On March 12, 2022, Sharon Contillo, President of WIFVNE, spoke to RI School of Design (RISD) students about careers in film, TV, animation, and improving employment opportunities in the industry.
Sharon was one of a number of special guest speakers for RISD's in-person event on internships, careers, and post-grad life.
Every year, just after the end of the Sundance Film Festival, the Sundance Institute teams up with Adobe to host the Sundance Ignite x Adobe Short Film Challenge. Submissions are officially open for the 2022 challenge, and emerging filmmakers ages 18 to 25 are invited to submit a short film that showcases their artistic vision.
You have until March 14 to submit your short — once the contest closes, the diverse team of judges will sort through the submissions and select 10 finalists to take part in the 2022 Sundance Ignite x Adobe Fellowship.
Sundance Ignite x Adobe Fellows represent the next generation of independent storytellers, and receive a year of mentorship, unique resources, and the chance to attend the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Entry is free.
Learn more here: https://collab.sundance.org/catalog/ignite-2022
Sundance Collab is a free-to-join global learning and storytelling community for creators, featuring opportunities to get expert advice, personalized feedback, and curated resources while forging new connections with other artists. It also offers the opportunity to go deeper into your learning through online courses in writing, directing, producing and more. The following programs have applications open, or will open soon. Learn more at: https://www.sundance.org/apply
2022 Episodic Lab
Deadline: March 9, 2022
The Sundance Institute Episodic Lab is a six-day program at the Sundance Mountain Resort in Utah that offers writers the opportunity to workshop a pilot script, while developing their writing and pitching skills.
2022 Ignite Challenge
Deadline: March 14, 2022
The Sundance Institute and Adobe are teaming up to find the next 10 Sundance Ignite x Adobe Fellows—emerging filmmakers (ages 18 to 25) who are creating stories that bring their passion, voice, and perspective to life. To choose this year’s fellows, we’re holding a short film challenge, asking filmmakers to submit a one- to 15-minute short that shows us their artistic vision and unique voice.
2022 Full Circle Fellowship
Application Opens: March 7, 2022
The Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program aims to support the next generation of Indigenous American storytellers through the Full Circle Fellowship, which provides various opportunities to explore a career as a filmmaker.
Women in Film and Video New England is proud to announce a new President of the non-profit organization. Sharon Contillo has begun her term as President, formerly serving as Vice President to President Alecia Orsini. Alecia Orsini will now serve as President Emeritus.
Sharon Contillo is the founder of Middle Center Productions, LLC, a Rhode Island-based production company with a focus on female-led and family productions. In this role, she highlights the under-represented, giving them a platform to be seen and heard.
“When you pour your time and love into a project, sometimes it can be hard to hand over. I am happy to say, that hasn't been the case for me,” says Alecia Orsini. “After 6 years at the helm of WIFVNE, my amazing Vice President Sharon Contillo enthusiastically took over the reins as President. I am excited for the future of WIFVNE with Sharon steering the ship, and her visionary team of Nerissa Williams Scott (Vice President) JoAnn Cox (Director of Operations) Alison Cupples (Treasurer), Grace-Mary Burega (Secretary) and, of course, the rest of the amazing Board! This organization has brought me so much joy in the years I spent as President. It's a whole new joy I have knowing that Sharon is making big plans for WIFVNE. She has the same gusto and drive for securing a bright future for the women storytellers across New England, and I am honored to be among them!”
Sharon is an award-winning filmmaker. Her recent awards include Best Shorts Award 2020, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Grant winner 2019, and IBM Master Storyteller Award 2019. In addition, Sharon has won awards for her feature scripts, Madam President and Sandwitched. Sharon wrote, produced and starred in four IBM commercials made for trade shows and conferences around the world. She won first place at the IBM WebSphere Technical Conference for her short film, Sign.
Sharon’s feature-length original animation script, Ornaments, is currently in pre-production. The story is based on Sharon’s youth chapter book The Little Christmas Ornament.
