Category: Movies

Oscars ripple effect

16473234_10154858077966291_7717459406473942745_nThe beauty of the Oscars and the Academy Awards is the culmination of all the bits and pieces to arrive at this point today. Yes there is the glamour, limos, press, red carpet, the award show, the speeches, the fans, security, the after parties. Yet there is more than meets the eye. There is all those people who helped make all these movies and it begins with the story. The tales shared. The stories written.

The journey of storytelling throughout one’s life. From before we are born the stories of the child on its way. The arrival, the stages of a new person. Each of us have stories yet only so many are really told. First those stories need to be written and our society still has so many people who fell in between the cracks in their education who cannot read or write so how do they communicate let alone survive. I know of a close friend who had a young mover who couldn’t write the labels on boxes being moved nor read the words on it. He is 33.

Then there is the time to write. In our explosive age of multiple devices to write on the messages are often just under 50 words. Time is flying. Yet the power of movies. We can watch movies on all these devices so we do love storytellers yet do we support the art of writing in our self and in our families and friends?

I was recently questioned by a sibling do I get paid for writing?  I get paid for certain projects and publications yet not always. I don’t write for the money though I would like it yet I write as I must. I feel the calling. I feel the importance of the power of words used correctly. I dislike when some adults have limited foul mouths spewing degrorative remarks. There is a dictionary of incredible descriptive words to embellish life.

A writer is part of the creative arts like a musician, singer, actor or speaker. To be in the game one must play and practice like an athlete does.

So when we watch the Oscars and go to the movies or watch them on our devices, we are watching the completed project from a thought in a mind to the printed page. Support writers and journalism. Support the arts. Without the voices of people speaking and sharing we leave too much space for those who bark and shout to silence the masses.  The Oscars give us hope that one’s person idea with a lot of help becomes a reality for others to identify with. It is our visual history. It is empowering.













ESSENCE’S -The Power Of Our Presence exhibition



NEW YORK (February 2, 2017)Time Inc.’s (NYSE:TIME) Essence, the preeminent brand for African-American women, and the Paley Center for Media are excited to announce “The Power of Our Presence – An Exhibition Celebrating the 10 Year Anniversary of the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards.” The exhibit will commemorate the 10th anniversary of Essence’s esteemed Black Women in Hollywood Awards—the annual Oscar-week luncheon at the forefront of spotlighting Hollywood’s most creative and accomplished visionaries. A private opening reception for the exhibit will take place on Tuesday, February 7, 2017.

The exhibit, a highlight of this year’s Black History Month celebration at the Paley Center, is set to feature costumes from the lead female characters from each of their hit television series, including one of the iconic white coats worn byKerry Washington in Scandal, Tracee Ellis Ross’s scrubs from Black-ish and a costume from Taraji P. Henson’s “Cookie Lion” of Empire.

Archived memorabilia, photos and footage from the luncheon’s nine-year history will be on display, including re-creations of the event’s extraordinary tablescapes, images from past honorees, special video messages from Angela Bassett and Lynn Whitfield, a compilation footage of some the event’s most touching acceptance speeches and much more.

“We are beyond thrilled to partner with the Paley Center to present the Power of Our Presence exhibit—as Essence prepares to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Black Women in Hollywood Awards,” said Essence President Michelle Ebanks. “Experience the magic of the red carpet as it comes to life and shines a spotlight on the most influential and pioneering women in Hollywood.”

“We are so honored to partner with Essence in presenting this powerful exhibit in support of its special milestone anniversary,” said Maureen J. Reidy, the Paley Center’s President and CEO. “The Paley Center is proud of its ongoing commitment to preserving and celebrating African American achievements in television. This Essence exhibit is a signature part of our Black History Month celebration, which also includes screenings, educational activities and an onsite showcase of our own recent tribute.”

For the past decade, Essence’s Black Women in Hollywood Awards have paid homage to modern image-makers—both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. Since its inception in 2008, the awards have honored some of the most cherished figures in the industry, including Oprah Winfrey, Lupita Nyong’o, Ava DuVernay, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson and many more. This year’s event will shift from a daytime luncheon to an evening gala for the first time and will be held at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, CA, on Thursday, February 23, 2017.

The Power of Our Presence exhibit will be open at the Paley Center’s Beverly Hills location (465 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210) from Wednesday, February 8 to Tuesday, February 28, 2017.

For more information about this exhibit, please visit, and follow Essence on TwitterInstagram and Facebook@essence, as well as the Paley Center on Facebook and Twitter @PaleyCenter for more updates.

The Essence Power of our Presence exhibit is presented by AT&T and theMinority Business Development Age


ESSENCE Communications Inc. (ECI) is the number one media company dedicated to African-American women, with a multi-platform presence in publishing, live events and online. The company’s flagship publication, Essence magazine, is the preeminent lifestyle magazine for African-American women, generating brand extensions such as the Essence Festival, Essence Black Women in Hollywood and Black Women in Music, Window on Our Women and Smart Beauty consumer insights series,, and ventures in digital media (mobile, television and VOD). For 46 years, Essence, which has a brand reach of 14.2 million, has been the leading source of cutting-edge information and specific solutions relating to every area of African-American women’s lives. Additional information about ECI and Essence is available at


The Paley Center for Media, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with locations in New York and Los Angeles, leads the discussion about the cultural, creative, and social significance of television, radio, and emerging platforms for the professional community and media-interested public. Drawing upon its curatorial expertise, an international collection, and close relationships with the leaders of the media community, the Paley Center examines the intersections between media and society. The general public can access the Paley Archive – including special African-American, Hispanic, and LGBT collections – and participate in programs that explore and celebrate the creativity, the innovations, the personalities, and the leaders who are shaping media. Through the global programs of its Media Council and International Council, the Paley Center also serves as a neutral setting where media professionals can engage in discussion and debate about the evolving media landscape. Previously known as The Museum of Television & Radio, the Paley Center was founded in 1975 by William S. Paley, a pioneering innovator in the industry. For more information, please visit


FEBRUARY 1, 2017 | 11:00AM PT

The film TERMS OF ENDEARMENT to receive the Star of Texas Award Shirley MacLaine to receive Lifetime Achievement Award of the Texas Film Hall of Fame

AUSTIN, TX (February 1, 2017) — The Austin Film Society (AFS) made its final announcement today of the full line-up of honorees for the 2017 Texas Film Hall of Fame, scheduled for March 9 at Austin Studios. Legendary American actress Shirley MacLaine, whose work spans some of the most beloved masterpieces of American film, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Texas Film Hall of Fame. She will also accept the Star of Texas Award for the Texas classic TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, for which she won an Academy Award® for Best Actress in 1983.  Academy Award®-nominated producer Sarah Green, whose celebrated Texas-made films include Terrence Malick’s SONG TO SONG and THE TREE OF LIFE, will be inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame. MacLaine and Green will join the previously announced 2017 honorees, including directors Jeff Nichols and Hector Galán, and Rising Star honoree Tye Sheridan. Continue reading “AUSTIN FILM SOCIETY ANNOUNCES SECOND ROUND OF  2017 TEXAS FILM HALL OF FAME HONOREES, SHIRLEY MACLAINE AND PRODUCER SARAH GREEN”

KCETLink Media Group to Premiere One-Hour Documentary Special “Tending The Wild” – February 7th

Tending the Wild poster photo by THT
Tending the Wild poster photo by THT

By: Judy Shields

Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 1/31/17 -“We are thrilled to partner with KCETLink on this initiative to amplify voices and perspectives from within California’s Native communities,” said W. Richard West, Jr., the Autry’s President and CEO.

“It is wonderful to be here tonight at the Autry Museum of the America West along with the Los Angeles Magazine to present this exciting original documentary TENDING THE WILD.  We thank both of the teams for your tremendous partnership in helping to host this evenings event.  Michael Riley, President and CEO of KCETLink Media Group told the audience that gathered last week at the Wells Fargo Theatre at the Autry Museum of the America West.

