Women in entertainment initiative
January - may 2019
From January to May of 2019, Bruin Film Society, UCLA’s premiere undergraduate film organization, will be holding a Women in Entertainment screening and speaker series. This program has three different aspects: speakers at our club meetings, film screenings and panels, and a multi-day summit, all concentrating on women (cis and trans) and non-binary people from various parts of the entertainment industry.
April 24th - acquisitions Panel
ANA SOUZA was born in Brazil, partially raised in Amsterdam, and now lives in Los Angeles. She works at Sundance as a Manager of the Programming Department and Associate Programmer on the features team. She was Head Programmer, World Fiction for the LA Film Festival in 2018, and an Associate Programmer of Short Films for AFI FEST for three years. Her work has ranged from programming to filmmaker relations and event production in various festivals including Outfest, the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, Ambulante California, and NALIP’s Latino Media Fest, among others. She has previously been a programming fellow for Film Independent’s Project Involve and the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Industry Academy. She holds a BA from the University of Warwick and an MA from the University of Southern California.
LUANE GAUER was born and raised in Brazil. She has been part of Focus Features (previously Universal Pictures International Production) since 2012. She currently manages worldwide and international acquisitions. In addition, she oversees the company’s efforts to develop and produce English-language Latinx films for audiences both in the US and Latin America. Prior to joining Universal, Luane worked for the European Film Bonds during the establishment of their London office and, before that, managed international co-productions at Lago Film, a production company based in Berlin. Luane holds a master’s degree in Media, Communication and Development from the London School of Economics and a bachelor’s degree in Film and TV Production from Westminster University.
JESSICA ROSE is Manager of Acquisitions at Fox Searchlight Pictures, and is responsible for sussing out films, at various stages of production, which have both a strong point of view and commercial viability. During her tenure, her department has been responsible for the acquisition of several award winning films including BROOKLYN, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MO, and most recently, the short film SKIN. SKIN is part of the recently formed “Searchlight Shorts” program, of which Jessica is spearheading with several other young executives at Searchlight. Passionate about the indie film space, and with a mission to broaden hearts, minds and understanding by giving filmmakers with a diverse voice a platform on which to be heard, she's is excited to be part of an initiative that supports fresh voices and inspiring storytelling.
ADÈLE BORDEN is the assistant to the EVP of acquisitions and co-productions at Fox Searchlight, where she handles day-to-day scheduling, content submissions, and festival tracking for the team. She also prepares 20th Century Fox executives for film festivals by registering credentials, arranging travel, and creating festival books pertinent to the lineup. She has a background in marketing and prior experience at CAA and Amazon Studios. Adèle graduated from Wesleyan University with a double major in art history and psychology and attained her MFA in Film Studies via the Peter Stark program at USC in 2018.
April 17th - marketing panel
GARIMA VERMA works in digital marketing at Paramount Pictures for upcoming theatrical releases. She develops campaigns utilizing traditional social media platforms, cross-department and external partnerships, and cutting-edge digital technology for theatrical titles such as Mission: Impossible, Annihilation, What Men Want and Pet Sematary. A number of her team's campaigns have nominated for digital awards such as the Shortys and Webbys.
Prior to her current position, she worked in digital marketing for ABC on shows and events such as The Oscars, Speechless and Quantico and for Freeform (formerly ABC Family) on shows such as Pretty Little Liars, The Fosters and Shadowhunters. During her time at UCLA, she was involved with various student organizations and community service groups in addition to internships at NBCUniversal and The Walt Disney Company.
ZAKYREE WALLACE is a social justice advocate, oral history practitioner, former competitive debater, and is passionate about people-centered liberation movements. Growing up in North Carolina and attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she saw first hand how youth organizing, community coalition building, and art activism came together to challenge inequities, amplify nuanced histories, and shift conversations on how systems of inequality operate in this modern age. Since then, Zakyree has worked with non-profits and socially responsible businesses in executing cause marketing campaigns and outreach and building organizational capacity. She most recently worked as a coordinator at Participant Media, where she facilitated moments of visibility for over 100 law firms, corporations, and nonprofits to celebrate their commitment to gender equality with the film 'On the Basis of Sex.' New to Los Angeles, Zakyree is planning to continue her advocacy work around issues relating to anti-racism, black feminism, and LGBT rights.
