night! I’m quite thankful to all who came together to create this wonderful event and just as thankful to those who chose to attend. The amount of talent and passion in the room was electrifying. I’m proud to be president of WIFTA and honored to be a part of such a dynamic community! Join us and let’s keep the energy going!

Bio:

Cheryl Jenkins is a consultant, entrepreneur, and production accountant in the film and television industry. Her expertise and leadership spans almost 20 years beginning in the entertainment mecca in Los Angeles to working with major and independent film productions in Honduras, Houston, New York and Atlanta. Jenkins’ perfected her skills and knowledge while working at major studios such as NBC/Universal, New Line Television, VH-1, MTV, BET and Fox Television.

Now residing in Atlanta, Jenkins develops and manages production budgets worldwide through her company, Production Accounting and Crew Services International (PACS). For the past three years, PACS has held the distinct honor as the official carrier of the votes for the Southeast Emmys. Jenkins’ prominence in Atlanta has also recently led her to be elected for a second two-year term as President of Women in Film and Television Atlanta (WIFTA), a professional membership organization for creative media professionals. Her goals for the organization is to empower members to think outside the box by promoting education and outreach. “I want to be instrumental in creating professional development opportunities and changing the dynamic for the impressive, yet untapped talent and producers in Atlanta,” Jenkins’ shares.

TY JOHNSTON – Producer/Educator

Twitter: @TyJohnston

Bio:

Ty Johnston, producer, professor and CEO of T.Y. Entertainment. She is responsible for all creative and business decisions, including the creation, development, acquisition, sale and production of scripted and unscripted television and new media projects. Ty has created and produced original formats, feature films & reality television for numerous networks and has collaborated with plenty production companies. She leverages the universal market by partnering and distributing content to affiliates such as Netflix, Amazon & Walmart. She has built an empire of valued relationships over the past 2 decades and has established herself internationally as a leader and influential collaborator with many networks and international channels. In addition, she has worked closely with TV and film veterans such as Mark Koops, Executive Producer & creator of The Biggest Loser & Ugly Betty and Mona Scott Young of the Franchise, Love & Hip Hop. Ty also expanded her brand with the launch of The Atlanta Pitch Summit, a marketplace where screenwriters and producers pitch film and TV projects to key entertainment executives. Since its launch date, The Atlanta Pitch Summit has connected many aspiring artists with Hollywood decision makers including Atlanta’s own pioneer producer Will Packer, award winning filmmaker Tracey Edmonds and Robert Townsend, along with a compilation of compelling success stories to prove it.

DEIDRE MCDONALD – Founder/Artistic Director Bronze Lens Film Festival

Website: bronzelens.com

Wrap Comments:

Thank you to all who were involved with the Summit. Superb, empowering, authentic, nurturing, and magic are just some words that come to my mind. Also ENCORE!!!!!

BTW – The Seventh Annual BronzeLens Film Festival will be held August 25-28th at the Atlanta Marriot Marquis. The line-up includes Nina Yang Bongiovi (producer-Fruitvale Station, Creed), Script Supervisor Dawn Gilliam (Boys in the Hood, Hunger Games, Star Wars: Awakens + more). Films include 9 Rides (shot entirely by cell phone) which screened at SXSW. There are many EXCITING panels, events and films scheduled. Look to each organization you belong to for details on discounts! The website will have the full schedule soon.

Bio:

Deidre McDonald is currently Founding Artistic Director for the BronzeLens Film Festival. Previously she served as Project Leader for the Georgia Entertainment Media Work Ready Region (GEM), an economic development initiative focusing on job training. In addition, she has been a college level educator who has been involved with curriculum design and student career enhancement. As Senior Producer for Programs and Projects for WXIA-TV/11Alive she was an eight time Emmy Award winning producer/writer who created programming shot locally, nationally and internationally. She is a former President of Women in Film and Television Atlanta (WIFTA) and former Chair of the Black Women Film Network.

HILDA MERCADO – DP/IATSE Local 600

Website:    hildamercado.com

Bio:

Hilda Mercado is a cinematographer born and raised in Mexico City. She has a BA in communications and a MFA in cinematography from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, California. Hilda attends several training programs and equipment demos a month, just enough to keep her up with new technology and creative tools.

Over the years, Hilda has worked worldwide in countries like China, Kuwait, Costa Rica, Panama and of course, Mexico, on feature films, documentaries and advertising mostly. She has a wide experience with formats ranging from 35mm film to digital and mostly any camera in the market these days.

In her free time, Hilda teaches lighting and camera workshops in the US and Mexico.

DEBORAH RILEY DRAPER -Filmmaker

Website:   coffeebluffpictures.com                                                    Twitter: @Atladgirl

Bio:

Deborah Riley Draper is a marketing guru and award-winning filmmaker. Deborah is a 2016 Film Independent Documentary Lab Fellow and was recently named to the Variety Magazine 2016 Top Ten Documakers to watch. Her current project Olympic Pride, American Prejudice chronicles the untold story of 18 black Olympians who defied racism in America and Germany to win medals and hearts at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. The film enjoyed a world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June 2016.