Michael Riley said that the one-hour documentary would run throughout the month of February, so we will all have time to see it.  This is a great film to share with your children, to get them interested in the Native culture and their struggle to live in these changing times.  Continue reading “KCETLink Media Group to Premiere One-Hour Documentary Special “Tending The Wild” – February 7th”


ny_dinner_1600x900-2By Seán McCarthy

New York City, NY (The Hollywood Times) 1/30/17 – From the pitch of dark that threatens to engulf, blight and suffocate this country’s spirit of long-and-hard-fought-for human rights, brightly lit beacons glowing with a promise of hope have emerged to take a vital public stand against a now disturbingly visceral wave of venom-riddled racism, bigotry and pig-ignorant discrimination in this the Age of Anxiety.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, has announced that the groundbreaking film Moonlight directed by Barry Jenkins, critically acclaimed multi-award-winning actress Meryl Streep, and comedian Seth Meyers will, all three, be honored at the 2017 HRC Greater New York Gala on Saturday February 11th 2017 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City at this celebrated annual event raising crucial funds in the fight for full LGBTQ equality. Continue reading “HRC GALA TO HONOR THOSE WHO HONOR LGBTQ”

Greetings form the land of enchantment – NM made films get Oscar Nod

 From left, Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham in a scene from "Hell or High Water." (Courtesy of Lorey Sebastian)
From left, Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham in a scene from “Hell or High Water.” (Courtesy of Lorey Sebastian)

NM-made Hell or High Water grabs 4 Oscar noms

By Adrian Gomez

New Mexico (The Hollywood Times) 1/24/17 – “La La Land” may have picked up the most Academy Award nominations on Tuesday.

New Mexico-tied productions picked up a few nominations — in some big categories.

“Hell or High Water,” which was filmed in New Mexico, picked up four nominations. It’s biggest nomination comes in the best picture category, where it will compete with eight other films.

picked up a nomination for actor in supporting role. Continue reading “Greetings form the land of enchantment – NM made films get Oscar Nod”

“What is Cinema?” –

Chuck Workman
Chuck Workman

Chuck Workman’s Documentary to debut on Cohen Film Classics

Friday, January 27 10pm KCET

By: Judy Shields

Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 1/23/17 –  “I was very happy when they called me about having my documentary film be part of the Cohen Film Classics.  I really like the movie that I had done with Charles before I had made a larger film about Orson Welles, called “Magician” which played in theatres and film festivals.”  Filmmaker Chuck Workman told The Hollywood Times during a telephone conversation last week.

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Chuck Workman’s documentary “What Is Cinema?” tackles the question of its title through over 100 clips and new interviews with Mike Leigh, Jonas Mekas, Yvonne Rainer, David Lynch, video artist Bill Viola, Robert Altman, Kelly Reichardt, Costa-Gavras, Ken Jacobs, Michael Moore, critic J. Hoberman, and others, and with archival interviews from Robert Bresson, Alfred Hitchcock, Chantal Akerman, Akira Kurosawa, Abbas Kiarostami, and more. Continue reading ““What is Cinema?” –”

HDNET MOVIES Unveils a Month-Long 40-Film Oscar(R) Celebration Hosted by Richard Roeper

HDNET MOVIES is proud to announce its month-long Academy Award celebration ‘“And The Oscar® Goes To” presented by acclaimed film critic Richard Roeper featuring 40 Oscar®-winning films with at least one every evening starting Sunday, Jan. 29 and culminating in a weekend-long marathon Friday, Feb. 24 to Oscar® Sunday, Feb. 26.


The 29-Day TV Event Concludes in a Weekend-Long Marathon Feb. 24-26 and Highlights Winners of Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress & More

Los Angeles – January 17, 2017 HDNET MOVIES celebrates Hollywood’s biggest night with “And The Oscar® Goes To” Presented By Richard Roeper—a 40-film spectacular hosted by acclaimed film critic Richard Roeper, and highlighting some of the Academy Awards’ most iconic winners, from groundbreaking classics to modern favorites. The lineup features at least one different Oscar®-winning film every evening at 8pE, starting on Sunday, Jan. 29, and culminating in an Oscar® Weekend Marathon from Friday, Feb. 24 through Sunday, Feb. 26. Additionally, HDNET MOVIES will be available free to all DISH subscribers from Feb. 1 to March 1, and all DirecTV and AT&T U-verse HD subscribers from Feb. 23 to March 1, to coincide with the event.

The special event kicks off on Sunday, Jan. 29, with a week of films that won multiple Oscars®, including SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (Jan. 29); MYSTIC RIVER (Jan. 29); THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON (Jan. 31); and THE DESCENDANTS (Feb. 3). Starting Tuesday, February 7, HDNET MOVIES puts the spotlight on Best Actress/Best Supporting Actress-winning films, with a roster that includes Sally Field in NORMA RAE (Feb. 7); Cate Blanchett in BLUE JASMINE (Feb. 9); Barbra Streisand in FUNNY GIRL (Feb. 10); and Nicole Kidman in THE HOURS (Feb. 13).

The salute to Oscar®-winners continues on Wednesday, February 15, with Best Actor/Best Supporting Actor-winning films including Sidney Poitier in LILIES OF THE FIELD (Feb. 15); Daniel Day-Lewis in THERE WILL BE BLOOD (Feb. 17); Michael Caine in THE CIDER HOUSE RULES (Feb. 18); and Humphrey Bogart in THE AFRICAN QUEEN (Feb. 21). The premieres wrap up with a tribute to Best Picture winners, including FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (Feb. 22); MILLION DOLLAR BABY (Feb. 23); and UNFORGIVEN (Feb. 24); leading into an Oscar® Weekend Marathon, starting Friday, February 24 at 10:15pE, through Sunday, February 26—the date of the 89th Annual Academy Awards.

“I am thrilled to present this incredible lineup of so many iconic, Oscar-winning films,” said Roeper. “We will be celebrating some of the most memorable performances, some of the most beloved Best Picture winners–not to mention legendary scripts, unforgettable cinematography and other game-changing technical achievements. I’ll be sharing personal memories and behind the scenes anecdotes about these films, as well as my critical analysis of why they made such a splash at the Oscars, and why they hold up so well today.”

“For almost nine decades, the Oscars® have been the standard-bearers of excellence in cinema,” said Rachael Weaver, HDNET MOVIES General Manager. “Guided by the encyclopedic knowledge of acclaimed critic Richard Roeper, this comprehensive 40-film event gives viewers an opportunity to experience some of the most legendary features to win the Academy’s most prestigious honors—making it the perfect companion to this year’s upcoming Oscar® broadcast, as a new crop of films and stars prepare to make their mark on history.”

To help promote the movie event Richard Roeper will be conducting a Facebook Live Q&A on the HDNET MOVIES Facebook page onJanuary 27th. Additionally HDNET MOVIES will be launching an Oscars personality quiz to help viewers decide which movie they should watch during the event. By taking the quiz fans will enter themselves in a contest for dinner and a movie amongst other cool prizes. Go to for more info on the event.

For a complete schedule of films and times, visit

HDNET MOVIES’ “And The Oscar® Goes To, Presented By Richard Roeper” Lineup is as follows (all times eastern):

Jan. 29 – MYSTIC RIVER (2003) – 8pE

Jan. 29 – SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (2008) – 10:25pE

Jan. 30 – LEGENDS OF THE FALL (1994) – 8pE

Jan. 30 – A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT (1992) – 10:20pE


Jan. 31 – THELMA & LOUISE (1991) – 10:50pE

Jan. 31 – BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA (1992) – 1:05aE

