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Lovely Ladies Lunching

Tribeca Co-Founder Jane Rosenthal hosted TFF's women in film at the annual Women Filmmakers Brunch—it was intimate, tasty, and empowering!


City Hall Restaurant / Getty Images: Andrew H. Walker


Tuesday morning, a little over halfway through the Festival, Tribeca Co-Founder Jane Rosenthal hosted an intimate event for all the women in film at this year’s Festival. The group, which included filmmakers, producers, jurors, and actresses, gathered together at City Hall restaurant in Tribeca for some coffee, brunch, introductions, and good old-fashioned networking.

(l) Abbie Cornish / (r) Jessica Alba, Jane Rosenthal / Getty Images: Andrew H. Walker


Around the restaurant, women were sharing stories about their own films, and also recommendations about things they’d seen—and loved—at the Festival. Jurors Selma Blair and Cheryl Hines were catching up in a corner, while makers of short films Gemma Lee (The Wake), Zoe McIntosh (Day Trip), Melanie Schiele (Delilah, Before), and Maggie Kiley (some boys don’t leave) were catching up with Shorts Programmer Sharon Badal. Badal told the group how few documentary shorts there are (compared to narratives), and displayed her savant-like knowledge of the short film canvas.

(l) Sharon Badal, Maggie Kiley / (r) Alex Mar, Domenica Cameron-Scorsese, Clair Breton / Getty Images: Andrew H. Walker


Across the room, Jessica Igoe from American Express was talking with Rosenthal, and filmmakers Jennilyn Merten (Sons of Perdition), Domenica Cameron-Scorsese (Roots in Water), and Alex Mar (American Mystic) mingled with jurors Abbie Cornish and Jessica Alba in a low-key setting.
After the women had settled in with something to eat, TFF Executive Director Nancy Schafer welcomed the assembled group, “For those of us who work at Tribeca, this is always one of our favorite events of the Festival—lovely women coming together to talk about film and art.”

(l) Selma Blair, Jane Rosenthal, Cheryl Hines / (r) Julia Bacha, Hamida Al-Kuwari / Getty Images: Andrew H. Walker


She then introduced Rosenthal, who seconded the welcome: “This is our 6th Women Filmmakers Brunch. It’s wonderful to see so many women filmmakers making not just narratives but documentaries, which are helping to change the world. We have to all get together—if you give a woman something to do, it will get done.”
The event clearly means a lot to Rosenthal, as a woman in what is still a male-dominated industry. “No matter how many glass ceilings we’ve shattered, it’s never enough. Ellen Kuras is here—she’s one of the few women DPs (directors of photography), and she does amazing work. Even more, she gets hired to do every genre of film—she’s not categorized [as a woman]. And it was great to see Kathryn Bigelow win an Academy Award this year for The Hurt Locker.” She introduced another pioneer to the gathered crowd: “I’d like to point out someone who has making documentaries for movies and television for decades. She was the first woman to win the coveted DGA Award for a film she made about Georgia O’Keeffe—Perry Miller Adato.”


(l) Perry Miller Adato, Jane Rosenthal / (r) Jessica Igoe, Jennilyn Merten / Getty Images: Andrew H. Walker


The women at the brunch had come from all over the world to present their films at Tribeca—including Singapore, Australia, Ireland—prompting Rosenthal to comment, “At this year’s Festival, we have directors representing 33 countries. No matter where they come from, women filmmakers come from a place of passion.”
Rosenthal encouraged the women to connect with each other and build connections. “We don’t mentor enough as women in our industry, and we have to create opportunities like this [to do so]. We have to find and support each other, and build a community. Our generation has to support the next generation in making changes. Last century was [all about] civil rights, and I believe this century will be about women’s rights… We have to talk to each other. That’s the most important thing about this lunch.”

The Women Filmmakers Brunch was sponsored by the watch company Ebel, a company Rosenthal pointed out was an apt match for the event. “I just found out that the woman who founded Ebel is one of the only women [to do so at] a Swiss watch company.”


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