Her debut film, Versailles ’73: American Runway Revolution, was heralded by New York Times and Los Angeles Times film critics. Versailles ‘73 is the first intimate look at the Palace of Versailles fundraiser that became a major fashion movement led by black models. The film screened at the St. Louis International Film Festival, Denver DocNights, and Elle Croatia Fashion Film Festival and by invitation at Toronto Fashion Week, Saudi Design Week, Holon Fashion Week in Israel and broadcast premiered on Logo TV in September 2015.

 

SUZAN SATTERFIELD – Producer

Website: picturewindow.tv                                                            Twitter: @suzansatt

Bio:

Every production calls for special talents and skills. Suzan’s greatest strength is to find and transform a diverse group into a cohesive team that turns an idea into a riveting story. From a branded eco-adventure series for Turner Broadcasting to lifestyle reality (HGTV’s Ground Breakers, DIY Network’s MEGA DENS) to EcoSense for Living on PBS, Suzan has created and run multiple seasons of several diverse series. Her current projects include producing and directing “The Van Life,” a smart short form comedy based in Oakland, California that’s cross-pollinating an audience of VW bus enthusiasts with cynical academics. She’s also co-writer and producer of “That Renovation Show,” a mockumentary-style television comedy that goes behind the scenes of a dysfunctional makeover reality series.

Suzan has served on numerous industry boards, including as President of Women In Film & Television/Atlanta (WIFTA) and is a founding member of the Producers Guild of America, Atlanta Chapter and chairs their local Women’s Impact Committee. Her production company is Picture Window Productions.

 

JEN WEST – Writer/Director/Producer

Website: fourxproductions.com                                                                     Twitter: @thejenwestquest

Bio:

Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Jen West is an award-winning writer, director and producer living in Atlanta, Georgia. She is known for writing and directing short indie films like Piece of Cake (2006), Crush (2011), Bubble (2013), Little Cabbage (2015) and the St. Paul and the Broken Bones’ music video Call Me (2014). West also produced The New Orleans Sazerac and Bottomless, which are being featured at the 2016 Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at the American Pavilion as part of the Cannes Film Festival. Currently in development on her first feature called Electric Bleau, West studied design at Jacksonville State University and film at The Art Institute of Atlanta.


Industry Wide Mixer – July 12th

WIFTA takes the month of July off but we encourage all WIFTA members and supporters to attend the GPP Industry Wide Mix & Mingle – July 12th poolside* at Crowne Plaza/Staybridge Suites Midtown Atlanta.

*Rain or Shine – event moved inside in case of bad weather.

Tickets and details here


WOMEN IN PRODUCTION SUMMIT – June 22nd

WIFTA joins with

the Producers Guild of America -Women’s Impact Network

Black Women Film Network

Film Fatales and

Atlanta Film Society’s New Mavericks!

All women involved in film, television and digital media production are welcome.

Come for inspiration, motivation, and information about how to succeed in the industry.

We want to collectively lift up women in film, television, and media to help Atlanta become the most fair, diverse, and inclusive market in the country.

Presented 

by SCADFilm

at SCADshow

173 14th Street, Atlanta 30309

6:00 Mixer

7:00 – 9:00 program

Free to all who pre-register – register here

Tonight’s program features inspiring stories from talented, successful women on the subject of

THE CONFIDENCE PIECE:

SHAY BENTLEY-GRIFFIN

As Vice-Chair of the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Advisory Board and founding President of the Georgia Production Partnership, Shay Bentley-Griffin collaborated with industry and government leaders to create and secure passage of Georgia’s highly successful 2008 Entertainment Tax Incentive.

As a Casting Director for more than 225 TV series and feature films, Shay has earned 3 Emmy nominations and her clients include Oscar-winning directors Ang Lee, Clint Eastwood and Robert Altman. As a Producer, Bentley-Griffin now develops and produces Georgia-based original content for television and film and oversees Chez Studios’ diversity of professional training opportunities for actors and other industry creatives.

 

ERIN BERNHARDT

Erin Bernhardt works at the intersection of marketing, storytelling and impact. She just completed a year-long tour with her first feature film, Imba Means Sing. The film released in December 2015 in 37 languages in over 100 countries. Erin is currently serving as the Director of the Art Farm at Serenbe, a mixed-use 1,000-acre culture- and arts-based community. She is also consulting as the Impact Producer for the Creative Visions Foundation, an LA-based arts incubator. Erin is a former CNN writer/producer and Peace Corp Volunteer. She is a frequent speaker locally and nationally – including TED talks, the UN and the White House. Outside of work, Erin loves adventuring with friends and family, traveling, and practicing or teaching yoga.