Sharon has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Rhode Island. She studied filmmaking and writing at the New York Film Academy and ScreenwritingU.
In addition to serving as President of WIFVNE, Sharon serves as a Board member of Women in Film & Television - US (WIFT-US).
Women in Film & Video New England (WIFVNE) works to “Widen the Lens” for New England filmmakers by advancing female storytellers in their craft through networking, community, mentorship, and education.
Founded in 1981, WIFVNE is a non-nprofit membership organization dedicated to supporting the accomplishments of women working in the film, video and new media industries. WIFVNE provides an educational forum for media professionals and a valuable network for exchange of ideas and resources. WIFVNE works to promote proactive images of women to the public and to empower all women in film and video to achieve their professional potential.
WIFVNE is a founding charter member of Women in Film & Television - US (WIFT-US), a national network of Women in Film organizations with the goal of information sharing, as well as to promote the positive images of women in all media, empower their members to achieve their highest professional/creative potential, and help create more job opportunities throughout the United States.
Through the generosity of Loreen Arbus, New York Women in Film and Television has established the Loreen Arbus Disability Awareness Grant. The film completion grant for $7,500 will be awarded to a woman filmmaker for a film on physical or developmental disability issues. Directors and producers are eligible to apply. Application deadline is November 26. Apply here.
Films may be of any length or genre. The Grant will be awarded to help complete a work-in-progress. Films must have completed principle photography to be eligible. Finished films are not eligible. Filmmakers must be US-based.
Recipients of the Grant will also receive production support and voicing of the audio description for their film courtesy of Michele Spitz, Woman of Her Word. Her generous donation will allow for the film to be accessible for blind or visually impaired audiences.
ReelAbilities Film Festival, the largest disabilities film festival in North America, will provide captioning service for the selected film as well as support of the film’s outreach and distribution, through the ReelAbilities North American network of festivals and beyond.
When thinking of great composers, there is no shortage of household names. Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Tchaikovsky. It is unlikely, however, that many, if any that come to mind are female. Judith Lynn Stillman is remedying that imbalance.
Stillman is a professor of music and RIC’s artist-in-residence and has been producing prolifically through the pandemic. Her quarantine opera, “Essential Business” which she composed towards the beginning of COVID-19, won first prize in the international OperaVision #OperaHarmony competition, and featured Metropolitan Opera star baritone Will Liverman. The film of the opera was also presented earlier this year at RIC. Most recently, she has dedicated herself to creating a film about talented and inventive yet often forgotten female composers of the past.
Her new, groundbreaking film “Women Trailblazers in Music: Noteworthy Composers” will depict the extraordinary lives of these female composers across a span of twelve centuries and feature their revolutionary compositions. Stillman shares that the incredible ways these women changed music should have earned them recognition and acclaim, but instead, their music has been routinely forgotten when it should be lauded.
Stillman cites her inspiration to create the film as part of her ongoing dedication to giving voice to the voiceless. Previously, she has created projects addressing the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, refugees, artists of color, and the climate crisis.
While COVID-19 caused difficulties, it also resulted in opportunities for building connections for Stillman. “The pandemic created the necessity for a remote platform, which afforded me the opportunity to work with artists from all over North America. Los Angeles, Montreal, New York City, Chicago, Vancouver, Hartford, in addition to Boston and Providence,” says Stillman. She adds, “I am filled with so much gratitude to all my amazing colleagues who joined forces with me to be a part of this groundbreaking film and help bring the project to fruition.”
Stillman shares a bit about the first of many composers featured in her film, “It begins in 9th century Constantinople with the Byzantine composer Kassia. She became an abbess, and that ensured the longevity of her music for twelve centuries. Hers was a calculated career choice. Many of her hymns are used in the Orthodox Church liturgy to this day.” She adds, “Women composers had to be quite clever. For example, several of the featured composers married music publishers to secure the survival of their music. Some adopted male pseudonyms. It took a lot of ingenuity.” She also emphasized the importance of recognizing Florence Price, another composer featured in her film and the first Black woman to have her compositions performed by a major symphony orchestra.
