A look at the research on women directors conducted by the Media, Diversity, and Social Change Initiative at USC’s Annenberg School for Communications. Drawing on more than 3,200 short and mid-length films screened at 10 top film festivals worldwide, the research highlights the occupational paths and career impediments of female directors.
Presenter: Dr. Stacy L. Smith, Annenberg School of Communications
Moderator: Dr. Katherine Pieper
Panelists: Leah Meyerhoff, Jennifer Suhr, Rose McGowan and A. Sayeeda Moreno
Stacy L. Smith’s research focuses on 1) content patterns pertaining to gender and race on screen in film and TV; 2) employment patterns behind-the-camera in entertainment; 3) barriers and opportunities facing women on screen and behind-the-camera in studio and independent films; and 4) children’s responses to mass media portrayals (television, film, video games) of violence, gender and hypersexuality. Since 2005, Dr. Smith has been working with a team of undergraduate and graduate students to assess portrayals of males and females in popular media. Over two-dozen projects have been completed, assessing gender in films (e.g., 500+ top-grossing movies from 1990 to 2009, 180 Academy Award® Best Picture nominations from 1977 to 2010), TV shows (e.g., 1,034 children’s programs, two weeks of prime time shows), video games (e.g., 60 best selling), and point-of-purchase advertising (e.g., jacket covers of DVDs, video games).
Dr. Katherine Pieper is a research scientist at the Media, Diversity, and Social Chance Initiative (MDSCI).
Rose McGowan is an actor and director. She is best known as Paige Matthews in The WB Television Network supernatural drama Charmed. Rose has won roles in hit films such as Grindhouse, Scream, The Doom Generation and the dark teen hit, Jawbreaker. Her 2014 directorial debut, Dawn, was nominated for the shorts grand jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
Leah Meyerhoff’s debut feature film I Believe in Unicorns premiered in competition at SXSW 2014 and continues to travel the film festival circuit. Her previous short films have screened in over 200 film festivals, won a dozen awards, and aired on IFC, PBS, LOGO and MTV. She has been shortlisted for the Student Academy Awards and Gotham Awards and received high profile grants from IFP, the Tribeca Film Institute and the Adrienne Shelly Foundation. Leah was one of eight filmmakers chosen to participate in IFP’s Emerging Narrative Labs and Narrative Finishing Labs and one of ten filmmakers chosen to participate in the Emerging Visions program at the New York Film Festival. She was also one of eight filmmakers chosen to participate in the Tribeca All Access Labs and was recently honored with the Adrienne Shelly Director’s Award. She has been featured in Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and The New York Times and starred on the docudrama Film School on IFC. She holds a BA in Art-Semiotics from Brown University and is a Dean’s Fellow in Graduate Film at NYU.
A. Sayeeda Moreno is a director/writer and proud native New Yorker. Her short film White — inspiration for her San Francisco Film Society Hearst-winning feature-length script — was funded by ITVS for Futurestates.tv and is also on PBS.org. White premiered at SXSW and screened internationally at festivals including Tribeca, BAMcinemaFest and the Tri-Continental Film Festival in South Africa. Sayeeda’s award-winning short Sin Salida aired on HBO/HBOLatino for two years. Her short The Grey Woman premiered at Lincoln Center and won the Hallmark short film competition. Moreno received an MFA in Film from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where she was a Dean’s Fellow.
Jennifer Cho Suhr is an award winning writer/director based out of Brooklyn. She received her BA from Yale University studying American Studies and Ethnicity, Race & Migration and her MFA from New York University’s Graduate Film Program where she was awarded the Tisch Fellowship. Her short, Saeng-il (Birthday), about a Korean American teen’s fraught relationship with his widowed father, won the Audience Award for Best Short at the Gen Art Film Festival; and Out There, a short science fiction film, following a young outsider who encounters a strange phenomenon in small town America, received the Spike Lee Film Production Grant and the Clive Davis Award for Excellence in Music. The feature version of Out There, was selected part of NYU’s Purple List 2013, a list of the best unproduced screenplays coming from NYU. Jennifer has written and directed a web series for Subway and My Damn Channel, which premiered at SXSW, and co-created, wrote, and directed the acclaimed web series American Viral starring Michael Showalter for SnagFilm’s Thundershorts.com, which was featured by Entertainment Weekly, the New York Times, and the Boston Globe, among others. Her comedy pilot, Class Of, was a semi-finalist in Seriesfest inaugural Storytellers Initiative 2015. Jennifer is currently developing her first feature, a dramedy entitled, You and Me Both, about two estranged Korean American sisters on a road trip to find their birth mother (Recipient of the Tribeca All Access Grant 2015, NALIP Diverse Women in Media Residency Lab, and Film Independent Producer’s Lab), several original sitcoms, and an animated series. She was recently selected to be a part of OneFifty, Time Warner’s incubator committed to discovering and investing in upcoming talent.
Date: Saturday, February 20, 12PM
Location: Glicker-Milstein Black Box Theater, Diana Center LL200
By purchasing a ticket to the Shorts Program you may also attend the Gender & Short Films: Emerging Female Filmmakers and the Barriers Surrounding Their Careers panel following Shorts Program 1 on a first come first served basis.