WEEK IN WOMEN: Focus Features to release Amy Winehouse biopic – Brandy McDonnell reports

Focus Features will release “Back to Black,” the anticipated biopic of the late Grammy winner Amy Winehouse, in U.S. theaters on May 10. Back to Black is directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson from a script written by Matt Greenhalgh, following their successful collaboration on Nowhere Boy in 2009. Back to Black is billed as a never-before-seen glimpse into Winehouse’s early rise to fame and the release of her groundbreaking studio album “Back to Black.” Told from the singer-songwriter’s perspective, the film is meant to be “an unapologetic look at the woman behind the phenomenon and the relationship that inspired one of the most legendary albums of all time.”

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Lupita Nyong’o honored as 2024 CinemaCon Star of the Year – Brandy McDonnell reports

Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o will receive this year’s CinemaCon Star of the Year Award. CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, is set for April 8-11 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Nyong’o will be presented with the honor at the Big Screen Achievement Awards ceremony April 11 at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Nyong’o is recognized around the world for being a star of the highest magnitude. She can be seen this summer starring in the horror prequel A Quiet Place: Day One, opening in theaters nationwide on June 28.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Karen Kingsbury’s BAXTER books will be Prime Video Series – Brandy McDonnell reports

Prime Video has acquired the series The Baxters. The family drama is slated to stream this spring exclusively on the Amazon streaming service in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide. Based on the worldwide best-selling book series by Karen Kingsbury, The Baxters stars and is executive produced by actress, producer and New York Times best-selling author Roma Downey, who plays the family matriarch, Elizabeth Baxter. Season 1 centers on daughter Kari who learns that her professor husband has been secretly having an affair with one of his students. As her relationship is tested, Kari must seek comfort in her faith and family to discover if love is truly a choice and if her marriage can be redeemed. In the faith-based series, The Baxters must come together as a family to work through the challenges of life.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Patrycja Kępa and Acoryé White Launch Dreamscape International Film Fest – Brandy McDonnell reports

Dreamscape International Film Festival will host its inaugural event Sept. 23-Oct. 1 at the Star Cinema Grill in Houston, Texas. Founded by independent filmmakers Patrycja Kępa and Acoryé White, the new festival is billed as featuring one of the largest monetary awards ever at a film festival or screenplay competition, with plans for awarding more than $500,000 worth of cash prizes to both filmmakers and screenwriters.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Laura Poitras’ ALL THE BEAUTY AND THE BLOODSHED gets DVD/Blu-ray via Criterion – Brandy McDonnell reports

Laura Poitras’ Oscar-nominated 2022 documentary All the Beauty and the Bloodshed will be released on DVD and Blu-ray March 12 through The Criterion Collection. The Criterion Collection release will include several special edition features.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: FANCY DANCE Filmmaker Erica Tremblay to receive inaugural Jaya Award – Brandy McDonnell reports

Erica Tremblay, an Indigenous writer, producer and director from the Seneca-Cayuga Nation, is set to be honored with the inaugural Jaya Award at the 14th annual Athena Film Festival for her critically acclaimed narrative feature directorial debut, Fancy Dance. The 2024 Athena Film Festival is set for Feb. 29 to March 3 at Barnard College in New York City. The festival was founded in 2011 to champion and promote diverse, nuanced, complex and underrepresented stories of women’s leadership on screen.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Lily Gladstone to be Honorary Chair at Independent Spirit Awards – Brandy McDonnell reports

Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization dedicated to fostering independence and inclusivity in visual storytelling, recently announced that Lily Gladstone is serving as the honorary chair of its 2024 Film Independent Spirit Awards. The honorary chair position is given each year to an individual who exemplifies outstanding artistic achievement and embodies Film Independent’s mission. Gladstone, who is NiMíiPuu, or Nez Perce, and Siksikaitsitapi, or Blackfeet, recently made cinema history with her best actress Academy Awards nomination for Killers of the Flower Moon. In addition to serving in the honorary chair role, Gladstone is nominated for a Spirit Award as a writer on the film The Unknown Country.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Barbra Streisand to receive SAG-AFTRA Lifetime Achievement Award – Brandy McDonnell reports

Legendary actor, singer, producer, writer, and director Barbra Streisand has been named the 59th recipient of SAG-AFTRA’s highest tribute, the SAG Life Achievement Award for career achievements and humanitarian accomplishments. Streisand will be presented the performers union’s top accolade at the 30th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, which will stream live on Netflix Feb. 24 from the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall in Los Angeles. Given annually to an actor who fosters the “finest ideals of the acting profession,” the SAG Life Achievement Award will be the latest of Streisand’s esteemed catalog of international industry and public distinctions recognizing her masterful performances on screen and the stage.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: New Proof of Concept Accelerator Program is accepting applications – Brandy McDonnell reports

Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett and Emmy Award nominee Coco Francini, along with Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, have launched the Proof of Concept Accelerator Program, which is now taking applications for 2024. Supported by Netflix, the program’s goal is to identify the next generation of filmmaking talent whose stories promote the perspectives of women, transgender and nonbinary people. Proof of Concept is designed to challenge the three most significant barriers these directors face as they navigate the industry: funding, mentorship and exposure. As many as eight filmmakers will be selected for the program’s inaugural cohort. Each of these filmmakers will receive $50,000 in funding to create a short film that can serve as “proof of concept” for a feature film or television series.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Kristen Stewart honored at Sundance Gala – Brandy McDonnell reports

Academy Award-nominated performer Kristen Stewart is honored with the Visionary Award at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival’s fundraiser Opening Night Gala on Jan. 18, 2024, at the DeJoria Center in Utah. The annual gala enables the nonprofit Sundance Institute to raise critical funds to support independent artists year-round through labs, grants and public programming that nurture artists globally. Stewart will receive the Visionary Award in recognition of her work as an uncompromising artist and contributions to the field of independent film.

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