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LA Hosts International Confab for Women In Film

By Tamara Krinsky

If you happen to wander into the Park Hyatt Hotel in Century City, California from October 29-November 1, 2005, you may notice an abundance of smart ladies from around the globe dashing about, talking about everything from international sales to creative choices to camera equipment. That's because Los Angeles is the 2005 host for the annual Women In Film & Television International (WIFTI) Summit.

The yearly gathering, which has been held in such exotic locales as New Zealand and Jamaica, comes to the movie capital of America for four days of panels, lunches, screenings, parties and special events. The organizers have focused on both trying to make the program as broad as possible and making sure there is both a domestic and an international flavor to all the sessions. WIFTI has 38 chapters worldwide, including groups in London and Kabul, and a large number of attendees are expected from overseas.

"We need to really consider the international market as well as the US market," says WIF-LA Director of Programming Jane Labonte. "We'll have panels on tax incentives, raising money, distribution, international co-productions and sales, as well as on things like the Hollywood Gossip Mill and pitching. While the specifics of pitching may vary from country to country, wherever you go in the world, eventually you have to sit in front of an executive and sell your project."

Filmmaker Pola Miller is producing a panel on documentary filmmaking, which will feature attorney and IDA Board Member Michael Donaldson and writer/ producer/director Donna Kanter, among others. Kanter has worked on numerous projects based on real life events, including creating and producing the ABC reality-drama hybrid series FBI: The Untold Stories. She is a governor of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences/Writer's Peer Group, and serves on ATAS' Executive Committee. Additional panelists will be announced closer to the event.

"The documentary panel will go in depth on both the art and business of documentary filmmaking so that the audience can get specific, useful information that they can take away with them," Miller explains. "I want to make sure the speakers are people who have been there and done it." Miller herself is currently at work on an independent documentary coordinated with the National Institute of Health about the genome.