In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, Variety once again praises the accomplishments of showbiz women around the world. Talent, success, and plenty of inspiration span this report, spanning across creative and business sectors. The women saluted here include Oscar and Emmy winners, as well as streaming executives and producers creating entertainment for audiences from South Korea and the United Kingdom and beyond. In this report, they share their remarkable accomplishments as well as goals for global creative women in the future.
The Women of Amazon Studios
Georgia Brown, Malu Miranda, Aparna Purohit
Head of Originals, Europe; Head of Originals, Brazil; Head of Originals, India
U.K., Brazil, India
Brown has overseen the launch of European Amazon original series including “We Children From Bahnhof Zoo,” “Mixte” and “Clarkson’s Farm” and original movies including “Anni da Cane” and “Le Bal des Folles.” As head of originals in Brazil, Miranda is in charge of its slate, including the series “All or Nothing: Brazil National Team” and “Soltos em Floripa.” She also recently led an overall deal with actors Lázaro Ramos and Ingrid Guimarães. Purohit says the team leaders talk frequently with each other to see what works so they can emulate it. She oversaw and launched Amazon Originals including 2018 Intl. Emmy nominee “Inside Edge,” “Paatal Lok” and “The Family Man.”
I’d love to work with:
Brown: “Nothing Lost, whose creators involved aren’t constrained by “how we do things.” They have been bold and created a world like no other – I would love to find more ideas like this, and work with people prepared to hold hands with us to do things differently.”
Purohit: “This is the renaissance of time where all barriers, of time, ethnicity, language, of region are just breaking ground. And you can enjoy stories from across the world. Just in India, the kind of consumption that we have for stories from different parts of the country is quite phenomenal.”
Advice for women entering the biz:
Miranda: “Be strong, steadfast and believe in yourself. It seems pretty corny and cliche, but I believe that if you have strong conviction and you can communicate that in your work, you will go far. Another thing I’d say is don’t accept the status quo, working at a big corporation or on a film set. I think questioning the status quo and always having a North star of what will actually make the project better and working backwards from your audience is a real path to success.”
CEO, EbonyLife Films
A true powerhouse player in African film and TV, Abudu’s pan-African EbonyLife TV network currently airs in nearly 5 countries, and her more recent film ventures have seen massive success including “The Wedding Party,” as well as deals with a who’s who of global entertainment giants. EbonyLife Films’ partnership with Netflix will see her productions “Death and the King’s Horseman” and “Blood Sisters” bow later this year, and she’s also pacted with Westbrook Studios, the BBC, Starz and others just over the past year.
A goal for 2022: “To get more African representation on the global stage.”
Zeinab Abu Alsamh
General Manager, MBC Studios
Abu Alsamh is arguably the most powerful exec (man or woman) in Arab TV and film with roughly 20 projects — both TV and film — in the pipeline at prominent pan-Arab broadcaster MBC, now at the forefront of the Saudi media industry boom. They include U.S. tentpoles, including Anthony Mackie-starrer “Desert Warrior,” which is budgeted north of $100 million. For a woman to be in her position in Saudi Arabia would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. “What has happened to empower us these past few years is beyond our own belief,” she says. “The vast changes in the workplace on a country level, the opportunities, and the transformation has been phenomenal.”
A region producing amazing content: “South Korea. Music, films, series — the country has captivated everyone’s attention.”
President, MGM International Television Productions, MGM
Joining MGM Studios as a Golden Globe and two-time Emmy-nominated producer, Bauer is responsible for launching the studios’ new Intl. Television Productions label. In slightly over a year on the job, she’s already brought seven projects to fruition, including “Shelter” for Amazon Studios. Other upcoming releases include “Billy the Kid” for EPIX and “Last Light” for Peacock and the NENT Group. Bauer sits on the Intl. Emmys and NATPE boards and is a member of the PGA and Primetime Emmys. Heading into 2022, her goal is to “continue developing and building great global series.”
Advice for women entering the biz: “Own your successes.”
Managing Director, Global Distribution, ITV Studios
By embracing the COVID disruption, Berry’s ITV Studio finished its year with 2,000 deals to more than 1,000 customers globally. A creative boom in 2021 led to her repping series including “Schitt’s Creek.” She also sold TF1’s “Balthazar” in 75 markets and the first-ever drama shot in archaic Latin (Cattleya’s “Romulus”) in over 44 territories. “I’m able to make an impact because of the fantastic executives who have sponsored and supported me,” she says.
