News Column

Pittsburgh hosts TV-Film industry summit

May 11, 2014

By Scott Tady, Beaver County Times, Pa.

May 11--PITTSBURGH -- The director of "Twilight" and a "Beverly Hills, 90210" star are among those sharing industry insights next weekend at an international film and TV summit in Pittsburgh.

Women In Film and Media Pittsburgh will host the event expected to draw hundreds of women from the 40 similar Women in Film and Television chapters worldwide.

Though pay attention, guys.

"The conference is open to everyone -- men included," Women in Film and Media Pittsburgh president and founder Faith Dickinson said. "For some reason, they think they can't come."

The May 16 to 18 event at the Westin Hotel & Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh, welcomes anyone who wants to learn about and discuss film-making and television issues via panel discussions and screenings.

"This is a huge thrill for our chapter to be the host of this summit and show the world what Pittsburgh is capable of in the film industry," said Dickinson, a board member of the international Women in Film and Television group.

The summit includes 30 panel discussions and 40 speakers, including Catherine Hardwicke, director of the 2008 film sensation "Twilight," and Gabrielle Carteris, who played the studious Andrea Zuckerman on Fox TV's popular 1990s youth drama "Beverly Hills, 90210." Carteris is now vice president of SAG-AFTRA, the nation's largest union for actors, broadcasters and recording artists, and will discuss the union's role in her 3:15 p.m. Saturday discussion.

Hardwicke will speak on the Women In The Director's Chair panel discussion at 8:30 a.m. Sunday with local film director Melissa Martin and producer Paula Gregg.

Other influential panel speakers include Kim Moses, producer of TV's "Ghost Whisperer;" CNN news correspondent Martin Savidge; CBS vice president of programming Rosemary Tarquinio; Loren Smith, visual effects artist for Fox's "King of the Hill" and the film "Madagascar 3"; and Pittsburgh's horror film special effects guru Tom Savini.

Moon Township'sDanny Yourd and his film-making partner Steve Hoover will discuss their Kickstarter-funded, Sundance Film Festival prize-winning documentary "Blood Brother."

There will be short film screenings and panel discussions with such titles as "How to Negotiate for Anything You Want," Understanding Profit Participation in the Motion Picture Industry," "Creative Distribution," "War Reporting" and "Observing a Casting Session in Action."

Kimberly Skyrme, casting director for Netflix's political drama "House of Cards," will close the conference with a local casting session. Summit attendees can observe how she auditions actors pre-arranged by local talent agencies.

Friday's events finish with a 5:30 p.m. screening of "Gideon's Army" a 12-minute walk away at Point Park University. The Sundance-honored documentary, which premiered last summer on HBO, is about three idealistic young public defenders in the Deep South who sparked a landmark Supreme Court case nearly 50 years ago. The screening costs an additional $10.

Saturday culminates at 7 p.m. with the Opal Awards honoring women in the industry, with this year's local recipients being Hardwicke, Deb Acklin, CEO of WQED-TV, and Dawn Keezer, director of the Pittsburgh Film Office. Also receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award will be Eleanor Schano, a pioneering woman in TV news who began her career in 1958 at Pittsburgh's WTAE.

Tickets for the Opal Awards reception are $40 for those who purchase a one- or three-day pass to the summit. Others can attend for $55 in advance and $75 at the door.


(c)2014 the Beaver County Times (Beaver, Pa.)

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Source: Beaver County Times (PA)

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