Women in Film Panel (Free)

Women in Film Panel

Friday, Oct 13th 2:00PM

Arlington Hotel


Thanks to diversity initiatives in the film industry, there are more opportunities for women in film than ever before, however, the expectations are still present for women to conform to the status quo and approach storytelling from a man’s point of view. This panel will focus on how women can approach their craft from their own authentic perspective instead of having to play the man’s game or sacrifice their own authority.


Rebecca Cammisa (Director/Producer)

Director, producer, and shooter Rebecca Cammisa's first feature documentary film, Sister Helen, aired on HBO and went on to win the 2002 Sundance Film Festival's Documentary Directing Award. Sister Helen also received an Emmy for Outstanding Cultural and Artistic Programming and an Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary Film Award nomination by the Directors Guild of America.

In 2003, Rebecca Cammisa founded Documentress Films, teamed up with Mr. Mudd Productions, and began developing the 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary, Which Way Home for which she received a Fulbright Fellowship for Filmmaking. Which Way Home was nominated for a 2010 Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary, and received four Emmy(r) nominations. It went on to win a News & Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Informational Programming and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards Grand Prize.

Rebecca was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for Filmmaking, and in 2011, she directed and produced the HBO documentary God is the Bigger Elvis, which received an Oscar(r) nomination for Best Documentary Short Subject. Rebecca's newest film, Atomic Homefront, has received numerous grants, including a Sundance Documentary Fund Production grant and a MacArthur Foundation Media grant. The film premiered at AFI Docs Film Festival this June in Washington, D.C.

Nancy Gerstman:

Nancy Gerstman is Co-President and Co-Founder of Zeitgeist Films, a NY-based film distribution company.  Zeitgeist has released first films by such notable directors as Todd Haynes, Christopher Nolan, Atom Egoyan, the Quay Brothers and Laura Poitras.  Their catalog includes films from the world's most outstanding filmmakers including Agnes Varda, Guy Maddin, Olivier Assayas, Abbas Kiarostami, Derek Jarman, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Peter Greenaway, Philippe Garrel, Yvonne Rainer, Jan Svankmajer, Andrei Zyvagintsev, Astra Taylor and Raoul Peck.

Zeitgeist is renowned for ground-breaking documentaries which include THE CORPORATION, TROUBLE THE WATER, LAST TRAIN HOME, MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES, INTO GREAT SILENCE, THE GLEANERS AND I, UP THE YANGTZE and BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK. Five Zeitgeist films have been nominated for Academy Awards and one, NOWHERE IN AFRICA, won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Their films have been honored by festivals throughout the world with Grand Prizes at Cannes, Berlin, Sundance, Tribeca, and IDFA in Amsterdam.

The Museum of Modern Art honored Zeitgeist with a month-long, 20th anniversary retrospective of their films in 2008.

Simone Pero:

Simone Pero is founder of For Impact Productions, a social impact film marketing and production company. Among her slate of documentary and narrative film projects includes: Tom Donahue’s Untitled Women in Hollywood with Geena Davis; Jennifer Fox’s The Tale starring Laura Dern, Ellen Burstyn and Common; A Woman, A Part with Maggie Siff; The C Word with Morgan Freeman; and Matt Heineman and Susan Froemke’s Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare. Simone is also the President of New York Women in Film & Television and is on the leadership team and faculty at the Stony Brook Killer Films MFA in Film program. Prior to film, she was a corporate communications executive at MTV and Rainbow Media/Cablevision. Simone is thrilled to be back at HSDFI, where she attended with her first co-produced documentary Alice Elliott’s Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy.

Tess Harper:

Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated actress Tess Harper was born in Arkansas and worked very hard to shed her Southern accent. Nevertheless, some of her best films have been set in the American South. Harper’s cinematic breakthrough came in 1983 opposite Robert Duvall in Bruce Beresford's Tender Mercies. As compassionate Rosa Lee, she earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress, later gaining an Oscar nomination for the role of cousin Chick in Crimes of the Heart, also directed by Beresford.  Harper’s career has spanned over 30 years and includes critical favorite Silkwood and Oscar and BAFTA-winner No Country For Old Men for which she received a SAG Award. She most recently has appeared on television on Breaking Bad, Revenge and True Detective, and will appear opposite Forest Whitaker, Garrett Hedlund and Tom Wilkinson in the upcoming feature film Burden.

Moderator: Jennifer Gerber, Filmmaker, HSDFF Interim Executive Director & Assistant Professor of Digital Filmmaking at UCA