Creation of Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film

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The School of Theatre, Television, and Film at San Diego State University is creating a major new Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film to be headed by Dr. Martha Lauzen, a member of AWFJ’s Board of Advisors.

The Center’s activities focus on the employment of women working as directors, writers, producers, cinematographers, and editors in television and film

Dr. Lauzen has conducted annual studies of women’s representation in these important storytelling roles for over a decade. Her ground-breaking studies, “The Celluloid Ceiling” and “Boxed In” document women’s behind-the-scenes employment in film (15% in 2007) and prime-time television (26% in the 2006-07 season). These studies serve as the cornerstones for an expanded agenda of original research examining the status of behind-the-scenes women, the impact of women storytellers on television and film content, and the key challenges for women working in these industries.

The new Center’s Advisory Board includes Mara Brock Akil (creator, writer, and producer of the CW series “Girlfriends”), Madelyn Hammond (Chief Marketing Officer of Variety Entertainment Group), Kathy Najimy (film and television actress), Robin Swicord (director of “The Jane Austen Book Club,” and writer of “Memoirs of a Geisha” and “Practical Magic”), and Nia Vardalos (actress and writer of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and the upcoming “A Wilderness of Monkeys”).

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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 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).