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  • 30 Oct 2020 11:00 AM | JoAnn Cox (Administrator)

    Are you thinking about becoming a composer? WFT Ireland Board Member Jaro Waldeck spoke with award-winning composer Natasa Paulberg about her musical career, her experience working in the industry and her tips on how she approaches a project.

    Natasa is an award-winning Australian/Irish composer, performer and conductor who writes music for film, gaming, trailers, TV, advertising and the concert hall. She is lead composer for Haunted Planet Studios including the award winning Bram Stoker’s Vampires and was awarded first place for the Contemporary Music Centre’s 2012 Composition Competition. In 2013 Natasa received the Fulbright scholarship for composition, where she attended UCLA’s esteemed Film Scoring Program in Los Angeles.

    Natasa has worked with LA composers Garry Schyman (BioShock, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified) and Christopher Young (A Madea Christmas, Gods Behaving Badly) and with orchestrator Peter Bateman (Hunger Games, Avengers). Her credits include many international and Irish projects such as Mother, directed by Natasha Waugh and Screen Ireland’s recent Discover Irish Stories on Screen trailer. Natasa is currently working on The Great Hunger for RTÉ and Arté produced by Create One and Tyrone Productions.

    This online talk was made possible thanks to the support of the Broadcast Authority of Ireland. Catch it here!

  • 30 Oct 2020 10:30 AM | JoAnn Cox (Administrator)

    The Boston Asian American Film Festival shorts program closes NOV 1!

    The Boston Asian American Film Festival continues at ArtsEmerson through Sunday, November 01 with a series of incredible short films, each divided into five categories: Alternative Realities, Queer and Here, Beneath the Surface, Ties That Bind, and Finding Your Way. Click to get tickets here, and check out this handy guide—where one film from each category is highlighted—over on their blog.

  • 09 Oct 2020 5:00 PM | Rosemary Owen (Administrator)

    Delores Edwards is the Executive Producer of GBH's "Basic Black," the longest-running program on public television focusing on the interests of people of color. She is also the owner and Executive Producer of her own company, marblehill MEDIA. Learn more about Delores on her website, and connect with her on Facebook at delores edwards or on Twitter @deeadrian.

    Meet WIFVNE Member Delores Edwards! 


    How did you get started?
    My interest in journalism began as a teenager while in high school in a journalism honors class. I was also accepted into the 
    Dow Jones News Fund Program, a summer program for high school students at NYU, where I was fortunate to meet journalists of color, and the opportunity to learn more about working in media. I also began to learn about the power of writing and the power of words. It wasn’t until later that I would combine words with visuals in order to create and produce stories.   

    Later, as a student at Northeastern University, I was able to obtain work experience through their co-op program. While the work wasn’t always entirely specific to journalism, I did come out of school with two years of full-time work experience when I graduated with honors.

     
    My first job was at ABC News. During my time working there major news events like Tiananmen Square, the San Francisco earthquake, and later the numerous Gulf wars occurred. While at "Nightline," I was exposed to so many things
    —stories, correspondents, and producers, reporting worldwide events. It really was my training ground. I also worked in-and-out of ABC for various projects and programs throughout my career, which was pretty cool.

    Being a young woman from the Bronx, I didn’t have connections in the industry, so I had to hustle and network. At the time I remember reading an article in Essence magazine about producer Marquita Pool [now Marquita Pool-Eckert] and thinking that it would be great to speak with her. I remember calling CBS and asked to speak with her, unsure if I would be able to talk with her. When the person on the other end of the line said sure and put me through to her, I was surprised. It seemed too easy! I was able to visit the studio, talk with her, take a tour, and later spoke with the CBS talent development person.
     
    I also went to talks and workshops conducted by the 
    Center for Communication (CFC), where I heard experts in news, public relations, music, advertising, and other types of media talk about their experiences. During one CFC panel event, I was able to hear national network Executive Producers discuss what it was like to produce their programs and later connected with a producer at “20/20” while touring ABC. She provided me with names of people to contact. The contacts she provided to me helped me to land my first job in television. From there I was able to get my foot in the door and make connections for myself.

     


    What do you love about the work that you do?
    I love telling stories, especially being able to tell other people’s stories. Where I grew up in the Bronx, I knew a lot of people whose stories, issues, and concerns weren’t always told. They were often overlooked and other people weren’t aware of both their struggles and their happiness. They weren’t seen. I say this because the Bronx gets a bad rap so the opportunity for me to tell stories from various viewpoints and facets in the media due to my diverse backgroundfrom news, entertainment, documentary, talk, to network programming, and now at “Basic Black,” has been great. 
     
    What has been your experience taking the helm of a legacy program like “Basic Black”?

    “Basic Black” started out in 1968 as “Say Brother,” and it grew out of the unrest of the timespecifically the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was an acknowledgment that there was a need for Black voices to be heard, and through the prism and voices of Black creators. The show has evolved over time. In the past there were music segments and producers traveled. Now the format is closer to a panel show. That being said, the mission of the showtelling those stories that aren’t always told about Black and Brown communitieshas continued throughout the history of the program and continues today to also include communities of color. Since I have joined the program as the Executive Producer, we reshaped and added topicsfrom discussions about mental health, art, and politics to conversations around the history of hair within communities of colorI also had the opportunity to spearhead the redesign the show set and new graphics, which was fun to do. And it is stunning!

    You have had a very successful career and won a number of awards, including being nominated for a number of Emmys and "Basic Black" receiving the Boston/New England Governors' Award. Tell us more!
    We were very pleasantly surprised when we received the 
    Governors' Awardand acknowledgement of the legacy of the program. We've been working hard over the years and it’s really nice to get the recognitionlike, “we see you.”

    It’s also been great because there aren’t a lot of shows around focusing on communities of color. Growing up, I remember Gil Noble’s "Like It Is." It was a worthy program, but went off the air several years ago. To its credit, GBH has been supportive of “Basic Black,” and the contribution that it provides to the community.
     