 

EBONY BLANDING

Ebony Blanding is a blooming filmmaker + screenwriter and proud native of Atlanta, GA.

She is a graduate of Georgia State University where she studied Public Relations and Film & Video.

Blanding has worked as a freelance writer for various online platforms in which she penned think-pieces for opinion and life and culture columns.

In summer of 2013, Ebony formed an indie art film house with a bourgeoning filmmaker and fellow film student, Amber L.N. Bournett, to create content to address a void of women and people of color in film living in fullness and colorfully in modern and imagined context.

Using authorial cinematographic expressiveness to create more thoughtful characters and artfully crafted visuals, Blanding has written and co-directed award winning short films and web series content on subject matters that are often deemed taboo and advocate for the narratives of those who are largely marginalized by mainstream media.

 

FRAN BURST-TERRANELLA

As a producer, director and trailblazer, Fran’s film and television work spans 4 decades, encompasses over 700 productions and has earned more than 100 honors and awards.  Her documentaries have aired nationally on ABC, TBS and PBS and her corporate and non-profit clients are of every size and scope.

Her newest project and debut feature film – “The 12 Lives of Sissy Carlyle” — is the wittily insightful story of a young woman who escapes her ordinary life by creating daring, alternate personalities whose fantastic adventures she chronicles in secret journals.

A founding member of WIFTA (1974) and Atlanta Film Society (1976), Fran served as co-president of the Georgia Production Partnership during passage of Georgia’s successful entertainment tax incentive in 2008.

 

ROBYN HICKS

Robyn Hicks is a writer, director, and producer based in Atlanta, GA. Que Sera, a short film she wrote and directed, was recently awarded the Southern Spotlight Award at the Atlanta Film Festival. Other credits include the award winning short film, Picture Show, along with Nirvana: a short film about lung cancer, inspired by her husband’s cancer diagnosis in 2013. Currently, she is pursuing a MFA in Film and Television at SCAD Atlanta and in production on her debut feature film as a producer. She is also working with her husband, Jonathan Hicks, to develop Que Sera into a feature film.

CARRIE ANNE HUNT

Carrie Anne Hunt is an actress, writer, and producer originally from Columbia, SC. She started her career on stage and her classical training has proved to be a strong foundation for her current work in television and film. Carrie Anne first realized that she wanted to pursue a professional career as an actress while performing at the acclaimed Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. She is best known for her work in Magic Mike XXL (Warner Brothers), Sleepy Hollow (FOX) and Drop Dead Diva (Lifetime). Carrie Anne is also the founder of Faerie Path Productions, where she is currently developing fantasy adventure series, Otherworld. In addition, she also serves as Vice Chair on the volunteer-based SAG-AFTRA Atlanta Indie Outreach Committee, where she is committed to helping local independent film continue to grow and thrive.

 

CHERYL JENKINS

Cheryl Jenkins is a consultant, entrepreneur, and production accountant in the film and television industry. Her expertise and leadership spans almost 20 years beginning in the entertainment mecca in Los Angeles to working with major and independent film productions in Honduras, Houston, New York and Atlanta. Jenkins’ perfected her skills and knowledge while working at major studios such as NBC/Universal, New Line Television, VH-1, MTV, BET and Fox Television.

Now residing in Atlanta, Jenkins develops and manages production budgets worldwide through her company, Production Accounting and Crew Services International (PACS).  For the past three years, PACS has held the distinct honor as the official carrier of the votes for the Southeast Emmys. Jenkins’ prominence in Atlanta has also recently led her to be elected for a second two-year term as President of Women in Film and Television Atlanta (WIFTA), a professional membership organization for creative media professionals.  Her goals for the organization is to empower members to think outside the box by promoting education and outreach. “I want to be instrumental in creating professional development opportunities and changing the dynamic for the impressive, yet untapped talent and producers in Atlanta,” Jenkins’ shares.

 

TY JOHNSTON

Ty Johnston, producer, professor and CEO of T.Y. Entertainment. She is responsible for all creative and business decisions, including the creation, development, acquisition, sale and production of scripted and unscripted television and new media projects. Ty has created and produced original formats, feature films & reality television for numerous networks and has collaborated with plenty production companies. She leverages the universal market by partnering and distributing content to affiliates such as Netflix, Amazon & Walmart. She has built an empire of valued relationships over the past 2 decades and has established herself internationally as a leader and influential collaborator with many networks and international channels.  In addition, she has worked closely with TV and film veterans such as Mark Koops, Executive Producer & creator of The Biggest Loser & Ugly Betty and  Mona Scott Young of the Franchise, Love & Hip Hop.  Ty also expanded her brand with the launch of The Atlanta Pitch Summit, a marketplace where screenwriters and producers pitch film and TV projects to key entertainment executives. Since its launch date, The Atlanta Pitch Summit has connected many aspiring artists with Hollywood decision makers including Atlanta’s own pioneer producer Will Packer, award winning filmmaker Tracey Edmonds and Robert Townsend, along with a compilation of compelling success stories to prove it.

