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:
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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!
Two NYWIFT members have joined forces with a team of immigrant women filmmakers to tell the story of WORK, a short film written and directed by Aoife Williamson. WORK, a comedy-drama, follows Lilith, a musician scrambling to create a song in one day to submit for a job that could sky-rocket her music career. It just so happens that this day is a very busy day at her money job... and it just so happens that her “money job” is as a sex worker, named Eve.READ MORE
Hailed by historian Robin Kelley as “one of the most powerful and inspiring documentaries of our era,” NYWIFT member Kavery Kaul’s Long Way from Home is the moving and provocative story of three remarkable girls entering ninth grade at top schools steeped in bias towards race, class, and culture. Though the film was made nearly 15 years ago, the issues still resonate in today’s climate of racial injustice and civil unrest. Kavery sat down to discuss how she put together this incredible portrait and what – if anything – has changed in our culture in the years since.READ MORE
Recap: NYWIFT Talks Black Lives Matter and Just Mercy with Scott Budnick, April Grayson and Donna Hylton
NYWIFT Executive Director Cynthia López moderated the July 1, 2020 installment of NYWIFT Talks with the team behind Just Mercy, a powerful and thought-provoking true-story film which follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson and his history-making battle for justice. The film stars Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, and Brie Larson, and was available to rent for free across all platforms earlier this Summer in response to the Black Lives Matter movement following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery.READ MORE
Filmmaker Sue Williams has a love affair with the city of Hong Kong. So when a friend introduced her to the Cantopop superstar Denise Ho, she knew she had the subject of her next film. But, what happens when current events upend the planned story arch of your film at the end of production?READ MORE