I’d love to work with: “More diverse people to really broaden and deepen the way we think, behave and engage with the world we’re in.”
After a COVID-delayed launch, “No Time to Die” came in at No. 4 at the global box office in 2021, grossing $77.4 million. She started working on James Bond films by doing PR for 1977’s “The Spy Who Loved Me” and, after serving in a variety of functions, her father, Albert (Cubby) Broccoli, handed the reins to her and her half-brother, Michael G. Wilson, in 1995, when she became a producer with “GoldenEye.” A region producing amazing content: “Korea”
A region producing amazing content: “Korea”
As head of the union representing workers in the U.K.’s creative industries, Childs recently collaborated with BBC File on Four to survey Bectu members about their experiences with bullying and harassment. The survey results proved shocking, promoting Bectu to issue recommendations to address what she says is an endemic problem. Last year she was inspired to continue fighting for the rights of Bectu members after witnessing their resilience and creativity of union workers in the face of financial hardships posed when the pandemic caused productions, venues and events to shut down, especially since many workers fell between the cracks of government support programs.
Advice for women entering the biz: “Join a union, make a stand.”
The Women of The Crown
Suzanne Mackie, Oona O’Beirn
Executive Producer, Producer
With 21 Emmy Awards for “The Crown,” the women behind the scenes couldn’t be more proud of how far they’ve come. Mackie and O’Beirn, currently in the throes of Season 5 post-production and Season 6 planning, have each strongly listened to the advice they’ve been given through the years — and it’s worked. “It’s taken me years to realize the most important thing is to trust your voice, your ideas and your instincts,” says Mackie. O’Beirn, for her part, follows a tip Steve Jobs shared in a 2005 speech, during which he explained that one can only “connect the dots looking backwards.” With her background — working in production, as a researcher on a quiz show, on reality shows, on gardening programs — she says it may appear as “an unfocused career,” but in reality, “all of those ‘dots’ informed the sort of stories I like telling through drama today.”
Entertainment obsession right now:
Mackie: “I have recently started watching ‘Yellowjackets’ and I love its anarchic energy. A female lens on a survival story told with such verve and razor-sharp dark humor – I’m enthralled by it.”
O’Beirn: “’Queer Eye’ on Netflix. Shamefully, I only discovered it for the first time last year when a friend told me she liked my ‘french tuck’ and I had no idea what she meant. It is such an uplifting and moving show. I cry watching pretty much every episode. I think the hosts are fantastic and the casting of the heroes is superb. It is so much more than a makeover show.”
Although “The Lost Daughter” is only Colman’s most recent role in a string of successes, she says she’s never received so many messages in response to a project before. “Not just women, men too who recognized themselves,” Colman says. “And my women friends who have children, they almost ALL said, ‘I saw myself in moments.’” The project landed Colman her third Oscar nomination, reinforcing her reputation as one of Hollywood’s most versatile actors. As for how she decides what roles to take, she can’t quite explain it: “I don’t think I’m drawn to anything in particular, if the story grabs me, I’m in.”
A goal for 2022: “I’d like to keep working. I’d like people to keep enjoying working with me. If all else fails, I’d like to be good at pottery.”
Actress, writer, director
Cruz landed her fourth Oscar nomination for her acclaimed turn in Pedro Almodóvar’s “Parallel Mothers,” which also landed her the Volpi Cup for actress at the Venice Film Festival. It’s fitting that this role comes at a time when the actor says her priority is being a parent. “I love acting, but I don’t feel a need to be doing it all the time,” she told Variety. “I was one of those people who would wake up in the middle of the night to answer emails.” Next up, Cruz will appear in Michael Mann’s “Ferrari” and in Juan Diego Botto’s “On the Fringe,” in which she also serves as a producer.
Co-Head of Music, WME
Dickins is one of the first women to head a global music division out of London and since the pandemic hit, she’s helped tackle album campaign strategies “in a different light.” She spearheaded a virtual appearances group for agents to organize events such as Dua Lipa’s Guinness World Record-setting Studio 2054 livestream. “We pivoted to different departments like our music for visual media group,” says Dickins. “We also considered the backlog of material our artists had to work with when touring halted.” Among her 2021 highlights were watching Olivia Rodrigo “smash records” and helping Adele make a comeback, which she proudly witnessed alongside brother Jonathan Dickins, who manages the superstar. She says working with Adele has taught her “strength and truthfulness.”
