AWD newsletter 01/09/17
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AWD works to support and promote the work, visibility, and professional development for female directors through a variety of programs including screenings, educational events, and industry parties both for their members, and the general public.
NAACP Image Award Nominations

AWD Honorary Board member Millicent Shelton is nominated for Outstanding Directing in a Dramatic Series Empire - Episode: "Empire: The Lyon Who Cried Wolf (2016)". She has been nominated ten times and has won the image award three times.

Your Ideal Actor

Finding + Communicating With Your Ideal Actor
Casting Director Claire Koonce

Sunday, January 22, 2017, 10 AM - 2 PM
7361 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood
RSVP to Halli Lorenzato

Space is limited - you will receive a confirmation after January 16th, 2017

Free to AWD Members   $20 for non-members at the door
AWD Members Bash
Members and potential members welcome to our first bash of the year!
Sunday, January 29, 2017, 3 PM - 6 PM

Jennifer Warren's Home
1675 Old Oak Road
Los Angeles, CA 90272
Free to AWD Members   $20 for non-members at the door
Join AWD now
AWD Member Enters Prestigious Program

Alexis Korycinski is one of the first five participants of the Warner Brothers' newly launched Emerging Film Directors Workshop.

Alexis Korycinski, a Syracuse University graduate has directed and produced three original narrative short films. In 2014, she participated in the AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women and she’s also a participant in the Ryan Murphy Television Half Foundation’s mentorship program.

The Emerging Film Directors Workshop program is aimed at serving as a talent incubator designed to give access and voice to new and underrepresented talent via a seven-month fellowship with the opportunity to showcase their work. Congratulations Alexis!

AWD Atlanta Chapter
Chaun Pinkston, chair of our AWD Atlanta Board, has laid the foundation for our work in Georgia. We are thrilled to announce the founding members of the AWD Atlanta Chapter. The picture below was taken at the Holiday Meet-up December 17, 2016. 
left to right: Lola Simpson (Atlanta Chapter Assitant), Aileen Michelle, Renee Williams, Kimberly Nichelle, Scarlett Hill, Allison Wilmarth (Advisory Board), Raeha Kim (Advisory Board - seated), Laneesha White (PR), Marje' Etheridge (Advisory Board), Chaun Pinkston (Chair), and Lori Beard-Daily (Advisory Board).

Introducing AWD Atlanta Board Members
Chaun Pinkston
is skilled in writing, directing and producing, but her greatest gift is her compassion. She loves this industry, and the relationships that she is blessed to have and she uses her strength to empower others. Her greatest honor is to encourage and inspire the talent she works with. She is just as intentional about others' success as she is about her own.
Kimberly Nichelle
studied TV/Film Production at The University of Alabama at Birmingham and graduated with a Master of Science in Business Management from the University of Maryland. She is looking forward to being a board member for the new Atlanta Chapter in hopes that she can help AWD be the foundation to something great in Georgia.
Starlett Hill
is an up and coming Director, Actress, and Screenwriter in the Atlanta area. Training in NYC at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, she has always been passionate about telling stories and prides herself on touching people with the stories she tells. Starlett has worked on many projects from Acting, Directing, PA work, to Screenwriting and loves any contact she can have in this amazing field.
Aileen Michelle
is a Screenwriter, Director of Photography, Editor, Producer, and Actor. She directed the shorts 'Lost In Mind' and ‘Spotlight Blinding,' the latter currently in post production. She wrote the TV series ‘Hinged’ which she will be producing and directing. Aileen wants to support other women directors and create a better name for us in the industry.
Renee Williams 
wrote, directed, and produced the short film 'Carolyn Somebody' and is currently working on her second short entitled 'Watching Me Watch You'. She is in preproduction with ‘Chandler’s Song’ and developing a TV series ‘Alabama Blues’. She also works in the casting department since 2010 on films like 'Selma', amongst others.
Tomeka M. Winborne 
is an author and filmmaker. She wrote, directed and produced the shorts 'Pass Me By' and 'Too Late'. In 2012, Tomeka wrote and produced the short film 'What Could Happen: Romney/Ryan in 2014' exploring, in an extremely fictional way, what could happen under a Mitt Romney administration. Currently, Tomeka is in post-production for her latest short film, 'Aged Out'.

Fireside Chat with Dan Attias
On January 5th, over thirty women and men heard acclaimed director Dan Attias share tales of his directing experiences and viewed a variety of well-crafted clips from popular shows he has directed. In the picture on the bottom, Dan and Jennifer look at a clip from 'The Wire' -
the last scene of Transitions (2008).

LA Board At Annual Retreat
left to right: Sarah Downey, Halli Lorenzato (seated), Michaela von Schweinitz, Emily Dell, Jennifer Warren (seated), C.M. Landrus, Nikki Braendlin (seated), Sarah Bullion, Lagueria Davis, Marty Elcan (seated), Kate Rees Davies.

