For the 16th year, Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts will host its annual Women in Focus Conference on Friday, April 17, 2015 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Folino Theater, Marion Knott Studios, on the Chapman campus in Orange. The conference features a panel of some of the most prominent women in the film/TV profession participating in an open discussion with students and the community regarding their personal experiences in the industry.

The conference is free and open to the public and campus community, but attendees must register in advance online (go to and click on “Dodge College”). Seating is limited, and once online registration closes, no more seats will be available.

“These women have proven themselves not only as talented business women, but also as driven risk-takers, unafraid to challenge themselves to tell stories from their hearts, openly and honestly,” said Bob Bassett, dean of Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. “They’ll share their trials and triumphs, clearly showing themselves as outstanding role models for any young person seeking to enter the highly competitive entertainment industry.”

This year, the panel will focus on “Women in Television.” The guest panelists are:

Kerry Ehrin is a native of Los Angeles, she has worked consistently as a screenwriter for the last 25 years in TV and film, writing and producing shows such as Moonlighting, The Wonder Years, Boston Legal, Friday Night Lights and Parenthood. Ehrin has received numerous Emmy and WGA nominations, as well as four AFI awards.  She studied playwriting at UCLA and was mentored at an early age by the legendary science fiction writer Richard Matheson, and has worked alongside many iconic showrunners such as David E. Kelley, Glenn Caron, Jason Katims and Carlton Cuse.

Deena Katz is the multi Emmy nominated co- executive producer of Dancing with the Stars, TV’s #1 most viewed unscripted show. She is responsible for all casting of the series as well. Katz also produces Real Time with Bill Maher and Whose Line Is It Anyway. She has worked as a Producer on dozens of high profile television series and specials with high profile talent from all genres, ranging from the Academy Awards, the Emmy Awards and the Presidential Inauguration.   She has also produced series on the WB, ABC, NBC, HBO, Bravo, Lifetime and CBS, just to name a few.

Debra Martin Chase is an Emmy nominated and Peabody Award-winning television and motion picture producer whose company, Martin Chase Productions, has been affiliated with Disney since 2001 and has been based at ABC Television since 2012. She was the first African American female producer to have a deal at a major studio.  Chase’s television credits include the Emmy winning Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella; the Lifetime series Missing; the Disney Channel musical Lemonade Mouth; and the Oscar and Emmy nominated and Peabody Award winning documentary Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream. Her movie credits include the franchises The Princess Diaries, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Cheetah Girls, Courage Under Fire, and The Preacher’s Wife, among others. She has also produced four movies for the American Girl Company and Universal.  In 2012, Black Enterprise Magazine named her one of the Ten Most Bankable African American Movie Producers in Hollywood, the only woman on the list.

Robin Schiff has been working as a Hollywood writer-producer for more than twenty years.  She has numerous credits, but is best known for the cult hit Romy And Michele’s High School Reunion starring Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino.  Her most recent project was a pilot for Amazon called Down Dog that she wrote and exec produced.  Robin was a member of famed comedy troupe The Groundlings.  She has served two terms on the Board Of Directors for the Writers Guild Of America west and served on two WGA Negotiating Committees, as well as the New Members Committee. Robin was one of the original creators of the war Veterans Writers Workshop through the Writers Guild Foundation, where she also served three terms as a board member. She’s working on a musical version of Romy And Michele. The feature she co-wrote with Niki Schwartz-Wright, We’re Lesbians Now, is set up at Josh Schwartz’s company Fake Empire. In her free time, Robin likes to watch TV and nap.

Janine Sherman Barrois is an Executive Producer on the CBS hit series Criminal Minds, which she joined at the beginning of season six. Prior to that, she was an Executive Producer on ER and worked on the final four seasons of the show. Before ER, Barrois spent five seasons on Third Watch, rising from Story Editor to Co-Executive Producer. She has also written on Eddie Murphy’s The PJ’s and The Jamie Foxx Show. Barrois got her start on Lush Life, where she was placed after participating in the Warner Bros. Writers Workshop. She has recently signed a two year overall deal with ABC studios to develop new shows. Barrois won an NAACP Image Award for best dramatic writing for her work on Criminal Minds for the episode entitled “Strange Fruit.” Prior to that she was nominated for six Image Awards and a Humanitas Award for her writing. She is also active in the WGA, where she serves in their Mentoring Program, as a judge for their Writers’ Access Project and, recently, on the board of their PAC. In addition, she serves on the board of the William H. Johnson Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to giving scholarships to African-American contemporary artists. Barrois graduated from Howard University.

The panel will be moderated by Dawn Taubin, chief marketing officer at Dreamworks, formerly a professor in Dodge College and former head of marketing at Warner Bros.

Dodge College thanks its sponsors for their generosity in supporting the 2015 Women in Focus Conference: Twyla Reed Martin, Eve Kornyei Ruffatto, Harriet Sandhu, Diana Martin, Bonny Schumacher and Sally Crockett.

Consistently ranked among the top universities in the West, Chapman University attracts highly qualified students from around the globe. Its programs are designed to encourage leadership in innovation, creativity and collaboration, and are increasingly recognized for providing an extraordinary educational experience. The university now excels in film and media arts, performing arts, educational studies, economics and business, law, humanities and the sciences. Student enrollment in graduate and undergraduate programs is approaching 7,000, and Chapman University alumni are found throughout California and the world.

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