The Inaugural Chicago Women in Entertainment Event

On Monday, October 24th, we teamed up with Women in Film Chicago and IFP Chicago to present Women in Entertainment Chicago, the first Women in Entertainment event outside of California! We are so excited to bring the amazing conversations we started in Los Angeles to Chicago, a truly vibrant and unique community of immensely talented filmmakers, thought-leaders, and creative arts advocates.

During the first panel, Diversifying Women’s Role in Entertainment, we heard from Oriana Oppice, Director, Producer, Writer, Actor, and Director of Programming for Women in Film Chicago; Susie Linker, Co-Founder of Elevated Films Chicago; Leslie Neilan, Producer and Screenwriter, and Fawzia Mirza, Actor, Writer, and Producer. The panel was moderated by Rich Moskal, Director of the Chicago Film Office. The speakers discussed what influenced and motivated them when starting their careers, and the valuable lessons they’ve learned along the way. Oriana Oppice shared her experience with becoming a director, sharing “the pigeonholing of Hollywood gave me what I needed to create content.” Additionally, the speakers shared their perspectives on the rise of female leadership in the industry; highlighting the importance of 50/50 gender parity in the industry and how men and women can work together to achieve equality.

For the second panel, Female Driven Storytelling Across Entertainment, we heard from Nicole Bernardi-Reis, Executive Director of IFP Chicago; Betsy Steinberg, Executive Director of Kartemquin Films; Maria Finitzo, Kartemquin Films Associate and Social-Issue Documentary Filmmaker; Jennifer Reeder, Filmmaker and Visual Artist, Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago; and Laurel Ward, Producer at Ocean Pictures. The moderator was Beckie Stocchetti, head of Independent/Local Film Initiatives for the Chicago Film Office. The conversation focused on how women writers, directors, producers, and actresses can work together to increase female leadership in the industry. They also explored what needs to be changed in the industry, like seeing more women in the director’s chair. They also discussed positive elements of the local Chicago filmmaking community, discussing that Kartemquin Films champions the voice of all filmmakers- women and men.

To close the event, we heard from Sanaa Hamri, an Executive Producer and Director on Fox’s Empire, and Susanna Homan, the Editor-in-Chief of Chicago magazine. Sanaa shared her unique experience rising to success directing music videos for artists like Mariah Carey, and her experience as executive producer and director on Empire. She discussed the lessons she learned from others, and how she strived to become even better than her peers– our favorite quote from her conversation is on her own goals: “Everything is about ownership… but eventually I’m going to have my own studio and my own distribution.” She also discussed that she doesn’t think about gender in her projects, she just does what she loves. Adding that she has learned a lot from the men she has worked with and takes those lessons with her on her journey.

All of the panelists offered amazing advice and perspectives for the audience, providing tools on how to nurture a long lasting career in the entertainment industry. We couldn’t have asked for better partners or speakers for our event in Chicago!

ArcLight Cinemas Announces Extension of Women in Entertainment Program in Chicago

CHICAGO, October 14, 2016– On October 24, 2016, ArcLight Cinemas, a premier moviegoing destination, will present Women in Entertainment Chicago in partnership with Women in Film Chicago and IFP Chicago. The event will take place at ArcLight Cinemas Chicago, hosted by ArcLight’s Executive Vice President Gretchen McCourt, Women in Film Chicago President Carrie Hunter, and IFP Chicago Executive Director Nicole Bernardi-Reis.

The event is an extension of the ArcLight Women in Entertainment (WIE) events presented in Los Angeles, which gather visionaries and thought leaders who are dedicated to celebrating the empowerment of women in all areas of the entertainment industry. WIE events in Los Angeles include the inaugural Women in Entertainment Summit in November 2015, the WIE Workshops in May 2016, and the second annual WIE Summit taking place on November 10, 2016. The first WIE Chicago event is designed to spark a broad, transparent dialogue that explores gender equality and challenges faced by women in the entertainment industry, with a specific focus on the Chicago area.

