Each year, the Women in Film gala supports the org’s foundation, which advocates for gender parity for women throughout the entertainment industry, while also supporting various educational and philanthropic efforts in Los Angeles.
The 2019 edition, taking place June 12 at the Beverly Hilton, will honor Amy Poehler (Entrepreneur in Entertainment Award), Issa Rae (Emerging Entrepreneur Award), Elizabeth Debicki (Max Mara Face of the Future Award) and Cathy Schulman (Crystal Award for Advocacy in Entertainment Award). Xosha Roquemore (“The Mindy Project”) will serve as host at the event, which was formerly known as the WIF Crystal + Lucy Awards.
“In the last 18 months, there’s been a significant earthquake in the discussion of how men and women interact while working in the entertainment industry,” says Women in Film board president Amy Baer, who also serves as gala co-chair. “By re-naming the gala, we all felt strongly that it would promote a full celebration of women and their accomplishments.”
Created in 1977, Women in Film looks to honor various women working at different levels in the entertainment industry, all of whom are carving a unique path of their own while emboldening others for success. This year, the gala will roll out new awards that honor women whose entrepreneurial strides are creating opportunities for more women to succeed in Hollywood.
“Increased advocacy for entrepreneurship is a big focus for us, and we want to shine a spotlight on women who are creating pathways for others,” says Baer.
These debuting categories include the Entrepreneur in Entertainment Award, the Emerging Entrepreneur Award and the Member’s Choice Award, which focuses on women directors whose narrative feature work had a 2018 theatrical release.
Golden Globe-winning actress-writer-producer-director Poehler is receiving the Entrepreneur in Entertainment Award, which celebrates the ongoing achievements of an individual whose work nurtures the advancement of their female collaborators.
Poehler says she’s “delighted, especially since I’m sharing the evening with so many impressive women.”
And in Hollywood’s rapidly changing social landscape, Poehler has certainly noticed recent positive change.
“More women of color are telling their stories and more women are behind the camera,” she notes, as well as “the changing faces and broadening minds of the ultimate gatekeepers.”
Poehler recently worked with Netflix on the release of her star-studded feature directorial debut, “Wine Country.” Collaborating with the streaming giant was a match made in heaven, she says, calling the Netflix execs terrific. “They gave us incredible support and helped position the movie in the perfect way.”
The film co-stars a deep roster of comediennes, including Maya Rudolph, Ana Gasteyer, Rachel Dratch, Paula Pell, Emily Spivey and Tina Fey. “I was never surprised by how talented and deeply funny my cast was, but I was reminded how wonderful and rare it is to laugh all day at your job. It adds years to a life.”
Her production company, Paper Kite Prods., has spearheaded development and production on an eclectic slate of material, including Netflix’s binge-worthy “Russian Doll,” “Three Busy Debras” for Adult Swim and the upcoming Fox animated comedy “Duncanville,” which she calls “a really funny show from the minds of Julie and Mike Scully. It’s a study into the life and family of Duncan, an average teenager with a rich fantasy life who has a mother who likes to stand on a stool and yell at him.”
Poehler will return as a co-host of NBC’s crafting competition series “Making It” in December.
“We are editing now and it’s great! Any excuse to watch paint dry with my good friend Nick Offerman,” she says. For her next feature project, an adaptation of the feminist young adult novel “Moxie,” she’s working again with Netflix, and producing through Paper Kite. “We have many other TV projects in various forms of development, as well as some more features on the way. We look for strong points of view in the writing, and ideas that feels juicy and full of potential.”