NYWFIT to Present Annual Muse Awards December 12 in New York

Bookmark and Share

Thu, 11/21/2013 - 15:28 -- Nick Dager

New York Women in Film and Television hosted a reception last night to introduce the organization to online journalists and to promote their annual Muse Awards, which will be held December 12 at the Hilton New York.

The reception, which drew some fifty people, was held at Post Factory in New York’s Soho district. Terry Lawler, executive director of NYWIFT said, “We wanted to introduce ourselves to the online press.”

“The perception is that there are a lot of women working in film and television and it’s true, there are,” Lawler explained. “But that doesn’t mean they’re treated equally. They aren’t.”

“Our main objective is to get equality, equal opportunity and equal compensation for women in our industry,” she said. “We don’t have any of the three yet and we’re working to change that.”

This year’s winners of the annual Muse Awards for Outstanding Vision and Achievement at the Hilton New York to actors Ellen Barkin, Connie Britton and Robin Wright, actor and writer Sonia Manzano and Frances Berwick, President of Bravo and Oxygen Media. The Loreen Arbus Award for Those Who Take Action and Effect Change, will be presented to director, producer and actor Nancy Malone.

Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Ellen Barkin has a diverse body of work spanning theater, film, and television. She has appeared in over fifty films including Another Happy Day, Ocean’s 13, Sea of Love, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Big Easy, and Barry Levinson’s Diner, which served as her film debut. She received a Tony award in 2011 for her performance in George C. Wolfe’s Broadway production of Larry Kramer’s award winning play The Normal Heart, and garnered many other accolades for the same performance. Previously, Barkin received a Best Actress Emmy Award for her performance in Oprah Winfrey’s Before Women Had Wings. She has been twice nominated for a Golden Globe Award. Behind the camera, Barkin is also an accomplished producer whose films include Letters to Juliet and Another Happy Day, starring Ellen Burstyn and Demi Moore. Barkin is a Bronx native, and currently resides in New York City.

As president of Bravo and Oxygen Media at NBC Universal, Frances Berwick spearheads the operations of both brands. Under her leadership, Bravo is on the way to its eighth consecutive record-breaking year in 2013. In addition to winning two more Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards for Inside the Actors Studio and Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen, the network has been ranked among the Top Ten for the past three years. Berwick has seen double-digit growth there across every platform during her tenure, launching landmark television shows such as Queer Eye, Emmy winners Top Chef and Project Runway, two-time Emmy winner Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, pop-culture hits Flipping Out, The Rachel Zoe Project, Work Out, and The Real Housewives franchise. She has received numerous accolades throughout her career, including two Peabody Awards, three Primetime Emmys and a National Association of Multi-Ethnicity in Communications Award.  In 2007, she was named a Multichannel News Wonder Woman, and is a member of New York Women in Film & Television, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Women in Cable and Telecommunications, and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She resides in Manhattan with her husband and son.

Actress Connie Britton recently earned her fourth Emmy nomination for her role in the ABC series Nashville. She is best known for starring on five seasons of the critically acclaimed NBC series Friday Night Lights, for which she received two Emmy nominations. She has previously starred in other award-winning series such as American Horror Story and Spin City opposite Michael J. Fox, and held recurring roles on NBC’s The West Wing and Fox’s 24. She has appeared in multiple films including Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, The To Do List, and Edward Burns’ acclaimed independent film, The Brothers McMullen, which earned her numerous accolades. An accomplished philanthropist, Britton has traveled to Ethiopia, Ghana and Sierra Leone to advocate for children. She is a longtime champion of women’s health and reproductive rights, lending her voice to organizations such as NARAL and Planned Parenthood. She also works with HomeFront Heroes, which supports veterans, and various breast cancer charities.

Emmy Award-winning producer, director, and film and theater actress Nancy Malone rose to prominence with roles on Naked City, the daytime soap opera Guiding Light, and The Long Hot Summer in the 1960s and 70s. She first began producing with Winner Takes All (1975), and shortly thereafter, became the first female Vice President of Television at 20th Century Fox. She went on to co-found Women In Film, which has become the most successful women’s organization in Hollywood, establishing the Crystal Award and numerous other institutions to recognize and support female talent in the industry.  In the 1980s Malone began her directing career with There Were Times, Dear. Appearing on PBS, it was the first film to come out about Alzheimer’s disease, won multiple awards, and went on to raise over three million dollars for Alzheimer’s and other related disorders. She continues to teach and mentor directors.

Sonia Manzano has touched the lives of millions of parents and children as Maria on Sesame Street. She joined the show in 1971, and eventually began writing scripts for the series. Manzano holds 15 Emmy Awards to date as part of the Sesame Street writing staff. She has also performed on the New York stage in The Vagina Monologues and The Exonerated, and appeared on Law and Order SVU. Offscreen, she writes children’s books and series, including her books No Dogs Allowed (2004) and A Box Full of Kittens (2007) and the Peabody Award-winning Little Bill. Manzano was raised in the South Bronx, where she maintains an active community presence. She was inducted into the Bronx Hall of Fame in 2004, and is an active member of the Bronx River alliance and the Bronx Children’s Museum. She received the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Award and Hispanic Heritage Award for Education in 2003. Manzano is currently working on a memoir to be published by Scholastic.

Robin Wright has made an indelible mark in Hollywood, from her unforgettable early role as Jenny in the Oscar-winning Forrest Gump, to more recent television starring portrayals on House of Cards with Kevin Spacey. She has consistently received glowing reviews, appearing in Robert Redford’s riveting courtroom drama The Conspirator, 2009’s The Private Lives of Pippa Lee and Moneyball. For the past six years, Wright has passionately dedicated herself to bold action for peace in eastern Congo, home to the world’s deadliest war. She joined the Enough Project’s Raise Hope for Congo campaign to demand conflict-free electronics and jewelry, and has published pieces calling on the Obama Administration to support a comprehensive peace process. Wright has visited eastern Congo and supports the work of local Congolese community organizations benefiting women and youth.