     
    How has the current political and social moment affected your work at “Basic Black”?
    We're a live show, however, due to the coronavirus, we've been taping our episodes that air in the evening.

    We’ve always sought to make the show as timely as possible, such as recent program episodes covering the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, BLM protests, COVID-19 and the health disparities for BIPOC to the travel ban, immigration and hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico in the past, but going virtual has definitely changed the dynamic. We’ve been able to keep the format pretty consistent with our guest panelists joining the program remotely, however, we’d like to go back to in-person taping once it’s safe.

    Since we also have viewers who watch the show on the web, via Facebook and Twitter, we’ve been able to broaden and expand the audience a bit, which has helped increase our viewership and ability for more people to see the show. 


    Year-after-year we have been able to bring on more guests, more new faces as well as more experts. We’ve really been able to give more people living in our communities of color the opportunity to share their stories.

     

     
    What can you tell us about marblehill MEDIA?

    marblehill MEDIA is primarily my banner where I work on my own independent projects and creative interests as well as some freelance work. The name comes from the Marble Hill projects in the Bronx, where I grew up.
     
    What I’ve learned is that if you work long enough in the industry that jobs come and go. You’ve got to have something for yourself, a little side-hustle—things to pursue for you. It also keeps the creativity flowing!

     
    What has your experience as a woman in the industry been like?

    I would say that it’s been mixed. I think there’s been a lack of accessaccess to opportunity, information, and better pay. As a Black woman, I have experienced racism, micro aggressions, marginalization, and prejudice. I don’t think, sad to say, that it is unusual. However, I’m glad to see that people are speaking out and speaking up about these issues as well as the lack of diversity and about ageism, too. It’s important that women, a diverse group of women are included, who are decision makers to greenlight projects, and take part in those top-line discussions about hiring, direction and approvalsbasically have a seat at the table, maybe a couple of seats at the table! We’re seeing more of it; more female directors, producers and writers working on their own projects, starting companies and heading up film and television divisions.
     
    Were you told or did you learn a piece of wisdom or advice you now tell others in the beginning of their career?
    What I have learned? Relationships. It’s old advice, but relationships really do matter. We call it “Networking”
    but really it is getting to know people. Don’t just reach out when you need a job.  Make the relationship meaningful and well-rounded. You can find people that are great sounding boards and willing to share and give great advice.
     
    What are some things that you wish could change/would help if more women were in the industry?

    I think ACCESS is huge. We need more opportunities for women, people of color, and other underrepresented people to direct and producemore people to greenlight projects. We also need to spread the wealth better. There needs to be paid internships and paid trainingand there are so many areas of the industry that need to diversify. We are beginning to see more people on the air and a diversity of actorssome who are creating and producing projects for themselves, but what if you want to be a gaffer or a make-up artist? Is there support for these positions and others to diversify?
     
    There are some great programs, like 
    NYWIFT’s Writers Lab supported by Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman, and Oprah Winfrey that helps and supports women screenwriters over forty
    but there needs to be more. Conferences need to be more affordable, too, and there can always be more of them to give people greater access to the resources they need. Due to the health pandemic, there is plenty of content online to learn and engage.
     
    And finally, we need diversity in the C-Suite
    we need a range of voices and experiences in those positions.
     
    Where would you like to go in your work?
    With my personal work, I’m developing some programming and ideas for film projects. I’d also like to take one of my scripts, a film short, that made it into a festival and make a film. I also have an idea for a podcast. All of these ideas and more helps me to stay creative and curious about storytelling.   
     
    As for “Basic Black,” we will continue to expand our topics, continue to reach new audiences and include new voices on the topics and issues presented. I’m looking forward to seeing where our work goes.

     
    What can you share about what you are working on now?
    The podcast idea that I mentioned, writing and hopefully work on a panel series for women with WIFVNE. I'd also like to raise money for my quirky New York story film short. I have also written a children's book with a diversity theme that I am hoping to get published.

     
    Why are you a WIFVNE member? How do you think WIFVNE can support filmmakers in New England?
    I’ve been a member of NYWIFT for a few years and joined WIFVNE through the dual membership program when I moved to Massachusetts. I am a member of both organizations because I want to stay connected to creative women in the industry, learn, and forge new friendships and potential partnerships with like-minded individuals.
     
    WIFVNE is doing outstanding work with the newsletter and the website. I like how the newsletter and website has evolved, and the availability of information. I am learning a lot about events and projects in the New England area. The emails have also been an excellent resource of information to keep members informed. Plus, the virtual events during COVID-19 have also helped to spread the impact of the organization. One of the ways WIFVNE can continue to support filmmakers in New England are through more workshops and bringing more diverse voices into the organization. I also think that once we’re able, having more engagement in person through both big and small networking events will also help members. Every year NYWIFT presents the Muse Awards, showcasing women creatives in vision and achievement. Perhaps WIFVNE can produce an event to recognize its members and/or creative women in the industry. 
     
    Is there any final take-away you would like to share?
    Hmm. Probably those reading my story will understand that if you really want to work in the industry that you can. Many people still think that you need the right connections to enter the business. That is not true; it really comes down to desire and perseverance. Just keep going, find your own path, seek guidance, stay creative and have fun.

     

    Photo credits
    1. Meredith Nierman
    2. Delores Edwards


  • 28 Sep 2020 12:30 PM | Rosemary Owen (Administrator)

    From her time at Quinnipiac University to her current career with Marshfield TV, Jennifer Palmer works hard to tell local stories and keep the community informed. Whether partnering with nonprofits and local businesses to share their stories post-COVID or picking up new skills and techniques, Jennifer is on it! Get to know up-and-coming producer and new(ish) WIFVNE member Jennifer Palmer! 


    Meet WIFVNE Member Jennifer Palmer!

    How did you get started?
    I got started when I became involved with Q30 Television, the student-run television station at Quinnipiac University. With the great experience I gained there I was able to land an internship with the video department at Greater Media (now Beasley Media Group), which was home to five of Boston’s most listened to radio stations, during the summer of 2014 and winter of 2015. After graduating from Quinnipiac with a broadcast journalism degree, I was offered a part-time role at Greater Media, where I stayed until I got offered a full-time position at Marshfield Community Television in November of 2016.

