This month, NYWIFT partners with the Writers Guild of America, East and The Lower East Side Film Festival to focus on women writers at the height of their craft. There has been an explosion of quality programming, a plethora of excellent shows with strong female leads and powerful stories reflecting cultural diversity, new sensibilities, and diverse experiences never before seen on television. New voices are breaking through and are being heard across all mediums due to the expansion from network and cable to new media and streaming services.
The conversation will focus on the writer's journey and will feature speakers Laura Eason (House of Cards), Alison McDonald (Alpha House, Nurse Jackie), and Natalia Leite and Alexandra Roxo (Be Here Nowish). These amazing storytellers will share their journey of getting their stories produced, as well as how the current state of the industry has created new opportunities to tell their stories. They create rich characters and push the envelope with fresh new perspectives, forever changing the landscape of entertainment.
Laura Eason is a screenwriter, playwright and a musical book writer. She currently serves as an Executive Story Editor on S4 of the Netflix drama, House of Cards having written on S2 & S3 (WGA nomination for Outstanding Achievement in a Drama Series). Recent theatre credits include: Sex with Strangers (Second Stage, NYC; Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago; Sydney Theatre, AU; Blackwing Productions, Buenos Aires, AR; published by Overlook Press and DPS), the book for the musical Days Like Today (Writers Theatre, Chicago) and Around the World in 80 Days (New Vic and Royal Exchange, UK; published by BPPI).
Alison McDonald recently sold her She Got Problems musical comedy pilot to ABC. Her television writing credits include: A+E's upcoming remake of Alex Haley's Roots, Garry Trudeau's Alpha House, and Nurse Jackie. A Fulbright Scholar and Upright Citizens Brigade alumna, McDonald is also a veteran director of short films, including The Life & Times of Little Jimmy B., which aired on PBS, and won a Directors Guild of America Student Filmmaker Award. Her other awards include a scholarship from New York Women in Film & Television and a fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education. McDonald is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and Columbia University's Film Division.
Natalia Leite is an artist and filmmaker from Sao Paulo, Brazil. She has directed numerous projects that have screened in festivals internationally. Leite often acts in her own work, and collaborates with filmmaker Alexandra Roxo, as Purple Milk. Together they created the provocative VICE Media show, Every Woman which garnered over 6 million views. They also co-wrote, co-directed, and starred in the acclaimed comedy web-show Be Here Nowish, released in conjunction with the Tribeca Film Festival in 2014. Leite is a recipient of the Kodak Grant Award, a Sundance Screenwriters Lab Finalist, and she was a 2013 QAM Fellow. Bare is her feature film debut.
Alexandra Roxo is half of the filmmaking team, Purple Milk, founded with Natalia Leite. Together they created the web series Be Here Nowish, released in conjunction with the Tribeca Film Festival in 2014. For VICE Media, they produced Every Woman that has received over 6 million views for its pilot episode and co-directed two documentaries Serrano Shoots Cuba and Nicopanda. Roxo’s feature script Out of Range was an IFP Emerging Narratives selection, a No Borders selection, part of the SAG reading series at IFP's film week, and a Sundance screenwriting lab finalist. Her first feature film, Mary Marie, is available on Amazon. Upcoming acting credits include the second season of Steven Soderbergh's The Knick.
Lauren Duca (Moderator) is uncomfortable talking about herself in the third person but has heard that it can be effective for things like this. She is an entertainment reporter at The Huffington Post and creator of Middlebrow, the site's pop culture analysis column. Duca can be seen as a regular guest of Janet Mock's So Popular on MSNBC. She also once won a middle school poetry contest.
Producers Janete Scobie and Cheree Dillon
A Special Thanks to Dana Weissman, Marsha Seeman and Shannon Walker
Writers Guild of America, East and The Lower East Side Film Festival