On the left, Julianna Margulies (right) with Andrea Miller (center); on the right, Nora Jones and Mandy Lyons. Photo credit: Ben Hider.
NYWIFT’s Designing Women Awards last Thursday, May 23, sponsored by People magazine, was a terrific event. It was a pleasure to see so many talented women — including Deborah Scott (costume designer, Avatar), Mandy Lyons (hairstylist, Moonrise Kingdom), and Andrea Miller (makeup artist, The Good Wife) — recognized for their work in film and TV.
The Variety Ensemble Award went to the entire hair, makeup, and costume team of The Americans for recreating the early-1980s looks necessary for hit drama’s spy characters. I had no idea how big a team is needed to make a period show look authentic.
Honorees with NYWIFT Board President Alexis Alexanian (center). Photo credit: Ben Hider.
The packed house also got the pleasure of hearing stories illustrating why these women were being honored. Presenters Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife), Grammy-winning singer Norah Jones, and Jon Landau (producer, Avatar) all spoke with affection about the winners while detailing their accomplishments.
The Americans producer Joseph Weisberg delved into how his team creates the world of espionage. And he knows what he was talking about — Weisberg once worked for the CIA.
To top it off, I’ve been enjoying the event’s ADJ gift bag, filled with items from some of NYWIFT’s many friends — delicious goodies and sweet deals from Rainforest Alliance, Guylian, Slide restaurant, Clinique, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, Hanes, Sony Music, Streeter Tech, and Gotham Writers’ Workshop.
Perhaps the biggest gift I received is being part of an organization like NYWIFT that’s dedicated to supporting women who call the shots! — MIMI SPILLANE
NYWIFT Member Panayiota Pagoulatos shares memories from her trip to Cannes 2022 - her first time back on a plane since 2019! She met with WIFTI leaders from all over the world and shared this sage advice: "If you find yourself at an international market or film festival—whether it’s the first or the fiftieth time—look for your people. Whether a business partnership comes out of it or not, staying connected, sharing your experiences, and hopefully learning a thing or two, that’s the pulse that will help keep you going in this tough-as-nails industry."READ MORE
Cynthia Lowen’s latest documentary "Battleground" offers an eye-opening window into the anti-choice movement, featuring three women from varying walks of life who have dedicated themselves to rendering abortion illegal. Per the Tribeca website: “Told with restraint and balance, director Cynthia Lowen seeks to clarify rather than condemn, and presents a new point of entry for this challenging topic.” While the film itself clearly aligns with progressive pro-choice advocates (who also appear throughout) it offers a fascinating perspective on the sheer systemic power of the anti-abortion movement and the perilous future, felt painfully today, of Roe v. Wade. "Battleground" was Executive Produced by NYWIFT member Ruth Ann Harnisch and co-produced by member Steffie van Rhee, who sat down with us to discuss the premiere and how this film – from this particular perspective – came to fruition.READ MORE
Violet Du Feng’s "Hidden Letters" tells the story of Chinese women trying to balance their lives as independent women in modern China while confronting the traditional identity that defines but also oppresses them. Connected through their love for Nushu—a centuries-old secret text shared amongst women—each of them transforms through a pivotal period of their lives and takes a step closer to becoming the individuals they know they can be. Hot off her 2022 Tribeca Festival premiere, Director Violet Du Feng, an Emmy-award winning documentarian, spoke to us about Nushu, modern-day China, women’s equality, and her filmmaking process.READ MORE
Signe Baumane’s "My Love Affair With Marriage" is a brilliant animated film for a decidedly adult audience. It’s a semi-autobiographical musical exploration of love, sex, romance, and gender as viewed through the lens of neurochemistry – not your average animated love story! New York Women in Film & Television was proud to present Baumane with a NYWIFT Ravenal Foundation Feature Film Grant for the film, and even prouder to then see it premiere at the 2022 Tribeca Festival! We sat down with Signe to discuss her wildly inventive, intelligent, and very fun film.READ MORE