    What do you love about the work that you do?
    I love that it’s not your typical desk job and that I’m able to have a creative outlet. I’m constantly trying to improve my skills and experiment with new shooting and editing techniques. It’s also great being able to collaborate with other local nonprofits and share their message and the great work they’re doing within the community through video.

    What can you tell us about any upcoming projects?
    Right now at MCTV we’re trying to support many non-profits in the surrounding area as they adjust to this “new normal.” In the coming months, we’ll be promoting fundraising walks that have gone virtual, as well as helping businesses host remote conferences.

    What has your experience as a woman in the industry been like?
    On top of being a female in a male-dominated industry, I’m 5’1 and look like a high school student despite being 27. Because of this, I always try to carry myself with as much confidence and professionalism as possible in order to make sure I’m taken seriously when on a shoot and dealing with clients.

    What has been your experience working with Marshfield Community TV?
    My experience working with MCTV has been extremely positive. I’m given a lot of creative freedom in the projects I take on, which has given me a lot of opportunity to grow and get better at what I do. I’ve gotten to meet a lot of great people within the Marshfield community and across the south shore of Massachusetts through working with various groups and nonprofits. The work I’ve done has been very rewarding.

    Do you have a mentor?
    I don’t have any one particular mentor, but I do have a lot of friends from college who work in the industry and previous coworkers that I’ve kept in touch with whom I’m constantly comparing notes and experiences.

    Were you told or did you learn a piece of wisdom or advice you now tell others in the beginning of their career?
    Some advice I try to pass along is that when you first start out in the video production industry, it’s inevitable that you’re going to make a few mistakes along the way. I always try to tell others that it takes practice, and that (usually) mistakes aren’t the end of the world. But with that being said, it’s very important to pay attention to detail while also working quickly and efficiently. Also that good audio is just as important as good video, if not more!

    What are some things you wish could change/would help if more women were in the industry?
    I would love to get rid of the stigma that video production work is only for men. I can count on my hand the number of women I’ve worked alongside, and it would be great to see more women get involved. I believe this starts at the college level. If journalism professors taught more about the behind the scenes work instead of making students believe they can only be news anchors and reporters, we might see more women pop up in the industry.

    Where would you like to go in your work?
    My ultimate goal is to have my own production company so that I can be my own boss, form my own hours and run it out of my home. I’ve done a lot of freelance video work including wedding videography, promotional videos and commercials, which I’ve enjoyed doing and would love to dedicate more time to.

    What can you share about what you are working on now?
    One project I’m working on now is in collaboration with NeighborWorks Housing Solutions, which is a local nonprofit that develops housing and provides housing resources for individuals and families in need. They are currently developing a home for veterans in Marshfield, and I’ve been producing video updates of the progress of the renovations in order to keep the community up to date on the project.

    Why are you a member of WIFVNE?
    I’m still fairly new to WIFVNE, but the courses and seminars that have been offered during the pandemic have been extremely impressive and relevant. I’ll be looking forward to getting more involved and hopefully attending more in-person events when we’re able to do so.


  • 28 Sep 2020 12:30 PM | Rosemary Owen (Administrator)

    Shannon Vossler has been working in media since infancy (literally) and has traversed a number of roles in non-fiction production. And on top of it all, Shannon's also a former WIFVNE Board Member! Check out her story below, and visit her website here.


    Meet WIFVNE Member Shannon Vossler!

    How did you get started?
    Media has always been in my blood:  my father was a communications professor, and my mother was a producer who gave up her public broadcasting career to raise me! I made my TV debut at 3 months old, co-authored my first book at age 4, and produced my first “documentary” at age 15. While I wasn’t fully sure if I wanted to pursue television or psychology after college, my first internship at Scout Productions in Boston sealed the deal -- I fell in love with non-fiction television!

    After several years working my way from Scout to Powderhouse to my own production company, FOA Entertainment (with a few other pit-stops in between), I had developed and sold television shows that ranged from a ridiculous Animal Planet series about cats to an emotional documentary series for PBS about veterans’ issues. Wanting to explore the nonprofit world for a while, I chucked it all and moved to Memphis, Tennessee to work at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for four years before returning to the Northeast and joining Green Buzz Agency in DC.



    Still from This Old House Homes for Our Troops Project

    What do you love about the work that you do?
    On the best days at the job, I am entrusted to authentically tell the stories of some incredible people: whether they’re cancer patients, investment bankers, HR professionals, or scientists. These people are strangers when we first meet, and they trust me to share their thoughts, feelings and their livelihoods with the world. That’s an awesome responsibility to have: to hold someone’s heart, soul, and professional reputations in my hands… and the onus is on me to get it RIGHT!

    What can you tell us about Green Buzz Agency? 
    Green Buzz Agency is a full-service video production company that partners with major brands and Fortune 100 companies to share their stories and messaging through documentary content, motion graphics, live-action video, or live-streaming events. We are a nimble in-house group that has team members with expertise across television, digital and social media, and we always put creative storytelling at the heart of everything we do.  

    What has your experience as a woman in the industry been like?
    I’ve been very very lucky in my career. I’ve been able to work on a wide range of teams, across reality TV, documentary, in-house nonprofit, and now corporate/agency. Sometimes I’ve been the only woman in the room, and sometimes there’s only been one man in the room. I haven’t (to my knowledge) been specifically excluded from any opportunity based on my gender, and have always felt at home among inclusive teams. I do fully recognize that the women who came in the decades before me didn’t have as smooth sailing as I did, and fought hard so that I'm able to have these experiences, so I consider myself very lucky indeed!

    What has been your experience working with Green Buzz Agency?
    I joined GBA in April 2019 -- so my first year here was pre-COVID, but this year, of course, things are much, much different! I am incredibly proud of our team, who’ve been able to pivot from traveling around the country filming on location and in studio, to mastering a fully remote model of production and post. If you told me a year ago that my docket would be filled with creative directing animations, or remote directing shoots or figuring out new ways to zhuzh up recorded zoom calls, I woulda told you you were crazy. But hey, welcome to COVID-times!