Introducing New LA Board Members

Kate Rees Davies
is a directing graduate of UCLA and one of the first independent filmmakers to shoot on 4K with the Sony F65. Five of her shorts have screened at Cannes. She is currently exploring the world of VR to create content for the next generation. She has recently finished working at The Weinstein Company on the Lexus Short Film program. Her next project is a documentary about women in rock and roll.

Lagueria Davis
graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a BFA in Media Art. Her short ‘Help Yourself’ won the award for best short comedy in the 2009 Trail Dance Film Festival. That same year Davis wrote and directed her first feature film '1 IN 3'. Davis resides in LA working on funding her narrative features 'This Is Not a Love Story,' which placed in the 2013 Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition, and 'Spectacular Testicle Spectacle,' which was a top ten finalist in the 2011 Tulsa International Film Festival Screenplay Competition.

C.M. Landrus
is an award-winning writer, director and producer. She is currently producing 'Runaway Dreamer,' a feature finalist for both the Sundance International Screenwriters Lab and for the Sundance | Drishyam Screenwriters Lab in India. So far in 2016, her original one-hour drama TV pilot, 'Olympus Rising,' has won multiple awards, including First Place Original TV Drama Pilot at the Las Vegas International Screenwriting Competition. This year C.M. completed 'The Dead Party' for the Collaboration Filmmakers Challenge.

Sarah B. Downey
is an American multi-internationally award winning Director. An avant guard approach is Downey’s forte to her works in film. She has claimed The Golden Lion Award at The London Film Awards for her film ‘The Undercard,’ The World Cinema Directing Award at The Amsterdam Film Festival, and Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Directing at The Mexico Film Festival. Downey is a rebel filmmaker and a Sundance Alumni.

Nikki Braendlin
wrote and directed the feature 'As High As The Sky,' which won the Jury and Audience Award at the Sonoma Int’l Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Palm Beach Int’l Film Festival. Nikki serves as Festival Outreach Coordinator for the Alliance of Women Directors and is a member of Film Fatales and Film Independent. She is currently in development with two feature films.

Michaela von Schweinitz
is an award-winning writer, director, producer whose first 16mm short film 'Kiss Me' was broadcasted in Germany. After moving to Los Angeles in 2003, she was hired to direct her first independent feature 'Love Songs of a Third Grade Teacher'. Her short 'The Meeting' opened Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, won the Platinum award at The WorldFest Houston, screened at the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Market, the California Independent Film Festival, Black Earth Film Festival, and International Film Festival Emden in Germany. Currently she is writing a feature screenplay, an independent mystery thriller. 

Screen Time

The American Cinematheque's 12th Annual Focus on Female Directors Program is celebrating the directorial work of Academy Award winners, cinema pioneers, actresses-turned directors, animators, documentarians, and the brightest stars emerging from film schools and the film festival circuits at 7:30pm at the iconic Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, 
January 18, 2017 at 7:30 PM.

Alexis Korycinski will be present at the screening of her short 'Bambina' at 12th Annual Focus on Female Directors Program,
Wednesday January 18th, 2017.
For more information and tickets:

Seeking Our Story, sponsored by the Alliance of Women Directors, and Women In Media present director Leni Riefenstahl's most influential work as a cautionary lesson on the power of media and art in politics. 

Leni Riefenstahl's 'Triumph of the Will'
Written, Directed, Produced and Edited by Leni Riefenstahl, commissioned by Adolph Hitler, Screening in 16mm courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

Thursday, January 19th, 2017
6:00 P.M. Networking (RSVP required)
7:00 P.M. 16mm Film Presentation (RSVP required)

USC's The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

Training starts in January

Become a Violence Prevention Specialist. Educate yourself and your community. Learn how what you put on screen impacts the people who see it. Debunk myths about surviving sexual and domestic violence. Understand the roots of why people believe what they do about our positions in society. Become a trauma-informed writer and filmmaker. Feel free to email our Board member C.M. with questions

Training starts in January.

Big Winner in 2016

Carolin von Petzold and her feature film debut 'THE BOOM BOOM GIRLS OF WRESTLING' took home the Best Feature award at the following festivals:

Los Angeles World International Film Festival 2016
New York Cinema Film Festival 2016
Women's Up International Film Festival in 2015

Ellen Gerstein and her co-star Charlie Robinson continue their successful festival circuit with Ellen's short 'COME AWAY WITH ME' garnering ten more awards in 2016. She not only wrote and directed the film, she also wrote the song, sung by Hollie Cavanagh from 'American Idle,' and Luis Eric Gonzales, horn player for Earth Wind And Fire, did the horn tracks. Here’s the impressive list: 

The Robert Prosky Character Actor Award for Ellen Gerstein at Cape May Film Festival,
Best Short at Film Carmel International Film Festival,
Jury Selection Award at Lady Filmmakers Film Festival,
Best Director at Atlanta Shortsfest,
Best Short Film at Imagine This Women’s International Film,
Grand Jury Selection at Gasparilla International Film Festival,
Charlie Robinson Best Actor Male at Connect Film Festival,
Best of Show at Best Shorts Competition,
Award of Excellence at Best Shorts Competition,
Best Sound and Music at Connect Film Festival,
The Audience Choice Award at HollyShorts Monthly Screenings.