The event will feature panel discussions with prominent members of the Chicago film community, focusing on branding and diversifying women’s role in entertainment, mentoring the next generation of creative women, how the film industry is impacted by women, and how women can work together to portray a unique perspective across the different categories of entertainment.

“We’re thrilled to explore similar insightful topics that are examined at our Los Angeles events with these esteemed Chicago filmmakers,” stated ArcLight’s Executive Vice President Gretchen McCourt. “ArcLight is proud to be bringing Women in Entertainment to such an empowering film community.”

Women in Entertainment Chicago’s keynote speaker is Sanaa Hamri, an Executive Producer and Director on Empire (FOX). She also directed The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 and episodes of Shameless, Nashville, and 90210. She will join in conversation with Susanna Homan, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Chicago magazine.

Speakers also include Nicole Bernardi-Reis; Executive Director of IFP Chicago; Rich Moskal, Director of the Chicago Film Office; Betsy Steinberg, Executive Director of Kartemquin Films; Susie Linker; Co-Founder, Elevated Films Chicago; Maria Finitzo, Kartemquin Films Associate, Social-Issue Documentary Filmmaker; Jennifer Reeder, Filmmaker and Visual Artist, Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago; Beckie Stocchetti, Independent/Local Film Initiatives, Chicago Film Office; Oriana Oppice, Director, Producer, Writer, Actor, and Director of Programming of Women in Film Chicago; Leslie Neilan, Producer and Screenwriter; Fawzia Mirza; Actor, Writer, and Producer; and Laurel Ward, Producer at Ocean Pictures.

Carrie Hunter, President of Women in Film Chicago stated, “With such inspiring events around Women in Entertainment in Los Angeles, we couldn’t think of a better partner than ArcLight to bring such amazing content and important discussions to Chicago.”

The evening also includes an opening reception at 5:30 PM sponsored by local Chicago establishments 90+ Cellars and Knife & Tine. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.arclightcinemas.com/movie/women-in-entertainment-chicago

 

Deadline Hollywood Exclusive: Ilene Chaiken, Betsy Beers & More Set For Women In Entertainment Summit

EXCLUSIVE: Shondaland’s Betsy Beers, Empire executive producer Ilene Chaiken and Bad Moms producer Suzanne Todd, have been added to the list of speakers at the 2nd annual Women in Entertainment Summit presented by ArcLight Cinemas. They will be joined by other producers, execs, and filmmakers at the November 10 event at the Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles to address equality, diversity, and women’s leadership in Hollywood.

Read the full article on Deadline Hollywood

ArcLight Cinemas Announces Speakers for Second Annual Women in Entertainment Summit

Los Angeles, Sept 28, 2016– ArcLight Cinemas today announced additional speakers for the second annual ArcLight Presents Women in Entertainment Summit. The Summit will take place on November 10, 2016, from 9 am to 5 pm in the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, CA.

Thought-provoking panel discussions, fireside chats, and keynotes at the summit will address an array of themes in equality, women’s leadership, and empowerment, including how organizations are implementing programs and steps to ensure diversity and equality; ways in which ideas about gender and sexuality shape social roles and identities; diversifying women’s role in entertainment and how to overcome roadblocks; how women can support each other on camera and behind the screen; inspiring the next generation of creatives to follow their passions, and the need for female-led storytelling and the building of strong female characters.

Newly announced speakers include: Suzanne Todd, Producer of Bad Moms, Alice in Wonderland, and Across the Universe; Chiara Tilesi, Founder of We Do It Together; Haifaa Al Mansour, Director and Writer of Wadjda and Saudi Arabia’s first female filmmaker; Alexandra Patsavas, Founder of Chop Shop Music Supervision; Shohreh Aghdashloo, Actress, House of Saddam (HBO), The Expanse (Syfy); Betsy Beers, ShondaLand Partner and Executive Producer; Dalia Ganz, Director of Digital & Partnership Marketing for Freeform; Linda Ong, CEO of TruthCo; Ilene Chaiken, Executive Producer and Showrunner, Empire (FOX); Susan Wright, CEO of Criterion Group; Lydia Dean-Pilcher, Producers Guild of America Vice President, Motion Pictures; Amanda Hill, Chief Marketing Officer, A&E Networks; Robin Bronk, CEO of The Creative Coalition; Allison Schroeder, Co-Chair of the WGA Committee of Women Writers; Jennifer Warren, Alliance of Women Directors Founder & Chairperson; Madeline Di Nonno, CEO of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media; Jessica Sharzer, Executive Producer, STAR, Writer and Executive Producer, American Horror Story; Tish Ciravolo, President and Founder of Daisy Rock Guitars; Kara Holden, Screenwriter; and Kieran Medina from OutFest.