    Do you have a mentor?
    I’ve had some absolutely extraordinary mentors throughout my life and career: Whether in high school, college, or beyond, they all encouraged me to explore ideas I hadn’t thought of previously, highlighted strengths I didn’t know I had, pushed me to always do more and be more. Above all, I always had their support, and often they helped me right the ship when I inevitably made a wrong creative decision. They’ve all been incredible models of leadership that I look to often when managing my own teams -- I even have a charm bracelet that I wear daily that reminds me to think “how would THEY handle this?”

    Were you told or did you learn a piece of wisdom or advice you now tell others in the beginning of their career? 
    If you’re in the beginning of your career, you have to decide what you really want out of this business:  Do you see this as a fun hobby? Or is it a potentially life-long career? If it’s a hobby, you can make your art when it is convenient for you, call in favors from friends and pay them in pizza, shoot on random weekends in borrowed locations til you pass out… the level of risk and commitment is relatively low.

    But if this is your career, you have to recognize that the TV/Film/Video industry is just that: an INDUSTRY. Industries run on money. (A mentor used to say: “It’s not called show FRIENDS, it’s called show BUSINESS.”) People in this industry (yourself included) need to make money, they need to pay rent, they need to eat. And for most of us, that means a lot of hard work to prove yourself, hustling a bit extra to make connections and earn your way up the chain of command. Very rarely does someone get “discovered” right out of the gate and given millions of dollars to write/produce/direct their masterpiece just because they had an idea for a good logline, or they did this one thing back in college. You have to build your credibility and personal marketability brick by brick, so that when a network/distributor/sponsor looks at you and your multi-million-dollar series pitch, they can say to themselves, “Yup, this person has proven that they know what they are doing and by golly, I think this is a sound investment for me/my company.”

    What are some things you wish could change/would help if more women were in the industry?
    I think women have made tremendous strides in the industry, but there is plenty of work left to be done. To me, it all comes down to point of view. Everyone brings their own life experience, worldview, and preconceived notions to the table -- no matter who they are -- and unless you have a truly diverse team with members who have true equity at the table, it can easily become one giant echo chamber. By having more women, non-binary persons, people of color, Asian-Americans, indigenous people, immigrants and/or other underrepresented communities at every level of production, you’re able to get a broader perspective. This creates richer narratives, more creative engagement, and ultimately a more authentic and inclusive representation in the final product.

    Where would you like to go in your work? 
    I’m excited to continue telling nonfiction stories that matter -- stories that have a level of emotional weight to them, or an important takeaway, or are just so darn entertaining that people actually want to go home and watch them after a hard day’s work. I love new creative challenges: ideas and concepts that haven’t been done before, or different takes on traditional storytelling… or simply good, genuine, and authentic storytelling that opens the audience’s eyes to new ways of thinking, doing, or being.

    What can you share about what you are working on now?  
    In addition to some special client work for a bio-pharmaceutical company that engages with the breast cancer community, and some food-adjacent television series pitches, I’m very excited to be working on two feature-length documentary projects at the moment:  one, in conjunction with a major league sports team, is currently in post; and the other is still in research and pre-production, and is centered around political personalities and events.


    Why are you a member of WIFVNE?
    Truthfully, any organization is only as good as its membership, and WIFVNE has some of the greatest members of any organization I’ve been a part of. The connections that I’ve made through WIFVNE have not only helped me staff up projects or offer advice on new business ventures, but they are also genuinely great people that I’m proud to call my friends. Even though I now live a few states away, it’s incredibly important for me to stay connected with the community -- and on more than one occasion, I’ve returned to the area for a shoot, and called up WIFVNE members to help me out!

    You were a Board Member with WIFVNE in the past. Would you be able to speak to the legacy and impact of WIFVNE over the time that you have been involved?
    I was on the Board 2011 - 2014, and it’s honestly a little funny to hear the word “legacy” used -- it feels just like yesterday! When I came in, our number one mission was to reinvigorate the organization: membership had waned, the Board was all but gone, and the valiant Juliet Schneider was almost single-handedly keeping the whole shebang afloat! It was a fun and exciting time:  we started to build out plans and committees, kicked off a re-brand and social media presence, and started to really offer programming again. It has certainly grown and taken off since I last sat in Juliet’s living room! Even the sheer amount of content in the newsletter…  It’s a much bigger and much different organization now! Living out of town, I will forever miss the in-person monthly Networking Nights that we held “back in my day,” but the way the current leadership has so expertly pivoted during quarantine to offer virtual events and webinars has been incredibly impressive, and allowed folks like me to re-engage from afar!


    Pictured at a WIFVNE event are former Board members Genine Tillotson (left) and Shannon Vossler. 


  • 28 Sep 2020 12:30 PM | Rosemary Owen (Administrator)

    Lani Rodriguez is a graphic designer and business owner making her way. Since embarking on setting up an art studio with partner Sarah Secunda in 2016, Lani has connected with many local artists and groups (including some fellow WIFVNE members!) and found a way to share her skills and build her brand. Check out her work below, and be sure to visit BackTalk Videográfica!

    Meet WIFVNE Member Lani Rodriguez! 
     

    How did you get started?
    In 2016 I got the opportunity to start a business with my partner Sarah. I had never studied graphic design formally, but I knew I had a knack for it, so I spent months teaching myself the craft. Eventually I put a portfolio together of personal work that reflected the type of work I hoped to be hired for. I stumbled upon an amazing community of women of color in the documentary field through a Facebook group called Brown Girls Doc Mafia. I promoted my work there and that led to opportunities designing film posters and graphics for film impact campaigns. 

    What do you love about the work that you do?
    I love connecting with filmmakers and I love the pressure and responsibility that comes with creating one powerful singular image to represent a film. There's often a series of ups and downs during the design process, but hitting that a-ha moment is the best feeling. I'm able to grow as an artist with every project I take on.  I also love the variety of jumping from one exciting project to the next. 

