Hollywood’s Most Powerful Women Visit Desert
Closing Night Features Hollywood’s Gail Anne Hurd and Deborah Hill
By Rebecca Redshaw
Like a light bulb over the cartoon character, the idea came in a casual conversation at the July meeting of the Palm Spring’s Women in Film (WIF) breakfast. Craig Prater, Founder and Executive Producer of Festival of Festivals, mentioned in passing that one of the awards being presented would be for “Best Women Director.”
Enthusiastic discussion followed among the members and it was immediately decided that WIF definitely wanted to be involved as the sponsor of the closing ceremonies and specifically wanted to honor the best woman director.
To say it has been difficult for women and other minorities to establish themselves as directors in the movie business is an understatement. But times are changing, maybe not quickly enough for some, but the mere acknowledgement of a category for “Best Woman Director” at a major film festival implies there are enough qualified participants to be considered.
Special guests and presenters at the Closing Ceremonies are successful producers Gale Anne Hurd and Debra Hill, both members of WIF/Los Angeles.
Hurd’s credits as a producer are widely diverse. Best known for her blockbuster science fiction classics, Terminator [1 & 2], Aliens, and Armageddon she has also racked artistic kudos with The Waterdance and Safe Passage.
A long time member of Women in Film, Hurd is acting mentor for the fledgling Palm Springs division.
Leanna Bonamici, Vice-President of Casablanca Studios and chair of the local group, is amazed at the support from this major Hollywood producer.
“Gale Anne has been a positive force in helping us build our chapter and voluntarily acts our liaison with Los Angeles. When we invited her to the festival she immediately stepped to the plate by going to the board of directors with the idea and brought on Debra Hill as well.”
Hill is a writer as well as producer, starting in the late seventies with the original Halloween [and subsequent sequels] and including The Fog and Escape from L.A. Producing more than twenty-seven films, Hill’s subject matter has been widely diverse going from The Fisher King to Adventures in Babysitting to her most recent release, Crazy in Alabama, starring Melanie Griffith.
Prior to the final screening of the festival, WIF will hold a reception for local members to have the opportunity to thank Hurd and Hill personally for their support.
Christmas in the Clouds, directed by Kate Montgomery will close the Festival of Festivals to be followed by the awards presentation and closing party.