Women's Image Network
Denver Post
Monday, July 26, 1999

Wanted: Rich Roles For Women

Hosts Film Festival

When she moved to Los Angeles 11 years ago, actress and screenwriter Phyllis Stuart became all too familiar with the available roles for women in the media: the "girl", the "victim" or, her personal favorite, the "sexual sidekick".

"What happened to the Katherine Hepburn or Shirley MacLaine roles?" she says. "What happened to those sassy, bold women?"

As president [and founder] of Women's Image Network, Stuart wants to resurrect them. Dedicated to promoting positive portrayals of women in theater, television and film, WIN produces projects, hosts seminars and screenings, and honors women for their contributions to the effort.

Currently, Stuart is accepting submissions for WIN's inaugural film festival, WINFEMME, to be held next month in Los Angeles at Paramount Studios.

Positive portrayal of women

WIN, whose advisory board includes Sherry Lansing, Jayne Meadows and Steve Allen, will screen one new documentary, one short and one feature film. WIN also will mount a staged reading of one screenplay. The gender of the writer, producer and director isn't important. What is: The gender of the protagonist, who must be female-and must be portrayed in a positive way. "Women are out in the world having very rich lives, but their stories aren't being told, "Stuart says. "Why can't we have a voice?"

WINFEMME offers participants a unique and highly visible setting, Stuart says. The screenings and stage readings will be open to the press, the public and an invited Hollywood audience of agents, producers and distributors.

Screenplay pitch session

The festival will include a screenplay pitch session, where selected writers will be granted two minutes to float their film and television ideas by a panel of agents, producers and network and studio executives (already on the bill: execs from MTV and USA Films). The pitch session will be followed by a question and answer period.

By Sally Kuzemchak
Chicago Tribune

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