Women In Film’s star-studded annual award show and fundraiser, the 2009 Crystal + Lucy Awards, was celebrated this year on Friday, June 12 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Century City. WIF saluted the work and careers of five extraordinary filmmaking professionals: Jennifer Aniston, Holly Hunter, Petra Korner, Catherine Hardwicke and Elizabeth Banks.
In a year of economic troubles and with the industry in a state of change, the 2009 Crystal+Lucy Awards was an emotionally rewarding evening, a bright spot of good will and sincere optimism. The show’s theme, EMBRACE:, reflected WIF’s commitment to the community and support of women in the entertainment industry everywhere.
President Jane Fleming, in her introduction, spoke of the service Women In Film has provided over the years and how, in today’s business climate, women are reaching out to Women In Film for help in increasing numbers. WIF has responded with additional new programs and initiatives.
Fleming also noted how this year’s honorees were truly visionaries of the future, using multiple media platforms in developing their crafts.
The stage was decorated in rich shades of red and deep pink, with banners hanging from the ceiling and red roses gracing the tables. Plasma screens on either side of the stage showed clips intercut with roving camera shots of the audience enjoying themselves. Host Chelsea Handler provided laughs and the early part of the evening was dedicated to spotlighting the recent successes of several Women In Film members in key programs, including:
- Romell Foster-Owens, producer of the Gang Alternatives Program (GAP) PSA, and a member of the WIF PSA Committee, who introduced the 30 second piece and spoke about the long-running WIF program
- Nia Malika Dixon, a WIF member and a participant in the Mentoring Program described with enthusiasm and sheer joy her experience being paired with director Catherine Hardwicke
- actress/director Yazmin Ortiz, a former scholarship winner, talked about film school and how the WIF scholarship helped launch her career
- director Lonnie Lardner, who received 2008 Film Finishing Funds for her feature ANGEL IN THE HOOD, talked about young girls growing up in tough urban neighborhoods.
Long-time Women In Film supporter Blythe Danner introduced funny and emotional clips from the latest Legacy Series interviews featuring Debbie Allen, Piper Laurie and Lupe Ontiveros. But the applause grew to a cheer as Debbie, Piper and Lupe surprised the audience by appearing on stage and speaking about their trials and tribulations in the business.
Universal’s Stephanie Sperber, who has been battling breast cancer, gave the evening’s most heartfelt speech as she thanked Women In Film for its continued support of women and for being there in hard times as well as good.
As the evening’s honorees were given their awards, the camera panned from table to table showing off the stars who had come to see their colleagues celebrated. Nicola Maramotti presented the MaxMara® “Face of the Future” Award to a charming Elizabeth Banks. Director Jonathan Levine presented cinematographer Petra Korner with the Kodak Vision Award.
Academy Award-winner Jodie Foster – who gave a pitch-perfect impression of Holly Hunter’s southern cop from RAISING ARIZONA - presented the Lucy Award to the Academy Award-winning Hunter for her Emmy nominated role in television’s “Saving Grace.”
The effusive Rosanna Arquette presented director Catherine Hardwicke with the Dorothy Arzner Directors Award. Harwicke received a standing ovation when Arquette reminded the audience that she holds the record for the biggest opening weekend gross in history for a woman director, for TWILIGHT.
And Dreamworks’ Stacey Snider presented the Crystal Award to Jennifer Aniston, who delighted the crowd with her analogy comparing the titles of her films to her personal life.
The evening started off with a Silent Auction organized by Parker Williams and Q-Theory. Cara Kleinhaut and Caravents produced the show. Lucy Webb and Mike Cardinal developed the color palette and theme. Mike Cardinal and J2 Advertising designed and produced the tribute book, which was printed by Design Printing. Neutrogena provided a well-stocked gift bag of skin care goodies. The wine was donated by Jacob’s Creek and CRUMBS Bake Shop provided their signature cupcakes to make the wait for the valet a little easier.
Many thanks to everyone who contributed their dollars and efforts to make this year’s Crystal+Lucy Awards a remarkable success.
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