    What can you tell us about BackTalk Videográfica? What inspired you to start the company and what has your experience been running BackTalk? 

    BackTalk Videográfica is a visual resistance art studio made up of me and Sarah Secunda. Our goal is to create media that informs, provokes, and meets today's urgent need for complex storytelling. We surround ourselves with those who love their communities and value collaboration. We work with people, groups, and organizations engaging with, challenging, and changing our society. Running BackTalk has been an absolute joy. I never dreamed of starting a business, but after doing three unpaid internships at prominent documentary organizations that didn't lead to paid work I was feeling frustrated and looking for other opportunities, so we took a risk and created our own. 


     

    What has your experience as a woman in the industry been like? 
    I feel lucky because I've been able to avoid a lot of the horror story scenarios I hear about so often. When I connected with the Brown Girls Doc Mafia Facebook group I felt like I found a home. I've been able to connect with like-minded women and non-binary folks working on films that deal with social justice issues I care about deeply. I feel like we all know what it's like to feel unseen in this industry and we recognize that we are the forward-thinking leaders the film industry needs right now.

    What can you tell us about your upcoming projects? What have you been working on since the shutdown?

    While in shutdown I've worked on WIFVNE member Brandon Sichling's film poster for their queer comedy/drama Intimates, which was a ton of fun. I also recently completed a poster for a feature documentary called For the Love of Rutland, which follows an ensemble cast of characters in the blue-collar town of Rutland, VT, who represent a cross section of the town's clashing ideological and cultural subgroups. The film is directed by Jennifer Maytorena Taylor, who I've had the privilege of working with before. The film had its premiere at Hot Docs 2020. 

    Do you have a mentor?
    Yes! Earlier this year I joined the team at Looky Looky Pictures, a film impact production company founded by Ani Mercedes. I'm the graphic designer on the team and I'm responsible for creating film websites and social media graphics for film impact campaigns. It's been great and Ani has really taken me under her wing and helped me grow my business. She believes in my talent and wants to see me shine. 

    Were you told or did you learn a piece of wisdom or advice you now tell others in the beginning of their career?  
    I've learned along the way that it's important to take all the risks you can. I started this business with no formal design education and now I've designed posters and impact campaigns for dozens of films and our business is growing. Take advantage of all the free resources out there, whether it's tutorials on YouTube, Lynda.com, Skillshare, etc. Cold email people you want to collaborate with and tell them you love their work. The worst they can say is no and other opportunities will be right around the corner if you just keep going. 

    What impact on the industry would there be if there were women working in the industry?
    If there were more women in the industry, films would be a lot better because there would be complex female and non-binary characters. Currently that's a rarity. Everything needs to change--from the number of female and non-binary cinematographers to directors to high-level decision- makers. 

    What are your hopes for the future of BackTalk Videográfica and your future work?
    We hope to continue to connect with bold, wild, and brilliant people. We'd love to work with some of our favorite directors, such as Laura Poitras, Alma Har'el, Ava Duvernay and Tanya Saracho. We're currently in production on our first feature-length documentary called No More Birthday Parties for Dad.


    What can you share about what you are working on now?
    I'm working on a poster for documentary filmmaker Byron Hurt (HIP-HOP: Beyond Beats & RhymesSoul Food Junkies) and I recently accepted a contract with the amazing artist/activist organization CultureStrike, for which I'll be designing graphics for several large-scale campaigns they're launching to mobilize young people to vote. 

    Why are you a member of WIFVNE?
    I appreciate the connections I've been able to make. I've been able to collaborate with awesome WIFVNE members including Ellen Brodsky and Brandon Sichling. It's deeply important to have a space that prioritizes the necessity for gender parity in the film industry. 


  • 28 Sep 2020 12:30 PM | Rosemary Owen (Administrator)

    Rosie Pacheco is an actor, producer, and storyteller who has spent time in many aspects of production across the US.  Learn more about Rosie on her website, check out her credits on IMDB, and connect with her on Instagram @roe.pacheco, Facebook, or Twitter @RosiePacheco11.

    Meet WIFVNE Member Rosie Pacheco! 


    How did you get started?
    I started many years ago in Chicago. I was attending college there, for design --  and I began modeling for some extra cash.  I started with a small agency and did some "bread and butter" modeling, as they call it, for retail stores. I went on a background call for a film that was being done in Chicago, called Vice Versa with Judge Rheinhold. When we got to the set, I was singled out by the director with another friend to dance on the tall podiums at the rock concert scene. You can see me if you don't blink...lol. However, that gave me a taste for the set, and I really have not looked back. I got engaged in Chicago and then married (here in Rhode Island, but lived in Chicago still). I ended up taking time away from the business to raise my daughter. I moved back to Rhode Island in 1990, and was a single mom for a bit, and it was difficult to follow that career path -- so I pursued freelance and later staff positions in jewelry and product design. I did go on calls and auditions, but now it's a whole new ballgame.


    What do you love about the work that you do?
    I am a storyteller and I love fleshing out the characters, from my vantage point. I am kinda fearless, so I will do things perhaps that another actor may not want to.  I'm always after the truth, always.  Also, the process of acting, for me, is emotionally liberating because I can experience something and be in it, as myself. I am not afraid to dig deep. I am not afraid to look unattractive on film.  I guess you could say that that is my truth, again. Conversely, I can be a glamour girl and feel that part of myself. I do enjoy, though, uncovering the weird, quirky parts of myself. 


    What can you tell us about "Wallie's Gals"? 
    Wallie's Gals is a fun project created by (WIFVNE Member) Mary Ferrara that I am happy to be a part of. It is the story of four women who reunite after they worked together in a retail establishment. Things are said and done that are somewhat surprising to the group. It's an array of emotions that pay homage to the older gal, and what we live through. It's about change, and maturity, accepting yourself for who you are.  It's about forgiveness, too -- for the things we did as a younger self, and knowing that these were our limitations, at that time in our lives. It's a dramedy that will make you feel a bit warm in the heart, with some raucous belly laughs thrown in.

