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HomeArchivesEmerson College Presents an Inaugural Women in Film & Media Summit

Emerson College Presents an Inaugural Women in Film & Media Summit

BOSTON, MA (October 14, 2015)—On Monday, November 9, the first Emerson College Women in Film & Media Summit, organized by filmmaker and Visual and Media Arts Professor and Associate Chair Cristina Kotz Cornejo, will bring together women working in behind-the-scenes roles in the film industry to share their experiences and discuss how a new generation of film and media makers can effect change and open doors for more women. The all-day event, including discussions, networking, and a screening, is free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. It takes place at the Paramount Center (559 Washington Street, Boston, Mass.). For more information, visit the Emerson College Women in Film & Media Summit 2015 webpage.

According to the 2014 Celluloid Ceiling Report, an annual study sponsored by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University: In 2014, women comprised 17 percent of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 250 grossing films (domestic). Also in 2014, women accounted for 7 percent of directors, up 1 percent from 2013, but down 2 percent from 1998. In 2014, 93 percent of films had no female directors, and women accounted for 5 percent of all cinematographers working on the top 250 films of 2014, representing an increase of 2 percent from 2013 and 1 percent from 1998. Ninety-six percent of the films had no female cinematographers. Based on a 2007–2013 study by USC Annenberg's Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative, these troubling statistics were even lower for women of color.

“We must demand real change and I am excited to have the opportunity to bring together a group of talented and diverse women working in the film industry to share their career experiences and engage in a dialogue with students and the community-at-large,” said Kotz Cornejo, who has been advising the student-run, production-oriented organization Women in Motion for the last nine years.

Women in Motion President Kimberly Anderson was thrilled when the idea for the summit was presented to the group. “As students who are passionate about film and media, we’re excited to hear from women who are working in a variety of behind-the-scenes roles and learn about their individual paths into the industry,” said Anderson, who is a Visual and Media Arts major in her junior year, studying Film Production. “It’s a great opportunity to network with women who are leading the way for future film and media makers like us.”


11:00 am–12:15 pm (Bright Family Screening Room): Strategies for Change and Success, a panel featuring Mollye Asher, creative producer (Songs My Brothers Taught Me; Fort Tilden); Kelly Edwards, vice president of talent development at HBO; Beth Murphy, documentary director/producer (Beyond Belief; The List); Linda Reisman, distinguished producer-in residence and creative producer (The Danish Girl; Affliction); moderated by Associate Professor Miranda Banks.

2:00–3:15 pm (Bright Family Screening Room): The Creative Forces Behind the Camera, a panel featuring Lexi Alexander, director (Punisher: War Zone; Green Street Hooligans); Toni Barton, art director/production designer (Daredevil; Girls); Cybel Martin, cinematographer (Queen of Glory); Aurora Guerrero, writer/director (Mosquita y Mari; Los Valientes); moderated by Associate Professor and screenwriter Jean Stawarz.

4:30–5:45 pm (Bright Family Screen Room): In collaboration with Berklee College of Music, a Roundtable Discussion with film/media composers Germaine Franco (Dope; Angry Birds Rio) and Jeanine Cowen (Lord of the Rings Online), who is also vice president for Academic Affairs-Curriculum and Program Innovation at Berklee College of Music, and sound and game designer Chanel Summers, an adjunct professor at USC School of Cinematic Arts. The discussion will be led by film/media composer Alison Plante, acting chair for the Film Scoring Department at Berklee College of Music.

The day will culminate with a special screening from 7:00 to 10:00 pm in the Bright Family Screening Room of the independent feature film Songs My Brothers Taught Me, presented by producer Mollye Asher. Following the screening, Summit organizer Kotz Cornejo will moderate a Q&A with writer and director Chloé Zhao, who will join the conversation via Skype. Songs premiered this year at the Sundance Film Festival and was invited to screen at the prestigious Director’s Fortnight at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. The film is currently in its festival run and is set on the Great Plains and the Badlands of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Songs is a compelling and complex tale that explores the bond between a brother and his younger sister, who find themselves on separate paths to rediscovering the meaning of home. It was produced by actor Forest Whitaker’s company, Significant Productions.

The Summit is sponsored by co-curricular student organization Women in Motion, the Department of Visual and Media Arts, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs & GLBTQ Resources, with support from the Office of the President, and the School of the Arts.

About Emerson College

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, opposite the historic Boston Common and in the heart of the city’s Theatre District, Emerson College educates individuals who will solve problems and change the world through engaged leadership in communication and the arts, a mission informed by liberal learning. The College has 3,750 undergraduates and 750 graduate students from across the United States and 50 countries. Supported by state-of-the-art facilities and a renowned faculty, students participate in more than 90 student organizations and performance groups. Emerson is known for its study and internship programs in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, the Netherlands, London, China, and the Czech Republic. For more information, visit

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