I’d love to work with: “Anybody that inspires me. I love meeting new people.”
The Women of Disney+ Originals EMEA
Pauline Dauvin. Johanna Devereaux, Sofia Fábregas, Benjamina Mirnik-Voges
VP, Original Productions, France; Director, Scripted Content, EMEA; VP, Original Productions, Spain; VP, Original Productions, Germany
France, U.K., Spain, Germany
Recently Disney Plus announced a commitment to producing 60 original series in EMEA by 2024, and the company created an international unit that reports directly to Bob Chapek. Dauvin, Devereaux, Fábregas and Mirnik-Voges are all developing a slate of programs to bring this goal to life. So far, 22 series have already been announced from Europe. Among the shows are “Balenciaga” (Spain), “‘Weekend Family,” “Parallels,” and “Oussekine,” (all from France), “The Ignorant Angels” (Italy), as well as six UK originals that are currently in production including “Wedding Season,” “Culprits,” and “Extraordinary.”
“I think we’re all hankering after things that feel a bit more uplifting. We were about six months into the pandemic when we all said, ‘Oh, my God. We’re never going to make a pandemic show.’ So, I think we look for things that feel like they’re going to be unashamedly entertaining. We want to give people things that feel as if they’ll take you out of your day to day, give you something that feels — whether it’s a thriller, or as a comedy or something else — like it’s going to be a really big piece of entertainment. It’s going to be something bold and audacious that isn’t going to make you reflect on the woes of your life, that actually let you feel like, it’s a lot of fun. We want people to have fun when they watch our show.”
This team of women is behind a content commissioning strategy for Disney Plus that includes deep investment in local voices that represent diverse and rich new voices. Among the storytellers represented from across all of Europe are British actors Nathan Stewart-Jarrett and Shazad Latif, television writer Sally Wainwright, producer Stephen Garrett and helmer J Blakeson.
A goal for 2022:
Devereaux: “Spend more time at the theatre! The pandemic wreaked havoc on the West End, so it’s a huge relief to see theatres reopening. It’s been a time of significant creative development and reflection across all media: I’ve loved our drama development for Disney+ during the past two years, and I’m thrilled to see what new theatre is coming out of this period.”
Dauvin: “Deliver unparalleled creative shows”
Fábregas: “Making Spanish talent and content an international benchmark through Disney+.”
Mirnik-Voges: “On a personal side, I look forward to exploring and conquering Walt Disney World with my family this year and to checking out the new Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. And otherwise it will be a fantastic year to bring our large portfolio of developments to life.”
President, WarnerMedia EMEA and Asia (excluding China)
Dogra oversees WarnerMedia’s commercial and content operations across Europe and Asia, including programming, marketing and distribution of linear networks. She also leads the distribution of WarnerMedia’s US-produced content via theatrical exhibition, home entertainment and licensing to TV networks, and is responsible for programming and wholesale distribution for HBO Max. Under her purview, WarnerMedia’s content across Europe and Asia has earned multiple awards, including a Peabody Award and Oscar nominations for “Collective” and multiple Feroz Awards for “Venga Juan”. Local series “Me Contro Te — Il Mistero Dell Scuola” (Italy) and “A Todo Tren” (Spain) were the highest-grossing local-production titles of 2021 in their respective markets. Upcoming for her: “Lust,” which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival Series section, and “García!,” a Spanish-language series.
A goal for 2022: “Continue to champion the immense skill, knowledge and passion our local teams across EMEA and Asia have for storytelling.”
Google Nigeria Country Manager
Google’s director for West Africa has played a pivotal role in spearheading efforts by the tech giant to bolster the continent’s booming music biz, working with recording artists “to make sure their content comes online and is available for consumption,” she says. From Google-backed projects like the $100 million YouTube Black Voices Fund aimed at spotlighting Black artists to the company’s support for independent initiatives including emPawa, a support system and distribution platform for African talents, Ehimuan is helping the company use its digital muscle to empower and amplify African voices. “We want to help [artists] leverage digital platforms to showcase their work,” she says.
A goal for 2022: “Be part of enabling more African start-ups to become global players.”