Feb. 1 – THE DEFIANT ONES (1958) – 8pE

Feb. 1 – LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA (2006) – 9:40pE

Feb. 1 – MISSISSIPPI BURNING (1988) – 12:05aE

Feb. 2 – FLASHDANCE (1983) – 8pE

Feb. 2 –SENSE AND SENSIBILITY (1995) – 9:40pE

Feb. 3 – THE DESCENDANTS (2011) – 8pE

Feb. 3 – SIDEWAYS (2004) – 10pE

Feb. 4 – PULP FICTION (1994) – 8pE

Feb. 4 – CRASH (2004) – 10:40pE

Feb. 5 – THE SEA INSIDE (2004) – 8pE

Feb. 5 – CINEMA PARADISO (1988) – 10:10pE

Feb. 6 – GIANT (1956) – 8pE

Feb. 6 – AMERICAN DREAM (1990) – 11:25pE

Feb. 7 – NORMA RAE (1979) – 8pE

Feb. 7 – PLACES IN THE HEART (1984) – 10pE


Feb. 9 – BLUE JASMINE (2013) – 8pE

Feb. 10 – FUNNY GIRL (1968) – 8pE

Feb. 11 – SHAMPOO (1975) – 8pE

Feb. 12 – CHICAGO (2002) – 8pE

Feb. 13 – THE HOURS (2002) – 8pE

Feb. 14 – POLLOCK (2000) – 8pE

Feb. 15 – STALAG 17 (1953) – 8pE

Feb. 15 – LILIES OF THE FIELD (1963) – 10:05pE

Feb. 16 – MY LEFT FOOT (1989) – 8pE

Feb. 17 – THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2007) – 8pE

Feb. 18 – THE CIDER HOUSE RULES (1999) – 8pE

Feb. 19 – THE LAST PICTURE SHOW (1971) – 8pE

Feb. 20 – THE KING AND I (1956) – 8pE

Feb. 21 – THE AFRICAN QUEEN (1951) – 8pE

Feb. 22 – FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953) – 8pE

Feb. 23 – MILLION DOLLAR BABY (2004) – 8pE

Feb. 24 – UNFORGIVEN (1992) – 8pE

Oscar® Weekend Marathon—Fri, February 24 to Sun., February 26

February 24

THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2007) – 10:15pE

February 25




POLLOCK (200) – 7:45aE

NORMA RAE (1979) – 9:55aE

PLACES IN THE HEART (1984) – 11:55aE

SHAMPOO (1975) – 1:50pE

FLASHDANCE (1983) – 3:45pE

UNFORGIVEN (1992) – 5:25pE

THE DESCENDANTS (2011) – 7:40pE

SIDEWAYS (2004) – 9:40pE

PULP FICTION (1994) – 11:50pE

February 26

THE HOURS (2002) – 2:30aE

LILIES OF THE FIELD (1963) – 4:30aE


MY LEFT FOOT (1989) – 8:25aE

BLUE JASMINE (2013) 10:15aE

THE KING AND I (1956) – 12pE


GIANT (1956) – 4:35pE


FUNNY GIRL (1968) – 10:05pE

MILLION DOLLAR BABY (2004) – 12:35aE



HDNET MOVIES showcases the best in box office hits, award-winning films and memorable movie marathons, uncut and commercial free. Launched in 2003 by visionary entrepreneur Mark Cuban, the linear TV network and VOD service programs a diverse slate of top Hollywood films in beautiful high definition. HDNET MOVIES is widely distributed by major cable, telco and satellite TV providers in the U.S. For further information, visit



WHAT:           Eileen Dietz who plays Jane Patterson in LAKE ALICE will be of attendance at the World Premiere of this indie thriller at the IndieLounge of the Sundance Film Festival.

WHO:             Eileen Dietz (actress) will be in attendance for photos and interviews. She is also available to do the interviews remotely.

WHEN:           Sunday, January 22nd, 2017 @ 3pm

WHERE:         IndieLounge of the Sundance Film Festival, in Park City, UT


Eileen Dietz


Eileen Dietz was born in New York City along with a twin sister, named Marianne. While Eileen went on to be an actress Marianne lives in Florida with 3 terrific children. She also has a sister named Denise who is a novelist and has more than 19 Comedy Mysteries to her credit and a husband and best friend known as Thomas Albany.

Eileen has acted in many award-winning projects. She was in the original Tony winning Steambath with Tony Perkins which was immediately followed by her portrayal of the Demon, popularly known as Captain Howdy or The Face Of Death who possesses Regan in the Oscar winning The Exorcist the character who has became the Icon and the most popular character in the film.

Eileen came to California at Warner Brothers invitation and was immediately cast as Julia in the TV Series of Planet Of The Apes. Following her penchant for wearing lots of special effects Makeup Eileen was in the vastly popular Kids animation series: Korg: 10,000 BC.

Loving playing roles of women on the edge as well as Demonic, Eileen was cast as a member of the murderous Charles Manson Gang in Helter-Skelter where she sported a bald head. Then came the Emmy-winning Daytime Series, General Hospital where she portrayed one of her favorite roles ever,  as Sarah a patient in a mental hospital. (do we see a pattern here?)

Eileen has been blessed to continue working on many other projects specializing in Thrillers and Horror; Another of her favorite roles as Eleanor Maxwell, in The Queen Of Screams, directed by Margo Romero, (Norma Desmond meets Carrie in a fiery finish).

Throughout the years Eileen has appeared in almost a hundred projects, along with the aforementioned projects,  Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2, Constantine with Keneau Reeves, Tim & Eric’s Awesome Show, Night Tales with Jamie Fox and indy projects Lake Alice, Grim, Kids & Monsters with Malcolm McDowell, Butterfly by Edward Romero, 100 Acres of Hell and the short film, also winner of many awards: Hag.

Eileen is also so blessed to participate  in Horror Conventions and Film Festivals throughout the United States and Europe.


For more information about actress Eileen Dietz please visit her social media sites:


TWITTER: @QueenOfScreams

HASHTAG: #EileenDietz




LAKE ALICE is set during Christmas at an isolated cabin in the subzero temperatures of northern Wisconsin where the days are short and the nights last forever.

The cast includes Brando Eaton (American Sniper), Peter O’Brien (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), Eileen Dietz (The Exorcist), Brad Schmidt (House of Lies), Caroline Tudor (Mortal Combat: Legacy), Laura Niemi (Jobs), and Michael Shamus Wiles (Breaking Bad).

Meeting the family for the first time, Ryan Emerson (Schmidt) must prove his intentions with the Thomas’ daughter, Sarah (Tudor), and win the approval of her father, Greg (O’Brien), while he masks his jealousy for Sarah’s ex-fling,

Tyler (Eaton). As the Thomas family settles in, things start to happen around the cabin; strange footprints by the windows, noises from outside, and a bitter animosity from the locals, including the law enforcement.

As a blizzard descends on Lake Alice, so does the evil from behind the camera, as the Thomas family is hunted down one by one. The family struggles to stay alive as their power in numbers slowly dwindles.

With elements from Psycho, Scream, and The Strangers, the macabre labyrinth of Lake Alice will tingle your soul, and make you wonder who’s really climbing down your chimney this Christmas!

Below: BTS photos from Lake Alice.

Eileen Dietz in LAKE ALICE.

Stills Courtesy of Gas Lamp Ent.

COHEN FILM CLASSICS Presents Viewers With a Curated Line Up of Classic Movies

11017_54806_1Burbank, Calif. – Jan. 11, 2017 – KCETLink Media Group, a leading national independent nonprofit public broadcast and digital network, announced today a new classic movie series COHEN FILM CLASSICS premiering Fri., Jan 27 at 10 p.m. PT on KCET and airing
nationwide at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Link TV (DISH Network 9410, DirecTV 375)that will offer viewers a chance to see some of the most iconic films that defined the twentieth century cinema landscape. COHEN FILM CLASSICS features the biggest names in
entertainment, including Alfred Hitchcock, Vivien Leigh, Fritz Lang, Laurence Olivier, Luc Besson and more. The series is hosted by Charles S. Cohen, president & CEO of Cohen Media Group, producer and distributor of critically acclaimed arthouse, foreign and classic films. Continue reading “COHEN FILM CLASSICS Presents Viewers With a Curated Line Up of Classic Movies”


The festival runs from February 9 – 12

New York, NY (January 10, 2017) –
The Athena Film Festival (AFF) announced today its 2017 lineup, featuring a selection of narrative, documentary, and short films.  The festival also announced panel discussions and other programs that are included in the slate.  The Athena Film Festival showcases films about powerful and courageous women leaders in real life and the fictional world; it is a weekend dedicated to elevating female voices and stories that inspire and empower a new generation of filmmakers and individuals.  The seventh annual festival, co-founded by the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College and Women and Hollywood, will take place February 9-12, 2017, at Barnard College in New York City.

