Panelists for the 14th annual Women in Focus Conference presented by Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts include Oscar-winning Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody, comedic actress Maya Rudolph, director/choreographer Anne Fletcher, Universal Pictures Co-Chairwoman Donna Langley, director/screenwriter Nancy Meyers and director Penelope Spheeris.
Free, open to the public but requiring an RSVP, the conference with a women-on-comedy theme is scheduled for Friday afternoon, April 12.
The event is to begin at 1:30 p.m. with participants screening clips from their work and discussing their experiences breaking into the industry. Dawn Taubin, a Dodge College professor of Public Relations and Advertising and former Warner Bros. Pictures marketing chief, is the panel moderator. A scholarship presentation and luncheon fill out the day before a formal networking mixer kicks off at 4:30 p.m. All events are in the Paul and Daranne Folino Theater in Marion Knott Studios, 283 N. Cypress Ave., Orange.
The announced panelists should have plenty of valuable insights to draw upon. Cody had been a stripper, journalist and novelist before her first screenplay became the surprising 2007 hit Juno, which was directed by Jason Reitman, starred Ellen Page and Michael Cera and won multiple awards. Cody (real name Brook Busey-Maurio) went on to develop the Showtime series The United States of Tara starring Toni Collette and write the script for the film Young Adult starring Charlize Theron. Cody has tweeted that her directorial debut, Paradise, hits theaters "soon."
Rudolph, who is the daughter of music producer/composer Richard Rudolph and the late singer Minnie Ripperton, is best known for being a cast member for years on Saturday Night Live and receiving an Emmy nomination when she returned to guest host. She is currently on the NBC sitcom Up All Night, was at the center of arguably the funniest scene in Bridesmaids and also appeared prominently in future cult classic Idiocracy.
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Other panelist credits: Fletcher (The Guilt Trip, The Proposal, 27 Dresses, Step Up), Langley (Identity Thief, Ted, Pitch Perfect, This is 40, Bridesmaids), Meyers (It's Complicated, The Holiday, Something's Gotta Give, What Women Want, The Parent Trap), Spheeris (Black Sheep, The Little Rascals, The Beverly Hillbillies, Wayne's World, The Decline of Western Civilization documentaries).
"The caliber of the women participating in this conference each year is simply astonishing," observes Bob Bassett, the Dodge College dean, in a Chapman statement. "For students to have the opportunity to experience their interactions with each other as they share and compare insights firsthand is an unmatched learning opportunity. We are always grateful that women with such incredible experience are willing to give back to the next generation in this very personal way."
Wanna go? RSVP here: www.chapman.edu/WIF.