Stillman also has a personal connection with her film. She explains, “[That] my talented mother and grandmother’s musical careers never took off in the male-dominated societies. This propelled me to champion women composers who were repressed, undervalued, discouraged, and forgotten due to the politics of their existence.”
“In Western music history, women were permitted to be the interpreters, but not the creators. They were not encouraged to pursue music professionally. Gender inequality has been rampant throughout the industry.”
The world currently, Stillman shares, is still not close to redressing this historic imbalance, but progress is slowly being made. “The climate for female composers is still problematic as the dominance of male composers remains strong, but the tide is shifting. Slowly. Statistics confirm that only a handful of male composers comprise the majority of all programming. We need to encourage and empower women composers and make a concerted, pun intended, effort to redress the historic imbalance and harness momentum for change. Many have earned a crucial place in Western history and should be household names, but are merely in the process of being fully recognized and celebrated.”
The film will premiere for the public on November 4th at 7:30 PM in Sapinsley Hall, 600 Mt Pleasant Ave, Providence, RI 02908, United States. The film, commissioned by FirstWorks and Artists & Activists Productions, will be followed by a live concert featuring the works of several female composers. Admission to see this exciting film is free, but registering for tickets in advance is mandatory because of social distancing and contact tracing protocols. Unregistered guests will not be admitted. Tickets can be obtained through the box office at Rhode Island College by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling (401) 456-8144, or visiting in person.
This article was also published on the Rhode Island College website and Motif Magazine.
A warm welcome to new WIFVNE members!
Learn more about and connect with WIFVNE members by visiting the WIFVNE Member Directory.
Veleka Gray is a member with WiFM Lousiana and has joined WIFVNE as well! Veleka is a member of SAG-AFTRA and NATAS, and works as a Voice Actor, Screenwriter, and EP; check out her credits on IMDb. Connect or follow Veleka on your favorite social media: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Vimeo (Veleka Gray), or TikTok (VelekaVeleka).
Lisa Simmons is the Artistic Director of the Roxbury International Film Festival or ROXFEST. Find her on LinkedIn.
THE 2021-2022 Woods Hole Film Festival Programming Fellowship
Are you interested in learning how to program a film festival? If so, apply to be a Fellow in the second Woods Hole Film Festival Programming Fellowship. The Fellowship is a program designed to develop a new cohort of Film Festival Programmers. The Fellowship is an opportunity to learn the basics of how to review and consider film festival submissions, develop a multi-faceted Festival program, create a line-up and schedule and learn about the film festival industry as a whole.
About the Fellowship
The Woods Hole Film Festival will select 4-6 Fellows to participate virtually as part of the screening committee and programming team. The Fellowship dates are November 2021 through August 2022.
Application deadline: Monday, November 8, 2021, 5:00 pm EST.
Isabelle Germino: Production Assistant, Production Secretary, Writer. Follow her on Instagram @isabellegermino
Jessica Hankey: recipient of a 2021 LEF Pre-production award
Paige McPhee: Production Assistant. Connect with her on LinkedIn
Doc Society is seeking someone with a deep interest in non-fiction storytelling and a broad knowledge of climate-related issues to join their team as Climate Story Fund Officer.
The Climate Story Fund supports stories and impact campaigns from around the world that move us closer to a climate just and biodiverse future. The global fund is open to creative non-fiction projects, including shorts, animation and episodic documentaries, as well as podcasts, AR/VR.
This is a full-time work-from-home position, with a preference for someone able to work within the Eastern Time Zone (UTC−05:00) working hours.
Learn more about the role, responsibilities, and qualifications here
Apply by November 1, 2021
About DOC SOCIETY
The DOC SOCIETY is an innovative non-profit organisation founded in 2005 that works with the most inspiring independent documentary filmmakers all over the world. They are a team of around 20 people working from offices in London and New York.
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