 

DEIDRE MCDONALD

Deidre McDonald is currently Founding Artistic Director for the BronzeLens Film Festival.  Previously she served as Project Leader for the Georgia Entertainment Media Work Ready Region (GEM), an economic development initiative focusing on job training.   In addition, she has been a college level educator who has been involved with curriculum design and student career enhancement.   As Senior Producer for Programs and Projects for WXIA-TV/11Alive she was an eight time Emmy Award winning producer/writer who created programming shot locally, nationally and internationally.  She is a former President of Women in Film and Television Atlanta and former Chair of the Black Women Film Network.

 

DEBORAH RILEY DRAPER

Deborah Riley Draper is a marketing guru and award-winning filmmaker. Deborah is a 2016 Film Independent Documentary Lab Fellow and was recently named to the Variety Magazine 2016 Top Ten Documakers to watch. Her current project Olympic Pride, American Prejudice chronicles the untold story of 18 black Olympians who defied racism in America and Germany to win medals and hearts at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. The film enjoyed a world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June 2016.

Her debut film, Versailles ’73: American Runway Revolution, was heralded by New York Times and Los Angeles Times film critics. Versailles ‘73 is the first intimate look at the Palace of Versailles fundraiser that became a major fashion movement led by black models. The film screened at the St. Louis International Film Festival, Denver DocNights, and Elle Croatia Fashion Film Festival and by invitation at Toronto Fashion Week, Saudi Design Week, Holon Fashion Week in Israel and broadcast premiered on Logo TV in September 2015.

 

SUZAN SATTERFIELD

Every production calls for special talents and skills. Suzan’s greatest strength is to find and transform a diverse group into a cohesive team that turns an idea into a riveting story. From a branded eco-adventure series for Turner Broadcasting to lifestyle reality (HGTV’s Ground Breakers, DIY Network’s MEGA DENS) to EcoSense for Living on PBS, Suzan has created and run multiple seasons of several diverse series.  Her current projects include producing and directing “The Van Life,” a smart short form comedy based in Oakland, California that’s cross-pollinating an audience of VW bus enthusiasts with cynical academics. She’s also co-writer and producer of “That Renovation Show,” a mockumentary-style television comedy that goes behind the scenes of a dysfunctional makeover reality series.

Suzan has served on numerous industry boards, including as President of Women In Film & Television/Atlanta and is a founding member of the Producers Guild of America, Atlanta Chapter and chairs their local Women’s Impact Committee.  Her production company is Picture Window Productions.

 

JEN WEST

Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Jen West is an award-winning writer, director and producer living in Atlanta, Georgia. She is known for writing and directing short indie films like Piece of Cake (2006), Crush (2011), Bubble (2013), Little Cabbage (2015) and the St. Paul and the Broken Bones’ music video Call Me (2014). West also produced The New Orleans Sazerac and Bottomless, which are being featured at the 2016 Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at the American Pavilion as part of the Cannes Film Festival. Currently in development on her first feature called Electric Bleau, West studied design at Jacksonville State University and film at The Art Institute of Atlanta.


WHISKEY with WIFTA – August 6th!

Whiskey with WIFTA: August 6!

Join us for some Georgia spirits (beer, wine & soft drinks too)  in support of Women in Film and Television Atlanta programs and events.  

And you can sample the finer tastes of Georgia whiskey, bourbon and rum in our Private Tasting Lounge courtesy of Independent Distilling Company, American Spirit Whiskey, and Richland Rum.

  • WHISKEY with WIFTA
  • Saturday, August 6
  • 5:00-7:00 PM
  • Gallery 874
  • 874 Joseph E Lowery Blvd NW, Atlanta GA 30318

TICKETS and DETAILS HERE

Your contribution will support these important WIFTA endeavors –

  • The WIFTA PSA project – Our annual Public Service Announcement project in support of an Atlanta non-profit community organization or issue; 
  • The WIFTA Web Series – A new project combining talented WIFTA veteran filmmakers with energetic rookies to create a quality episodic series spotlighting the local crisis in human trafficking; 
  • The WIFTA Workshop Series – WIFTA’s ongoing training programs that prepare WIFTA and film community members to lead the Atlanta film & television industry; and
  • The WIFTA Scholarship – awarded each year to a talented, deserving filmmaker in training.
  • And our other ongoing programs

Thank you to our generous sponsors for their support!

Gallery 874 Logo-sm ASW - Circle Logo-sm  IDClogocopy-sm  HI Res Logo-sm    CORT_notag_Logo-sm

May Meeting and Panel: GETTING THE GIG – hiring above & below the line!