The festival will close on Sunday, February 12th with the New York Premiere of documentary DOLORES, directed by Peter Bratt.  The film chronicles feminist union organizer Dolores Huerta who worked side-by-side with Cesar Chavez during their decades-long fight for workers’ rights.

The Centerpiece Film will be the documentary CITY OF JOY, directed and written by Madeleine Gavin.  City of Joy opened in 2011 as a place of hope and healing for the women of the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and is a community for women survivors of sexual violence.  The film chronicles the women working to process their trauma, heal, and give back to their communities.

Among the feature films included in this year’s lineup are QUEEN OF KATWE, starring ‘17 AFF Leading Man Awardee David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o and directed by ‘16 AFF Lifetime Achievement Awardee Mira Nair; THE FITS, starring Royalty Hightower and directed and written by Anna Rose Holmer; CUSTODY, starring Viola Davis, Hayden Panettiere and Ellen Burstyn and directed by James Lapine; STRANGE WEATHER, starring Holly Hunter and directed by Katherine Dieckmann; and DENIAL, starring Rachel Weisz and directed by Mick Jackson among others.

The documentary category includes HBO’s BRIGHT LIGHTS: STARRING CARRIE FISHER AND DEBBIE REYNOLDS, directed by Alexis Bloom & Fisher Stevens, with a post screening conversation with President of HBO Documentary Films Sheila Nevins (‘15 AFF Awardee); POLITICAL ANIMALS, directed and written by Jonah Markowitz and Tracy Wares; MAJOR!, directed by Annalise Ophelian; and SOUTHWEST OF SALEM: THE STORY OF THE SAN ANTONIO FOUR, directed by Deborah Esquenazi among others.

A wide variety of shorts will be featured, including the New York premiere of MOVING TARGET, directed by Tanja Wol Sorensen; the New York premiere of LITTLE DOLL, directed by Kate Dolan; and WHERE WE STAND, directed by Kristine Stolakis among others.

This year’s Athena Film Festival will feature a special television preview of the upcoming Hulu series THE HANDMAID’S TALE, starring Elisabeth Moss and directed by Reed Morano. Morano will be present at the festival to participate in a post screening conversation.

In partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences the festival will screen the U.S. Premiere of THE WOMEN WHO RUN HOLLYWOOD, followed by a panel discussion on the often-forgotten pioneering female filmmakers in early Hollywood.  Award-winning film historian and documentary filmmaker Cari Beauchamp, who is featured in the film, will participate in the panel.  Additional programming will include an inaugural virtual reality program, panel discussions, a Master Class hosted by ‘16 AFF Awardee Patricia Riggen, as well as a reading of A NOBLE AFFAIR, a 2016 Athena List winner written by Anil Baral and Kathryn Maughan.

“It’s an honor to once again host this incredible festival that celebrates inspiring stories of courageous and bold women and the filmmakers who create them,” said Kathryn Kolbert, co-founder of the Festival and Constance Hess Williams ‘66 Director of the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College.

“We are proud to announce a stellar line-up for the 2017 Athena Film Festival to showcase the narratives, documentaries and individuals breaking new ground for women in film.” said Melissa Silverstein, co-founder and Artistic Director of the Festival and founder of Women and Hollywood.  “Our continued goal at the festival is to highlight experienced voices in the industry while also exploring and exhibiting brand new talent.”

As previously announced, 2017 Athena Film Festival Awardees include Tony Award®-winning playwright, activist, performer and author Eve Ensler; director, producer and screenwriter Patricia Riggen; and Emmy Award®-winning producer, media activist and social entrepreneur Regina K. Scully.  Actor and producer David Oyelowo will receive the Athena Leading Man Award.

The 2017 festival co-chairs include Amma Asante, Julie Parker Benello, Debra Martin Chase, Dan Cogan, Ava DuVernay, Geralyn Dreyfous, Paul Feig, Sherry Lansing, Diane Levin, Jon Levin, Dylan McDermott, Pat Mitchell, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Susan Rovner, Regina K. Scully and Rachel Weisz.

The current lineup follows.  Additional screenings, panels and special events will be announced in the coming weeks.

Tickets and passes are now on sale. Please visit for regular updates and more information.


A Good Wife
[New York Premiere]

Directed by: Mirjana Karanovic
Written by: Mirjana Karanovic, Stevan Filipović, Darko Lungulov
Mirjana Karanović writes, directs and stars in this searing and unforgettable portrait of a wife and mother facing the undoing of her family. Set in contemporary, post-war Serbia, Karanović presents a woman forced to make brave decisions about the life she thought she had and the woman she wants to be.

Angry Indian Goddesses
Directed by: Pan Nalin
Written by: Pan Nalin, Subhadra Mahajan, Dilip Shankar, Arsala Qureishi
Pan Nalin’s drama gives a fresh portrait of modern women in contemporary India. Frieda, a fashion photographer, gathers her closest girlfriends for a surprise announcement which turns into a weekend full of adventure, discovery and the unexpected.

Directed and Written by: James Lapine
Featuring an all-star cast, Custody takes an in-depth look at the systemic problems in the NYC child welfare system. Children’s Services removes a single mother’s two children after an accident at home. Her young, inexperienced lawyer is keeping a horrible family secret, and the presiding judge is tough and compassionate, but reeling from her own personal crisis. Cast includes: Catalina Sandino Moreno, Hayden Panettiere and Viola Davis.

[New York Premiere]

Directed and Written by: Christopher Boone
Sammy, a young troublemaker with a knack for numbers, turns her school’s penny drive into a money-making scheme with some classmates. As their plan spins out of control, Sammy faces the scorn of her peers, the disgust of her mentor, and the fury of her mother.

Directed by: Mick Jackson
Written by: David Hare
This historical drama recounts the story of professor Deborah E. Lipstadt, played by Academy Award winner, Rachel Weisz, and her battle with historian and Holocaust denier, David Irving. When Lipstadt’s book references Irving’s Holocaust denials, he accuses her of libel, sparking a legal battle for historical truth. It is up to Lipstadt and her team to prove the essential truth: that the Holocaust occurred.

The Fits
Directed and Written by: Anna Rose Holmer
The Fits follows Toni, a tomboyish boxer, who lands a spot on an after-school drill team in Cincinnati’s West End. When a mysterious outbreak of fainting spells plagues the team soon after Toni joins, she gains a new and frightening perspective of herself. The Fits is a truly original and hypnotic portrait of a young girl taking her first powerful steps towards womanhood.

In Between (Bar Bahar)
Director and written by: Maysaloun Hamoud
Three Palestinian women sharing an apartment in the vibrant heart of Tel Aviv find themselves doing the same balancing act between tradition and modernity, citizenship and culture, fealty and freedom.

Long Way North
Directed by: Rémi Chayé, Ron Dyens and Henri Magalon
Written by: Claire Paoletti, Patricia Valeix
This French-Danish animated film tells the story of Sascha, a Russian teenager, who sets off on a voyage to find and recover the lost ship of her missing grandfather who disappeared on his way to the North Pole. We follow Sascha on her epic quest to find and her journey of self-discovery along the way.

Queen of Katwe
Directed by: Mira Nair
Written by: William Wheeler
The 2016 Athena Film Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Director Mira Nair’s new film is the true story of a brilliant Ugandan girl whose life is transformed with the discovery of her gift for chess. David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o star in this inspirational and uplifting story of a young girl who sets out to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion.

Strange Weather
Directed and Written by: Katherine Dieckmann
Holly Hunter plays a mother suffering the loss of her adult son, who sets off on a journey to find answers to the questions surrounding his death. Strange Weather is a story of forgiveness as this grieving mother looks inward to find a way to move forward.

Directed by: Catherine Corsini
Written by: Catherine Corsini, Laurette Polmanss
Sensual and elegant, Summertime follows Carole and Delphine as they fall in love against the backdrop of early feminist activism in 1971, Paris. When Delphine is called back to the countryside to help her family, she is forced to choose between home and her life in Paris with Carole.