    What has your experience as a woman in the industry been like?
    My experience has been good -- and getting better -- although I'd like to see more open-mindedness with older women in New England. It's getting there. We have so much to offer. It is a small market, and it is competitive, so you'll find that some of us don't even have agents in New England, yet we audition in NY and have agents in the Southeast, or elsewhere.  My experience on set has been really positive. I've been involved with projects in and outside of New England, and I am thankful for every single one of them. I learned at every turn and am still learning, something that will never cease.  

    What has been your experience working as an actor in New England?
    It is a small market as stated, and there's not a lot of part for the older "gal" -- again I think that is changing. The people I have worked with (most of them) were super professional and produced some good projects.  I can go either way, the older gal with the grey streaks who is a judge/ business executive or a loud mouth blue collar cop. I know my brand, and I am now in the process of revamping everything I have out there, everything. The business of acting is a business first, no matter how much talent you may have, you must think like a business that you run, and your product must fly off the shelves.

    Do you have a mentor?
    I am in a coaching arena right now -- a small group of about 9 people, with a person who runs a group called the AGR in NY. I resisted at first, thinking it was expensive and time-consuming, but working with Jen Rudolph of the AGR has already helped me tremendously. The confusion on where I come into the market, or what I should be "selling" is now clear. I know I can play all sorts characters, but where I enter the market, how my materials should look, and what I concentrate on in order to get into the good rooms is of utmost importance. That has now been clarified for me.

    Were you told or did you learn a piece of wisdom or advice you now tell others in the beginning of their career? 
    Yes absolutely! Back in 2012, I joined a group called HEA Hollywood East Actors Group, and from that group I founded a spin-off called the New England Kids Actors Group. It now has over 1300 members. We tell parents in this group, newbies and veterans alike, about legitimate casting calls, money practices in the industry, child laws and guidelines for set, post new calls, give advice from industry professionals to the parents, and answer questions about the industry for children under 18. I do not run the day to day group anymore, I am just a member now. The admins have done a fantastic job, and have created a new page as well for the kid's accomplishments. I've seen some of them grow so much over the years since 2012. I have worked with several of them too, and it's always fun and super professional. We have singers and models in the group. It really is a safe place for the parents of child actors/entertainers.

    What are some things you wish could change/would help if more women were in the industry?
    I would like to see more stories for the older woman. I have just started to see this now, and I do know that it will continue. I would like to see a shift in the mindsets of some of the younger producers:  seek out and write and/or put these stories out there because they are interesting! Most of our film work here is indie work, so I'd like to see a shift here in New England -- to utilize all the talents we have here. 

    Where would you like to go in your work? 
    I know exactly where I am going. I wrote a screenplay about a woman whose life is chronicled over the 19 years she spent as a single mom, and " finding the one."  The story has been picked up by HBO, and I am the creator, and have a role in it. A story that is not afraid to show things about myself and those around me, that may not be the most pleasant thing to watch. People need to know, especially now, that they are not or have not been the only one experiencing some unpleasant things in life. But on the flipside, those joyful moments would be expressed as well. Some of my inspirational folks are Phoebe Waller Bridge, Michaela Coel, Sharon Horgan, Sam Levinson, DuPlasse Brothers -- they create fearless shows. And they do it well. I want to work with them and be in those shows.

    What can you share about what you are working on now?   
    Well, as you can probably guess, that screenplay I mentioned above. It's hard. To know which thing will translate well to the screen and what is the most important things you want to depict. I did executive produce a short film called Dark Light of Day (Amazon) that premiered at the Rhode Island International Film Festival -- not an easy feat. The film was a good concept, but NOT done the way I would ever do it today. It premiered in 2017. I did not know a thing about film production, nothing.  Out of ignorance, I left a lot of it up to others. It costs a lot of money and time and effort and a will to not give up. You have to be crazy honestly to produce a film -- it's a life-changing thing. It takes over. But it's exhilarating too. The film is ok; it's a horror short about a mother and daughter, and how a walk through her mom's art studio causes a transformation in the daughter. We did the whole thing on $2,000. I had friends who stepped in and did some great work for nothing. It did not turn out how I wanted it to, but I am proud of the fact that it got finished and that it premiered in a rather prestigious film festival. (A piece of advice here:  know what your role is in the production, and your power, if you're producing. And for Heaven's sake, raise the money to make it. You've got to feed the cast and crew for days -- that alone takes up a huge amount of dollars). As you can see, I have learned quite a bit on that one film. Glad I went through the experience!

    I am a writer for Motif Magazine also, and used to be a film writer for them --  I hosted a film review show talk show also, under MoTiv, in Rhode Island. I am also working on a short film as a production designer called For Lily from On Edge Productions. I run a floral/DIY company called Daniel Rose Silk Effects, a 5 star vendor on Google. We are masters at upcycling, and I was asked to be a designer on the short; it's delayed til next Spring, but  I am looking forward to it. I m also working on a series of photographs with female actors from the New England area, with an array of elaborate floral headdresses and interesting makeup. I have expert training in makeup from the old master, Mr. Way Bandy, who was a famous makeup artist in NY in the 80's.  At that time, he was the highest-paid artist in NY doing all the Cosmo covers, and was makeup artist to Cher, Farrah, Joan Rivers, and more. His book, Designing Your Face,  is the bible for ALL skin colors and types and it is a Godsend. I have also been called back for a film on the Cape about older women, and recently met the director in person in June of 2020. Escape 2120 premiered recently in Ohio and I had a supporting role in it as a lady of science. It was picked up by Bridgestone Media Group and can be seen now on Amazon. A film I acted in called Blood PI will be released soon, so I am looking forward to that. Working some other things, but for now, I'll wait til they actually materialize.

