THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Iran’s Female-Directed Oscar Pick, Plus Portman, Bigelow, Winslet and more — Brandy McDonnell Reports

Natalie Portman wins Israel’s Genesis Prize, Iran makes first Academy Award submission directed by a woman, Sundance Selects acquires Rachel Dretzin’s documentary ‘Far from the Tree,’ and Kathryn Bigelow, Kate Winslet and more are honored by SAG-AFTRA Foundation. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Femme-Helmed Horror, Kids and Horror, and A Scary Project for Tracy Oliver

Special for Halloween, we’ll tell you where to get the creeps with horror movies directed by women, you can weigh in on the age at which young kids should be introduced to the chills and gore of the horror genre, and get the scoop on Girls Trip co-writer Tracy Oliver’s new project — she’s inked to adapt and direct the young adult best seller scarer, “Survive the Night.” Read details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Taymor Hired, Weinstein Fired and Cameron is Still at It — Brandy McDonnell reports

Julie Taymor will helm a coming-of-age biopic about feminist journalist and activist Gloria Steinem, based on Steinem’s bestselling memoir My Life on the Road, adapted for the screen by Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Sarah Ruhl. Harvey Weinstein was terminated from The Weinstein Company Sunday following last week’s New York Times expose detailing decades of sexual abuse allegations made against the Oscar-winning producer by employees and actresses including Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, among others. James Cameron is still trying to terminate feminist positivity about Wonder Woman, asserting that bustier-clad Gal Gadot is too beautiful to be groundbreaking. Read details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Focus on Feminism and Diversity in TE ATA — Brandy McDonnell reports

te ata 1 croppedTe Ata brings a trailblazing Native American storyteller’s story to the screen. Q’orianka Kilcher plays the Chickasaw actress who introduced her people’s legends to audiences worldwide. Born in Indian Territory, Mary Frances Thompson grew up steeped Chickasaw lore. Drama teachers at Oklahoma College for Women encouraged her to weave American Indian stories into her performances. Taking the name “Te Ata,” (“bearer of the morning”), she left Broadway theater to share Native American stories – a path leading to her White House performance at President Franklin Roosevelt’s first state dinner in 1933. Te Ata continued storytelling even as the federal Code of Indian Offenses prohibited American Indians from practicing their culture. The film was produced by the Chickasaw Nation, who wanted to tell the story their way. Read about the production and what screenwriter Jennie Barbour has to say about it on THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Dench is Awarded, Kruger is Lamarr-ed, Hamilton is TERMINATOR-ing — Brandy McDonnell reports

Dame Judi Dench, turning 83 on December 9, will receive the Santa Barbara Film Festival’s Kirk Douglas Award on November 30. Douglas turns 101 on — coincidentally — December 9. Congrats to both! Diane Kruger is slated to produce and star in a miniseries about Hedy Lamarr, the movie star with a brilliant mind and many scientific inventions to her credit. And, Linda Hamilton is returning after a 25-year hiatus to the ‘Terminator’ franchise, as an older but equally kickass Sarah Connor. Read details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN News: McGowan @ Tallgrass FF, Gerwig @ Austin FF, Payday for Jenkins, Curtis and HALLOWEEN — Brandy McDonnell reports

Rose McGowan is being honored by the Tallgrass International Film Festival in Wichita, Greta Gerwig’s well-reviewed ‘Lady Bird’ has been selected to open the Austin Film Festival, Patty Jenkins has sealed a deal for ‘Wonder Woman 2′ that makes her the highest paid female director in history, and , and Jamie Lee Curtis returns to the ‘Halloween’ franchise. Read all the details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Diana Huey’s ‘LITTLE MERMAID’ reminds us why diverse casting matters — Brandy McDonnell reports

Even Diana Huey doubted that she would be cast as the lead in the national touring production of the latest stage adaptation of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”
It wasn’t because she couldn’t sing the iconic songs while suspended from a harness or play a rebellious teenage mermaid princess who becomes a mute human in the second act. It was simply because she was born in Japan. Continue reading on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: USC Studies Show Numbers Still Dismal for Women in Film –Brandy McDonnell reports

Two studies released in the past week out of the University of Southern California confirm that films remain predominantly white and male both in front of and behind the cameras – meaning that basically everyone else — from women and people of color to LGBT individuals and people with disabilities — remain woefully underrepresented. Read the shocking stats and more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Hollywood’s sexist ways and box-office prospects — Brandy McDonnell comments

