The Eighth Annual Conference
To Feature Six Distinguished Women Screenwriters
Sharing their Experiences in Hollywood

ORANGE, Calif. (MARCH 26, 2008) — The Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University is proud to present the Eighth Annual Women in Focus Conference on Friday, April 18, 2008.  Designed to encourage dialogue between emerging and established women in the film industry, this year’s conference, The Writer’s Vision, features an afternoon slate of activities including panel discussions with women who have made a significant impact in filmmaking, as well as a scholarship presentation and networking mixer.  This conference is open to the public.

 “Women in Focus is a great opportunity for the Dodge community to actively engage with some of the most talented women in the entertainment industry,” says Dodge College Dean Bob Bassett.  “This unique initiative provides the opportunity for our students to have one-on-one interaction with working professionals–a critical component of any film student’s education. Dodge is proud to be a leader in showcasing the challenges and accomplishments of women filmmakers.”

Dodge professor and Oscar-nominated producer Alexandra Rose adds, “2007 was a remarkable year for female writers.  Women penned four out of the 10 Academy Award nominated feature films in the two major screenwriting categories, and it was a true inspiration to see a strong female writer like Diablo Cody walk away with one of the night’s most prestigious awards.  This year’s trend sets a benchmark for the industry in which men and women are represented and recognized equally for their work.”

Top women screenwriters who have penned some of the most memorable films for both the big and small screens will share their experiences in Hollywood with the aspiring filmmakers. This year’s panel features screenwriter Leslie Dixon (Mrs. Doubtfire, The Thomas Crown Affair, Hairspray, The Heartbreak Kid), Oscar-nominated writer and director Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich, In Her Shoes, Catch and Release), screenwriter Karen McCullah Lutz (10 Things I Hate About You, Legally Blonde, Ella Enchanted), screenwriter Dana Stevens (What About Brian, Life or Something Like It, City of Angels) and television screenwriter and author Cynthia Whitcomb. (Buffalo Girls; Selma, Lord, Selma; Mark Twain & Me, I Know My First Name Is Steven).  Renowned producer Laura Ziskin (Spider-Man film series, As Good As It Gets, Pretty Woman), the 2002 recipient of Women in Film’s Crystal and Lucy Award, serves as moderator.

The afternoon includes the presentation of the Meredith MacRae Scholarship by representatives from Women in Film, a professional organization comprised of prominent women in the industry.   Awarded annually, the Meredith MacRae Scholarship is awarded to a Dodge female student who shows exceptional acting, writing, directing or producing talent. 

The conference commences with the first panel session, “Career Path” (1:30 – 2:45 p.m.), where the writers screen clips from their films and discuss the evolution of their careers, as well as the obstacles they have faced in an industry dominated by men. During the second session, “Creative Vision” (3:00 – 4:15 p.m.), the panelists examine the creative challenges of the screenwriting process.   An informal mixer concludes the conference at 4:30 p.m.

The event takes place in the Paul and Daranne Folino Theater in Marion Knott Studios at 283 N. Cypress in Orange, Calif. The conference is free and open to the public. To reserve a seat, call (714) 997-6515.

Women in Focus is sponsored by Orange County philanthropists Twyla Reed Martin, Nancy Baldwin, Nancy Wynne, Eve Kornyei, and Deborah Bridges.

Previous conferences featured women in a variety of positions, including cinematographers, production designers, editors, studio executives and producers 



Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, home to 1,100 students, is comprised of the Sodaro-Pankey Undergraduate School of Media, offering undergraduate degrees in film production, screenwriting, public relations and advertising, film studies, digital arts, and television and broadcast journalism; the Conservatory of Motion Pictures, offering graduate degrees in film production, film and television producing, screenwriting, production design and film studies; and the Media and Public Interest Institute. Marion Knott Studios, the new $42-million, 76,000-square-foot home of the Dodge College, opened in fall 2006.