    How do you think WIFVNE can support filmmakers in New England?
    I'm not sure if this has been done, because I am a new member, but I'd like to see a spotlight in general on women filmmakers of the olden days -- women that were pioneers and got somewhat written out of history, mainly by men -- or were not credited with the great works they did. In particular Alice Ida Antoinette Guy-Blaché (née Guy; July 1, 1873 – March 24, 1968) was a French pioneer filmmaker, active from the late 19th century, and one of the very first to make a narrative fiction film. She was the first woman to direct a film. From 1896 to 1906, she was probably the only female filmmaker in the world.

    Why are you a member of WIFVNE?
    I like to read about people, and to go to some of the educational events they have. I have not been able to do that now due to Covid, but will certainly when we resume normal conditions. I am checking out their online activities too, at this time. They inform the film industry folks about the latest news, workshops, feature profiles and the members. They spotlight women in ALL aspects of film and television and that makes me HAPPY. I have met people just because I read about them or gained knowledge about programs that exist that I did not know about at all. I am looking forward to more networking with people here in New England, and seeing what these ladies are up to! I have a special place in my heart for women documentary filmmakers, and want to learn more about them here.


  • 27 Aug 2020 2:34 PM | JoAnn Cox (Administrator)

    A new competition inviting women screenwriters to submit short screenplays (20 minutes and under) for production consideration to CinemaStreet Pictures was announced today. The winning screenplay will receive $1,000 from CinemaStreet Pictures. The winning screenplay from the first competition, 6:18 to Omaha by Leah Curney, was shot in late 2019 and is now in post-production.

    “The first of its kind in the country, the CinemaStreet Women’s Short Screenplay Competition is intended to encourage talented women writers to submit short scripts,” says Dana Offenbach, owner of CinemaStreet Pictures, LLC. “We hope visibility gained from winning this competition will help open doors for an outstanding woman writer, and that her script will be produced.”

    The deadline for applications is September 15, 2020, 11:59 PM, Eastern Time. The application fee is $30.00 ($20 for members of all Women in Film and Television Chapters, The Black List Members, The International Screenwriters Association members, students and other nonprofit industry organizations.)

    To be eligible, applicants must be female-identified and screenplays must feature a significant female character. Applicants may be from any country, but screenplays must be written in English. Submissions must be 20 pages or less, in customary screenplay format and typed in no less than 12-point font. Screenplays by more than one writer will be considered, but all writers must be female-identified. Applicants may submit as many screenplays as desired, with a separate application and submission fee for each screenplay submitted. All genres of fiction about any topic are eligible.

    Applications are being accepted at https:/www.FilmFreeway.com/CinemaStreet

    About CinemaStreet, LLC

    CinemaStreet Pictures, LLC produces original content for worldwide distribution on all platforms with annual budgets in the millions. Owner Dana Offenbach is an award-winning writer, producer and director and a member of the prestigious Producers Guild of America and New York Women in Film & Television. Her films have won Best Narrative Feature, Best Screenplay, Best of Festival, World Premiere Honors, Honorable Mention, and an NAACP Nomination for Outstanding Independent Feature. For more information: Cinemastreet.net.

    About Terry Lawler

    Terry Lawler is a media consultant and the Competition Director of the CinemaStreet Women’s Short Screenplay Competition. She was Executive Director of New York Women in Film & Television from for 20 years, until December, 2018. Lawler serves on the Board of Directors of the Katahdin Foundation and Manhattan Neighborhood Network. Prior to becoming Executive Director of NYWIFT in 1997, Lawler was Director of Development and Production at Women Make Movies and National Director of Film and Videomakers Services at the American Film Institute. She has been a media consultant for foundations and nonprofit groups, including the MacArthur Foundation, the Astraea Foundation, the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the Goethe Institute, among others.

  • 25 Aug 2020 3:36 PM | JoAnn Cox (Administrator)

    Now in its 3rd year, the LEF/CIFF Fellowship is an opportunity for 6 New England-based filmmaker teams to attend the 2020 Camden International Film Festival and connect with funders, distributors, producers, and other industry professionals through a series of curated 1:1 meetings.

    CIFF has become an important stop on the documentary festival circuit for both filmmakers and industry delegates, who attend to build new relationships with filmmakers participating in Points North Institute’s Artist Programs. Over the past two years, our 1:1 meetings have been attended by representatives from Ford Foundation | Just Films, ITVS, Netflix, SFFILM, Sundance Institute, and many more.

    Developed in partnership with LEF New England, this program supports career sustainability for regional filmmakers by providing a unique point of access to potential industry supporters and the broader documentary community.

    In light of the COVID-19 public health crisis, the 2020 LEF/CIFF Fellowship and 1:1 meetings will be conducted remotely.

    The LEF/CIFF Fellowship includes:

    • Participation in 1:1 meetings with industry attendees (October 5-9) 
    • Two Virtual All Access passes to 2020 CIFF and Points North Forum programming (October 1-12).
    • $300 honorarium to all filmmaking teams who participate

    Eligibility

    • The Fellowship is open to projects with directors who have established their primary residence in New England
    • Feature documentary projects in production or post-production
    • Prior LEF/CIFF Fellows are not eligible to participate in the program again with the same project. However, prior LEF/CIFF Fellows may apply with a new project.

    Criteria
    Applicants will be evaluated based on LEF New England’s guidelines, which include these factors:

    • Quality of cinematic form and technique
    • Originality of filmmaker’s voice, vision, and point of view
    • Resonance and power of the film’s core idea or story
    • Feasibility of production

    Deadline: August 28 @ 11:59pm | No Submission Fee

    To apply, visit https://fs8.formsite.com/camdeniff/ip2hbqowzl/index.html

    The LEF/CIFF Fellowship application follows the guidelines established by the IDA’s Documentary Core Application Project.


  • 08 Aug 2020 2:34 PM | Rosemary Owen (Administrator)

    Margot Zalkind, long-time WIFVNE-member and Jane-of-all-trades, has worked in Philadelphia, New York, Connecticut, Boston, Vermont, New York again (working for Trump Real Estate!) Washington DC, Northampton, MA and now Vermont again. Her jobs have included:  Photographer’s representative, Ad agency Art Director, TV producer, Creative director, Documentary filmmaker, Marketing director, Art School assistant professor, Publisher, Executive Producer, and Film Trade School co-director.

