At the 14th Annual Imaginnaire Awards Gala, our very own Alecia Orsini Lebeda, WIFVNE President, was presented with an Imaginnaire Award.
Read excerpts from the introduction provided by JoAnn F. Cox and the acceptance by Alecia Orsini Lebeda follow.
From JoAnn F Cox:
I am delighted and honored to introduce the next Imaginnaire — someone who has had a tremendous impact on the state of the industry in our region, in addition to being a transformative influence on hundreds of individuals who work here in New England. Alecia Orsini Lebeda.
Alecia gave me my chance when I leapt back into film production, even though my skills were rusty and my on-set experience was limited. And I know I’m not the only one she has taken under her wing. She provides advice and mentoring and connections — and some first-time jobs.
Alecia has worked behind the scenes on many a campaign to save Mass Film Jobs, to promote the film industry locally, to build community by participating with and promoting the 48Hour Film Projects and their creators, and by being a champion for dozens of film festivals in the region.
One of the descriptors for this award is “someone who goes the extra mile.” I can assure you that this leader has gone the extra hundreds of miles. Alecia’s criss-crossed New England — from Cape Cod to Maine, from Hartford to Newton from Worcester to Manchester — to listen to storytellers and filmmakers, to bring forward female voices, to guide, instruct, motivate, and inspire.
She brings people together with her generous spirit, her creative ideas, and her infectious laughter. Get close and she’ll snap a selfie with you.
When you need help figuring something out, she shares wise words;
When you need encouragement, she rallies you;
When you’re having just one of those days, she supports you;
When you feel lost, she provides direction;
When you need help, she jumps right in.
Alecia is the very definition of YES AND.
I ask that you please join me in raising your glass or putting your hands together for our dear friend, and current President of Women in Film and Video – New England, Alecia Orsini Lebeda.
From Alecia Orsini Lebeda:
I joined Women in Film because I felt like there was something missing in my life. As a filmmaker, I wasn’t reaching out to the women around me. I had blinders on, and kept my head down and simply worked. Once I joined WIFVNE I was able to lift my eyes to what was happening around me and offer a hand in the work that desperately is needed….
As we enter the “new age” roaring 20’s, I can’t help but think about the changes happening 100 years ago. Women were everywhere in the film world. In fact, the silent era was referred to by some as “the manless era” as so many women had the freedom to produce, write, direct and act. How that has changed. I can only speculate it was the fragile egos of some, uncomfortable with women having such a powerful platform at their fingertips, that swept women into the margins.
As we look forward to this next decade and celebrate the social progress that was made 100 years ago, let us unearth our film mothers. Celebrate their stories, contribution to suffrage and social boat rocking.
I won’t bother with the statistics. You can find them easy enough. Yet another awards season is upon us and has left women out of the conversation again despite have a massive impact in box office. Clearly the message isn’t getting through. It hasn’t really, for a hundred years.
Women deserve equality.
In this industry, we reflect back society. What we do, means something. It is our duty as storytellers to show our sons & daughters what is possible, and it starts with our own.
Parity is paramount. Buy in from our brothers is essential. Your outrage and action is necessary to make a difference.
Where do you start? Speak up with you see something wrong on set. Ask for women and hire them. Donate to their campaigns, cheer them on. Watch their films and share them. That’s what we are doing 365 days a year at WIFVNE, and you can too.
I, with my board, run a non-profit organization that supports all willing to support women filmmakers, but it does not work without you. Join us to make real change here at home, and do what we have always done in New England. Lead, and show the world how it’s done.
I thank Carol and the team at Imagine so much for this honor. I am truly humbled by the recognition. Thank you again for this generous award, and for your steadfast support. Together we will Change the Lens.