SPOTLIGHT December 2020: Eda Reiss Merin, Actress, Activist and inspiration for AWFJ’s EDA Awards

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists’ EDA Awards, presented annually during awards season and at various festivals during the year, are currently in their 14th year, and are well known to the film industry for categories honoring female filmmakers, along with the more general award categories that are presented by the Academy and other movie awards organizations. The EDA Awards are well known, but many industry people — including some who’ve received them — don’t know much about their name. Why EDA? Since December sees AWFJ in full awards season activism, this is a good time to share the EDA story. Hence our December SPOTLIGHT is focused on actress and activist Eda Reiss Merin.

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SPOTLIGHT November 2020: Regina King, Actress, Activist, Moviemaker

Regina King has built a career on authenticity and staying true to herself professionally and personally. She’s reached the actors A list with a many faceted filmography that represents Black women with depth and meaning. She has expanded her reach to producing and directing, showing herself to be a talent with vision in both spheres. She is also someone who raises those around her, both in her own industry and beyond. For that reason, she deserves not only this SPOTLIGHT, but our continued fascination.

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SPOTLIGHT October 2020: Joana Vicente, TIFF-Maker, Indie Producer and Film Activist

Joana Vicente’s first year as co-head of the Toronto International Film Festival was a triumph. The transplanted New Yorker oversaw a TIFF that had all the bases covered: superb films, A-list movie stars in attendance, initiatives in place to level the playing field for filmmakers (and journalists) and all the razzle dazzle required to make the festival a magnet for industry, audience and tourism dollars. Her second TIFF happened in a pandemic. It too was a triumph.

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SPOTLIGHT September 2020: Heidi Honeycutt, Film Programmer, Producer, Champion for Women in Horror

Heidi Honeycutt is a prolific a talent who is thoroughly dedicated to the mission of bringing women-directed genre films to a wider audience. As film programmer, critic, author, producer, actor, mentor and proud fan, Honeycutt’s devotion to women in the far-too-often male-centric terrain of genre cinema and the recent release of the Etheria series make her a stand-out choice for our September SPOTLIGHT.

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SPOTLIGHT August 2020: Karin Fong, Master Title Sequence Designer

You may not know Karin Fong’s name, but you know her work. In fact, you’ve probably seen it multiple times. That’s because Fong is an Emmy-award winning director and designer, and she and her team create the main titles you see at the beginning of some of your favorite tv shows and feature films. you can find her creative mark on the main title sequences for I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Little Fires Everywhere, See, and Counterpart, for which she won a Main Title Design Emmy in 2017.

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SPOTLIGHT July 2020: Melanie Addington, Oxford Film Festival Director, Filmmaker, Film Activist

Melanie Addington is an unstoppable cinema activist and advocate. As festival director and programmer, she’s constantly and tirelessly pushing for positive change — for diversity and inclusion, better representation of marginalized people, and filmmaking that tells stories of various regions and cultures that enrich our American life. She’s an iconic filmenista who illuminates the way for indie filmmakers and she truly deserves to be in AWFJ’s SPOTLIGHT..

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SPOTLIGHT June 2020: Nisha Ganatra, Filmmaker Focus on Inclusion and Parity

Nisha Ganatra has built a successful career anchored in inclusion, putting a full spectrum of voices and talents on display in her work and walking the walk in a way only a select few women working in the industry dare to do. She is helping to change the future for women in film.

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SPOTLIGHT May 2020: Karen Cooper, Film Curator, Programmer, Activist

Kudos to Karen Cooper for 50 years of fine film programming at Film Forum, the independent art cinema she founded and has grown, over the years, from a 50 seat venue in a walk up apartment on NYC’s Upper West Side to it’s current four-screen home on West Houston Street. Cooper has never sought the limelight for herself, yet her vision, commitment and activism have illuminated New York’s cinema scene for filmmakers and moviegoers for decades.

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SPOTLIGHT April 2020: Ruth Carter, Costume Designer, Style Setter, Mentor

Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth Carter has carved a monumental career for herself in an industry that rarely had people of color working in her profession. Women of color, rarer still. Carter has been breaking barriers and building her reputation in the film industry for over 30 years. She’s reached the height of her aspirational dreams, turning what she’s most passionate about into her life’s work. She’s changed society through the films she’s chosen and cleared the way for acceptance of women of color in collaborative artistic positions of power in Hollywood.

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SPOTLIGHT March 2020: Cynthia Lopez, NYC Cinema Activist, Advocate and Administrator

Cynthia López combines her love of film with her commitment to public service. Consistently advocating for women and diversity, she puts progress in motion. She’s shaped NYC’s cinema landscape for two decades, serving as executive Vice President and co-Executive Producer for POV, as Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and, currently as Executive Director of New York Women in Film and Television.

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