It’s been a lackluster summer at the domestic box office, and it may just be that Hollywood’s failure to adapt to the reality that women moviegoers want to see more movies starring women that has at least in part caused this summer’s blahs. Warner Bros. Pictures, however, reached a rare milestone this weekend by exceeding the $1 billion mark at the domestic box office. The studio owes a lot of its 2017 success to the superheroic performance of Wonder Woman, which surpassed Disney/Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” to become the summer’s highest-grossing film with $389 million. Continue reading on THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN News: Whittaker lands DOCTOR WHO, DuVernay teases WRINKLE and Henson joins WRECK-IT — Brandy McDonnell reports

The 13th Doctor is in, and the iconic science fiction series finally has a female lead. Jodie Whittaker will be the 13th time lord on the long-running Doctor Who series. Ava DuVernay revealed the first trailer for her adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time at D23, the Disney fan expo in Anaheim, California. The science fiction thriller also has female leads. Storm Reid stars as Meg, with Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Oprah Winfrey as supernatural guides on Meg’s inter-dimensional journey to rescue her father. In good casting news, Taraji. P. Henson joins the Wreck-It Ralph sequel and Lily James joins the Mamma Mia! follow-up. Continue reading on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN News: Geena Davis, Alicia Silverstone and New Stars on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame

Geena Davis celebrates 25th anniversary of ‘A League of Their Own,’ while Alicia Silverstone reflects on the legacy of ‘Clueless.’ Plus, Jennifer, Lawrence, Zoe Saldana, Carrie Underwood, Kirsten Dunst, Taraji P. Henson and more will get stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2018. Read the details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Jenkins and Coppola Make Movie History

Between Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman and Sofia Coppola’ The Beguiled, the past two weeks have been benchmark for female filmmakers. Wonder Women is the highest earning female director, and The Beguiled won prizes for Coppola at Cannes. Read the details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Chastain, Thurman, Adams and ‘Captain Marvel’ in the News — Brandy McDonnell reports

Jessica Chastain’s strong stand on equal pay, Uma Thurman to head Cannes’ Un Certain Regard jury, Amy Adams will receive the American Cimemateque Award. Ama Boden and Ryan Fleck tapped to helm ‘Captain Marvel,’ and more news in this week’s THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ sets box office records for female-fueled films – Brandy McDonnell reports

beauty and the beast posterDisney’s live-action remake of “Beauty and the Beast” proved magical, AWFJ’s #MOTW for March 17, has set several box-office records during its first weekend in theaters. The lavish movie-musical version of the fairytale story conjured up an incredible $170 million in North America and $350 million globally. It is the biggest debut of all time for a female-fueled film, proving yet again that female protagonists are strong both on screen and at the box office. The numbers underscore the buying power of women and girls. On Friday, more than 70 percent of ticket buyers were females, with the overall weekend percentage at 60 percent, per Disney’s numbers as cited by The Hollywood Reporter. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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Oscars 2017: Victories for ‘Moonlight,’ ‘La La Land’ and Viola Davis — Brandy McDonnell reports (Exclusive)

oscar logoIn a twist ending that only Hollywood could dream up, “Moonlight” won best picture Sunday night after a mixed-up finish at the 89th Academy Awards. Viola Davis became the first black woman to win an Emmy, a Tony and an Oscar for acting. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: 2017 Oscars set records but women are still underrepresented — Brandy McDonnell reports

oscar logoThis year’s Oscar nods are good news and bad news. Let’s get the bad news out of the way, especially since I’m sure it will come to no surprise to industry watchers or regular readers of this blog. Despite a slew of attention-getting films such as “Jackie,” “Arrival” and “Hidden Figures.” all featuring featuring strong, complex women as leading characters, the number of female Oscar nominees for behind-the-scenes roles dropped among this year’s Academy Award nominations. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN News Wrap: EEOC action on Hollywood Studios, plus Burstyn and St. Vincent to Direct — Brandy McDonnell reports

