Thank You!

Alliance for Women in Media Members Participated at the 2020 SWIFT Summit!

Entertainment industry professionals from across the country gathered to share their unique stories, examine current issues in filmmaking, and discuss a variety of topics that greatly impact women at the Southern Women in Film & Television (SWIFT) Summit , presented by Wang Vision. The event was produced by Nashville Women in Film & Television.

Alliance for Women in Media members had a wonderful time participating in the SWIFT Summit program schedule by sharing their talent and expertise with attendees. Plus AWM SoCal members and friends enjoyed a special VIP half price discount to attend the summit.

Women Supporting Women in Film & TV

VICTORIA RENÉE, performed LAST TIME at the opening night, Cabaret, "I Am Woman."

The song, “A Better Tomorrow” sung by recording artist, Victoria Renée was featured in the film, “The Last Ride.” This film was released last year and is based on the Novella, “The Last Christmas Ride” by Edie Hand and Jeffrey Addison. The song perfectly complemented the movie’s storyline about the challenges we face and what we do to overcome those problems.

Renée is an AWM SoCal Board member and volunteers as a mentor for young aspiring artists.

Edie Hand Joined the Documentary Panel

Author, Speaker, Producer

Edie Hand is a businesswoman, speaker, media personality, filmmaker, and mom. She has authored, co-authored, or assisted in the development of more than 20 books. Her personal titles include inspirational books, cookbooks, and novellas. Edie has starred in national commercials, daytime television soaps, and has hosted numerous radio and television shows nationwide. She is also a long-standing member of the Alliance for Women in Media, the Alabama Broadcasters Association, a member of the Nashville Women in Film & Television, and Faith in Film organizations.

Edie’s family heritage is rich in songwriting, acting, and music from the Hood-Hacker Presley family and her legendary cousin, Elvis Presley. Edie and her son Linc Hand formed Hand ‘N Hand Entertainment, Inc. to develop films, music projects, and television programming.

Documentary Panelists

  • Tom Neff: Doc Producer, Director, and Founder of The Documentary Channel, Moderator
  • April Anderson: Head Instigator of production company, Art As Air
  • Cintia Cabib: Independent Producer, Videographer and Editor
  • Edie Hand: Media Personality, Filmmaker, and International Author
  • Mark Schlicher: Documentary Producer, Director, and Cinematographer

Doc Experts Share Creative Tips and Funding Resources

Collaboration is key!

Panelists shared some organizations they found helpful to work with while producing their documentary projects. A few organizations mentioned, that offer fiscal sponsorships or filmmaking grants, include :

  • International Documentary Organization
  • Women in Film & Television
  • Video Action
  • Women in Film & Video
  • Alliance for Women in Media
  • Faith and Film
  • Nashville Women in Film & Television
  • Financial Companies, CPAs
  • Film Independent

How Do You Select Your Doc Topic?


  • Select a story that inspires you - a story that you are passionate about and share that personal connection in your documentary.
  • Do your research. Learn as much as you can about the topic.
  • Collaborate with knowledgeable partners that can be the yin to your yang.
  • Teamwork. Tap into the strengths of others on your team to augment your storytelling process.

How do you Break into Episodic Television?

Bethany Rooney, Director, Desperate Housewives, Ally McBeal, Brothers and Sisters, NCIS, Criminal Minds and Bull

Bethany Rooney started as a receptionist and worked her way up. Another way to get your foot in the door is tap into studio diversity programs. Diversity programs are looking to assist women directors. How do you get in? Direct a short.

Once you direct a short and it successfully runs in a film festival or respected venue, you can apply to any network or studio diversity program to get a directing opportunity.

Tips for emerging women directors:

  1. Shadow a director to learn the process.
  2. Learn something everyday. Work your craft all of the time.
  3. Keep being persistent. There's so many ways to make movies these days. Start with a scene. Then a sequence. Then a short. Then a web series. Build and write as you go.
  4. Stay informed. Watch YouTube tutorials. Keep learning every day. Attend forums and summits.
  5. Partner with someone that is knowledgeable to help guide you in your filmmaking.
  6. Find your passion. If it's screenwriting read scripts everyday and write everyday. If it's directing, follow the works of directors you admire.
  7. Join associations that can help you further your craft like the DGA, Alliance of Women Directors, Film Independent.

Women in the Director’s Chair Panelists:

  • Donna Caldwell, Dir. Of Programming Nashville WIFT, Moderator
  • KD Amond: Co-Founder at AZ If Productions, Nashville TN
  • Arun Vir: Writer, Producer, Creator
  • Linda Palmer: Director, Producer, Runaway Productions
  • Bethany Rooney: Television Director Desperate Housewives, NCIS, and many more
  • Meleisha Edwards: Dark Girls Two and Singleville


The last day of the conference focused on Actors during Actor-Com. Well-known actors and business professionals presented important classes that enhance an actor’s career goals and aspirations. Attendees learned about becoming a SAG-AFTRA union member and its benefits. They also learned about self-taping, how to Audition and they benefited from one-on-one meetings with working Casting Directors. AWM's Edie Hand had a hand in talent acquisition for this popular panel too!

Casting Directors Panel Included:

  • Chad Darnell from Atlanta
  • Megan Deusner, Birmingham Casting Director
  • Joke Silva, Nigerian Actress and has Acting Academy in Lagos
  • Melissa Skoff, California Casting Director
  • George Pierre, Casting Director

We Attended. We Listened. We Learned. And We Networked!

Many thanks to Nashville Women in Film & Television for including the AWM SoCal!



Created with images by Erica Lewis - "An instrument, is a tool or something that plays sound?" • Wonderlane - "Women recording video, of Tibetan Buddhist lama Dilgo Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche, Lotus Speech, First Nations Longhouse, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada" • René Ranisch - "behind the scenes with Cooper from Berlin " • CoWomen - "untitled image" • Erica Lewis - "Confusion can lead to great things." • René Ranisch - "behind the camera "