Ellen Gerstein performs in a staged play reading of 'The Bialy Eaters' with a dinner to follow. 
Sunday, January 29, 2017 at the Ebell of Los Angeles. 
Get your tickets here: 
Festival Fee Waiver For AWD Members

The Female Eye Film Festival has graciously granted AWD members film submission waivers for their 2017 festival. Shorts: maximum 40 minutes - Features: minimum 40 minutes. Late deadline is Feb. 27 - extended deadline is March 15

Members in good standing can email Nikki Braendlin the title of their film (completed after January 1, 2015), with the director's name, the film category (all genres are accepted) and a one-sentence logline. 

Nikki will send elligable members a waiver code to be used on Withoutabox.

Rules and Regulations

BAFTA Introduces New Rules to Exclude “Non-Diverse” Films:

Read the article by Laura Berger published December 14, 2016 in Women And Hollywood

Just how many votes does it take to be nominated for each Oscar Category?

Read the article by Steve Pond published January 1, 2017 in The Wrap
Enough to Be Dangerous

Ann Rutledge, an expert in calculating risks, came to AWD last year to talk about the challenges/risks of financing your films. This initiated an ongoing conversation we invite you to join. 

“In my world what you are doing is called “monetizing the value of your film assets,” i.e., tapping their money value. This can be done when the asset is under construction or ready to go to market. The assets in my world are usually “close to money”: bonds, loans, homes in a desirable location, etc.

Many people would say your biggest financing challenge is that film assets are not close to money. Valuing them involves a lot of uncertainty. And it is true that your asset class involves a lot more exchange-value uncertainty.

But, speaking as a debt finance geek, I don’t think this is your biggest challenge. If these factors are “helpful” in getting a film financed —

  • The script has won or is a finalist in a mayor screenplay competition
  • The project has an A list talent attached—a commitment which, these days, requires a deposit
  • A distribution deal is in place—a condition that requires a committed A-list talent, which we’ve already said requires money
  • Foreign sales by territory, supported by an A-list talent or bankable actor/actress

— only the first bullet taps into your skills. The other three say: “It takes money to attract money. It’s on you to figure out how to get it!”  Looking at Ann's diagram, who can fill in the blanks? Write to us or ask Ann Rutledge directly.

She Got The Money
Ileana D. Vasquez secured financing for her feature 'Perfidious,' which she wrote and is set to direct. How did she do it and what can we learn from her? Ileana's advice: "Think outside the box. Get informed. Prepare, prepare. Network and always be kind and gracious."

Vasquez cold called, networked internationally via LinkedIn and internet investor sites, then learned as much about Financing and the terminology required to start the conversations with financiers. She needed to understand what the terms are, what they are offering. Investors want to know your financial plan and how their funds are going to be returned.

"I needed to know what ROI, waterfall, net profits, gross and percentage on return meant. Also how to negotiate a deal so that both parties benefit from it without giving up my rights or too creative much control."

The most important aspect of her journey was to retain creative control by being a producer on the project, holding the rights or some of the rights. The rights to 'Perfidious' are being held by an LLC she founded and of which she is the sole member. 
What's On Your Bedside Table?
Alexis Korycinski reads 'Making it Big In Shorts'. The Author Kim Edelman will be doing a FREE workshop with her new addition coming out at The Writers Store in Burbank on Sat, January 28, 2017, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM PST. Get your ticket on Eventbrite:  
It's A Wrap
AWD member Rachel Feldman with Nancy Rae Stone and AWD member Nancy Schreiber, 2017 ASC President’s Award Honoree (first woman to receive this honor).
Pictures by Erin Brown
Rachel Feldman wrapped her short 'Here Now' with the generosity of Panavision, Cinelease, Bruce’s Catering and ChimneyGroup, as well as the support of 80 generous contributors. Post production is happening in Stockholm, Sweden. Rachel hopes to bring you the finished film early Spring.
Rachel Feldman with actress Amy Brenneman
Welcome Our New Members

Deborah Brock

started her career directing comedy features for New Horizons Pictures and sci-fi episodic television for the Fox Kids Network. She won "Best Feature Director" at the Los Angeles International Femme Festival in 2013, and her dark comedy, "MisAdventures of the Dunderheads" starring Alison Brie and Olympia Dukakis, was picked up by Starz Entertainment, now available on Amazon Prime, Hulu and ITunes. Currently, she is developing a sci-fi live action VR series for Emet Comics based on their "Spoilerland" comics.

Eliya Reis

graduated from Sam Spiegel Film school in Jerusalem, Israel and from the Columbia University School of The Arts with a Film Directing MFA Degree in 2013. Eliya is now working as a freelance Director, Video editor and Story consultant in Los Angeles. She is attached to co-produce the feature ‘The Teenager” with Rough Diamond Productions, and is developing her first feature as a director: ‘The Spiritual Bypass”, a couple of TV shows, and a number of film and digital projects.

Stay connected in 2017

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AWD Newsletter Editor: Michaela von Schweinitz
AWD Newsletter Copy Editors: Marty Elcan and Summer Perkins 
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