NYWIFT and WIFTI – Women in Film & Television International co-presented Television Makers: Showrunners & Producing/Directors Panelists at Carla 2020 on Sunday, August 23rd at 11am EST.
Speakers included Natalie Chaidez, Rachel Feldman, Lesli Linka Glatter, Tanya Saracho, and Robin Thede, moderated by NYWIFT Executive Director Cynthia Lopez.
Come join a conversation about how women create, run, produce, and direct in the ever-changing media landscape including the challenges faced by COVID-19, financial crisis and the Black Lives Matter Movement and civil unrest. See how it is done by the most successful television makers of our time. They will discuss what motivated their latest work, how did they pitch their first series, how they maintain a cutting-edge writer’s room and manage actors’ creative thirst every day, while ensuring safety and city/state production guidelines. What does their own production schedule look like in the wake of the current health crisis – how are their plans shaping up for the new season?
TELEVISION MAKERS: Showrunners & Producing/Directors Panelists:
Natalie is currently developing several TV shows through Fox 21, including CHICANO for ABC, with Eva Longoria producing and attached to star. Previously, she was Showrunner for QUEEN OF THE SOUTH on USA, which is currently on its fourth season. Natalie was also Showrunner for HUNTERS on SyFy, with Gale Anne Hurd/Valhalla producing, and for 12 MONKEYS on SyFy. She served as a Co-Executive Producer on THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES for Fox and HEROES for NUTS/NBC. Her feature script, TIGERBELLES, recently sold in a bidding war to Lionsgate, with Forest Whitaker, Nina Yang Bongiovi and Pharrell producing. She also wrote PRINCESS AND THE PUNK for Circle of Confusion and co-wrote QUEEN PIN for Lionsgate and Simpson Street Ent., with Kerry Washington producing.
Rachel Feldman is an accomplished director and writer in television and film. This past season Rachel directed multiple episodes of BLUE BLOODS, CRIMINAL MINDS, THE ROOKIE and the pilot and first season of THE BAXTERS. She’s in late development to direct LILLY, her feature screenplay, winner of The Athena List and The Ravenal Grant, based on the life of Fair Pay Icon Lilly Ledbetter. Her screenplay KINKS won the 2020 ScreenCraft and WGA Drama Queens Best Pilot Award. An activist for women behind the camera, you can see her interviewed in “This Changes Everything,” “Half The Picture,” and “Celluloid Ceiling.” A former chair of the DGA Women’s Steering Committee, she received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and her MFA in film directing from NYU. You can follow her on Twitter @WomenCallAction.
Lesli Linka Glatter
Lesli Linka Glatter is a Director of film, network, and premium cable television drama, with both pilots and episodes to her credit. Lesli’s TV work includes Homeland, The Newsroom, The Walking Dead, Justified, Ray Donovan, Masters of Sex, True Blood, Mad Men, The Leftovers, The Good Wife, The West Wing, NYPD Blue, ER, Freaks and Geeks and Twin Peaks. Lesli has also directed numerous pilots including Gilmore Girls, Pretty Little Liars and SIX. Her films include Now and Then, The Proposition, and HBO’s State of Emergency.
Lesli is currently the Executive Producer/Director of the award-winning series Homeland, and her next project is The Banker’s Wife, an 8-part mini-series for Amazon. Lesli began her directing career through the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women, in which her film Tales of Meeting and Parting was nominated for an Oscar. Lesli has received 7 Emmy nominations, 7 Directors Guild Award nominations, winning twice for Mad Men and Homeland, as well as a Humanitus Award nomination for HBO’s State of Emergency. Lesli is currently developing projects for Netflix, Amazon, Showtime and Epix.
Lesli serves as the 1st Vice President of the Directors Guild of America, is on the DGA’s Western Directors Council, serves on the Executive Committee of the Directors Branch of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She is also an advisor at the Sundance Institute’s Director’s Lab. Lesli has been committed to mentoring for many years and most recently help develop the successful NBC program, Female Forward. Lesli has received the Caucus Foundation Award, the Dorothy Arzner Directing Award from Women in Film, the Franklin Schaffner Award from the American Film Institute, and most recently, an Honorary Degree from the American Film Institute.
Prior to her work as a director, Lesli was a modern dance choreographer who worked throughout Europe, Asia and the U.S.
Tanya Saracho is a playwright and television writer who serves as creator, showrunner, and executive producer of the critically-acclaimed series “Vida” on Starz, which earned 100% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes for its first, second and third seasons. The show, which recently aired its third and final season on Starz, featured all Latina directors in seasons one and two, including Saracho, who made her television directorial debut last year. The series had an all-Latinx writers room for seasons one and two, and in season three, the room was comprised of all Latina writers.