TASHA WENGER is a Retail Development and Marketing Manager at NBCUniversal with a passion for entertainment and how it translates to the consumer products industry. At NBCU, Tasha builds unique marketing and product partnerships with numerous US retailers and manufacturers. Her role combines her passion for film, creative marketing talents, and desire to impact the greater marketplace. While not in the office, Tasha competes with NBCUniversal’s triathlon team in effort to raise funds for Pediatric Cancer research at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and she mentors students through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles and the UCLA Alumni Mentorship program. Tasha graduated from UCLA in 2015 with degrees in Spanish and Communication Studies. While not in class, Tasha was involved in the Student Alumni Association, Campus Tours, the Greek System, and Signature A Cappella, and she interned with NBCUniversal, Disney, and Amazon. Recently, Tasha was accepted to UCLA Anderson’s Fully Employed MBA program as a Forte Fellow and will begin her studies in Fall 2019.
EMILY MAGUIRE is the Director of In-Theatre Marketing at Focus Features. She is responsible for working with exhibitors like AMC, Regal, Cinemark, and The Landmark across the country to promote the upcoming Focus Features films, and serve as a liaison between the theaters and the studio with regards to trailer placement strategy, digital campaigns, and box office. She also created a Women in Film seminar with female executives at Focus. Previously, Emily was an assistant for the President of Distribution at both Focus Features and FilmDistrict and she also worked on the DreamWorks Animation How To Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular in 2012. Emily graduated from UC Berkeley in 2011 with a degree in Media Studies.
CELA SUTTON is Manager of Production at filmmaker Ava DuVernay's production company, Forward Movement, where she works with the director on her television projects. Previously, she was Creative Executive at Forward Movement and Executive Coordinator at DuVernay's, social impact film distribution collaborative, ARRAY, which amplifies women of all kinds and filmmakers of color. Sutton previously worked at CAA in their foundation and scripted television departments. Sutton began her career at Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios, first working as an intern on the 25th and final season of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and eventually as an associate producer for OWN's hit reality series "Iyanla: Fix My Life."
CORINNE GILLIARD is an Emmy-nominated producer currently leading talent and creative development initiatives at Crooked Media, the company behind the most popular political podcast in the country, Pod Save America. Last year, she developed and launched the pop culture podcast, Keep It hosted by Ira Madison III, Kara R. Brown and Louis Virtel which has been recognized as a "must-listen" and one of the "best podcasts of 2018" by Vulture, Entertainment Weekly, Vice, Bustle, TIME and Thrillist. She was also a supervising producer on HBO's Pod Save America limited television series last fall.
Prior to her work with Crooked, she produced dozens of hours of award-winning daytime and primetime television for Oprah Winfrey and worked on a variety of titles including The Oprah Winfrey Show, Oprah's Next Chapter and SuperSoul Sunday.
March 6th — writer’s panel
MINHAL BAIG is a writer/director. Her feature-length film, HALA, about a Muslim teenager coping with the unraveling of her family as she comes into her own, premiered in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and will be released by Apple. Currently, she is a story editor on Bojack Horseman. She was previously a staff writer on the Untitled Ramy Youssef Project, a half-hour comedy about a first-generation Egyptian American Muslim’s life in New Jersey, produced by A24 for Hulu. In 2017, she was chosen as a directing mentee for Ryan Murphy's Half Foundation Directing Mentorship. She has written and directed several shorts including PRETEXT, AFTER SOPHIE and HALA, and music videos. They’ve been featured by the Los Angeles Times, Nowness, Dazed, Nylon, Spin, Pitchfork, Stereogum, Short of the Week, Director’s Notes, Booooooom!, Vimeo Staff Pick and the Hammer Museum in LA.
KARA BROWN is a TV writer, podcast co-host, and journalist. She is a cohost on Crooked Media’s pop culture podcast, “KEEP IT” and has written for IN THE DARK (airing on the CW in spring 2019) and Freeform’s GROWN-ISH. Previously, she was a senior writer at Jezebel and has also contributed to Glamour, Time Magazine, Nylon, Billboard, and The Fader. In 2014, she delivered a lecture about Beyoncé at Northwestern University, and in 2018, she was featured as one of Forbes Magazine’ 30 Under 30 in Hollywood and Entertainment, class of 2018.