Co-Founder and CCO, SISTER
One of the biggest moves for the up-and-coming Sister, which formed at the start of the pandemic, has been to finally get the U.S. and U.K. teams together, says Featherstone. The indie studio’s recent input includes limited Sky/HBO series “Landscapers” (with Oscar-winner Olivia Colman) and “This Is Going to Hurt” (from Adam McKay), coming to AMC in 2022. Both projects were shot mid-pandemic. “We have a responsibility to throw the ladder down and bring up the next generation,” she says.
A region producing amazing content: “Japan, with ‘Drive My Car.’”
The work of the Italian writer whose nom du plume is Elena Ferrante developed into a global phenomenon with the 2015 release of “The Story of a New Name,” the third installment in the “Neapolitan Novel” quartet. As her translator Ann Goldstein describes it, Ferrante’s novels have a universality and emotional depth that makes them relatable to a global audience of readers. Her 2006 book “The Lost Daughter” was adapted into Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Oscar-nominated directorial debut, and her Neapolitan Novels inspired Italian television series “My Brilliant Friend,” which bowed its third season in February. Ferrante fever isn’t dying any time soon; Netflix announced in 2020 that it ordered a TV adaptation of her most recent book, “The Lying Life of Adults.”
EVP, Television Distribution, Endeavor Content
Fraser has earned global success with “Normal People” and upcoming projects include another Sally Rooney adaptation, “Conversations With Friends,” plus Season 4 of “Killing Eve.” The company is also branching out with high-end nonscripted works, such as Campfire’s feature documentary “We Work: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn” and the Lightbox crime series “The Curse of the Chippendales.”
A goal for 2022: “Travel more! Lockdown has been a real change in routine and I’m excited to get on the road for work and play again.”
Director, BBC Film
With “The Power of the Dog” nabbing 12 Academy Award nominations spanning 11 categories, Garnett’s team is celebrating their role in developing and backing the film, which also raked in BAFTA nominations along with other BBC Film-backed projects including Aleem Khan’s “After Love,” Clio Barnard’s “Ali & Ava” and Andrea Arnold’s “Cow.” Garnett, who appreciates working with bold, imaginative storytellers, loved that Steve McQueen’s “Small Axe” anthology received international recognition as an iconic British work. She says her team’s unique multi-platform launch of Debbie Tucker Green’s “Ear for Eye” at the BFI London Film Festival and on BBC Two was another highlight of her year.
Entertainment obsession right now: “The new season of ‘Storyville,’ the BBC’s award-winning strand of international documentaries.”
Co-Founder and President, BRON
Gilbert co-founded BRON in 2010 with her husband, Aaron. Their company has produced some of cinema’s leading films in recent years — including “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “House of Gucci” and “Licorice Pizza.” “It’s a pretty cool feeling to see the BRON name on these films that we’re in partnership with. Quite candidly, if you asked me almost 12 years ago, in October 2010 [when] we officially opened the doors of BRON, this would be like a dream come true. It still feels like it’s quite surreal,” Gilbert told Variety. She hopes BRON content can spark important conversations around the world. “We’re hoping that these stories resonate with global audiences.”
Advice for women entering the biz: “I want to be a good role model for people that look like me, and also for them to realize that… you can do it. Will take some time. Yes. Will you fall down? Yes. Will you think of yourself as a failure from time to time? Yes. But the key is to always get up. And also make sure you surround yourself with very supportive people that believe in the same vision that you do.”
K-pop branding and design innovator Hee-jin was the chief brand officer at Hybe, the multi-faceted entertainment company behind global superstars BTS and rising stars Tomorrow X Together, but in November was appointed CEO of Hybe’s newest indie label, ADOR, an acronym for All Doors One Room. Hee-jin, credited with reinventing the concept of “concepts,” and a new era of girl groups with Girls’ Generation, then SHINee and EXO, will be launching ADOR’s new girl group in 2022. Global auditions just ended in January, calling for talent born between 2002 and 2010 “regardless of nationality and gender.” The girl group is first. “I’m someone who looks forward to collaborating with individuals who are not as widely known or remain undiscovered,” says Hee-jin.
A region producing amazing content: “Korea. I can feel that the global spotlight is currently on Korean content right now for a multitude of reasons.”
Influential producing veteran Hermida has served as EP and production manager on some of Spain’s most successful films and television shows, such as “Carmina y Amén,” “Arde Madrid” as well as “Way Down,” 2021’s highest-grossing opening for a Spanish film in Spain. She released “Fever Dream” on Netflix as an executive producer for the Claudia Llosa film and has produced upcoming Netflix projects “The Girl in the Mirror” and the Paco Leon-directed “Rainbow.” She is currently editing Alauda Ruiz de Azua’s “Lullaby,” which premiered at the recent Berlin Film Festival.