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigations initiated in 2015 have been concluded, and the commission has found that all Hollywood studios have systemically discriminated against female directors. The EEOC is reportedly attempting to resolve the charges made against the studios, but if they’re unable to do so, may file a lawsuit. Actress Ellen Burstyn, however, is not waiting to make her directorial debut. At age 84, she’ll helm her first feature, a comedy titled Bathing Flo. And experimental rocker St. Vincent (aka Annie Clark) makes her directorial debut as part of XX, an all-female horror anthology that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last month and arrived in theaters and on Video on Demand, Amazon Video and iTunes this Friday. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: The Women of HIDDEN FIGURES — Brandy McDonnell Reports

hidden-figures-5Once the feel-good film of awards season, ‘Hidden Figures’ is now a big winner and a big moneymaker. Throughout this film awards cycle, Hidden Figures has been the crowd-pleasing, uplifting fan favorite. This weekend, the fact-based period drama about the African-American women who worked behind the scenes at NASA during the space race won the top prize at the SAG Awards and crossed the $100 million mark at the domestic box office. Will the film’s success make a difference? The real women whose stories are told in the film hope it will. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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OKLAHOMA CITY — Review by Brandy McDonnell

It may be heartrending and stomach-churning to watch, especially for Oklahoma natives and residents like me, but the new PBS documentary “Oklahoma City” is timely and vital viewing. The harrowing film, which made its world premiere last month at the Sundance Film Festival, does more than just recap the destruction wrought by Timothy McVeigh’s truck bomb. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: RIP Mary Tyler Moore, plus news on Octavia Spencer, Lily Tomlin, Kristen Chenoweth and more — by Brandy McDonnell

In this THE WEEK IN WOMEN news roundup.we remember the wonderful Mary Tyler Moore, report on honors for Octavia Spencer and Lily Tomlin, follow Kristin Chenoweth’s praise for Lion for its treatment of adoption, and praise Kerry Washington as she urges courage at Sundance. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: News wrap around Oscars, SAGs, Lily Tomlin Honored and More — Brandy McDonnell reports

lily tomlin headshotThe Academy will forego a live audience for the nomination announcements, instead livestreaming them at Oscars.org, which has caused quite a flap among publicists and members of the press. But everyone’s delighted that Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton will present SAGs Life Achievement Award to brilliant, all-round entertainment maverick Lily Tomlin during the 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. And more coursgeous female stars are speaking out to spark change in Hollywood. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia Legacy — Brandy McDonnell comments

princess leiaWhen my sister and I were kids during the 80s, it was ALWAYS a good time to play Star Wars. We were Star Wars diehards, determined to follow the good side, not the dark. But there was a problem: There was only one heroine in that far away galaxy. So, when it came time to play Stars Wars, tough decisions had to be made. Would one of us play Han Solo or Luke Skywalker? That was no good: We were tomboys, not boys. Sometimes we both played Princess Leia, and sometimes we created our own female characters — because when we were growing up there was only one woman who got to be a hero. And while that may have been severely limiting, at least Star Wars had one. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Number of women directors falls, female characters have less to say — Brandy McDonnell reports

The number of female feature film directors has fallen, female characters have far less chance to talk in movies and there continues to be a huge gender pay gap in Hollywood. 2016 actually gave some reason to be hopeful about women in the movies. Disney released three stellar animated movies – Zootopia, Moana and Pixar’s Finding Dory — and all featuring female lead characters, none of them traditional damsels in distress. Women were leads in two smash sci-fi films with Arrival and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, with the latter becoming the second movie in the Star Wars saga to have a female lead. And the period drana Hidden Figures, based on real-life stories of African-American women who worked behind the scenes as mathematicians to help launch the first U.S. astronauts into space, is a hit at the box office. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Golden Globes and Wonder Woman, Space and Women Win Box Office – Brandy McDonnell reports

At the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s 74th annual Golden Globe Awards, La La Land took all seven awards for which it was nominated, while Meryl Streep, honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award, took on Donald Trump for mocking a disabled reporter during his campaign. Streep called on the press to keep the powerful in check and for the Hollywood community to support the Committee to Protect Journalists. Wonder Woman, finally fighting her way to the silver screen, will open June 2. Hidden Figures and the blockbuster prequel Rogue One: A Star Wars Story finished in a virtual tie for first at the domestic box office. Read all the details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN

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It’s a Wrap: AWFJ Looks Back at 2016

AWFJ is completing our tenth anniversary year, and it’s time to take stock and evolve. What has our organization accomplished during 2016, and what are our goals for 2017. But as we look back to evaluate our accomplishments and before we set forth plans for a new year filled with worthwhile projects, let’s pause for a moment to give due credit to the AWFJ members who’ve contributed their ideas, time and energy to make our 2016 programs and enterprises so successful. Well done! And here’s round of applause and a virtual pat on the back to each of you in recognition of your collegiality and activism. Now on to the nitty gritty about what AWFJ has done curing 2016, with shout outs to individual members who helmed projects and made them happen. Read on…

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