KATHERINE (KAY) OYEGUN is a writer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by way of Lagos, Nigeria. She is currently a Co-producer on the NBC series THIS IS US and writing features for Warner Brothers and Lionsgate, including the upcoming untitled Angela Davis biopic. She previously wrote on the OWN series QUEEN SUGAR, from writer/director, Ava DuVernay. Prior to working in the entertainment industry, Kay was an Associate Producer for NBC's The Today Show and Nightly News with Brian Williams. She is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and earned a master’s degree at the University of Southern California's Peter Stark Producing Program.
KATIE SILBERMAN grew up in Nebraska and Washington, DC. She wrote and co-produced the Netflix romantic comedy “SET IT UP;” co-wrote Warner Brothers’ “ISN'T IT ROMANTIC,” starring Rebel Wilson; and wrote and produced Olivia Wilde’s upcoming directing debut “BOOKSMART.” Silberman previously served as a co-producer on Christian Ditter’s ensemble rom com “HOW TO BE SINGLE” and the Reese Witherspoon action comedy “HOT PURSUIT.” She is currently attached to adapt the popular children’s book “THE PAPER BAG PRINCESS” for Elizabeth Banks and Margot Robbie.
MARY KATE WILES is most well known for playing Lydia Bennet in the Emmy-Award winning The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. She has made her mark on digital series by starring in such acclaimed projects as Squaresville, Kissing in the Rain, and most recently, The Wayward Guide for the Untrained Eye. She's also been a part of numerous independent films, such as The Sound & The Shadow and Hello, My Name is Frank. As a member of Shipwrecked Comedy, Mary Kate has helped raise over $150,000 through crowdfunding and brought the award-winning series Edgar Allan Poe's Murder Mystery Dinner Party and the acclaimed short film The Case of the Gilded Lily to life. Mary Kate has her own YouTube channel where she discusses the ins-and-outs of an acting career, sometimes with her fellow co-stars over a table of crafts. She runs a very active and successful Patreon, and she recently opened an Etsy shop where she sells homemade candles inspired by her various projects.
SINÉAD PERSAUD is an actor, writer, and proud Ouija Board owner from Boston, Massachusetts. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Sinéad moved to Los Angeles to participate in the NBC Page Program and soon after co-founded the popular literary/historical comedy YouTube channel “Shipwrecked Comedy.” Sinéad co-wrote and starred in the series Edgar Allan Poe's Murder Mystery Dinner Party, which received praise from AV Club, Nerdist, and Tor.com. It also made a splash at numerous festivals around the world. Last year she participated in the Sundance New Voices Lab while continuing to write sketches and shows for Shipwrecked. She enjoys reading tarot cards, eating Indian food (she's half Indian) and of course, ghost-hunting.
VERONICA BROWN began her Hollywood career in film marketing, designing transmedia campaigns for director Stephen Gyllenhaal. Fresh out of college, she secured theatrical and ancillary distribution for Jason Biggs’ film, Grassroots. She leveraged that experience as an entry into representation, where she continued to forge her own road. At ICM, Veronica serviced top-level clients like Ellen DeGeneres and Chris Rock, while shepherding new voices into the fold in the Literary Department. Desiring a deeper understanding of the buyer, Veronica honed a discerning eye for premium material while working for the co-head of Drama at HBO, and later as a coordinator for Blumhouse. Her astute sense for superior material led Veronica to Hyperion Talent where she currently works as a talent agent specializing in development and packaging for Shailene Woodley and Ashton Sanders.
ALEX HANNIBAL is the associate director of content development for CNN Films. She joined CNN in 2016 and is responsible for supporting the development and acquisitions of CNN Films titles, taking the lead on vetting incoming submissions, and identifying the next generation of documentary directors. She previously worked as the manager of documentary programming for the Tribeca Film Institute. Hannibal has served as coordinating producer at CNN Films for films like RBG and THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS. Hannibal also worked with director Todd Douglas Miller on the film APOLLO 11 and on the documentary short film THE LAST STEPS. APOLLO 11 premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
Summit screenings: May 4th - May 31st
Please direct all media inquiries to Kevin Yang and Priyanka Kapoor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FEMALE ENTERTAINMENT WRITERS CHAMPION DIVERSITY ON AND OFF THE SCREEN
by Shanahan Europa for FEM Magazine
by Umber Bhatti for Daily Bruin
by Aletta Cooke for Her Campus
by Hoodline for ABC7