Advice for women entering the biz: “Find stories to tell that represent you, that represent all of us.”
The Women of ICM Music
Beckie Sugden, Sally Dunstone
Dunstone — nominated for the IQ New Boss Award in 2020 — continues her boss accomplishments at Primary Talent Intl. after spending six years at X-ray Touring, she joined PTI last March, bringing with her a roster comprised of Jack Harlow, Rina Sawayama, Kelly Lee Owens, Places+Faces, Maxo Kream, and more. Harlow, who has been nominated for a 2022 Grammy, headlined a stage at Reading and Leeds festivals last summer and his own show at London’s 02 Forum Kentish Town. Sawayama received a nomination for 2021 BRIT Awards Rising Star and wrapped up the year with a UK headline tour with a pair of shows in London (she’ll also appear in John Wick: Chapter 4). This year, Places+Faces is launching their own festival in Lisbon and Harlow returns to Reading/Leeds on the main stage this time, as well as Lolla Paris and Stockholm. “I have the fortune of working alongside a number of incredibly talented artists and their wider teams,” she says.
Sugden, whose long-time client Anderson .Paak played drums on the Super Bowl halftime show, is a rockstar herself. When the pandemic decimated the concert industry, she trained with St. John Ambulance to become a volunteer vaccinator, “one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” she says. Sugden was hired last summer by ICM after almost seven years with X-ray Touring. Her solid and eclectic roster includes Russ, Noname, Mick Jenkins, T-Pain, Ghostemane, Mac Ayres, Soulection, Joe Kay and more. Paak. “I found that volunteering during the pandemic really helped me grow as a person and was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” she says, “so I don’t want to let go of this because I’ve become busy again.”
I’d love to work with:
Dunstone: “I would love to continue working with a creative and diverse roster of acts who are surrounded by people who are passionate and focussed on bringing the most for their clients.”
Sugden: “Without question it would be Prince. He was almost an alien on this planet, his talent was so great it seemed a burden. Watching Prince is the definition of watching someone do what they were born to do. I feel honored I got to see him perform. He was a pioneer, a character, and an unrivaled and prolific talent, what agent wouldn’t want to work with an artist like that!”
Orly Atlas Katz
CEO, Ananey, EVP Paramount Israel
As CEO of Ananey and executive vice president of Paramount Israel, Atlas Katz has shepherded a myriad of high-profile projects for the joint company’s global content pipeline. In 2021, the Tel Aviv-based Atlas Katz rolled out the comic adventure series “Spyders,” a Nickelodeon co-production, to over 130 countries, including the U.K., Australia, Spain and Brazil. Under Atlas Katz’s leadership, Ananey’s series “Rising” won several Israel Kids Television Academy Awards. “Lucky for me, Paramount Plus [formerly branded ViacomCBS] is really all about diversity and inclusion,” says Atlas Katz. “They are always working to promote women. My senior management team is 75% women. Which is not by mistake. It’s just that they are the best in everything.”
A goal for 2022: “To have Israeli content all over the place — Israeli drama, Israeli kids shows.”
Founder, MOBO Awards
King founded the MOBO Organization in 1996 to recognize the achievements of artists performing in genres such as gospel, jazz, rhythm and blues, soul, reggae and hip hop, with the company playing an instrumental role in elevating Black music and culture to mainstream popular status in the U.K. The annual MOBO Awards has become one of the most televised music shows in the world and showcases the best British and international urban music talent. “Having spent the bigger part of my life celebrating others, it is very humbling and unexpected to be recognized myself alongside so many incredible achievers,” King says.
A goal for 2022: “For our new career networking platform, Mobolise, to become the No. 1 resource for recruiting and supporting Black talent across creative, tech and other industries.”
Talent Agent, Founder, Managing Director – Artists Rights Group (ARG)
Latimer started ARG in 2001, with the company becoming known for highly individualized personal management, identifying new talent and building and sustaining successful careers. “Any personal recognition within the industry is first and foremost the appreciation of the brilliant work of my clients. My team and I are privileged to work collaboratively alongside them,” she says. Latimer recently negotiated Daniel Radcliffe and other “Harry Potter” cast member’s deals for HBO Max’s “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts,” as well as for Imelda Staunton and Lesley Manville to appear in the final two seasons of Netflix’s “The Crown.”