The event will take place in ArcLight's iconic Cinerama Dome to gather women and men who are dedicated to celebrating the empowerment of women in all areas of the entertainment industry. The ArcLight Presents Women in Entertainment Summit is sponsored by Google, The Coca-Cola Company, Royal Paper Corporation, The Creative Coalition, Pearson, The Criterion Group, MOO, Golden Road Brewing, and The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.arclightcinemas.com/movie/arclight-presents-women-in- entertainment and www.arclightwomen.com.

ArcLight Cinemas and San Diego Filmmakers Launch of the San Diego Women’s Film Network

On Tuesday, July 19th, ArcLight partnered with San Diego Filmmakers to host the launch event for the San Diego Women’s Film Network at ArcLight La Jolla. We were thrilled to host such an empowering and inspiring event for so many women (and men!) in the San Diego filmmaking, entertainment, and media communities. Throughout the evening, we heard amazing insight and advice from a wonderful group of speakers.

 

During the first panel, Diversifying Women’s Role in Entertainment, we heard from Jodi Cilley, Founder and President, Film Consortium San Diego, Carly Starr Brullo Niles, Founder, Love Machine Films, Stephanie Caleb, President of Creative Affairs, Cinelou Film/Cinelou Releasing, and Katayoun A. Marciano, Writer/Producer. The panel was moderated by Lisa Remillard, Anchor for Good Morning San Diego on KUSI News. The women spoke candidly about their experiences in the entertainment industry, as well as how women can support other women, and the importance of networking and finding inspiring mentors to help provide insight and guide your path to success.  

 

For the second panel, Female Narrative in Film, we heard from Jazmin Borad: Director of Programs for the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, Tonya Mantooth, Executive and Artistic Director for the San Diego International Film Festival, Brent Altomare, Founder and Executive Producer of Groovy Like a Movie Studios, and Linda Brown, Emmy Award-winning Cinematographer. The panel was moderated by Marianne Kushi, Anchor, for NBC 7 News Today. The speakers offered insight into some of the roadblocks women face in the entertainment industry, as well as how we can work together to overcome them. Brent Altomare even read his email folder full of resumes sent to him for positions at his production studio and found that 75% of the applicants were male–leading into a discussion of how women can work to build and assert confidence in a male-dominated field. The highlight of the panel was the discussion of female characters in movies and television; Jazmin Borad of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media shared some powerful statistics on how adding women writers increases the amount of women characters on screen.

 

Krista Vernoff closed the event as our keynote speaker; she is truly inspiring and such an accomplished woman in the entertainment industry! She spoke on her experiences in the industry and how she’s working to champion women- she says the problem of women’s inequality in television and film is “fixable, but it requires a joint effort by all of us privileged enough to have a seat at the table in Hollywood to fight for change,” detailing how many noteable Hollywood decision-makers (including JJ Abrams and Shonda Rhimes, among others) are trailblazing that path towards positive change for diversity in entertainment. She also shared her personal experiences; describing how she fought for a studio to include more women in the candidate list for directors for a pilot she wrote and was able to hire the pilot’s director, line producer, editor, music supervisor, costume designer, hair & makeup artists, and 5 out of 8 series regular cast; all women. Krista was such an empowering voice for our audience!


When women come together to start a conversation about these important issues, it can spark inspiration and motivation in those who are listening. We’re so proud to have hosted the inaugural launch event for this new network to help to create a powerful forum of support and empowerment, as women all across the entertainment industry are coming forward to share their stories, insight, and advice for both established and emerging female voices.