On October 6, 2020, NYWIFT along with IFC Films presented a virtual screening of A Call to Spy followed by a conversation with Director Lydia Dean Pilcher and Writer/Producer/Actress Sarah Megan Thomas.
Moderated by Co-Founder and Head of Programming for In Creative Company, Mara Webster.
About the Film
As Great Britain’s forces were stretched thin during World War II, Winston Churchill’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) began to enlist women as spies. Their daunting mission: conduct sabotage and build a resistance. Spymistress Vera Atkins, later the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond franchise, was the chief recruiter for this secret army. Atkins selected two unusual candidates: Virginia Hall, an American journalist from Baltimore hampered by a wooden leg, and Noor Inayat Khan, a wireless officer of Indian descent and an avowed pacifist. Together, they worked to undermine the Nazi regime in France. The courage, sacrifices and grit of these three women helped quell the Nazi occupation – and ultimately turned the tide of the war.
Available to watch on IFC Films
Lydia Dean Pilcher(Director) began her career directing documentaries. She recently codirected the feature film, Radium Girls, which premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. A Call to Spy is her solo directing debut. Lydia is an Academy Award nominated (Cutie and the Boxer) and two-time Emmy-winning producer. She has worked with auteur directors including Wes Anderson, Gina Prince Bythwood, and eleven films in a long-standing collaboration with internationally acclaimed director, Mira Nair. Pilcher has produced films such as The Queen of Katwe(starring Lupita Nyong’o for Walt Disney), The Reluctant Fundamentalist, The Lunchbox (directed by Ritesh Batra), and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
Sarah Megan Thomas(Actor/Writer/Producer)is an award-winning actress, producer, and writer. For her latest film, A Call to Spy, Sarah wrote the original screenplay, plays Virginia Hall, and produced the film. Sarah’s previous feature was the groundbreaking Equity, in which she created the concept, co-wrote the story, produced, and co-starred. Equity is the 1st female driven Wall Street thriller. The film premiered in Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival, where it sold to Sony Pictures Classics. The New York Times made Equity a Critic’s Pick when it was released theatrically nationwide. The Hollywood Reporter reviewed Sarah’s performance as “subtle, but gutsy.” Sarah was honored with a Women’s Image Network Award, The Creative Coalition Spotlight Award, and the Voice of A Woman Award. Sarah starred in the romance-drama Backwards opposite James Van Der Beek, and has appeared in various television shows and starred in numerous Off-Broadway productions. A graduate of Williams College, Sarah trained at Drama Studio London. She resides in NYC with her husband and son.
Mara Webster (moderator) is a programmer, producer, content curator, moderator and interviewer. She is the Co-Founder and Head of Programming for In Creative Company, a year round digital talk series focusing on in depth craft driven discussions around the creative process across film, television, theater and the arts. Prior to this her most recent role was programming, producing and moderating screenings and talks at SAG-AFTRA Foundation both in person and online. She has also moderated numerous panels for other companies including Netflix, AppleTV+, HBO, IFC Films, BAFTA and numerous film festival Q&A’s. In her time as Director of Panels & Special Events and an Associate Programmer at Tribeca Film Festival she grew the talks program creating new strands of programming in film, tv, theater, VR and music and produced the inaugural TIME’S UP conference. At Tribeca she was involved in programming feature films and tv where she helped to launch television into both the festivals main slate and contributed to the creation of the Tribeca TV Festival. She has worked in key roles with numerous events including Vulture Festival, Abu Dhabi Film Festival, Hamptons International Film Festival, Nantucket Film Festival and Sundance. She currently consults as an Associate Programmer in Features & Episodic for Sundance and for The New York Times events team. Born and raised in England by a Texan and a Scot, she now calls New York home!
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