WEEK IN WOMEN: NY Human Rights Watch Film Fest features 70% women- directed films – Brandy McDonnell reports

New York’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival, now in its 33rd year, will present a full edition of 10 groundbreaking new films, including seven directed by women. The films will be available both in-person and online nationwide in the U.S. from May 20-26. For the first time in two years, the New York festival will be back with a full program of in-person screenings at Film at Lincoln Center and IFC Center, with in-depth discussions with filmmakers, film participants, activists and Human Rights Watch researchers. New York’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival, now in its 33rd year, will present a full edition of 10 groundbreaking new films, including seven directed by women. The films will be available both in-person and online nationwide in the U.S. from May 20-26.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Mary J. Blige receives Billboard Icon Award – Brandy McDonnell reports

A nine-time Grammy Award winner, Blige joins just 10 other artists to ever receive the prestigious Billboard Icon Award, which recognizes outstanding musicians who have achieved excellence on the Billboard charts and have made an indelible mark on music itself. Since the award’s inauguration in 2011, past recipients include Neil Diamond, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion, Cher, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Garth Brooks and P!NK.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Netflix, Shondaland prep BRIDGERTON preq focused on Queen Charlotte – Brandy McDonnell reports

Golda Rosheuvel, who plays Queen Charlotte in Bridgerton, will reprise her role in the as-yet-untitled prequel. With the continued success of the period series Bridgerton, Netflix and Shondaland recently announced the cast of the limited series based on the origins of the historical figure Queen Charlotte. While the project is untitled, the series centers on the rise and love life of a young Queen Charlotte. It will also focus on Violet Bridgerton and Lady Danbury.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Sonía Sebastian directs THE KISS LIST – Brandy McDonnell reports

Award-winning The Virgin of Highland Park helmer Sonía Sebastian is directing the LGBTQ+ coming-of-age story The Kiss List. Screenwriter Ximena García Lecuona adapted Sara Jo Cluff’s young-adult book of the same name. The movie wrapped filming earlier this month in and around Louisville, Kentucky. MarVista Entertainment developed the feature film under the direction of the company’s Head of Creative Affairs Hannah Pillemer from Cluff’s 2019 book from Monster Ivy Publishing.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: CODA, BLACK WIDOW and others Receive ReFrame Stamp – Brandy McDonnell reports

This year’s best picture Academy Award winner CODA, 2021 best picture Oscar winner Nomadland and fellow Academy Award winners The Power of the Dog, Encanto, Cruella and West Side Story have met the criteria to receive the ReFrame Stamp.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Kerry Washington’s Simpson Street Prods partners with Audible – Brandy McDonnell reports

Audible Inc., a leading creator and provider of premium audio storytelling, has announced three scripted multi-cast Audible Original productions with Emmy-winning Simpson Street Productions, helmed by founder and Emmy-, SAG- and Golden Globe-nominated actor, director, producer and activist Kerry Washington and Simpson Street Executive Vice President and Academy Award-nominated producer Pilar Savone. The first of the three Audible Original podcasts, ranging from romantic comedies to epic science fiction tales, will include Prophecy, launching this year, followed by Between Me and You and The Last Black Queen.

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Despite Progress, Europe’s Film Industry Struggles with Gender Equality – Jennifer Green reports

The European Audiovisual Observatory (EAO) reports that women represented fewer than one out of four film directors in Europe (23%) between 2016 and 2020. Females made up slightly more producers (33%) and screenwriters (27%), but struggled to have a significant presence in technical positions like cinematographers (10%) and composers (9%). Women directed fewer films than men and were less likely to be sole directors of feature films than their male counterparts. Female producers were involved in 44% of European feature films (alone or in teams), but on average women tended to produce slightly fewer films than men. Women also made up less than half (39%) of lead roles. The Paris-based “Femmes de cinema” Lab initiative’s 2021 study shows that “on average and even today, women are less paid, less subsidized, less programmed than men, and female characters are still too often poor or stereotypical.”

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