Goodbye, winter caps—hello, summer hats! It’s that glorious time of year where many of us can switch from content creators to content consumers. NYWIFT members Mellini Kantayya and Kathryn O’Kane have put together #SummerHours, a series of fun summer books, movies, and TV shows by or about women.
By Kathryn O’Kane
“Start with a yes and see where that takes you.”
— Tina Fey, Bossy Pants
Tina Fey (NYWIFT Muse Honoree ’05) is a triple threat: writer, producer and performer with a cutting sense of humor. In 1999, she became the first head writer on Saturday Night Live. She created and starred in the Emmy award-winning comedy 30 Rock. Her portrayal of Sarah Palin during the 2008 election was an instant classic. Ms. Fey most recently created and starred in the show Great News on NBC. Her film Mean Girls has been adapted for the stage, which is currently running on Broadway.
In her 2011 book Bossypants, Ms. Fey recounts stories of her childhood; from her tough father, for whom most of the worlds ills can be described as “defective” and “inexcusable,” to her awkward teens and college years, which no doubt shaped her sense of humor and weltanschauung. She also recalls her rise to head writer on SNL, her connection to Sarah Palin, what she learned from Lorne Michaels (producing is about discouraging creativity) and the differences between male and female comedy writers (the men urinate in cups).
Ms. Fey’s advice to women in the workplace:
“As a female producer I have a tacit ‘No Hotheads’ policy. For years to be considered a genius in comedy, people had to be considered dangerous and unpredictable…I hire the most talented of the people who are the least likely to throw a punch in the workplace. I don’t ever want to get punched in the face over a joke.”
And those, my friends, are words to live by.
(Cover photo by Bridgette Matthews)
NYWIFT member Caitlin Gold is the Co-Founder and Co-Head of Film, a private equity fund dedicated to financing narrative and documentary films directed by women. The fund’s tagline is “Films by women make more money, but Hollywood isn’t making them….” Thanks to Gold and her colleagues, that very well may change! Their most recent feature is the Australian film Shayda, which premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival in the World Dramatic Competition and won that category’s Audience Award. Gold spoke to us about Shayda’s path to the screen, funding work by women, and what’s next on her horizon.READ MORE
Developed in partnership with Sundance Institute and Founded by Hartbeat CEO Thai Randolph and Head of Film Candice Wilson Cherry, WOMEN WRITE NOW is a comedic writing fellowship designed to champion the next generation of Black women in comedy through mentorship, advocacy, production, and exhibition. Now in its second year, this year’s fellowship brought in three emerging writers, Mayanna Berrin, Kianna Butler Jabangwe, and Danielle Solomon to develop and produce their comedic short scripts under the guidance of some of the most influential Black women in comedy. The resulting projects were then brought into production by Hartbeat studios. Cherry and the writers spoke to us about their experience.READ MORE
Ericka Nicole Malone Entertainment presents the “Indie Director’s and Creator’s Spotlight” in celebration of diversity in filmmaking at the Sundance Film Festival 2023. Featuring a day of education, industry networking and panels, its evening activation will transform into a Neo Soul lounge with the sultry sounds of 3x Grammy Award-nominated R&B/Neo Soul Singer Angie Stone as the headliner.READ MORE
NYWIFT Advisory Board Member Annetta Marion produced Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie that is premiering at Sundance this month. The film incorporates documentary, archival and scripted elements to recount Fox’s story of personal and professional triumphs and travails in his own words. Annetta and Kathryn O'Kane spoke about the film that explores what happens when an incurable optimist confronts an incurable disease.READ MORE