Wednesday, May 25th, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

REGISTER HERE

Experts will tell you how to build relationships, find the work, sharpen your tools and get the gig here in Atlanta.

We will open with a special 30 minute session with personal branding consultant Christine Leuthold; she will discuss the creative ways you can set yourself apart in this very competitive industry.

Then Al Dickerson, Unit Production Manager for Greenleaf and Jeffrey Stepakoff, former Executive Producer and current Executive Director of Georgia Film Academy will join and offer their experience and insights on what people do that can help or hurt them in landing the job.

Christine_b hs 33C jpeg

Christine Leuthold (sounds like “sleuth”) is a proven innovator in brand development and integration and the Founder and Creative Director of C Insight Group.

With an approach that connects core identity to growth, Christine’s professional signature and soft spoken wisdom come from decades of experience on staff, as an outside consultant or as a trusted advisor to a wide range of organizations, including:  Ralph Lauren Corporation, The African National Congress & Robert DeNiro (for Nelson Mandela’s 1990 U.S. visit), SIM Digitla/Bling, Earth Artist Studios, Film Forum, The Perrier Group, Appeltiser, Chase/JP Morgan, Food Forward, Wellness Within Your Walls, SCAD, Sotheby’s International Realty, The Kensington Chelsea Women’s Club and Communities in Schools, to name just a few.

Christine is also the author of the critically-acclaimed book Comfort Living: A Back to Basics Guide to a More Balanced Lifestyle, in which she focuses attention on personal branding and individual quality of life.

With a B.S. degree in Mandarin Chinese and Business from Georgetown University, Christine furthered those studies in Taiwan, Paris and Shanghai.  She is also certified in residential interior design from Atlanta College of Art (now SCAD, Savannah College of Art and Design).

A dual citizen of the U.S. and Switzerland, Christine is now based in Los Angeles and has lived in Asia and Europe and elsewhere in the U.S. — most recently in Atlanta, where she raised her two children.

 

stepakoffphoto

Jeffrey Stepakoff was raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He is an accomplished writer-producer and an experienced academic, with a twenty-eight year entertainment industry career that includes sweeping internationally-recognized credits, leadership roles in content creation and production management, and a track record of collaboration, innovation, and success in virtually all forms of commercial media.

After earning a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and then completing his Master of Fine Arts in Playwriting at Carnegie Mellon University, School of Drama, Stepakoff moved to Hollywood and began writing and producing film, television and digital entertainment.

He has “written by” or “story by” credits on thirty-seven television episodes, has written for fifteen different series, and has been a writer and/or writer-producer on eight primetime or first-run cable staffs, credited on more than two hundred episodes of popular television. The TV credits for which he is most known include the Emmy-winning The Wonder Years, Sisters, Wild Card, Hyperion Bay, The Magic School, C16:FBI, Robin’s Hoods, Land’s End, Flipper, Sons & Daughters, Major Dad, The Yakov Smirnoff Show, Beauty & the Beast, Have Faith, Simon & Simon, and break-out hit Dawson’s Creek, where he was Co-Executive Producer. Until July 2015, he worked as the Co-Executive Producer of Chasing Life for ABC Family.

Stepakoff has also created and developed pilots for many of the major studios and networks, including 20th Century, Paramount, MTM, Fox and ABC, and a variety of production companies and producers, such as Alloy Entertainment (Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries), Michael Pillar (Star Trek: Voyager, Deep Space Nine), and David Milch (Deadwood, NYPD Blue).

He has also developed and written major motion pictures, including Disney’s Brother Bear, Tarzan, for which Phil Collin’s won an Academy Award, and EM Entertainment’s Lapitch, Croatia’s selection for the 1998 Academy Awards.
Stepakoff has worked for numerous entertainment companies in the research and digital arts space, such as SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment, HarperCollins Interactive, Citicorp Transactional Technology, Digital Pictures, Inscape (HBO/Time Warner), and Universal Studios. He wrote the popular videogames Quarterback Attack with Mike Ditka. Creating a new storytelling model as one of the first “webisodic” shows, and the initial original content project for the digital media division of Paramount Studios, he developed and wrote Perspectives, an interactive drama series for the internet.

There are over a million copies of Stepakoff’s novels in print in twenty languages, as well.

 

GPB Studios
260 14th St NW
Free parking in deck adjacent to building

Free for members
$20 fee for guests


The Actor Track

A special WIFTA series just for actors! Whether you want to brush up a few skills or add some new ones to your toolbox, join us for a new workshop each month! SAG-AFTRA actor and coach Victoria Spencer Smith and special guest instructors will lead you through technique, tips and challenging exercises designed to increase your booking rate!

We continue this monthly series June 14th 7:00 p.m. at Gallery L1, 828 Ralph McGill Blvd, Ste L1, Atlanta, GA 30306.  Free to WIFTA members and film fatales; $20/session guest fee for others.

