We’re counting down the 40 days to NYWIFT’s 40th Anniversary Muse Awards with a look at some of our favorite honorees, all women of vision and achievement who have contributed to the film and television industry. Join us as we look back at #Muse40for40, and buy your tickets for the Muse Awards on Tuesday, December 10th at nywift.org/muse!
#16: Abigail Disney
By Katie Chambers
Abigail E. Disney is an American documentary filmmaker, philanthropist, and social activist. She produced the documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell, and is the executive producer, writer, and director of The Armor of Light, which won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Social Issue Documentary. Along with Gini Reticker and Pamela Hogan, Disney created the five-part film series for PBS, Women, War & Peace. In partnership with Nobel Peace Prize recipient Leymah Gbowee, Disney is co-founder of the Gbowee Peace Foundation as well as the Daphne Foundation, a social change foundation that provides grants to grassroots organizations working with low-income communities in NYC.
Disney and industry veteran Adrienne Becker joined forces to launch the content studio Level Forward in early 2018 after they’d briefly paired up in an effort to buy Weinstein Co. out of the ashes of bankruptcy. Their process incorporates social responsibility at the very beginning of our work, using the film, television, digital and live media we produce to create story-driven, impact-minded results of both financial and social value. Level Forward’s projects have included the groundbreaking Broadway revival of Oklahoma!, the upcoming Broadway adaptaion of Alannis Morisette’s Jagged Little Pill, the feature film The Assistant, and their ongoing Gun Neutral Iniatiative, a non-partisan initiative open to all storytellers, producers and financiers, calling for greater social responsibility to offset and account for gun violence in entertainment. An heiress to the Disney fortune (her father is Roy Disney), Abigail Disney has been notably outspoken in favor of greater taxes on the wealthy.
“My life is in filmmaking now, and rabble rousing, and trying to change the world through media in every way I can think of. My heart will always be with the grassroots women I worked with when my kids were small and I will always be an organizer and activist at heart. And wow, media needs organizers and activists!” – Abigail Disney
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