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Women In Film & General Motors Announce 2007 Acceleration Grant for Emerging Filmmakers


WIF/GM Alliance Mentoring Programs Provide Talented Women Pursuing Careers in Entertainment With Creative Foundation for Success

To Obtain an Application, Visit
Deadline Submission is Aug. 31. Winners to be Announced Oct. 10

LOS ANGELES - The national alliance organization of Women In Film (WIF) and the General Motors Corporation (GM) announce the second annual WIF/GM Acceleration Grant for Emerging Filmmakers.

The 2007 WIF/GM Acceleration Grant for Emerging Filmmakers will again be presented to five up-and-coming female filmmakers, chosen through an application process overseen by a WIF selection committee comprised of professional filmmakers and entertainment industry executives. The grant will provide recipients with a broad-based understanding of the business of filmmaking through a six-day, full-immersion mentoring program, shepherded by WIF members, which include some of the industry’s most successful female talent.

In July, the WIF/GM Alliance also announced the second annual WIF/GM Opening Doors/Abriendo Puertas: The Acceleration Grant for Emerging Latina Filmmakers. Both grants, awarded each fall, are projects of the WIF/GM Alliance, the goal of which is to support talented filmmakers from Latina/Hispanic communities and other under-represented groups. To date, including the recipients of this year’s grants, 20 up-and-coming women will have benefited from WIF/GM Alliance mentoring grants.

“The exceptional women who have been chosen to participate in the Women In Film/General Motors Alliance grant programs hail from diverse communities from across the country,” said Judith James, chair of the WIF/GM Alliance. “The recipients of both grants have been clearly able to successfully advance their careers as a result of WIF’s commitment to mentoring new talent, which in turn benefits our industry.”

Said Pamela K. Johnson, Long Beach, Calif., a previous recipient of the WIF/GM Acceleration Grant for Emerging Filmmakers, “The experience got me inside the core of the filmmaking world and demystified the process of how one goes about having a career in the industry. The experience was eye opening and helped me to create a foundation and set me on a course as an emerging filmmaker. It provided the insight that allowed me to gain entry into the AFI director’s program and definitely changed my life.”

Johnson is currently participating in the American Film Institute’s prestigious Director’s Program, where she is producing the short film Stitches, a coming-of-age story about a stylish, young girl displaced by Katrina. A graduate of Stanford University, a former west coast editor of Essence magazine, a published novelist and a successful playwright, Johnson’s short, Talk Me to Death, earned her the attention of the WIF/GM Alliance. About rampant cell phone use at a funeral, it was also the recipient of the Best Editing and Audience Awards at the 2006 Duke City Shootout in New Mexico. Johnson’s novel Santa and Pete was made into a 1999 TV movie which starred James Earl Jones and Hume Cronyn. Her anthology Tenderheaded: A Comb-Bending Collection of Hair Stories was adapted into a musical stage play, which drew sold-out audiences in Philadelphia and also played New York in 2001 and 2002.

Added another past recipient, Shelley Niro, Brantford, Ontario, Canada, “It gave me the knowledge and the confidence to move forward and take my career to the next step. Meeting people in the industry was really inspiring and important to my ongoing education. It was a rich and enlightening experience that encompassed so many aspects of filmmaking.”

Niro is currently at work on a full-length dramatic film, Kissed By Lightning. She received her M.F.A. from the University of Western Ontario in 1997 and has participated in initiatives like the Women In The Director’s Chair Workshop at the Banff Centre for the Arts and, most notably, the Sundance Producer’s Conference in Park City, Utah. Her film, The Shirt, was chosen to represent the Indian Arts Alliance from New Mexico in 2003 at the Venice Biennale film festival before going on to be screened at Sundance. It Starts With a Whisper was also screened at Sundance. Her film Honey Moccasin took top honors, including “Best Feature” and “Best Director,” at the 1998 Red Earth Film Festival. A Native-American, Niro is a member of the Six Nations Reserve, Turtle Clan, Bay of Quinte Mohawk.

About the 2007 WIF/GM Acceleration Grant for Emerging Filmmakers:

This year’s winners will be hosted by the WIF/GM Alliance Oct. 30 - Nov. 7. Awardees will attend individual and group meetings with film industry professionals who will review with them the national and international aspects of finance, marketing, distribution and legal subjects.

Additionally, they will meet as a group with a panel of studio executives and distributors in film and television to discuss the trends and criteria shaping the industry. They will also meet with one or more international sales agents to discuss the current trends in buying and selling product for the international market. And they will receive full access badges to the American Film Market (AFM)* to attend AFM seminars and conferences, Oct. 31 - Nov. 7.

“By providing the opportunity to network with professionals from all aspects of the filmmaking industry,” said James, “these grants provide a creative foundation--a broad base of skills and knowledge of how to turn ideas into reality.”

Applications and entry guidelines for the 2007 Women In Film/General Motors Acceleration Grant for Emerging Filmmakers can be obtained at Complete rules, restrictions and instructions are available online.

Entries must be postmarked no later than Aug. 31, 2007. A selection committee comprised of WIF members will evaluate all applications. Winning applicants will be notified by phone by Oct. 3, 2007 and winners will be announced Oct. 10, 2007.

Applicants are required to submit:

* A typed, one-or-two page, double-spaced candidate’s statement: Why do you want to participate in the grant? What are your artistic and career goals?
* One letter of recommendation from an industry professional.
* A resumé detailing work experience and education.
* A DVD sample of their work.
* Statement of warranty.

Submitted materials will not be returned.

Applicants must be female and have made at least one film, but not yet be established in the industry. They should be at a point where access to industry resources provided by the grant would be instrumental in forwarding their career. And they must show evidence of their commitment to pursuing a career in the film and/or television industries. Applicants do not have to be WIF members. Those who have won a WIF/GM filmmaker grant in the past are not eligible.


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