November 13, 2007

November 13, 2007

Remembering Adrienne Shelly and Supporting Women Directors

Last night the Adrienne Shelly Foundation, founded in memory of the murdered director, (director of this year's sleeper hit Waitress which could potentially get Keri Russell some nominations) had its inaugural gala with a reading of Adrienne's screenplay The Morgan Stories. Celebs scheduled to appear included: Alanis Morissette, Edie Falco, Mary-Louise Parker, Gina Gershon, Jason Patric, Leelee Sobieski, Nathan Dean, Jake Hoffman and Maria Tucci.

Women & Hollywood posed some questions to Adrienne's husband, and foundation founder, Andy Ostroy, about why he started the Foundation in his late wife's name.

Women & Hollywood: Why did you start the Adrienne Shelly Foundation?

Andy Ostroy: Following Adrienne's death, I was asked by many people where they could donate money in her name. Once I was able to think clearly about this, and consider Adrienne's passion for filmmaking, especially as a woman, the idea for the Foundation was born. I knew that it would be a very worthwhile cause that we could champion in her honor.

W&H: Why is it important to support female filmmakers?

AO: Overall, women are the true underdogs in filmmaking. Perhaps just 7% or so of all features are directed by women. This is an embarrassing statistic. Female filmmakers have a strong passion and a distinct message...and that voice needs to be heard more loudly. The Adrienne Shelly Foundation exists to help support these incredibly talented women as they strive to produce their work.

W&H: What type of grants will the foundation be giving out?

AO: We've provide a variety of financial awards that include film school scholarships, production grants, finishing funds and living stipends, ranging from $5000-$10,000.

W&H: What do you want people who are interested in women and film know about Adrienne Shelly?

AO: Adrienne was a one-of-a-kind human being with a unique voice that sadly is no longer with us. She brought a rare, magical blend of comedy, drama and unpredictability to her writing, all of which had ass-kicking female empowerment as its ultimate central theme. Had she lived, she would've undoubtedly gone on to become one of America's most prolific filmmakers. "Waitress" proved that.

Variety is running one of their regular features, this one is on comedy. As you can imagine, since there are hardly any comedies written by or about women, the section skews male. No actresses are featured, only one writer (Diablo Cody- guess if this was one year ago there would have been no female writers- how about Nancy Meyers?), and they have a section on Judd and His Merry Men. Several women -- Jenna Fischer, Tina Fey, Sarah Silverman, Jamie Pressly and Amy Poehler are feauted in the Tube Titans story. I'm not even linking to it, I'm so disgusted by the whole package.

Since women are so infrequently honored and acknowledged in Hollywood, the Paley Center's "She Made It: Women Creating Television and Radio" which honors 50 women for their contributions to TV and radio deserves note. Here is the list of this year's honorees:
Perry Miller Adato
Gracie Allen
Jay Presson Allen
Candice Bergen
Frances Buss
Peggy Charren
May Chidiac
Betty Cohen
Judy Crichton
Nancy Dickerson
Margaret Drain
Rebecca Eaton
Linda Ellerbee
Betty Furness
Amy Goodman
Lee Grant
Bonnie Hammer
Salma Hayek
Maria Hinojosa
Gwen Ifill
Marta Kauffman
Barbara Kopple
Claire Labine
Lynda La Plante
Margaret Loesch
Nancy Malone
Caryn Mandabach
Mary Margaret McBride
Beth McCarthy Miller
Marilyn Suzanne Miller
Andrea Mitchell
Gloria Monty
Christine Ockrent
Suze Orman
Rosie O'Donnell
Abbe Raven
Shonda Rhimes
Martha Rountree
Radhika Roy
Lucie Salhany
Jennifer Saunders
Martha Stewart
Hannah Storm
Nina Totenberg
Ellen M. Violett
Meredith Vieira
Judith Cary Waller
Dr. Ruth Westheimer
Yang Lan
Paula Zahn

The women will all be honored at a ceremony on December 6.
She Made It (Hollywood Reporter)

Jada Pinkett Smith will make her directing debut with her script for the film The Human Contract. Hubby Will Smith will executive produce. (Variety)

I'm kind of getting tired of writing about Diablo Cody like she is the only female screenwriter in Hollywood. It was cute for a while, but now its getting old. Cody and her Juno director (out December 5) Jason Reitman are reteaming for her new script, Jennifer's Body starring Megan Fox. "The film tells the story of a cheerleader who is possessed by a demon and starts feeding off the boys in a Minnesota farming town. Her "plain Jane" best friend must kill her, then escape from a correctional facility to go after the Satan-worshiping rock band responsible for the transformation." Sounds dreadful (Hollywood Reporter)

Damages has been renewed for two more seasons of 13 episodes each. Glenn Close, Rose Byrne and Tate Donovan are all signed on.

Gilmore Girl Alexis Bledel has signed on to star in Ticket to Rise to be directed by Vicky Jenson. "Ryden Malby, a college grad who is forced to move back into her childhood home with her eccentric family while she attempts to find a job, the right guy and some direction for her life." Screenplay is by Kelly Fremon (I would venture a guess that she is a woman based on the film description) (Variety)

Sarah Michelle Gellar, hero to young women and former star of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, appears on the cover of Maxim wearing just her bra. Why do young women in Hollywood feel they need to get naked to promote their movies? They never ask young men to do that.

Portia de Rossi, Ellen Degeneres' partner, is taking on her first gay role on Nip/Tuck.
De Rossi Nips at Challenges (USA Today)

Warner Bros TV and Telepictures are launching Mom Logic a website targeted at women with children. (Variety)