Moms-in-Film, an organization founded to energize the careers of mothers in film and television by providing community, funding and advocacy, celebrated its one-year anniversary at The Players Club on April 18. The bi-coastal organization chose to honor filmmaker and mother Marielle Heller, whose film DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL ignited audiences and critics alike at Sundance and Berlin, and whose upcoming film CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? stars Melissa McCarthy.
Accepting the award, Heller commented, “"Before I had a kid, I thought I'd have to keep those parts of my life separate. I didn't think, as a mother, they'd take me seriously as a filmmaker. I had my child 5 weeks before my film premiere and there was no separation, he was there, breastfeeding at my premiere party. I realized how much I didn't want those things separated... It does feel like our personal feminist fight right now."
Presenting Heller with the award, Moms-in-Film founder Mathilde Dratwa commented, “Mari pulled off the birth of a film and the birth of a child in crazy syncopation, and more importantly, she did not hide it. That is revolutionary.” The award itself is a concrete sculpture titled MOTHER AND CHILD by Barbara Lubliner whose work, often inspired by her experience giving birth and mothering, can be seen on the Brooklyn Museum Feminist Art Base.
Also present to say a few words was actress Emily Bergl (SHAMELESS, SOUTHLAND, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES) who is expecting her first child, and noted that people can’t stop asking, “what about your career?” David Paterson (BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA, THE GREAT GILLY HOPKINS) gave a dad’s perspective, and rising Broadway star Kat Cunning (PARAMOUR) provided musical entertainment.
Moms-in-Film's regular events in NYC and LA bring parents in entertainment together and features a diverse lineup of guest speakers. Christy Lamb, Moms-in-Film’s Director of Strategy & Development, says, “Representation matters. The growing awareness about the gender gap in entertainment is vital. The gender disparity proves that parents (disproportionately women) require support to keep their career momentum up alongside parenthood. Moms-in-Film is poised to offer solutions to fill the gap and ensure the hiring and retention of parents who work in film/tv,” while Dratwa says: "All of our events are always free, and children are always welcome. This one-year celebration is no different," adding that "We want to create opportunities for parents to partake in opportunities to network, to build community, to share challenges and celebrate each other's success, without the financial burden of having to find childcare... and without needing to spend even more hours away from their children."