Advice for women entering the biz: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You are as important as everyone else in the room. Build up a mutual trust and respect with your clients and buyers, which should see you through the most difficult situations.”
Agent, Music – UTA
Law started at UTA in April after almost a decade with Echo Location Talent Agency (which UTA purchased), bringing her electronic music expertise — and roster. Stationed out of the London office, the Australian native reps such top draws as Diplo, Major Lazer, Dillon Francis, Artwork, Cashmere Cat, Flosstradamus, Lunice, Martelo and Silk City. She’s also part of the global team which put together the first headlining world tour for Australia’s The Kid LAROI, which sold-out. Law has also been busy booking Diplo’s Q1 tour and summer festival stages for his Higher Ground label signings. An integral part of Major Lazer’s rise, she has them headlining at such key summer festivals as Portugal’s MEO Sudoeste, Norway’s Stavern Festival, Finland’s Ruisrock and Belgium’s Tomorrowland. Law can’t wait to travel after such a long hiatus. “I want to dance to Diplo in Mykonos, stay awake all night in too-high heels with Artwork at Pikes in Ibiza,” she says.
A region producing amazing content: “South Africa. I absolutely love the amapiano scene. Major League Djz’s Balcony Mixes are life.”
Actress, Writer, Director
In a male-dominated Chinese filmmaking industry, Jia Ling beat all odds, emerging as the world’s highest-grossing female director for a single film. “Hi, Mom” became the first film launched by a female director during the competitive Chinese New Year festive period and went on to achieve 5.4 billion yuan (US$830 million) in total box office earnings, outperforming Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman.” The family-oriented film pays tribute to Jia’s mother and is her maiden project as a director, which she also produced and starred in. Jia shared in a heartfelt interview, “With my mother gone, I don’t think I’ll ever be happy. It’ll always feel as though something’s missing, like life is incomplete.” She adds, “Good thing before she [Jia’s mother] left, she knew I attended the [crosstalk] academy, did crosstalk and acting, otherwise she wouldn’t know what my career’s about, that’s scary.” Jia enrolled in a crosstalk course and struggled to make ends meet after her mother’s passing. The gender inequality experienced throughout her comedy career was also evident. She revealed in 2019 that crosstalk theaters had no women’s changing rooms. Yet, she slowly inched her way into the crosstalk network, appearing in contests and TV shows, eventually establishing her own comedy troupe with performances country-wide.
Esther Martínez Lobato
Writer, Producer, Showrunner – “Money Heist”
Lobato’s “Money Heist” proved that foreign-language fare can easily steal the thunder of English-language shows. In December, the Emmy-winning Netflix Spanish drama racked up an impressive 190 million total viewing hours. Lobato and co-creator Alex Pina are currently working on a “Money Heist” spinoff titled “Berlin” and the second season of “Sky Rojo.” “Right now, we television writers have a very relevant social task,” Lobato says. “More than ever before, we must promote social thinking. I think it is a tool to put some things forward to society and to eliminate others. Maybe that is the reason why, in every series I have worked on, I have strived to place strong, brave women in the eye of the storm.”
Advice for women entering the biz: “You’re allowed to do it, and you’re allowed to fail. Don’t rush. First, take an unhurried look around.”
SVP, International Co-Productions & Development, CBS Studios
Lyvers focuses on premium scripted series that travel to a broader global audience through their rich themes, diverse characters and relevant stories. “The international business is vastly different than other areas of entertainment, and requires a certain mix of curiosity, fearlessness, humility and a genuine entrepreneurial spirit,” she says. Upcoming 2022 projects include “Bestseller Boy,” its first original Dutch drama; “Ze Network,” the first project under the international first-look agreement with Syrreal Entertainment, starring David Hasselhoff; and “Munich Match,” which is in production. “The interest in international storytelling is gratifying for all of us who so deeply believe in this work.”
A region producing amazing content: “Africa.”
CEO, Channel 4
Under Mahon’s guidance, Channel 4, which turns 40 later this year, saw top line growth over 20% and generated an operating surplus in excess of £100 million ($134 million). Its All 4 streaming service remains the biggest free streamer in the U.K., boasting the same young audience profile as Netflix. That, plus the fact that 19% of its total revenue comes from digital advertising, means Channel 4 is well on its way to transforming from a linear to a streaming broadcaster. That growth came from leveraging its experience, expertise and understanding of its audience as it progresses into the digital age.
