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Women In Film Cancel ’98 Sundance Award

Women In Film Cancel '98 Sundance Award

Women In Film Cancel '98 Sundance Award

by Heather Kellogg

Instead of throwing a celebratory gala on the eve of their 25th
anniversary, Women In Film canceled their yearly award. The honor has been
bestowed annually for the past five years during the Sundance Film Festival in
Park City, Utah in mid-January. WIF announced late last week
that the awards were off, but would not give an official reason for the
sudden decision. The next morning the awards were back on, although a
date and recipient could still not be confirmed; a few hours later Women In Film
officially canceled again. The decision stems from what publicist Joan Hyler
termed “logistical problems.”

Candace Bowen, a member of the Women In Film board and a past recipient of
the award, said that the cancellation became necessary when Hyler, the
publicist for the organization, could not attend the event and no one could
take her place in Utah. WIF partially blamed the cancellation of the award
on Sundance for not announcing their lineup of films earlier. Traditionally,
however, Sundance has little to do with the award and stuck to their proposed
schedule of film announcements. As of one week before the
start of the Festival the WIF board was still discussing who would receive
the honor and had tentatively agreed upon indie film queen, Parker Posey, but
had not booked her for the event.

Women in Film began in 1973 when The Hollywood Reporter published a column
reporting that less than three percent of television scripts were written
by women. Tichi Wilkerson-Kassel, publisher of The Hollywood Reporter,
suggested that an organization be started to help women in the
entertainment industry. Women In Film has since become one of the major
voices for advocacy of women in the entertainment industry, with more than
10,000 members worldwide. Past recipients of the WIF award at Sundance
include Sheryl Lee, Marcia Gay Harden, and last year’s winner, Alyssa Milano.
A spokesperson for Women In Film was quick to offer that although they
are unable to give an award this year, the award will be given again at Sundance
next year.

[Heather Kellogg, who recently received her master’s in women’s history, is
a researcher and writer living in Los Angeles. She also works for the
Sundance Film Festival.]

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