Leslie Bennetts, a Contributing Editor at Vanity Fair since 1988, has been writing on subjects ranging from movie stars to priest pedophilia, industrial pollution to U.S. anti-terrorism policy. Prior to joining Vanity Fair, Bennetts spent fifteen years as a newspaper reporter. She started covering so-called “women’s issues” at The Philadelphia Bulletin in the early 1970’s, and has continued to write about women, marriage, families and parenting ever since. After five years at the Bulletin, Bennetts moved to The New York Times. During her ten years there, she began as a writer for the Style page and went on to cover national politics, metropolitan news, City Hall and cultural news. She was the first woman ever to cover a presidential campaign for the Times, and she wrote the book The Feminine Mistake. Bennetts has also written for many other magazines, including Town & Country, Columbia Journalism Review, New York Magazine, Vogue, Good Housekeeping and Ladies Home Journal.
Debra Martin Chase, President of Martin Chase Productions, is an Academy Award- and Emmy-nominated motion picture and television producer whose producing credits include The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Princess Diaries and its sequel, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, and the most successful movie in the Disney Channel’s history, The Cheetah Girls. Chase, a Harvard-trained lawyer, was the Producing Partner of Whitney Houston. She also ran Denzel Washington‘s production company, Mundy Lane Entertainment, where she produced numerous films including The Preacher’s Wife and Courage Under Fire. In 2007, she was named by Black Enterprise magazine as one of the “Top 50 Powerbrokers in Hollywood.”
Abigail Disney, producer of the Oscar-shortlisted Pray the Devil Back to Hell, is a philanthropist, business woman, and community activist who has a long history of work in support of women’s leadership and peace building internationally. Disney is the Founder and President of the Daphne Foundation, a progressive, social change foundation that makes grants to grassroots, community-based organizations working with low-income communities in New York City. She retired as Chair of The New York Women’s Foundation, where she was a board member for over 14 years. She also served on the boards of the Roy Disney Family Foundation, the White House Project, the Global Fund for Women, and the Fund for the City of New York. Disney was also Vice Chair of the board of Shamrock Holdings Inc., a professional investment company. She and Gini Reticker produced the PBS Series Women, War & Peace.
Delia Ephron, BC ’66, is a writer of stage, screen and page. In 1992, she co-wrote her sister Nora’s directorial debut This is My Life and the screenplays for Mixed Nuts, Michael, You’ve Got Mail, Hanging Up (based on her book), The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Bewitched. She has also written the books How to Eat Like a Child; Teenage Romance: Or, How to Die of Embarrassment; Funny Sauce; Hanging Up; Big City Eyes; and Frannie in Pieces. Also with her sister Nora, Ephron created the stage hit Love, Loss, and What I Wore.
Greta Gerwig, BC ’06, is an actor and filmmaker. At only 26, Gerwig had starred in, co-wrote, produced, and directed Nights and Weekends, a feature showcased at the South by Southwest Film Festival and Hannah Takes the Stairs. Gerwig also starred in the Sundance Film Festival hit Baghead, The House of the Devil, and Yeast. Gerwig’s breakthrough role came in Greenberg, a feature film co-starring Ben Stiller, written and directed by Noah Baumbach, for which she was nominated for an Indie Spirit Award as Best Female Lead. Gerwig can also be seen in No Strings Attached and in the remake of Arthur, starring Russell Brand and Helen Mirren.
Debra Granik attended the Graduate Film Program at NYU where she won awards for her short film Snake Feed. Debra premiered her first feature film, Down to the Bone, at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004 where she won the Best Director Award. Down to the Bone went on to screen at film festivals worldwide and won the International Critics Award at the Vienna Film Festival, among others. Her second feature, Winter’s Bone was one of the most critically acclaimed films of 2010. It premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival where it won Best Picture, Grand Jury Prize and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. Winter’s Bone won the Gotham Award for Best Feature and was nominated for 4 Academy Awards, including one for Best Picture, and an Indie Spirit Award for Best Feature and Best Screenplay.