Advice for women entering the biz: “Be direct, be honest, always deliver and call out sexism and prejudice wherever you see it.”
Founder, CEO – Arna Media
A veteran Russian distributor through her past stewardship of Capella Film, Motina’s newly minted Arna Media is making waves. With deals in place to distribute Sundance hit “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande” and Oliver Stone’s “JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass” this year, she’s also developing a Russian remake of Thomas Vinterberg’s Oscar-winning “Another Round” through a partnership with Mars Media. As much as she has her eye on international cinema, Motina aims to keep a spotlight on Russian filmmaking too. “We create globally recognized content with strong international potential,” she says.
A goal for 2022: “To produce my first feature film, turn Arna Media into a strong independent distributor with a brilliant team, distribute at least four theatrical B.O. hits and make a good deal with Netflix.”
Director, Content – BBC
Moore’s decision to introduce an iPlayer-first commissioning strategy last year proved wise. Her team delivered both in the U.K. and abroad with a wide assortment of award-winning hits and genre-busting events, from iPlayer’s biggest show of the year, “Line of Duty,” to David Attenborough’s “The Green Planet.” As productive as last year was, Moore is already working hard to ensure the BBC’s centenary, 2022, will be filled with exciting and noteworthy content that positions it for the century ahead.
I’d love to work with: “The brightest and most exciting new talent who are emerging across the U.K. today.”
Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, SISTER
The 14-year vet of Shine leads her new venture (with Jane Featherstone and Stacey Snider) into a fresh indie project mission that spans media and includes podcast producer Campside, animation studio Locksmith and live music venue KOKO. “One of our most important impacts is the creative pipeline we’re building,” she says. Successes such as HBO’s “Landscapers” build on upcoming projects: “The Following Events Are Based on a Pack of Lies” (BBC) and “The Power” (Amazon).
Advice for women entering the biz: “Take your seat at the table, and make room for others.”
Negga has no shortage of great performances under her belt: her early work in Shakespeare plays for National Theatre London, her volatile performance as Tulip in AMC’s “Preacher,” and her Oscar-nominated turn in the biopic “Loving.” But in “Passing,” Rebecca Hall’s 2021 directorial debut, Negga has received arguably the most attention and acclaim of her career for her work as Clare, a light-skinned Black woman who passes as white and marries a White man. As written in the original Nella Larsen novel the film is based on, Clare is an enigmatic person, and Negga gives her a dimensionality and a charged relationship with her friend Irene (Tessa Thompson) that invites the audience to consider her motivations long after the closing credits. “It’s a very special project for me, I love talking about it,” Negga says. “This is kind of what one dreams about when one is in drama school, when one’s a kid, to be able to be a part of something that I think is a really important film.” Next up for the Irish actor is her Broadway debut, as Lady Macbeth opposite Daniel Craig in a production of the Shakespeare play from director Sam Gold set to premiere this spring.
A goal for 2022: “I’m going to be doing a play on Broadway, and plays are hard. They require a different sort of energy and strength and focus. So for me, it’s about staying in balance as much as possible and having a really healthy equilibrium in life because you need your physical and emotional energies to be really full. It’s about looking after your instrument, which is yourself, both physically, mentally and emotionally. So that’s what I’m willing for myself this year.”
The Women of Netflix
Eleonora “Tinny” Andreatta, Minyoung Kim, Kelly Luegenbiehl, Monika Shergill, Elisabetta Zenatti
VP, Italian Language Series; VP, Content, APAC (excluding India); VP, Spectacle (Universes); VP, Content, India; VP, Content, Brazil
Italy, Singapore, U.K., India, Brazil
Kim heads Netflix’s content creation in not only South Korea but also Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. She intends to expand on the success of South Korea from where some of the most exciting series are coming including “Squid Game.” Shergill has been successful in finding great content in different languages in India. The Marathi-language film “The Disciple” won at Venice in 2020 and in 2021, “Minnal Murali” premiered. The Malayalam film was in the global Top 10 list for non-English films and in the Top 10 in 30 countries on Netflix. Luegenbiehl is also looking for great content around the world and trying to expand on the success of “Witcher.” Andreatta joined Netflix in 2020 from RAI, where she shepherded the hit “My Brilliant Friend.” Zenatti in Brazil announced its 2022 slate, which includes limited series “Todo Dia a Mesma Noite.” All these women are keen on finding diverse voices to magnify.