Urban Hymn
[U.S. Premiere]

Directed by: Michael Caton-Jones
Written by: Nick Moorcroft
Set against the backdrop of the 2011 UK summer riots, Urban Hymn follows a young female offender, Jamie, who possesses a remarkable voice, and the determined social worker, herself struggling with loss, who inspires Jamie to use her talent as a path to rebuild her life.

The Women’s Balcony
Directed by: Emil Ben Shimon
Written by: Shlomit Nehama
Emil Ben Shimon’s drama unfolds in an Orthodox community in Jerusalem when an accident during a bar mitzvah celebration leads to a gendered rift in the congregation. This rousing, good-hearted tale illustrates the strength of women speaking truth to patriarchal power.


100 Years
Directed and Written by: Melinda Janko
100 Years is the underdog tale of the unrelenting activist and tribal elder, Elouise Cobell, who led a 30-year fight against the United States government to protect the rights of her people and their land. Filing the largest ever federal class action lawsuit on behalf of 300,000 Native Americans, Elouise prevailed in the face of unrepentant obstructions and tampering by officials determined to withhold justice from Native Americans.

HBO’s Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds
Directed by: Alexis Bloom and Fisher Stevens
The story of a family’s complicated love, this documentary is an intimate portrait of Hollywood royalty in all its eccentricity. Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, live in the same Beverly Hills compound. The 83-year-old grand dame still has a Las Vegas act, but performing is taking its toll. Carrie’s response is both hilarious and heart-rending. Featuring vintage family films that bring iconic old-world Hollywood to life, as well as extensive vérité footage, the film is directed by Alexis Bloom and Fisher Stevens.

Directed and Written by: Madeleine Gavin
Since its opening in 2011, City of Joy has been a place of hope and healing for the women of the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Founded by Christine Schuler Deschryver and Dr. Denis Mukwege in conjunction with feminist activist, Eve Ensler, it is a community for women survivors of sexual violence.  Madeleine Gavin’s documentary chronicles the institution’s participants working to process their trauma, heal, and give back to their communities.

[New York Premiere]

Directed and Written by: Peter Bratt
Feminist union organizer Dolores Huerta worked side-by-side with Caesar Chavez during their decades-long fight for worker’s rights. Unfortunately, she’s been all but erased from most historic accounts of the effort. Writer/director Peter Bratt rights that wrong in this powerful documentary, featuring interviews with Dolores, her comrades in arms, and her children, who struggled with her absence during her activist career.

Girl Unbound
Directed by: Erin Heidenreich
At only 25, Maria Toorpakai Wazir is an internationally-celebrated squash player, but in her home country of Pakistan, she faces opposition for her rejection of customary gender roles and refusal to conform to tradition. Erin Heidenreich’s feature film debut is a portrait of a young woman raised as a free spirit within a restrictive society, and the opportunities gained through her boundless view of life’s possibilities.

Keepers of the Game
Directed by: Judd Ehrlich
Traditionally reserved for men, lacrosse was born as a sacred game in Mohawk Territory. At Salmon River High in Fort Covington, NY, an all-Native American girls lacrosse team seeks to bring home a championship. But first they must overcome their crosstown rivals, Massena High. With more than just a game on the line, Judd Ehrlich’s film depicts the girls’ fight to blaze a new path for the next generation of Native American women.

Directed by: Annalise Ophelian
A leader of the fight for LGBT equality from the days of Stonewall, black, trans activist, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, has never received recognition for the impact of her contributions — until now. Annalise Ophelian’s documentary profiles Miss Major as a political pioneer whose contributions to the trans community stretch from organizing, to being a surrogate parent for those abandoned by their families.

Martha & Niki
Directed and Written by: Tora Mårtens
Reaching the top of the hip-hop dance world in 2010, sisters-in-dance, Martha and Niki, found themselves in the challenging position of being the only women in a male-dominated sport. In a story stretching from Stockholm to New York, and, ultimately Soweto, director Tora Martens documents their struggles and successes and how their friendship is tested.

Political Animals
Directed and Written by: Jonah Markowitz and Tracy Wares
Political Animals presents an exciting portrait of two stories — the history of the legislation that paved the way for marriage equality, and the first four openly gay female legislators who championed the movement. Confronted with fear, indifference and homophobia, these four women stared hate in the face and emerged triumphant.

Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan
Directed by: Linda Saffire and Adam Schlesinger
Restless Creature allows the audience extraordinary access to a behind the scenes world at the New York City Ballet with long-time principal dancer, Wendy Whelan, as she faces injury, retirement, and having to redefine herself as a dancer. Linda Saffire and Adam Schlesinger’s film is a beautiful tribute to a resilient and extraordinary artist.

The Revival: Women and the Word
Directed by: Sekiya Dorsett
Inspired by the Black Arts Movement of the 1970s, The Revival is a tour of queer women of color creating modern day spaces for art and resistance. Director Sekiya Dorsett brings viewers on the road with a group of five visionary poets who tour the country performing in seven states over nine days, and crafts an intimate look at a range of identities and experiences.

Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four
Directed by: Deborah Esquenazi
In 1998, the San Antonio Four, a group of Latina lesbians, were sent to prison after being found guilty of sexually assaulting two young girls. Director Deborah Esquenazi shows how the intersection of homophobia, racism, and class-bias contributed to their conviction, and how these four women successfully took on our flawed justice system, reclaiming their innocence.

Women Who Run Hollywood
[U.S. Premiere]

Directed and Written by: Julia Kuperberg and Clara Kuperberg
French documentarians and sisters, Julia and Clara Kuperberg, uncover the forgotten  stories of women who were at the helm of Hollywood during its golden age.  From women directors to unheralded female studio executives, Women Who Run Hollywood shines a light on important women who’ve gone unheralded in history.  A panel following the film will address the question of why these remarkable women are often overlooked, and how that relates to the current conversations on gender inequity in the industry.


A Day On My Wheels
Directed by: Tiffany Kontoyiannis, Written by Sarah Kim
Barnard College student, Sarah Kim, has never let cerebral palsy stand in her way. A Day On My Wheels celebrates Sarah’s accomplishments, determination, and passion for life.

And Nothing Happened
Directed and Written by: Naima Ramos-Chapman
A young woman juggles between the mundane and the extraordinary in an attempt to leave her NYC apartment following a sexual assault.

Dangerous Curves
Directed by: Merete Mueller
What is confidence, really? On stage, online, and in everyday life, plus-sized pole dancer Roslyn Mays uncovers vulnerability and strength through public exposure.

I, Destini
Directed by: Destini Riley and Nicholas Pilarski
Destini Riley co-directs an animated documentary looking at the separate experiences of her family members in the wake of her brother’s incarceration.

La Cocinera
Directed by: Emily Harrold
An inspiring look at the rise of Daniela Soto-Innes, the 25-year-old Mexican-born Chef de Cuisine at Cosme — now hailed as one of the best chefs in New York City.

Directed and Written by: Payal Sethi
A surprising story of a sister’s sacrifice as 18-year-old Raisa hatches a dangerous and improbable plan to save her younger sister from becoming a one-day bride in Hyderabad.

Directed by: Nicole Opper
Mezzo celebrates the life and artistic endeavors of Breanna Sinclaire, an African-American opera singer and the first openly trans woman to study at a major conservatory.

Moving Target
[New York Premiere]

Directed by: Tanja Wol Sorensen
The remarkable story of Colombian human rights advocate, Ruby, who fights for justice on behalf of victims of the conflict between government paramilitaries and FARC guerrillas.

The Rain Collector
Directed by: Isabella Wing-Davey
Based on true events, The Rain Collector is the story of a young female scientist in Victorian England who struggles to find her place in a discipline with strict expectations for women.

Directed by: Marvin Bryan Lemus, Written by: Moira Morel and Erick Castrillon
A gay Latina mourns the death of her butch girlfriend, Mac, and vows to bury her with dignity, despite resistance from Mac’s mother.

Where We Stand
Directed by: Kristine Stolakis
The powerful story of a controversial group of Mormon feminists fighting for women’s ordination in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

You Can Go
Directed by: Christine Turner, Written by: Daniel Solé
A startling portrayal of a high school administrator talking down a troubled teen in her school.


