Will a woman director munch Doritos at Superbowl XLl?

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LA filmmaker Kristin Dehnert hopes her “Check Out Girl” will be selling lots of Doritos during Superbowl XLl on Feb. 4. That’ll happen only if the 30-second commercial spot wins the chips-maker’s interactive Crash the Superbowl competition. “Check Out Girl” has been named one of five finalists, selected from spots submitted by thousands of hungry filmmakers around the globe.

Dehnert’s already munching a $10,000 prize for being selected among five finalists– the others, by the way, are men. She and the other finalists get to go to the Superbowl, too.

For the past decade, writer/director Dehnert and her producing partner, Leann Emmert, have been working ’day jobs’ as location managers and scouts. They hope Superbowl exposure will boost their careers.

“This is the Academy Awards of commercials and commercial air time, as audiences are often tuning in not just to watch football, but to see the best commercials,” Dehnert notes. ”Even filmmakers in the business for years may never have their spots aired in this primetime. You could say that for a writer/director, having your commercial play during the Super Bowl is like a football player getting a Supebowl Ring…especially if you are a writer/director trying to break in to the business.”

Dehnert says her’s is the only finalist spot that doesn’t display a female character as a sex symbol. Her “Check Out Girl” is Stephanie Lesh-Farrell, an LA improv comedian and teacher.

Dehnert and her “Check Out” team’s fate rests in the fans’ hands. Viewers get to choose the Dorito’s “Crash the Superbowl” winner by watching and voting online. The chips will fall on Jan. 19, when voting is closed. Tune in to Superbowl to see whether team “Check Out Girl” is this year’s Doritos’ Superbowl commercial champion.

Jennifer Merin

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and About.com. She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association in the Film, Documentary and TV branches and a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).