New York Women in Film Rock: Designing Women

By Christina Kotlar (doddleNEWS)

Celebrating achievements of women in the entertainment fields, New York Women in Film & Television (NYWiFT) annual event Designing Women, acknowledging and honoring the influence and impact of costume designers, make up artists and hair stylists in film and television. The annual event, held on May 10th, was established in 2000 and for the past three years, presented in the executive suites of Macy’s in Herald Square, New York City.

The imaginary line delineates Above-the-Line (creative direction) from Below-the-Line – (everybody else) duties related to the physical production of film and television production with huge departments and positions of varying skills and levels of importance. Hair styling, make up artistry and costume design have talented and influential women in these positions and often their extraordinary contributions go unrecognized. The Designing Women Awards night highlights the importance of these professions by honoring leaders in their fields.

Honorees included hair stylist and wigmaker Amanda Miller, Inside Llewyn Davis, Smash, I Just Want My Pants Back (terrible movie title), Saturday Night Fever; costume designer, Kasia Walicka Maimone, Moneyball, The Adjustment Bureau, Capote; and make up artists Jenn Jorge Nelson, 30 Rock, Baby Mama, Hope and Faith, and Julie Teel, 30 Rock, Ugly Betty, In Treatment. 

Emcee Kristen Schaal sounded a bit like a shrill cheerleader, but kept the program moving introducing the presenters Lady Rizo, Harvey Keitel (by video) Tina Fey, Bennett Miller and Steve Buscemi who were invited to introduce the work of each honoree as well as excellent video tributes of their work produced and directed by NYWiFT members Meryl Joseph and edited by Jennifer Wollan.

Tina Fey thanked who she considers two of the most important people that help her get through 30 Rock, her makeup artists, Jenn Jorge Nelson and Julie Teel. Fey looked great– glam and sophisticated, but admitted talking too much about her newly born child just as one of the award winners went on and on about thanking her children over and over. As Tina noted, people without children are probably bored by this, well, sometimes, when there is no end in sight.

Bennett Miller, an award winning director Capote, Moneyball, seemed to be in a trance. His dress and manner was uncaring especially when he mentioned that after working with Kasia Walicka Maimone for thirteen years, he still didn’t know and could not pronounce her name.

The Variety Ensemble Award for costume, make up and hair design team went to the crew of Boardwalk Empire and was presented by Steve Buscemi whose gratitude was heartfelt and with acceptance by key departments heads, John Dunn, Costume Designer, Francesca Paris, Hair Department Head, Lisa Padovani, co-costume designer, read off names of the team and invited them on stage for a group photo.

NYWiFT supports women calling the shots in film, television and digital media. The preeminent entertainment industry associated for women in New York, NYWiFT brings together nearly 2,000 women and men working both above and below the line and is part of Women in Film and Television International (WIFTI), a network of 44 women in film chapters worldwide, representing more than 10,000 members.

That evening had a great ending though with a reception in suites decorated with costumes and posters and the sounds of champagne corks popping out on the veranda overlooking the sights and sounds of New York City.

About Christina Kotlar

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