Directed by: Elizabeth Mizon
Through the experience of a historical, anonymous, female migrant, Borders tells a powerful story of one group of women who fell victim to racism and sexism in 1970’s Britain.

Incredible Machines
Directed by: Kathryn Ferguson
Contemporary notions of underwear and sexualized advertising imagery are worlds apart from the daily reality of dressing. This film explores the unseen relationship women have with their bodies and undergarments.

Little Doll
[New York Premiere]

Directed and Written by: Kate Dolan
After a chance meeting, preteens Elenore and Alex have an instant connection. Amidst friends, frenemies, and sleepovers, they must face the confusion and uncertainty of developing a same-sex first crush.

Little Soldier
[U.S. Premiere]

Directed and Written by: Stella Corradi
10 year-old Anya is devoted to her mother Amanda whose boyfriend Derek threatens to come between them. This darkly comic drama highlights the power of one girl’s desire to change her own world.

[New York Premiere]

Directed by: Aurora Fearnley
Written by: Simon James Cookson
A young woman passes the border safely, but can she convince another to join her break for freedom?

[U.S. Premiere]

Directed by: Jimmy Dean
Written by: Ellie Gocher
After learning she will soon lose her place on the local boy’s soccer team, eleven-year-old Kirsty struggles to come to terms with her developing identity as a young woman.

Directed and Written by: Nat Luurtsema
Inspired by Macbeth and The Everyday Sexism Project, this story follows three insulted and misunderstood women whose fortunes rise as Macbeth’s fall. Wyrdoes is a modern, 11th century comedy.


The Handmaid’s Tale
Directed by: Reed Morano
Based on the award-winning novel by Margaret Atwood, this story takes place in the dystopia of Gilead, a totalitarian society that treats women as state property. As one of the few remaining fertile women, Offred (Elisabeth Moss) is forced into sexual servitude as a Handmaid in the Commander’s household. In a terrifying and threatening society, Offred fights to survive and to find the daughter that was taken from her.


Across the Line
Directed by: Brad Lichtenstein, Jeff Fitzsimmons, and Nonny de la Peña
Across the Line is an immersive virtual reality experience to put viewers in the shoes of a patient entering a health center for a safe and legal abortion. Using real audio gathered at protests, scripted scenes, and documentary footage, the film is a powerful hybrid documentary-fiction depiction of the gauntlet that many abortion providers, health center staff, and patients must walk on a typical day in America.

Clouds of Sidra
Directed by: Gabo Arora & Chris Milk
Meet Sidra. This charming 12-year-old girl will guide you through her temporary home: The Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan. Zaatari is home to 130,000 Syrians fleeing violence and war, and children make up half the camp’s population. In this lyrical VR film, Sidra leads you through her daily life: Eating, sleeping, learning and playing in the vast desert city of tents.

Waves of Grace
Directed by: Gabo Arora & Chris Milk
This is the story of Decontee Davis, an Ebola survivor who uses her immunity to care for orphaned children in her Liberian village. Liberia has endured the largest Ebola outbreak in history. As communities rebuild, Decontee and others seek healing through faith.


How it Feels to Be Free
Directed by: Yoruba Richen
How it Feels to Be Free is a feature length documentary illustrating how trailblazing black female entertainers took control of their own image while fighting for civil rights, both through their artistic work and through political actions.

Directed by: Cynthia Lowen
Netizens exposes the proliferation of cyber harassment faced by women, spreading from the web to the most intimate corners of their lives. This feature documentary follows targets of harassment, along with lawyers, advocates, policymakers and others, as they confront digital abuse and strive for equality and justice online.

Untitled Women of the 1st Intifada Project
Directed by: Julia Bacha
In the spring of 1988, a clandestine network of Palestinian women emerged to lead a vibrant nonviolent social movement that put the Palestinian people on the map. Their identities have remained hidden… until now.


Indie Film Financing: How to Find Funding For Your Film
Film financing is widely acknowledged as one of the most challenging aspects of the filmmaking process. You can have the greatest story or cast — but without funding, you are just another aspiring filmmaker with a dream and a passion. This session will provide useful tips and strategies to find and pitch to investors and market your film for success.

Contract Landmines:  How to Navigate and Negotiate the Legal Side of Filmmaking
Attorney Nicole Page will help participants understand the legal landscape of filmmaking, including when to engage counsel and how to “decode” legal contracts related to filmmaking and the industry. By reviewing important and standard contract clauses, participants will learn how to protect themselves from legal pitfalls and sticky situations in the future.

Female Gaze — Is There A Female Narrative?
When most all films are made from the white male perspective, it not only reinforces that perspective, it also reinforces the invisibility of other perspectives. What does this systemic problem mean for the stories we tell and for the stories we are told? Join us for a conversation on the female narrative. Does it exist? If yes, what is it?

Unconscious Bias Workshop
This panel discussion will focus on how to create systemic change for women in the entertainment industry. Panelists lead us in a conversation to explore unconscious bias, how it manifests within the entertainment industry, and what the industry can do to overcome these barriers and create more opportunities for women.

Conquering the Camera
This “Tools of the Trade” expo will give aspiring filmmakers the opportunity to get up close and personal with today’s top film cameras and equipment. This is a unique chance to participate in interactive workshops and training sessions with experts.

A Noble Affair Live Reading
Written by: Anil Baral and Kathryn Maughan
Join us for a reading from A Noble Affair, a 2016 Athena List winner. As Marie Curie is nominated for a Nobel Prize, her affair with a married man creates a scandal that ruins her reputation and becomes the obstacle to the prize that will prove her a scientist in her own right.

Master Class with Patricia Riggen
Patricia Riggen has directed films including the Chilean miners saga The 33, Girl in Progress, La Misma Luna (Under the Same Moon) which she also produced and Miracles from Heaven.  In 2016, Mexican born Riggen is the top grossing female director for a live action film for Miracles from Heaven. Riggen also wrote, directed and produced two multi-awarded short films, Gordon Parks’ documentary Family Portrait and narrative film The Cornfield. She is a graduate of Columbia University School of the Arts.

Now in its seventh year, The Athena Film Festival is four days of inspiring films that honor courageous and audacious women in real life and the fictional world. The curated program includes features, documentaries, and shorts directed by both women and men.  The four-day festival, which includes conversations with directors, producers and actors, as well as activities for filmmakers, will be held February 9 – 12, 2017 in NYC at Barnard College. The Founding Sponsor of the Athena Film Festival is The Artemis Rising Foundation, Regina K. Scully, Founder and CEO.

Established at Barnard College in 2009, the Athena Center for Leadership Studies is a catalyst for the education, development and advancement of inspired and courageous women leaders worldwide. Renowned civil rights attorney, Kathryn Kolbert, is the Center’s Constance Hess Williams Director.

Women and Hollywood educates, advocates, and agitates for gender parity across the entertainment industry. Over the last nine years, it has grown to be one of the most respected sites focused on women’s issues and popular culture, and its founder, Melissa Silverstein, has become a well-respected leader on the subject.

The idea was bold for its time. Founded in 1889, Barnard was the only college in New York City, and one of the few in the nation, where women could receive the same rigorous and challenging education available to men. Today, as the world-renowned liberal arts college for women at Columbia University, Barnard remains devoted to empowering extraordinary women to become even more exceptional.

Artemis Rising Foundation is a philanthropic organization dedicated to developing and promoting media, education and the arts that transform our culture. Regina K. Scully is its founder and CEO.


 Nick Kroll & John Mulaney will co-host the 2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards LIVE on IFC February 25 at 2p / 5e!

Film Independent Spirit Awards

#SpiritAwards Screeners & Screenings

At Film Independent, it is a proud tradition for Members to watch #SpiritAwards nominated films and vote to determine the winners. As an eligible voter, you have the opportunity to see nominated films theatrically and at home:

NOMINEE SCREENING SERIES SCHEDULES The schedules for the Nominee Screening Series are now available. Screenings will take place in Los Angeles, New York, Minneapolis and Chicago. Spirit Awards voters are invited to attend with a guest.