Breaking Down the Script

June 14th –  Part 2 Television and Film – REGISTER HERE
This workshop will assist the actor in making informed choices based on questions that will guide them into a stand out performance.

July 19th-  Improv for a better audition  – REGISTER HERE

Dig a little deeper into the freeing world of improvisation to enhance your ability to make on-the-spot changes and have more fun in auditions. Special guest instructor Jade Fernandez from Highwire Comedy will work with you to bring more life to your performances.

JadeFernandez.HS.Commercial  Highwire_profile

Jade Fernandez is a local Atlanta actor and improviser. She graduated from the University of Georgia with B.A. in Theatre and Spanish. She has trained in long form improv with Highwire Comedy since 2014. Jade has performed in numerous plays, but the majority of her work is in film and television. She can be seen in AT&T stores nationwide as the Technista, Kayla, and various independent films. Most recently, she had a small role on the new television show, “Atlanta.”  She performs with the improv troupe The Blast at Highwire.

On Camera Auditions
August 15th – Part 1 Commercials

September 20th – Part 2 Television & Film

This workshop will take elements from Breaking Down the Script, Scene Study and Improv to continue to build the actors tool box and will expand by using technical skills.

Monologues
This workshop will include how to find suitable material, how to prepare, and how to deliver the best performance.

Voice Overs
This workshop will dive into the specialized area of Voice Overs and include what is needed to be successful in the field.

About Victoria Spencer Smith:

VictoriaS_189
Victoria is a SAG/AFTRA professionally working actress in Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles and is currently represented by J. Pervis Talent. She pursued her study in craft at The Joanne Baron/DW Brown Meisner Studio in Santa Monica California. She has appeared in over 100 commercials, television, film and video roles and attributes her success to family support, wonderful coaches and her tenacity to her craft and not ever giving up on herself or others. She became involved in her profession after starting in theater when she was young. She stopped her work when her son was born and restarted her career after he was old enough for her to return. One brother is a cartoonist and the other an independent contractor, her sister is a business manager and her mother a visual artist who could have been a terrific doctor who decided to marry her father (welder by trade) at 17 years old and had Victoria at 18.

Highlights of her life includes marrying her husband and the birth of their son from which unconditional love helped deepen her commitment to the wonders of the craft of acting. She admits to having an innate commitment to tell the story truthfully because of her connection to others and what it means to truly care for one another and have empathy. By using her mind, body and spirit as the instrument in which the character is built and by adding the specifics of the history from which every character has uniquely as their own. This enables her to deliver the writers story from the truth of real life challenges and the courage to push through it all which allows us all to soar.


Want to talk to an Academy Award winning director?

WIFTA invites you to a special evening with a screening and a talk-back with the Academy Award winning director and associate producer of the film SOLD, a riveting and meaningful project dedicated to end child trafficking worldwide.  A talkback featuring director Jeffrey Brown and Actress Seirah Royin who is also an associate producer.

sold

SOLD is the story of an innocent young girl, Lakshmi, who is tricked into leaving her home in a pastoral, rural village in Nepal for a new job in the big city. Soon she realizes she has been trafficked into a gritty prison brothel in Kolkata, India. Based on true stories, SOLD is a narrative feature film adaptation of the internationally critically acclaimed novel by two-time National Book Award finalist Patricia McCormick.

Through one extraordinary girl’s story, SOLD illustrates the brutality of child trafficking, which affects millions of children around the globe every year. Globally the average age of a trafficked girl is thirteen, the same age as Lakshmi. The film is a testament to the power and resilience of the human spirit through one girl’s quest for freedom.

SOLD is directed by Academy and Emmy award-winner, Jeffrey D. Brown, Executive Produced by two-time Academy Award winner, Emma Thompson, Produced by Jane Charles, Co-Produced by Katie Mustard and Written by Joseph Kwong and Jeffrey D. Brown. The ensemble cast includes Gillian Anderson (X-FILES) and David Arquette.

Shandra McDonald, former WIFTA board member and filmmaker will lead the panel discussion which will also include local advocates who are combating the problem on Atlanta’s front lines.  Join us for this provocative and enlightening discussion about a very real, very local issue.

Trailer:  soldthemovie.com

  • May 8th, 7:15 p.m.
  • Plaza Theater, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE
  • Tickets are $12/$9 for seniors

April meeting: Success in Casting the Independent Project

Announcing the exciting addition of Rachel Winter, producer of Krystal (now shooting with William H. Macy directing) and Dallas Buyers Club to our indie casting panel! And thanks to the generosity of our hosts Sim Digital/Bling and sponsors CORT Furniture, we’ve added 25 more seats…but they’ll go quick!