    As she says, "Life can turn on a dime, and either we complain or adjust or both," which is certainly a great thing to keep in mind as we all navigate these challenging times. 


    Meet WIFVNE Member Margot Zalkind!

    How did you get started?
    I have “gotten started” about ten times, each time leading to another start. But I was lucky, nimble, and inquisitive. I studied many genres as an undergraduate in art school:  film, photography, welding, printmaking, typography, book design, drawing, and sculpture. These have been my underpinnings.

    Few of us have a clear path when we are 18, though we are sure we do. I began as a self-confident sculpture student, then discovered I had to earn a living. Blessedly, an advertising career presented itself after grad school. How? A friend from school became Art Director at Harper’s Bazaar, and helped me become a photographer’s rep. I cold-called, showed portfolios to hundreds of art buyers and art directors. Although petrified, 23, and shy, I got better at it, and met many art directors.

    I took a class at School of Visual Arts in “How to create television commercials.” I LOVED it. This led to a job as an assistant Art Director at Young and Rubicam. NY advertising agencies in the 70s were creative and supportive and about as juicy a job as one could want. I embraced deadlines. Parameters were my comfort zone. I created concepts for tv spots. (In those days it was usually :60 sometimes :30). Presented storyboards, met with clients, got bids, created budgets, oversaw locations, held casting sessions, worked on editing, post production. 

    I worked on short documentaries for The Peace Corps, was assistant producer and then producer on more than 40 commercials, shot in the Bahamas, in NY, and California; I worked on Showtime, Jello, General Foods, and Met Life, Johnson & Johnson and cars and dog food and even candy. I started to teach at School of Visual Arts and at Cooper Union. I loved teaching, thrilled that I helped launch some amazing careers – illustrators, camera-men and women, political cartoonists, even car designers. 

    What do you love about the work you do?
    I love solving problems. Creatively.  I ask: What is unique about whatever I am working on?  And I love learning something new—whether it be publishing or computer programs. Or editing equipment, which has changed so dramatically from film strips and razor blades to computer. 

    What was it like, being a woman in your career?
    When I started, I was trusting and ignorant. I now look back on how I was treated in the advertising industry and I am horrified. I was sexually harassed, under-supported. Underpaid. When I learned the amount of salary and bonus of my far-less-experienced (male) partner, I was aghast. His was more than six times mine. Such behavior wasn’t always a given, but often enough. 

    In my twenties, I mistook the attention of agency men for professional attention. Some was, some was just drooling lust. In an agency of more than 100 creatives, I was one of three women-- I took pride in this, but it was also an isolated position. And vulnerable.  

    I learned to never cry where anyone could see me. If I was lambasted, I excused myself and cried in the ladies’ room. Weakness was seen as a lack of dependability, and threatened to take you out of the game. 

    What has been your experience working with Action! VT Film Institute?
    How this started: We have developed a tv series based on my partner’s 32 mysteries, all set in Vermont. We have an agreement with a production company to produce the series, which is exciting, and I was asked to explore Vermont tax incentives and what the Film Commission was doing. They want to shoot here. I immersed myself in the VT film industry (and its history).

    To help understand the climate and get support for the production of the series, I met with the Governor, filmmakers and legislators, to get support. We gathered a group of professionals across the state to try and revitalize the now defunct VT Film Commission. I was then asked by legislators and college educators to create a film trade school, training professionals for below-the-line jobs. 

    But, locating internships and jobs has been a struggle. There are so few opportunities in Vermont that the end result of this education meant leaving the state, to go to states that do have strong tax incentives, like MA, NY, Georgia, which went counter to what Vermont wanted. 

    Do you have a mentor?
    At various times in my career, I have. Creative Directors who supported my going out on a creative limb. Colleagues who have enlightened, instructed, and shored me up at down times. Often though, back then, women did not always help women. (Ms. Magazine had a cover years ago, showing women trying to climb a ladder, and a woman at the top is stepping on their hands.)

    What can you tell us about your current projects? 
    I am a marketing director, a publisher, and continuing to develop the film trade school. 

    I will be an Executive Producer of the TV series if this virus lets us all resume life. 

    I am completing a book. Looking at how our upbringing can determine how much moxie we have. If we are insecure, told we are not good enough, does that push us more? Or, does it push us, cowering, into a corner? 

    Were you told or did you learn a piece of wisdom or advice you now tell others in the beginning of their career? 
    What I learned:  As a woman, Try to walk the tricky tightrope of nice vs. strong minded. Pick your battles, stand your ground. But don’t be stupid. Is it really important to you? And do you want to alienate your client? You may be disliked, which I find really difficult, but don’t be a pushover. 

    Also: If there isn’t a job , create one. Freelance, teach, start something from scratch. 

    What are some things you wish could change/would help if more women were in the industry?
    Women can help other women know they are equal. Or better.  But, to categorize all women is a mistake. Some will be kind and help those climbing up, others may not be. I have had many men be helpful, teach me. And many women treat me badly. 

    Why are you a member of WIFVNE?
    I have been a member of WIFVNE on and off for more than 30 years. Originally when I created a documentary, I was helped with fundraising, understanding fiscal sponsorship, story-telling. 

    Background: Years ago, I created a short documentary on an 85 year old Philadelphia woman who opened doors for women to row and compete. She was spunky, engaging. A terrific cameraman worked with me, we shot in three days. I directed, co-edited, and did off-camera interviewing. 

    I joined WIFVNE and Women Make Movies. Got fiscal sponsorship, attended fund raising workshops, and learned so much. The organization is a terrific resource. I have turned to WIFVNE recently on behalf of my granddaughter who is a film student, she needed a job and guidance, and WIFVNE came through, yet again. 

    How can WIFVNE support filmmakers in New England?
    More regional events, when possible. And, knowledge on what states are doing. Can we lobby Vermont as a group, to help more? Address the older members: what can we do? 


     


  


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