By Katie Chambers
This week, we continue to reminisce about Designing Women’s past with photos, videos and anecdotes here on the NYWIFT blog while we gear up for this year’s event on June 13th! Now in its 17th year, Designing Women, co-presented by Variety, has become a staple of the NYC entertainment industry’s spring calendar, celebrating the creative alchemy of design, character and story…
In 2004, four years after NYWIFT began honoring costume designers at what was then called Designing Hollywood, we added a category for makeup artists to the mix. We began paying tribute to the subtle artistry of designing an actor’s, well, face – how makeup artists use their tools to catch the light a certain way and portray age, stress, culture and other factors that make a character real, alive and unique.
The very first Designing Hollywood makeup honoree was Naomi Donne. Donne’s TV/Film career started in 1983 when she was a makeup assistant on the TV movie adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse.
What is perhaps most notable about Donne’s long career is its incredible range. After that first job she went on to work on the Jerry Lee Lewis bio pic Great Balls of Fire:
Dennis Quaid in Great Balls of Fire
Followed by the sketch comedy show The Comic Strip Presents, Six Degrees of Separation, Mulholland Falls, Chocolat:
Johnny Depp in Chocolat
Zoolander, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Producers (the 2005 adaptation of the Broadway hit), Shrek the Musical:
Shrek the Musical
and every James Bond film since 2008, starting with Quantum of Solace and including last year’s Spectre:
Daniel Craig in Spectre
Classic early 20th century literary adaptations…romantic comedies…sketch comedy…Wes Anderson indie darlings…James Bond…Shrek…what CAN’T she do?
Beverly Jo Pryor with her longtime agent and friend Susan Wright, who presented the award
Fast forward to 2015, when we honored another artist with impressive range, Beverly Jo Pryor. She has designed such hits as Empire, The Vampire Diaries, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, and Selma, the latter of which posed a particular challenge as she strived to make each actor look as much like their real-life counterpart as possible. Pryor was brought to tears as she accepted her Designing Women award, saying, “This is the most exciting time of my life.” See her heartfelt acceptance speech – and the highlight reel – here:ARVE Error: need id and provider
Next week we honor our next Designing Women makeup artist honoree, Anita Gibson, who has worked on Madea’s Big Happy Family, the HBO movie Confirmation and the Starz series Power. Power star Lela Loren will present the award.
Lela Loren in Power
Join us! Buy your tickets for Designing Women – June 13th at 7 PM at the CUNY Graduate Center. $75 for NYWIFT members; $150 for nonmembers.
And stay tuned to the blog in the coming weeks for our exclusive look back at Designing Women’s 17 year history!
In a time when women’s reproductive rights are at the forefront of the political and cultural conversation, a group of teenage girls gather to assert their power, prepare for their futures, and determine the best way forward together. Following the smash hit success of their documentary Boys State at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, directors Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss returned to Park City in 2024 with the companion piece Girls State. NYWIFT Member Laela Kilbourn was one of seven cinematographers on Girls State, assigned to follow one of the protagonist’s throughout her week-long journey. She spoke to us about her experience working on the documentary.READ MORE
During the 40th edition of The Sundance Film Festival, Tammy Reese interviews fellow NYWIFT member Amanda Culkowski, the Executive Producer of As We Speak, a thought-provoking documentary that delves into the intersection of art and justice. Focusing on Bronx rap artist Kemba, the film sheds light on the alarming trend of rap lyrics being weaponized within the United States criminal justice system and beyond.READ MORE
Let’s say hello to new NYWIFT Member Hannah Xie! After spending her earlier years in China, Hannah now lives in New York City where she dedicates much of her time to cinematography and photography. Her talent for blending and accentuating colors and lighting on film is reflected in projects such as Brief Encounter, Sleepwalker, Epic, and The End of the Affair. To learn more about Hannah’s creative process, check out our interview as we discuss her collaboration style with directors, her approach to cinematography, and the influential role that her childhood viewing experiences contributed towards her future career.READ MORE
Tatiana Trebisacci, a vibrant new media artist and recent alumna of NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program, has garnered industry recognition. Her expertise lies in 3D design and web coding, contributing to a BAFTA-nominated team in the groundbreaking Immersive category of 2023. In an exclusive interview, Tatiana delves into her artistic path, sharing insights into her education and the invaluable advice she received, notably stressing the significance of regarding each technology as a distinctive artistic canvas.READ MORE