Session VI: Women in Film and Television: Our Status in Front of and Behind the Scenes [1:29 hours]

Sponsored by New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT) and The Loreen Arbus Foundation, this panel offers invaluable insight and advice from an impressive range of distinguished professionals: noted scholar Marjorie Rosen, the filmmaker Susan Seidelman, blogger and film festival founder Melissa Silverstein, and Je Jae Simmons, the executive director of New York SAG-AFTRA. The panel is followed by a question and answer session moderated by Dorothy Rompalske.

1:29 hours

Session VI: Women in Film and Television: Our Status in Front of and Behind the Scenes

Marjorie Rosen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Journalism, Communication, and Theatre at Lehman College. She was also a 2009–2010 Faculty Fellow at the CUNY Graduate Center’s Center for Place, Culture and Politics. An author and journalist, her books include Popcorn Venus: Women, Movies, and the American Dream, about the relationship between women onscreen and off; Boom Town: How Wal-Mart Tranformed an All-American Town into an International Community, about the impact of Wal-Mart’s corporate headquarters on the town of Bentonville, Arkansas; Mia and Woody: Love and Betrayal (with Kristi Groteké, Farrow’s former nanny); and the novel What Nigel Knew (co-authored). A former editor at The New York Times Magazine and senior writer at People, Rosen has written for publications as varied as The Daily News, Film Comment, Glamour, Ms, Good Housekeeping, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and Playboy.

Susan Seidelman’s most recent independent film, The Hot Flashes, starring Brooke Shields, was released in 2013. A seasoned screenwriter, producer and director, Seidelman began her filmmaking career in 1982 with the independently financed Smithereens, which became the first American independent film accepted into the Official Competition of the Cannes Film Festival. It was followed by such studio films as Desperately Seeking Susan, Making Mr. Right, Cookie, She Devil and Gaudi Afternoon and the independent films Musical Chairs and Boyton Beach Club. She has also directed for TV, including the pilot and several episodes of Sex and the City for HBO, the Showtime film A Cooler Climate, and most recently episodes of The Electric Company. Seidelman was nominated for an Oscar in 1994 for the short film The Dutch Master. Seidelman also teaches filmmaking at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Melissa Silverstein is a writer, blogger, and marketing consultant with expertise in social media related to women and media. She is founder and editor of the influential website Women and Hollywood, named one of the top 100 sites for women by ForbesWoman. She is also Artistic Director and co-founder of the Athena Film Festival—A Celebration of Women and Leadership—at Barnard College. Silverstein is the author of the book In Her Voice: Women Directors Talk Directing, and her work has been featured on CNN and the BBC as well as in Newsweek, Salon, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The New York Times and other publications. She has been a part of social media marketing campaigns for numerous films; has worked on public education campaigns including Take Our Daughters to Work Day and the Pro Choice Public Education Project; and was founding project director for The White House Project. She served as Chief of Staff at the Ms. Foundation for Women, and is on advisory boards for the Women’s Media Center and Women and Action & Media (WAM!)

Je Jae Simmons is the New York Executive Director of SAG-AFTRA. She joined the staff of the Screen Actors Guild in 1998. Previously, she was vice president and director of client services at the Terrie Williams Agency, Diversity Program Executive for the Texaco Corporation, and had a stint at the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs. She is also an accomplished journalist with works published in Essence, Black Enterprise, Dallas Time Herald, and Dallas Business Journal.

Dorothy Rompalske is a writer, filmmaker and educator. She is currently the Academic Director of the David Lynch Masters in Film Program, located in Fairfield, Iowa, where she also serves on the faculty as an Associate Professor. Previously, she was an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Film Department at Brooklyn College. She is the author of a number of feature scripts including Pilgrimage, currently in development. Among her credits are the drama Good Fortune (producer/director/writer); and as screenwriter, the feature documentary Cinema Combat: Hollywood Goes to War, for the AMC cable network; Reflections on Media Ethics; and the episode “Quitting Cold,” for the NYC–based television series Here is New York (winner of an Emmy for series writing). Rompalske has worked as a script doctor for Universal Pictures, and her magazine articles have appeared in publications worldwide. She is a former member of the Board of Directors for NY Women in Film & Television and she served as chief administrator of Women in Film and Television International.