This year's Women In Media Holiday Toast kicked off with a surprise tribute. California Assembly woman, Wendy Carrillo, made a special appearance to present a California Legislature Assembly Certificate to Women In Media's founder. At the mic, Carillo stated, "On behalf of the 12th Assembly District, it is my honor to recognize you, Tema Staig, as the founder and Executive Director of Women In Media for your tireless efforts, promoting parity and gender balance in the film and entertainment industry. You have provided the tools and resources necessary to assist our community in realizing economic empowerment and reaching their fullest potential."
The festive Holiday Toast tribute and fundraiser is a prime example of the work Staig has been behind. Headlined by Diane Warren, who brought the house down, the Academy Award Winning songwriter performed her current hit “Applause” on guitar, accompanied by Sharon Farber on piano and 11-year-old powerhouse vocalist, Eden Kontesz.
In addition to Warren, WiM honorees included Executive Producer/Writer/Director Deborah Pratt (Quantum Leap), Oscar-winning Costume Designer Deborah L. Scott, (Avatar: The Way of Water, E.T., Titanic), Supervising Sound Editor Becky Sullivan (The Woman King), and Cinematographer/Camera Operator Michelle Crenshaw (The Ranch). The mimosa-fueled event was hosted with the generous support of Zach Sokoloff, Senior Vice President at Hackman Capital Partners and was held at the iconic Television City.
Each honoree was introduced by a colleague familiar with their storied careers as the packed house raised a glass in appreciation. Toast masters included Kimberly Jimenez, Senior Vice President, Post Production Services at Sony Entertainment, Emmy-winning cinematographer Johnny Simmons (Family Reunion, iCarly), Producer/Director/Writer Romell Foster-Owens, p.g.a. (President, Jowharah Films), and award-winning composer Sharon Farber (Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power). After the toasts, Tema Staig presided over a lively Q&A, where honorees shared experiences and wisdom to inspire others to make inroads in the industry.
The winter wonderland stage made a stunning environment for the hundreds of guests. Thanks to media partner Gurus Magazine, the red carpet was the place to be. Celebrity stylist and magazine entrepreneur Derek Warburton said, “It was an honor to be in a room with so many passionate women achieving their goals and fighting for equality.”
On the red carpet, style trailblazers Amanza Smith (Selling Sunset), Jai Rodriguez (Queer Eye For The Straight Guy), Chaley Rose (Nashville), and Kearran Giovanni (The Resident) served up the glitter and gloss. Right in step were Quantum Leap stars Raymond Lee, Mason Alexander Park, Caitlin Bassett, and Narisa Lee, all there to support honoree Deborah Pratt. Pretty Little Liars star, Troian Bellisario was on hand in support of her mother, honoree Deborah Pratt.
Women In Media promotes gender balance in the film and entertainment industries through networking, professional development, and advocacy for filmmakers who work above and below the line.