   
   

April 27th, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.                                                     Register Closed

NOTE: Special location for April  SIM Digital, 1379 Chattahoochee Ave., Atlanta, GA 30318

casting sm

Indie Casting

Writers, directors and producers of independent, smaller budget productions always have a great vision of  the look, sound and mannerisms of their beloved characters; it’s clear in their mind.  But how to get a skilled, experienced and directable actor onto the call sheet next to that role?  Our experts will give you tips on the nuances of casting like:

  • creating compelling breakdowns
  • using a reputable casting site
  • casting in a pre-production timeline
  • targeting professional actors
  • dissecting the resume and reel
  • running a successful audition
  • negotiating with agents
  • getting a great performance on set

Actors won’t be left out!  A lively discussion on the importance of relationship building in the indie community as well as tips on finding, preparing for indie auditions will be served up as well.

Our experts:


Rachel Winter is the Academy Award®-nominated producer of the acclaimed film “Dallas Buyers Club,” starring Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner. Winter, with longtime friend and fellow producer Robbie Brenner, brought the film to screen following its legendary decades-long journey through development and multiple iterations of filmmakers and actors. The film went on to receive six Academy Award® nominations including best picture, winning three of them including lead actor for McConaughey and supporting actor for Leto. The film also received accolades from the Producers Guild of America, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globe Awards and the Broadcast Film Critics Association’s Critics Choice Awards.

Winter is currently in production in Georgia on “Krystal” which marks William H. Macy’s directorial debut. The cast includes Nick Robinson, William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman,T.I.,Grant Gustin, Kathy Bates and John Leguizamo. The film is an ensemble dramedy about a young man who has never had a drink in his life and upon meeting the woman of his dreams – an ex-hooker-stripper-junkie-alcoholic – pretends to be in AA to try and woo her. Fresh and smartly written, humor and heart get to win a little over fear and addiction. Winter is producing the project with Dan Keston, the two have been developing the project since 2002

TwinkeByrd

Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd is a Brooklyn-born and raised casting director with more than 20 years of experience in the industry.  Byrd has the vision to spot actors who can bring complicated and nuanced storylines from page to motion picture.  Her work on Stomp the Yard, The Blind Side, Notorious, Jumping the Broom, Filly Brown, Sparkle, Black Nativity, Fruitvale Station and now SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU along with Atlanta’s own Being Mary Jane prove as much.  Byrd has spent decades channeling her super power of finding the perfect person for every role.

Her eye for raw talent, one of her keys to success is her belief that no project is too big or too small. She has worked on a number of independent and student projects including Ryan Coogler’s Fig, which appeared on HBO and currently Cast his Hit Feature Film “FRUITVALE STATION”. With her feet planted firmly in multiple worlds, Byrd often surprises producers and directors with her spot-on casting and leaves them exclaiming, “Where’d you find this actor?”

rhavynn drummersm

Along with her duties at Tyler Perry Studios, Rhavynn Drummer is also a freelance principle casting director.  She and her casting team specialize in casting SAG feature films and television series, along with independent projects, commercials, music videos, web series,  pilots, and stage plays.  Through her innovative approach to casting and her relentless search of finding the best talent she has been able to achieve much success for all the projects she has cast.  Although she is based in Atlanta, her range of casting expands beyond the Southeast to the New York and Los Angeles markets as well.

jayson warner smith

Atlanta native Jayson Warner Smith is an actor in film, television and theatre. He started in theatre at age nine and since that time, Smith has been in a play a TV show or a film every year of his life. .. and the last two have been busy ones.   Beginning in March of 2015, Smith performed major supporting roles in, Devil and the Deep Blue Sea with Maisie Williams and Jason Sudekis, Christine with Rebecca Hall and Michael C. Hall, The Birth of a Nation with Nate Parker and Armee Hammer, and Mena with Tom Cruise.   All of these films will be coming out in 2016 and 2017. Most notably, The Birth of a Nation and Christine both premiered to wide acclaim at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival; Devil and the Deep Blue Sea just premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival

jen west

Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Jen West is a writer and director living in Atlanta, Georgia. She is known for writing and directing Piece of Cake (2006), Crush (2011), Bubble (2013), Call Me (music video for St. Paul and the Broken Bones, 2014), and Little Cabbage (2015). Her company is Four X Productions, which she runs with her partner James Martin. The team currently has two active projects, The New Orleans Sazerac, a documentary which will be screened this year in the Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at the Cannes Film Festival.  The other (written, directed and co produced by Jen), currently in production, is a 1980s punk rock thriller called Electric Bleau, slated to shoot summer 2016.

Free to WIFTA members; $20 guest fee.  Payment by credit card online, cash or check at door.


April 7th – WIFTA and New Mavericks celebrate women directors!

