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.
173 14th Street, Atlanta 30309
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:
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 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 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.
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 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 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, 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 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.
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.
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.