SCREENERS As a #SpiritAwards voter who has completed their Restricted Use Screener Agreement you will receive participating DVD titles via mail beginning on or after Friday, January 13. You will also receive an invite to view participating titles securely online. Sending screeners is completely optional for our nominees and are intended for your personal use in voting consideration only. You can find a list of this year’s participating screeners here.

VOTING Your secure voter log-in information will be emailed to you when voting opens in late January 2017. All online ballots must be cast by Tuesday, February 14 at 3:00 pm PST.

You can also find many nominated films on demand and in theaters. Here’s a guide for Where to Watch this year’s nominated films.

Watch and #VoteForIndependents!

2017 Spirit Awards sponsors


Stars in New LGBT Themed Comedy Series Distributed by tellofilms 


A New Comedy About a Family that is Close… but Only If Geography Counts.

Los Angeles, CA, January 2017.- The ever gorgeous and hilarious Loni Anderson stars as Frances, the boozy and inappropriately sexy mother of two middle age children, in the new LGBT themes series dubbed “My Sister is So Gay”.

MY SISTER IS SO GAY premieres January 22,  2017 on Tello Films. Season One features a total of six episodes.

Frances’ gay son Seth (played by Terry Ray), is invaded by his uptight, homophobic sister, Amanda (Wendy Michaels) after she catches her husband with her best friend, Katherine. It just seems she’s way more upset about Katherine cheating on her than her husband. It’s not adding up for Seth, especially when Amanda acts all loopy around his lesbian co-worker, Becca (Debra Wilson). Is his right-winger, homophobic sister gay? And Amanda can’t figure out why Seth’s way younger and very handsome boyfriend is interested in Seth. He seems to have too many secrets. Is he married?

“My Sister is So Gay is a laugh out loud web series.  It has a fun talented cast and we are so excited to be working with Terry and Wendy.  We see their brand of comedy as one that we want to have on our site and plan on other collaborations with them in the future,” says Christin Baker of Tello films.
MY SISTER IS SO GAY was written and created by Terry Ray and Wendy Michaels and is distributed by tello films.
Loni Anderson will always be remembered as Jennifer Marlowe from the hit sitcom WKRP IN CINCINNATI, a role which garnered her 3 Golden Globe and 2 Prime Time Emmy Award nominations. Loni was a regular in 5 more series and has guest starred in numerous other shows and TV movies like the title role in THE JAYNE MANSFIELD STORY. Her films include A NIGHT AT THE ROXBURY and STROKER ACE with Burt Reynolds. Her high profile marriage to Burt made them the Brad & Angelina of the 1980s. She is now happily married to Bob Flick, from the folk group The Brothers Four.

Anderson touts “if you want to look young next to your kids teen pregnancy is the way to go. People don’t talk about it, but I think it’s a selling point.”

Debra Wilson has a near cult-like following for her insanely funny impersonations of whacked out Whitney Houston and overly energetic Oprah Winfrey during her several years on MADtv. Actor / Singer Tilky Jones was an original member of the band Take 5 and has recently starred in several TV movies and had a recurring role on the series NASHVILLE. The prolific Sam Irvin is the director of MY SISTER IS SO GAY.

For more info go to:



2017-wgaLos Angeles and New York – The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) have announced nominations for outstanding achievement in screenwriting during 2016. Winners will be honored at the 2017 Writers Guild Awards on Sunday, February 19, 2017, at concurrent ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York City.


Hell or High Water, Written by Taylor Sheridan; CBS Films  Continue reading “2017 WRITERS GUILD AWARDS SCREENPLAY NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED”



Actresses Kirsten Dunst (L) and Octavia Spencer attend the 28th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Film Awards Gala
Actresses Kirsten Dunst (L) and Octavia Spencer attend the 28th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Film Awards Gala

Annual Event Welcomed Host Mary Hart and Festival Honorees

Kicking off Awards Season, the 28th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) Film Awards Gala was held Monday, January 2, 2017 at the Palm Springs Convention Center hosted by Mary Hart.  Honorees were presented with an original Chihuly Glass Sculpture designed by Dale Chihuly or the John Kennedy “The Entertainer” statue.  The presenting sponsor of the Film Awards Gala is Chopard and major sponsors are Entertainment Tonight and Mercedes-Benz.

The Palm Springs International Film Festival Film Awards Gala honors individuals in the entertainment industry with several prestigious awards for acting and directing.  The following awards were presented at this year’s Film Awards Gala:

  • Ruth Negga received the Rising Star Award for Loving presented by her co-star Joel Edgerton and director Jeff Nichols
  • Mahershala Ali received the Breakthrough Performance Award for Moonlight presented by co-star Janelle Monáe
  • Nicole Kidman received the International Star Award for Lion presented by her co-star Dev Patel
  • Andrew Garfield received the Spotlight Award for Hacksaw Ridge presented by Laura Dern
  • Hidden Figures (Aldis Hodge, Glen Powell, Janelle Monáe, Jim Parsons, Kimberly Quinn, Kirsten Dunst, Mahershala Ali, Octavia Spencer) received the Ensemble Performance Award presented by the film’s producer Pharrell Williams
  • Natalie Portman received the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress for Jackie presented by Tom Hanks
  • Casey Affleck received the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actor for Manchester by the Sea presented by Sir Ben Kingsley
  • Amy Adams received the Chairman’s Award for Arrival presented by Andrew Garfield
  • Annette Bening received the Career Achievement Award for 20th Century Women presented by the film’s director Mike Mills
  • La La Land (Damien Chazelle, Justin Hurwitz, Ryan Gosling) received the Vanguard Award presented by Jane Lynch
  • Tom Hanks received the Icon Award for Sully presented by his co-star Laura Linney



Fyi Press Release: Home

NEW YORK, January 3, 2017 – FYI is teaming up with iHeartRadio’s French romance expert, Simon Marcel Badinter to create original content with the new relationship-based, year-long short form series, “In Bed with Simon.” The network is also partnering with iHeartMedia on cross-promotional opportunities across iHeartRadio, its all-in-one streaming music and live digital radio service. The first two minute episode of “In Bed with Simon” will premiere tonight, Tuesday, January 3 in the 10-11pm ET hour. New episodes will air every Tuesday night thereafter.

“We are thrilled to partner with iHeartRadio in this unique cross-promotional opportunity for both of our brands,” said Paul Greenberg, EVP & General Manager of FYI and 45th & Dean. “Simon is a charismatic and credible talent who now joins the FYI family of relationship experts in his own buzzy series. His unique perspective on romance and relationships is both smart and entertaining.”

FYI content will be infused across iHeartMedia properties and platforms and within Simon’s popular radio talk show, “The Rendezvous.” Talent from FYI and “In Bed with Simon” will also appear on “The Rendezvous,” creating full synergy between iHeartRadio and FYI.

“FYI and Simon are each talking to millions of people about relationship issues every day, which makes this the perfect match,” said John Sykes, President of Entertainment Enterprises for iHeartMedia. “Pairing these two allows both FYI and iHeartRadio the opportunity to expand our audience reach, while supporting each other’s programming.”

“In Bed with Simon” will delve into relatable and common relationship and romance issues faced by singles and couples in today’s dating world. Topics discussed will include recent happenings in pop-culture, to dating and love discussions from Simon’s radio show, to themes pulled from FYI’s hit relationship series such as, “Married at First Sight,” “Seven Year Switch” and “Kiss Bang Love,” among others. In each two minute episode, Simon will be joined by guests – real life couples and/or singles plucked right off the streets, who are willing to be candid about romance and delve into the headaches and heartaches of real relationships. Adding to the spontaneity, Simon will host the series in a public setting, in a signature branded bed. “In Bed with Simon” is produced for FYI by 45th and Dean, A+E Networks’ in-house production agency.