Tanya Hamilton was nominated for the Breakthrough Director Award at the Gotham Awards, and the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival for her 2010 debut film Night Catches Us. An earlier short, The Killers, which she wrote and directed, earned her the Panorama Award of the New York Film Academy at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Chris Hegedus has been making films as a director, cinematographer, and editor for over 30 years. She was awarded the prestigious 2002 Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentaries for Startup.com (co-directed with Jehane Noujaim). The film was also awarded the International Documentary Association Award for Distinguished Feature Film.Hegedus has been directing with her husband and business partner, DA Pennebaker since the mid-seventies. They have collaborated on a host of acclaimed films, including 1998’s Moon over Broadway and 1994’s The War Room, which received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary and won the National Board of Review’s D.W. Griffith Award.
Gini Reticker is an Emmy-winning, Academy Award-nominated documentary director and one of the world’s leading filmmakers on women’s issues. Reticker directed Pray the Devil Back to Hell. The film won the Best Documentary Prize at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival, the Silverdocs Witness Award, the Jackson Hole Audience Award, and was short-listed for the Academy Award. Reticker has directed two films for Wide Angle on PBS, the Emmy Award-winning Ladies First, and Class of 2006. Her film, The Heart of the Matter received the Sundance Freedom of Expression Award and Out of the Darkness: Women and Depression garnered both an Emmy and a Gracie Award. She produced the Academy Award-nominated short Asylum, and the Emmy-nominated A Decade Under the Influence. She and Abigail Disney produced the PBS Series Women, War & Peace.
Anne Rosellini comes from a background of festival programming and acquisitions. She founded and directed the 1 Reel Film Festival in Seattle in 1996 and programmed for the Seattle International Film Festival and Women in Cinema Film Festival. Rosellini also worked for Arab Film Distribution before joining Atom Films as an Acquisitions Executive in 1999. In 2001, she moved to New York City to jump the fence. Rosellini produced Debra Granik’s first feature Down to the Bone and co-wrote and produced Winter’s Bone, which was the winner of Best Picture, Grand Jury Prize and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and the Gotham Award for Best Feature. It was nominated for 4 Academy Awards including Best Picture.
Nancy Schreiber, a trailblazing cinematographer, was only the fourth woman voted into membership in the American Society of Cinematographers. Through her 35+ year career, Schreiber has shot over 100 movies and television programs and more than 100 music videos for such recording artists as Aretha Franklin, Billy Joel, Sting, Van Morrison and Reba McIntire. In 2004 she was honored with the Excellence in Cinematography Award at the Sundance Film Festival for her “exceptional photography” in the drama November. This was her second Cinematography Award from Sundance, having shared the 1997 prize for My America…or Honk If You Love Buddha. Among her many other accolades are a Kodak Vision Award, an Emmy nomination for HBO’s Celluloid Closet, and an Indie Spirit Award nomination for her striking work on Chain of Desire. In 2000, Schreiber was named one of Variety’s “Ten Top Directors of Photography to Watch.”
Anne Thompson is a prolific writer and commentator on the film industry. She has been a contributor to The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New York Observer and Wired, and has served as film columnist at Variety, and Deputy Editor of Variety.com, where her daily blog, Thompson on Hollywood, launched in March 2007. Now carried by IndieWIRE, that independent blog is one of the most respected film sites. Thompson was the Deputy Film Editor at The Hollywood Reporter, the West Coast Editor of Premiere, a Senior Writer at Entertainment Weekly, and West Coast Editor for Film Comment. She wrote the film industry column, “Risky Business,” for L.A. Weekly and The Los Angeles Times syndicate. A graduate of the Department of Cinema Studies at NYU, she has taught film criticism at USC and each year hosts the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.
Debra Zimmerman, Executive Director of Women Make Movies since 1983, has grown the organization into the largest distributor of films by and about women in the world and has helped hundreds of women get their films made. Films from WMM have won prizes at the last three Sundance Film Festivals including The Oath, Rough Aunties, and El General. Zimmerman is in great demand around the world as a speaker on independent film distribution, marketing and financing as well as on women’s film. She is also a member of numerous advisory boards for media and film organizations, a jury member for many international film festivals, and regularly sits on foundation and government funding panels.