Named one of “TV Scribes to Watch” by Variety in 2018, Saracho was recently honored by the LGBTQ California Legislative Caucus as their 2020 Pride Month Honoree. She received the Rising Star Award at the Outfest Legacy Awards, and was awarded the New Voice Award by Final Draft. “Vida” won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comedy Series and was nominated for a second year in a row for season two, and was also honored by the National Hispanic Media Coalition with the 2019 Impact Award. The series won the Audience Award at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival, and made its season two premiere as an Official Selection of the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.
Saracho was also named one of nine national Latino “Luminarios” by Café Magazine, and received the first “Revolucionario” Award in Theater by the National Museum of Mexican Art. She is the founder of Teatro Luna (the first all-Latina Theatre Company in the nation, now defunct) as well as the founder of ALTA (Alliance of Latino Theatre Artists). She is currently in development with South Coast Repertory and Two River Theatre.
Saracho was born in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, México, and raised along the Texas border, spending the better part of her adult life in Chicago. She currently resides in Los Angeles.
Robin Thede is a multi-talented comedic writer, performer and producer known for her hilarious characters and social and political commentary. Thede is the Creator, Showrunner, Executive Producer, Writer and Star of HBO’s Emmy-nominated variety sketch series, “A Black Lady Sketch Show.” Season one premiered to universal critical acclaim and is currently Certified Fresh at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. For her work on the series, VARIETY named her one of the 10 Comics to Watch in 2019. In addition to Thede, the show starred Ashley Nicole Black, Quinta Brunson, and Gabrielle Dennis, as well as guests, including Executive Producer Issa Rae, Angela Bassett, Laverne Cox, Patti Labelle and more. HBO renewed the show for a second season.
In film, Thede was most recently seen in Justin Simien’s (“Dear White People”) horror satire, “Bad Hair.” Also starring Lena Waithe, Vanessa Williams, Laverne Cox, and Blair Underwood, the film premiered to rave reviews at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and was quickly purchased by Hulu for distribution. The film will release on the streaming platform on October 23.
Previously, she was the Creator, Executive Producer, Writer and Host of “The Rundown with Robin Thede” on BET where she made her mark as one of the only black women to ever host a late-night television talk show. The late-night series featured Thede’s take on the week’s headlines in politics and pop culture with a fast-paced, no-holds-barred show that featured social commentary, sketch comedy and pop culture parodies.
Thede served as both a correspondent and head writer on Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore,” becoming the first black woman to earn the title of Head Writer in late-night television. She was also the head writer for Wilmore when he hosted the 2016 White House Correspondents Association Dinner.
Her additional memorable film and TV roles include: “Difficult People,” “Key & Peele,” “A Haunted House,” “Goodwin Games,” “Hot in Cleveland,” “@midnight,” and more.
Cynthia Lopez (Moderator)
Cynthia López is the Executive Director of New York Women in Film & Television, an award-winning media strategist, and former Commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, where she implemented strategies to support film and TV production throughout the five boroughs. López is the recipient of many coveted industry awards including: 11 News and Documentary Emmy Awards, a Special Emmy Award for Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking, three Peabody Awards, and two duPont-Columbia Awards. In addition, she received the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) Award for Commitment to Corporate Diversity. Prior to working as Commissioner, López was Executive Vice President and co-Executive Producer of the award-winning PBS documentary series American Documentary | POV, and was involved in the organization’s strategic growth and creative development for 14 years. Her ability to forge strategic partnerships among corporate and public interest media has been a signature of her work. Notable partnerships include: New York Times, Reuters, Al-Jazeera Network, Discovery Communications, The Moth, Story Corps, Harpo Studios and ABC News, NIGHTLINE with Ted Koppel. López is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP), and is proud to have spent her career collaborating with independent filmmakers across all portions of the film and television industry. She served on the Board of Trustees for the Paley Center, NYC & Company, Museum of the Moving Image and the Tribeca Film Institute Latin America Fund Advisory Board. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Latino Public Broadcasting, Manhattan Neighborhood Network and Hunter College IMA Program.
Thanks to our friends at:
During three days, Carla 2020 will present cultural disruptors and global thought leaders in discussions about visions for a diverse and sustainable future. The online conference will bring creatives, researchers, executives and activists together for powerful conversations on how to create lasting structural change in the film and television ecosystem. 2020 has brought huge global shifts, with the parallel processes of a global pandemic and a worldwide uprising against systemic racism. Carla 2020 will address changes to the industry landscape and the film and television communities, by discussing just, safe and equitable operating standards, policies and practices.
Please see the full program: https://www.carla2020.se/carla-programme-2020/