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America Ferrera
America Ferrera

It's time for the New York entertainment industry's favorite event of the holiday season  -  the Muse Awards  -  NYWIFT's gala luncheon celebrating the achievements of women who work in film and television.

This year, we present the Muse Award to four remarkable women: actor and star of ABC televison's Ugly Betty, America Ferrera; actor and star of CBS' The Good Wife, Julianna Margulies; comedy writer and television producer, Allison Silverman; and President and CEO of the Lifetime Networks, Andrea Wong. The Loreen Arbus Award for Those Who Take Action & Effect Change will be presented to Chicken & Egg Pictures, a non-profit production company that fund and supports films by women.

So join us on December 9th - along with emcee Linda Kaplan Thaler - as we raise a glass to our Muses, celebrate their inspiring stories, and mingle with an enthusiastic audience of friends and colleagues from every major studio, network and production facility in town. We look forward to seeing you at the event.

America Ferrera has inspired a generation of viewers by portraying everyday heroines who triumph through the force of their inner beauty. Ferrera is perhaps best known for playing Betty Suarez in the hit ABC series Ugly Betty, a role that has won her an Emmy, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award-all in a single season. In addition, she took home top honors from ALMA and the Imagen Awards, and was congratulated by the U.S. House of Representatives  for serving as a role model for young Hispanics. The Alma Award made special note of Ferrera's efforts to get young people involved in the political process.

This native of Los Angeles first made her mark when she was tapped to star in the HBO film Real Women Have Curves. The production wrapped in November 2001 and was presented the following January at Sundance, where it won the Audience Award, and Ferrera star took home a Special Jury Prize for her nuanced portrayal of a young woman torn between honoring her mother's expectations and her own dream of attending college. That success led to starring roles in the 2005 hit The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and it's eponymous sequel; the bilingual independent film Towards Darkness, which she also executive produced; Fox Searchlight's Under The Same Moon;  the Brian Jun film Steel City; Catherine Hardwicke's Lords of Dogtown; and the 2005 Sundance entry How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer.

Ferrera's most recent credits include the recently wrapped The Dry Land, written and directed by her boyfriend, Ryan Piers Williams; Rick Famuyiwa's Family Wedding, opposite Forest Whitaker and Carlos Mencia; and the animated Dreamworks' film How to Train Your Dragon, which opens in March.

Julianna Margulies is an Emmy and Screen Actors Guild Award winner whose career spans film, television and theater. On television, she can currently be seen starring in the CBS hit The Good Wife, portraying a wife and mother who re-enters the workforce as a trial lawyer, after her politician husband gets caught in a very public sex scandal. In film, she appears in the soon-to-be-released comedy City Island, opposite Andy Garcia. Winner of the Audience Award at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival, City Island follows a family that experiences the unraveling of a shared web of lies. Margulies first caught the eye of millions of Americans as one of the original members of the groundbreaking show ER, for which she received both an Emmy Award and SAG Award for her role as Carole Hathaway.  More recently, she not only starred as Elizabeth Canterbury, a criminal defense attorney in the Fox Network drama Canterbury's Law, she also acted as that show's producer alongside Denis Leary and Jim Serpico of Apostle Productions. Other television credits include The Grid, a mini-series from TNT and the BBC, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination; as well as TNT's original mini-series The Mists of Avalon; and a multi-episode guest role in HBO's The Sopranos, opposite James Gandolfini.

Margulies' feature film credits include Snakes on a Plane, The Darwin Awards, Slingshot, Ghost Ship, Evelyn, The Newton Boys, A Price Above Rubies, Traveller, Paradise Road and The Man From Elysian Fields. She made her Broadway debut in 2006, starring in Festen, before going on to appear in numerous stage productions, including Ten Unknowns at Lincoln Center, for which she won the Lucille Lortel Award. 

Allison Silverman - one of the rare women to break through to the top ranks of late night television comedy writing and producing - attributes her keen sense of humor to her father, a professor of biochemistry who taught her to be skeptical and question authority. Such traits served her well as a writer for Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart and Conan O'Brien - professional skeptics known for some of the most pointed political humor and cutting-edge sketch comedy on television.

Silverman, who recently left her job as the Executive Producer of The Colbert Report to focus on writing full time, had been with that show since its earliest days, first as Co-Head Writer and Co -  Executive Producer, before taking the reins as Executive Producer in 2007.  Silverman and her team have been recognized for helping Colbert fine tune his character into the lovable right-wing windbag he embodies today. As a result, during Silverman's tenure, the show received a total of 15 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, winning the Emmy last year, as well as a coveted George Foster Peabody Award. Silverman took classes in improvisational comedy at Second City in Chicago and honed her stage craft at the ImprovOlympics. A stint at the Boom Chicago theater in Amsterdam followed, before she returned to the US and landed a coveted spot at the writers' table on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where she would ultimately win an Emmy and a Peabody Award. As much as she loved her job at The Daily Show, when the opportunity arose to move to Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Silverman leapt at the chance it afforded her to also produce her own material for broadcast, for which she received three Writers Guild Awards and four Emmy nominations. That experience led directly to her job on The Colbert Report.

Andrea Wong had been an M.I.T. - trained electrical engineer, a trader on the Pacific Stock Exchange, a Wall Street investment banker and a strategic planner for Pepsi, before a summer research job she took at NBC finally introduced her to her passion - television.  

Today, she holds her dream job, President and CEO of Lifetime Networks. Since April 2007, Wong has overseen all day-to-day operations of the top two women's networks - Lifetime Television and Lifetime Movie Network - along with Lifetime Real Women and Lifetime Digital.  She also manages the Company's advertising sales, distribution, research, programming, public affairs, marketing, business and legal affairs, strategic planning and operations. She has re-launched the network's Web site, myLifetime.com, and also oversees their first-ever digital acquisitions, including several popular online gaming sites for women.

Since Wong took over, Lifetime has seen all its channels flourish. Army Wives has become the top - rated drama series in the network's 25-year history, The Memory Keeper's Daughter has become the most-watched Lifetime Original Movie in 12 years, and the Lifetime Movie Network boasted its five highest-rated movies in that Network's 11-year history.  Other new series have also proven popular, such as Drop Dead Diva, Sherri, Rita Rocks and Models of the Runway, the sequel to Project Runway, the highest-rated competition show on all of cable. Wong developed her eye for winning shows at ABC, where she quickly climbed the ranks to be named Executive Vice President, Alternative Programming, Specials and Late-Night, in 2004. Among the shows Wong acquired and developed for ABC were some of the most influential in recent television history:  The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Wife Swap, Supernanny and Dancing with the Stars.

Chicken & Egg Pictures is a film fund and non-profit production company dedicated to supporting women filmmakers who are as passionate about the art and craft of storytelling as they are about human rights, global health, and environmental justice issues they embrace, translate, and
explore on film.

Now entering their fifth year of funding and mentoring women filmmakers Chicken & Egg has made grants totaling more than $1 million and has provided over 2500 hours of mentorship.

Chicken & Egg supported films include: Freeheld by Cynthia Wade, William Kuntsler: Disturbing The Universe, Lioness by Meg McLagan and Daria Sommers, Connected by Tiffany Shlain, Earth Camp One by Jennie Livingston, Eventual Salvation by Dee Rees, Body Typed by Jesse Epstein, The Oath by Laura Poitras, Orgasm Inc. by Liz Canner, Strong Island by Yance Ford, and Monica and David by Alexandra Codina.

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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts