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Biographies for the 2018 Careers in Film Summit: New York

“Ready, Set, Action!” - Above the Line Panel

Donna Gigliotti is one of only eight women to win an Academy Award for Best
Picture which she received for producing Shakespeare in Love. In 2009, Gigliotti was nominated again for Best Picture for producing The Reader and again in 2013 for Silver Linings Playbook. Most recently, Gigliotti developed and produced Hidden Figures, which received three Academy Award nominations in 2017, including Gigliotti’s fourth Best Picture nomination. Additional producing credits include The Fundamentals of Caring, Beasts of No Nation, Let Me In, Two Lovers, Shanghai, The Good night, and Vanity Fair. Over the course of her career, Gigliotti has served as President of Production at The Weinstein Company, President of Production at USA Films, a division of Barry Diller’s USA Entertainment Group and Executive Vice President at Miramax Films. Gigliotti is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, the European Film Academy and the Producer's Guild of America.

Malcolm D. Lee has been making films since the age of 12––in animation, video and Super 8 film formats.  He has been working professionally in the industry since the age of 17 as a production assistant, apprentice film editor, casting associate, assistant director and director’s assistant. A graduate of Georgetown University, Lee, accepted a yearlong fellowship in screenwriting from Walt Disney Studios.  Following his early Hollywood experience, he honed his craft as a director and writer at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and later made the award-winning short film Morningside Prep.  Lee made history in July 2017 as the director and producer of Girls Trip, the first feature film with a full African American creative team in front of and behind the camera to surpass the $100 million mark at the box-office and has grossed over $140,000,000 worldwide.  Lee’s other credits include his directorial feature film debut The Best Man (1999), Undercover Brother (2002), Roll Bounce (2005), Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins (2008), Soul Men (2008), The Best Man Holiday (2013), and Barbershop: The Next Cut (2016).  Lee’s upcoming feature Night School starring Kevin Hart and Haddish will open in theatres in the Fall.  Lee currently has several feature projects in development including Rock the Bells, The Best Man Wedding, and a feature adaptation of Terry McMillan’s latest novel “I Almost Forgot About You” as a starring vehicle for Viola Davis. Lee’s television credits include directing episodes of the critically acclaimed “Shots Fired” and “Everybody Hates Chris” series. He recently announced a first look deal with Universal Television to create comedy and drama projects.

Judith Light is known for her extensive body of work onstage, in television and film. She is currently starring in Amazon Prime's Golden Globe winning series, "Transparent," created by Jill Soloway for which she has received two Emmy nominations, a Golden Globe nomination and three Critics' Choice nominations.   Earlier this year, Light received critical acclaim for her role in Ryan Murphy’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” on FX. Light recently finished filming the CBS All Access drama series “The Good Fight” by the creators of “The Good Wife”.  She stars in the upcoming Lifetime film opposite Christina Ricci, “Nellie Bly”.  Additional upcoming films include the independent drama “Ms. White Light,” and “Hot Air”with Steve Coogan.  Light starred in the television series, "Who's the Boss," and received two consecutive Emmy awards for her work on "One Life to Live.” Other television work includes the Emmy winning series, “Ugly Betty”, which garnered her an Emmy nomination, "Law and Order, SVU" and "Dallas.” She starred in and produced, through her production company, the film, “Save Me”, which was written by her husband Robert Desiderio and premiered at Sundance.

Teyonah Parris has been hailed as the 'Next Big Thing' by The Hollywood Reporter, Teyonah Parris is taking the town by storm. Whether lighting up the screen in Spike Lee's Chi-Raq (2015) and the Sundance cult-favorite Dear White People (2014), or commanding scenes in the acclaimed TV series Mad Men and Survivor's Remorse, Parris is the most electric talent to hit Hollywood in a generation, embarking on a career working alongside artists such as George C. Wolfe, Amanda Green, and Anthony Hemingway.  Making her debut on the silver screen in 2010 opposite Reese Witherspoon and Jack Nicholson in the James L. Brooks-directed romantic comedy, How Do You Know (2010), in addition to a run on Broadway that same year in the John Guare ("Six Degrees of Separation") play "Free Man of Color" with Jeffrey Wright and Mos Def, Parris has quickly established herself as one to watch. Two years later, she landed a Screen Actors Guild Award®-nominated recurring role in the blockbuster Golden Globe® and Emmy Award©-winning TV series, “Mad Men” as Don Draper's assistant Dawn Chambers. Parris can be seen next in the upcoming Barry Jenkins film If Beale Street Could Talk (2018), adapted from the James Baldwin novel.

Michael H. Weber is an Oscar-nominated screenwriter and award-winning film producer. With Scott Neustadter, he adapted The Disaster Artist, which was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 90th Academy Awards. His other writing credits include (500) Days of Summer, The Spectacular Now, The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns, and Our Souls at Night. Weber graduated the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in 2000.  Born in New York City, he currently lives in Manhattan.

Mike Muse (Moderator) Mike Muse, co-founder of Muse Recordings, is a music executive, pop culture expert, political expert, and change agent. By intersecting politics and pop culture, Mike uses his platform to create social change. As an industrial engineer turned media entrepreneur.  Mike is host of SiriusXM’s “The Mike Muse Show,” Co-host of “Sway in the Morning” with his segement “Political News with Mike Muse,” Co-Host of ABC newest talk show “Real Live.” He leverages his platform to show policy as lifestyle, the topic of his first of two TED Talks.  Most recently he was appointed to serve as the Unites States Small Business Administration, My Brother’s Keeper, Millennial Entrepreneurial Champion-designed to support President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative.


“Mastering The Craft” - Below the Line Panel

Belinda Anderson was born into the salon atmosphere. Her mother owned her own salon in Queens, New York for over 45 years. Belinda began her career in the salon at the tender age of 12. She was confident at an early age that this was her passion. As time went on, she had become one of the most demanded hair stylists in Queens. Seeing her vision come to life and her clients leaving the salon looking fabulous truly made her day. Belinda loves all aspects of hair designing, but her favorite is Avant-garde. She receives great pleasure out of using her creativity to help her clients feel and look their very best. She joined the Local 798 Makeup and Hairstylist Union in 2003 and is still in the game 13 years later. Her credits include American Gangster (2007), The Great Debaters (2007), Precious (2009), Away We Go (2009), Barbershop: The Next Cut (2006), and Roxanne Roxanne (2017).

Alan Jacobsen is a director of photography on both narrative and documentary projects in which he photographs with an authentic, natural eye and sensitive curiosity.  Jacobsen’s most recent acclaim is for shooting director Yance Ford’s Strong Island (2017), which was nominated for the 2018 Academy Award for Best Documentary. Jacobsen recently finished shooting the feature length documentary Finding 52 (2018) for Josh Zeman and Adrian Grenier about the search for the world’s loneliest whale and is working on an upcoming project with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. His other credits include Racing Dreams (2009) and Point and Shoot (2014), which both received the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival, as well as Toe to Toe, The Trials of Daryl Hunt, The Journalist and the Jihadi, and Election Day.

Renèe Ehrlich Kalfus started her career with director Lasse Hallström’s Once Around. She went on to collaborate with Hallström on five films, including Chocolat, which earned her both BAFTA and Costume Design Guild award nominations for Best Costume Design. Kalfus also won a Costume Design Guild Award for her work on Hidden Figures and recently completed the movie, Simple Favor, directed by Paul Feig and starring Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick.  Her diverse work includes period films such as Snow Falling on Cedars and The Cider House Rules; gritty dramas including Dead Man Walking, The Taking of Pelham 123, and The Life of David Gale; and romantic comedies like Friends with Benefits, What Happens in Vegas, and Baby Mama. The movie musical Annie, led to a partnership with Target for a line of children’s clothes. New York Women in Film and Television honored Kalfus at their Designing Women Awards in 2014.

Ellen Lewis grew up in Chicago, Illinois and started her career in casting working for Juliet Taylor for 8 1/2 years before venturing out on her own.  Ellen has had the pleasure of working with Martin Scorsese for 27 years and counting, working on such films as Goodfellas, Casino, Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Hugo, “Boardwalk Empire” (pilot), The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013), “Vinyl” (pilot), Silence, and just completed, The Irishman (2019). Her other credits include: Scent of A Woman, A League Of Their Own (1992), Forrest Gump (1994), Angels In America (HBO film), The Devil Wears Prada (2006), Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), Mamma Mia! (2008), Bridge of Spies (2015), Ready Player One (2018), “Godless” (limited series), and The Post (2017).  In 2006, Ellen received the NY Women In Film & Television Muse Award and in 2015, she received the Hoyt Bowers Award from the Casting Society of America.  Ellen has been nominated for 3 Emmy Awards and won for Angels in America (co-cast) and “Boardwalk Empire”. She has been nominated for 13 Artios awards and has won 3 for A League Of Their Own (1992), “Boardwalk Empire” and The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013).

Wynn Thomas holds a bachelor of fine arts from Boston University where he studied set design. He designed sets for the famed off-Broadway company, The Negro Ensemble Company, as well as The Public Theatre, and Arena Stage in Washington D.C. He assisted Richard Sylbert Patrizia Von Brandenstein and Stuart Wurtzel early in his film career.  He has designed movies for Spike Lee, Ron Howard, Tim Burton, Harold Ramis, Robert DeNiro, and Barry Levinson. Wynn is the first African-American Production Designer in the history of movies.  Some of his work includes Academy Award winning A Beautiful Mind (2001), Malcolm X, Inside Man (2006), Mars Attacks, Cinderella Man (2005), Wag the Dog (1997), and Get Smart (2008). His most recent movie was the Academy Award nominated Hidden Figures (2016).

Mike Muse (Moderator) Mike Muse, co-founder of Muse Recordings, is a music executive, pop culture expert, political expert, and change agent. By intersecting politics and pop culture, Mike uses his platform to create social change. As an industrial engineer turned media entrepreneur.  Mike is host of SiriusXM’s “The Mike Muse Show,” Co-host of “Sway in the Morning” with his segement “Political News with Mike Muse,” Co-Host of ABC newest talk show “Real Live.” He leverages his platform to show policy as lifestyle, the topic of his first of two TED Talks.  Most recently he was appointed to serve as the Unites States Small Business Administration, My Brother’s Keeper, Millennial Entrepreneurial Champion-designed to support President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative.

“When the Camera Stops Rolling" - Post Production Panel

Wendy Blackstone has created over one hundred film and television scores. A native of New York, Wendy synthesizes the rich diversity of her city and utilized that diversity by studying orchestration and composition at Conservatory, studying with NY’s finest in jazz, playing in Latin bands, and being a part of New York’s progressive music scene. For years she has experimented weaving originally designed sounds with acoustic ensembles to create fresh and innovative music in a range of styles. Wendy has scored 9 films or shorts that have been nominated or won Academy Awards including the short film Dear Diary (1996) and HBO short documentaries; Girl in the River (2015), Crisis Hotline - Press one for Veterans (2013), and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011). Her work on documentaries has been integral to her accomplishments. Other feature films include: Lost In Florence (2017), Love Walked In (1997), New Jersey Drive (1995), Only You (1992), and The Dutch Master (1993). Wendy has scored five primetime television series including “Profiler”, “New York News”, “Maybe It’s Me”, and “For The People.”  Wendy's first entre into composing the score for theater was with the Tony nominated “Twilight: Los Angeles 1992”.  She recently scored the documentary, Out of My Head (2017), directed by Susanna Styron, which will come out later this year. Blackstone was the first woman film composer signed to Creative Artists Agency.

George Lara has been working as a Sound Mixer for more than 32 years. He graduated from the Institute of Audio Research I.A.R. as a Music Engineer in 1984. He spent 14 years at Sound One, a top post-production facility in NYC, where he discovered his true passion as a Foley Mixer. He moved on to C5 Inc. The Foley House to work with his partner Marko Costanzo and after 18 years they continue to collaborate with the top directors and sound supervisors the industry has to offer. Lara has recorded foley in about 450 films, TV shows, documentaries or commercials including Life of Pi, Captive State, Black Klansman, and The Irishman. He credits his success to the directors who create compelling beautiful stories and the sound supervisor editors, re-recording mixers and all the foley artists who have given him the opportunity to paint a canvas of sound that will complement the directors vision. Lara also enjoys the opportunity every year to help young directors mix or sound supervise their films. Nothing gives him more pleasure than being able to give back to the film industry.

Alex Lemke started his career in traditional optical effects work before moving into the digital world in 1994. Since 2000 he has been working as a freelance Compositor and VFX Supervisor at some of the most respected international facilities such as Weta, Double Negative, and Framestore, as well as his in own VFX office in Germany. His credits include Dark City (1998), The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Sweeney Todd (2007), 2012 (2009), Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), and The Hobbit trilogy. From 2009 to 2012, he was also teaching the course “Digital Arts and Compositing” at the Vienna Film Academy, Austria. Since 2011 he has been living and working in New York.  He founded east side effects, Inc. in 2013 together with his partner Michael Huber.

Glenfield Payne has been working in the film industry for over 25 years. He was the Supervising Sound Editor for three Academy Award nominated films, 4 Little Girls (1997), Trouble the Water (2008), and The Cove (2009), which won best documentary. Glen also received an Emmy nomination for his work on 4 Little Girls (1997) and two Motion Picture Sound Editor’s Golden Reel nominations for “Marco Polo”. He has worked with acclaimed directors such as Spike Lee, Joel & Ethan Coen, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Lee Daniels, Wes Anderson, Julie Taymor, Cary Fukunaga and Steven Soderbergh, among others. Glen recently supervised the sound for Soderbergh’s, Unsane (2018). He has also supervised and mixed sound for television including “Alpha House”, “Red Oaks”, “The Girlfriend Experience”, and “Sweetbitter”. Glenfield is a consultant at Harbor Sound in New York City. He considers himself lucky to continue to collaborate with such talented individuals in the film and television community and work on groundbreaking and noteworthy projects.

Jean Tsien, ACE has been working in documentary for 35 years as an editor, producer, and consultant. Her editing debut, Something Within Me, won the Triple Awards at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival. Tsien’s notable editing credits include: the 2001 Academy Award nominee, Scottsboro: An American Tragedy (2001); three Peabody Award-winning films: Malcolm X: Make It Plain (1994), Travis and Solar Mamas (2012); Dixie Chicks: Shut Up & Sing (2006) and Miss Sharon Jones! (2016), both of which were shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. As a strong believer in mentorship and nurturing emerging talents, Tsien has served as an editing advisor at the Sundance Institute Edit and Story Lab since 2010 and Dare to Dream Asia. She is a recipient of Mentor Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Tsien has been invited as a juror and panelist to many film festivals around the world, and as a guest speaker for the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Columbia University School of Journalism, UC Berkeley School of Journalism, and New York Film Academy. Tsien is a proud member of American Cinema Editors and the Documentary branch of the Academy.

Isabel Sadurni has been a features producer and editor on award winning collaborations that have screened internationally in theaters, top-tier festivals, on HBO, AOL, The Discovery Channel and PBS. She’s currently in development for a feature-length political thriller about a woman determined to save a child during the aftermath of a hate-crime. Her credits include Tootie’s Last Suit (2009), Firehouse Detroit (2011), The American Nurse (2014), and Garbo’s Eyes (2018).