In lieu of our monthly mixer, WIFTA proudly joins with Atlanta Film Festival’s New Mavericks to celebrate Film Fatales – a group of women pursuing excellence in directing!  All WIFTA members are invited to a reception:

  • April 7th
  • 5:00 – 6:30 pm
  • Gallery L1
  • 828 Ralph McGill Blvd, Ste L1, 
  • Atlanta, GA 30306  

Grab a bite, have a drink and mingle with local filmmakers as well as ones attending the film festival in support of their projects.

ATLANTAFF

After the festivities, we will head over to the Plaza Theatre for a screening of SPEED SISTERS  (http://atlantafilmfestival.com/2016/speed-sisters/)

 

  • SPEED SISTERS
  • Thursday, April 7, 2016, 7:00 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main
  • The first all-woman race car driving team in the Middle East coined themselves The Speed Sisters. These female professionals are no strangers to headlines, drama, or trophies, but crossing the finish line in a male-dominated industry takes more than experience. Amplified by larger-than-life personalities, this race to become the best while working together wins the hearts of both sport and documentary spectators. —Mikaela Dyett

“Making Film Festivals Work For You” and calling Producers, Writers and Actors!

Our Panel at our General Membership Meeting on Wednesday March 23rd, 7:00 – 9:00 pm at GPB Studios will be representatives of the:

  • Atlanta Film Festival;
  • the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival;
  • Bronze Lens Film Festival; and
  • the Kingdomwood Christian Film Festival

Whether you are submitting, screening or just attending, there are ways to get more bang for your buck; get our experts’ advice on:

  • Selecting the right festivals to submit
  • Understanding judging criteria
  • Things that you get your project noticed for the right/wrong reasons
  • How to enter in order to give your project the best shot
  • If chosen, how to promote your project
  • How to attend a film festival – with or without a film – panels, meet and greets, parties, etc.

We will have a panel discussion followed by Q&A session so be prepared with your questions!

Stick around after that as we will discuss our Track Programming designed to cover topics of interests for Producers, Writers and Actors; each has their separate series.  We want your input!

Our guests:

2016-ATLFF-Square-Logo-Main-Trans

Now celebrating a 40-year history, the ATLANTA FILM FESTIVAL is the area’s preeminent celebration of cinema. One of only two dozen Academy Award-qualifying events in the country, the Atlanta Film Festival showcases over 200 films annually to nearly 25,000 attendees across a ten day event each spring. Each year, the Atlanta Film Festival receives nearly 5,000 submissions from 120 countries across the globe. It has been distinguished as the ‘Best Film Festival’ by Creative Loafing, Sunday Paper, 10Best and Atlanta Magazine, as well as one of the ’25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World’ and one of ’50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee’ by MovieMaker Magazine.

The Atlanta Film Festival is the chief annual operation of the Atlanta Film Society (ATLFS), one of the oldest and largest organizations dedicated to the promotion and education of film in the United States. Enriching the community through screenings, classes, workshops and other events year-round, the ATLFS is a membership-based 501(c)(3) arts non-profit

ajff SQUARE

 

The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival continues its long tradition in 2016, delivering the best experience for festival goers as the world’s largest Jewish film festival.   After 23 days, 184 screenings (including 15 encores of our most popular films), and eight different venues across the metro area, the 2016 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival came to a close.

Just over 36,000 audience members passed into AJFF theaters at the 2016 festival, enjoying more films and more screenings than ever before offered. The festival has embarked on a multi-year plan to increase access to the festival for audiences of all ages, from every background, and from all across the Atlanta area and beyond. This included the addition in 2016 of a new theatrical venue, SCADshow in Midtown Atlanta. AJFF also announced expanded year-round programming during the 2016 festival, and will continue to upgrade and expand its programming footprint for future festivals.

The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival is an independent non-profit arts organization that continues an active partnership with its founding agency, American Jewish Committee. Both organizations share a common commitment to strengthen Jewish life and foster intergroup understanding among Atlanta’s diverse cultural, ethnic and religious populations.

BLFF

BronzeLens Film Festival showcases films by seasoned as well as the “next generation” of filmmakers that are by, for and/or depicting people of color, particularly of the African Diaspora. The Festival features outstanding films and Workshops, Master Classes and Conversations about the art and business of filmmaking. Our attendees often say that the BLFF is a welcome addition to the festival circuit noting the quality of films, programming and access to expert panelists who are seasoned professionals with local, national and international stature  BronzeLens also does year round programming of films and workshops.

kingdomwood

Kingdomwood Christian Film Festival is encouraging filmmakers to submit their faith-based films to our film festival today!  Distribution reviews from our distributors are performed on a monthly basis.  Kingdomwood’s Red Carpet Competition will allow selected filmmakers to receive the “grand” experience of all times!  KCFF also has an “enticing program” for filmmakers that you don’t want to miss!  Join Kingdomwood Christian Film Festival from October 7-9, 2016 at the Atlanta Marriott Buckhead Hotel & Conference Center.  www.kingdomwood.com