Click here to download PR stills for “In Bed with Simon”-

About FYI
For your inspiration, for your imagination or for your innovation, FYI™ takes a modern spin on traditional lifestyle genres by embracing an adventurous and personalized approach to peoples’ taste, space, look, story and more. FYI covers a range of stories and experiences that reflect how people live their lives today, not defined by just one passion or interest. FYI has launched all-new genres, including trend-setting and brand-definitional series, such as Married at First Sight, Arranged, Seven Year Switch, Tiny House Nation, Unplugged Nation, He Shed She Shed and Food Porn hosted by Michael Chernow. FYI is a division of A+E Networks, a joint venture of the Disney-ABC Television Group and Hearst. The network is available in nearly 70 million U.S. homes and is one of the most upscale entertainment brands in the media landscape. FYI has a young and affluent digital audience, including a robust social footprint that has recently tripled in size. The FYI website is located at, Twitter at and Facebook at For additional press information and photography, please visit

About iHeartMedia
With over a quarter of a billion monthly listeners in the U.S. and over 85 million social followers, iHeartMedia has the largest national reach of any radio or television outlet in America. As the leader in multiplatform connections, it also serves over 150 local markets through 858 owned radio stations, and the company’s radio stations and content can be heard on AM/FM, HD digital radio, satellite radio, on the Internet at and on the company’s radio station websites, on the iHeartRadio mobile app, in enhanced auto dashes, on tablets, wearables and smartphones, and on gaming consoles.

iHeartRadio, iHeartMedia’s digital radio platform, is the fastest growing digital audio service in the U.S. and offers users thousands of live radio stations, personalized custom artist stations created by just one song or seed artist and the top podcasts and personalities. With over a billion downloads, iHeartRadio reached 90 million registered users faster than any other radio or digital music service and even faster than Facebook.

iHeartMedia’s platforms include radio broadcasting, online, mobile, digital and social media, podcasts, personalities and influencers, live concerts and events, syndication, music research services and independent media representation. iHeartMedia is a division of iHeartMedia, Inc. (OTCBB: IHRT). Visit for more company information.

STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE–A Long Time Ago in A Galaxy Far, Far Away

rogue-oneBy: Laura Kristan Wilhelm
West Hollywood, CA (The Hollywood Times) 12/22/16 – Or was it? This reporter and her husband weren’t so sure.
Consider their favorite silly and serious quotes from the film: “I’m taking the prisoners to prison to be imprisoned!” and “You give way to an enemy this evil with this much power, and you condemn the galaxy to an eternity of submission. The time to fight is NOW!” Talk of police states and abuses of power during this Presidential election season threw these statements into sharp relief.
Carlos Foglia also noted that the face of the resistance in STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE is not unlike the face of those struggling for equality today. Here is featured a main cast of people of color with a woman leading the way.
Furthermore, the woman (Jyn Erso, played by British actress Felicity Jones) truly is in charge and knows who she is. Her father was a scientist for the Evil Empire who supported the Rebellion. Now she too is a Rebel soldier.
Image courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.
Image courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.

Even veteran actors like Forest Whitaker and Jimmy Smits stand down and follow Jyn’s lead. The rest of the resistance team is played by a promising cast of Chinese, Mexican, and Indian actors.

All have places to go and things to do. Their seriousness of purpose defies stereotypes at all turns. According to Foglia, “The richness of the diversity is a palpable jolt of hope for all minorities everywhere.”
“Rebellions are built on hope,” Jyn Urso confirms. Leaders are dealers of hope.
Hope provides freedom. When you save the rebellion, you save the dream.
In America, we can take our freedom for granted. There was no need to rebel when we had what we wanted.
rogue-one4Now the future is pointing us towards a fight. We may resent having to fight for what was always ours or wonder what to do.
Perhaps common causes and collective action as seen in STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE can guide us to a Force much greater than ourselves. That may be a vision worth fighting for.


Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors DVD

christmas-of-many-colors-dvd-coverNBC to Re-Air Special on Friday, December 23

NBC is set to re-air their blockbuster special: “Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love” starring Jennifer Nettles, Ricky Schroder, and Gerald McCraney. The 2-hour special will air again on Friday, December 23 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The DVD of the movie, which also features a guest appearance by Dolly Parton, is available today at retailers nationwide.

“Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love” tells the story of when the Partons, a family of humble means living in the mountains of Tennessee, face a devastating event that challenges their will. But when they experience a bewildering Christmas miracle, the Partons are drawn closer together than ever — with deepened faith and love for one another.

Don’t forget to gather the family around the TV tomorrow night to watch this wonderful, heartfelt movie about true love, family and faith.  This movie is truly one movie you do not want to miss and order a copy of it for your family and your friends. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors DVD”

Maria Sole Tognazz’s writing and directing will leave all encompassed by Marina and Federica’s life and all that it involves, in an Italian feature film ‘Me, Myself and Her’.

maria-sole-tognazzi-2-e1454941077647By: Kim Kennedy

Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 12/15/2016- “I was on a rollercoaster of feelings towards this story, and in the final minute of the film, my opinion took a 180, once again”.

As I sat down with my girlfriend to watch Me, Myself and Her, we were honestly both dubious. Not because the cover of the DVD didn’t deliver an honest, and modern image, but due to the fact we are both actresses, in a same sex relationship, who have watched a lot of movies, and once again the story contained, yes, cheating.

2maria-sole-tognazziWe arrived at opening scene of the film, and were met with English subtitles. I wondered if I could really connect to characters when I couldn’t understand their native tongue. Would I miss anything in their eyes, as I would need to constantly be reading the dialog?

No, is the answer. I was pleasantly surprised. Maria Sole Tognazz writing and directing transport you into a household, making you immediately feel safe and involved in the two women, quickly forgetting that this is an ‘LGBT film’. For me this is hugely important. Cinema isn’t about segregating a group, even if it is with good intentions. It is about depicting true life, or real-to-life issues and circumstances. An Me, Myself and Her did just that.

Margherita Buy and Sabrina Ferilli star as the central couple of Tognazzi’s latest
Margherita Buy and Sabrina Ferilli star as the central couple of Tognazzi’s latest

Aesthetically the locations, wardrobe and casting all were in line with making the story, and Marina and Federica’s life relatable, as much as it is aspirational. Speaking of aesthetics, Arnaldo Catinari’s cinematography, was clearly influenced by his study of architecture, giving us rich and clean lines, of perfectly flawed old buildings and modern interiors.

The story is based around two women in their 50’s. Both deeply in love with each other, 1 marriage with children, 2 careers, 1 cat, a beautiful apartment and 5 years and sadly soon to be an affair, under their belt. We go through every amount of turmoil surrounded by the elephant in the room, no not the cheating, which is obviously the big issue, but the idea of really ashamed or in the closet, whilst in a relationship.

The writing is conversational, without a moment or boring. Its sarcastic and witty. The edit on the film, leaves it feeling fun and fresh, as well as dramatic, almost like a high end TV show. There are moments which I would have enjoyed an indulgent pause, like in most indie to box office movies these days. But that’s just me.

“Not everyone has thought about telling a story with two women over fifty because it is still not accepted really.”
“Not everyone has thought about telling a story with two women over fifty because it is still not accepted really.”

Sabrina Ferilli depiction of the ex actress Marina, who is very comfortable with who she is, takes this film to new heights. She;s charming and watchable, breathing life into every scene to the film. Not that it would be needed, as she stars across from seventime David di Donatello Awards winner, Margherita Buy. Buy’s role, as Federica provides us with the affair, the elephant in the room and emotion in the eyes like no other.

I was blown away with everything about this film, and sad that I was so dubious. It gave me everything I wanted, and not much of what I expected. The final moments of the film, change everything, and most surprisedly, made me feel completely forgiving of Federica. This empathy was nowhere to be seen in the first 100 minutes of the film, leaving me in awe of the writing, direction and acting.

So take a leap, this movie isn’t what you expect. Rent, buy or borrow, Me Myself and Her.

Vintage Film Reborn!

film-detectiveThe Film Detective Launches on Roku, Amazon Fire TV & Apple TV

ROCKPORT, Mass. — Dec. 12, 2016 — For Immediate Release — The Film Detective announces its classic movie app, streaming on Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV. An established leader in film restoration and distribution, with thousands of hours of classic film and television restored from original elements, The Film Detective offers viewers the chance to forgo DVDs or a cable subscription, while still enjoying great entertainment. For a preview, visit Continue reading “Vintage Film Reborn!”