Advice to women entering the biz:
Kim: “You be you. Don’t be afraid to be bold, be different, and stand by your thoughts and ask for what you deserve. And when you have achieved it, make sure you become an ally to others who need the support.”
Entertainment obsession right now:
Luegenbiehl: “‘Yellowjackets’ so many wonderful and different female stories all rolled into one show and with a ’90s soundtrack to boot, what’s not to love!.”
I’d love to work with:
Andreatta: “I love to collaborate again with Alice Rohrbacher with whom she worked on ‘My Brilliant Friend.’ Her portrayals of rural life and simple people are also a cry of pain for an Italy that is disappearing and for a way of perceiving things, the world in which we live and that lives within us, the secret pulse of nature that we risk no longer hearing or perhaps even destroying.”
A goal for 2022:
Zenatti: “Be ready to innovate and change as we learn and bring more Brazilian voices and perspectives to the screen.”
A region producing amazing content:
Shergill: “Korea! I am proud and honored to work with our incredible team in Korea. Every day they prove that great stories are universal and that they can come from anywhere. South Korean culture has left an indelible mark on people across the world. The ever-growing fandom for Korean stories and characters in India, from ‘Squid Game’ to ‘All of Us Are Dead,’ is testament to that.”
Creator, Writer, Executive Producer – “Sex Education”
British comedy-drama “Sex Education” has touched the hearts of viewers around the world, and was renewed in September for a fourth season on Netflix. Creator and writer Nunn says she enjoys blending “Sex Education’s” comedy and drama. “[It’s] how I like to write but it’s also the stories that I love to watch myself. I think when things feel both funny and sad [you can] really sort of tap into that human experience.” Nunn also credits the show’s popularity to “something very universal about a teenage experience.”
Entertainment obsession right now: “The last series of ‘Insecure’ — it’s been amazing to watch that come to the conclusion.”
Global Head of Editorial, Spotify
When Ong was hired by SonyBMG in 2004, she vowed to make it easier for other people of color to succeed. “There was no one who looked like me earlier in my career. I was lucky to find people who hired me and promised myself if I ever achieved a position of influence, I’d [help] clear a path for others,” says Ong, a Chinese Persian, who’s now using her hiring power to enrich Spotify with greater diversity. “The fact the music team’s diverse means it’s reflected in the work. We’re committed to featuring diverse voices in our playlists and campaigns.” Ong, who speaks four languages, has led programs including Radar (for global emerging artists) and Equal (which highlights women) and campaigns for the Spice Girls and Ed Sheeran, who earned a No. 1 global debut.
A region producing amazing content: “Africa. From Afrobeats to amapiano, the influence and success is being felt across the world and in mainstream culture.”
Co-founder, Inkblot Studios
Oyibo and co-founders Naz Onuzo and Damola Ademola launched Inkblot Studios in 2010. A decade later, Inkblot has produced two of the three highest-grossing Nigerian films of all time, and along with a commission for a Netflix original series, the company last year became the first African studio to sign a pact with Amazon Prime Video. Such recognition is validation of a long journey, Oyibo admits, while adding: “We have so much more to tell.”
I’d love to work with: “Ava DuVernay.”
Producer, “Nevenka: Breaking the Silence”
When Spain-based journalist Pastor founded production house Newtral in 2018 she had a specific goal: to make a doc about Nevenka Fernández — the plaintiff in Spain’s first successful 2001 lawsuit against a politician for sexual harassment. “I wanted to know who that brave woman was,” says Pastor. “As a journalist, I felt as if I owed her a debt. As if our society owed her a debt.” The result is the 2021 Netflix docuseries “Nevenka: Breaking the Silence,” which Pastor produced. The series features Fernández speaking candidly about the scandal. “I wanted to dive deeper into what happened,” says Pastor. “A documentary provided the right tools to accurately portray the pressure suffered by victims like Nevenka, when society and most of the media prefer to believe the aggressor instead of the victim.”
A goal for 2022: “That Newtral becomes an international reference for documentaries on social issues with new stories that capture new audiences.”
The Women of Paramount
Laura Abril, Georgia Arnold
Senior VP and Head of VIS EMEA and Asia; Executive Director, MTV Staying Alive Foundation
Head of VIS Social Impact; SVP, Social Responsibility
Leading the way in socially impactful content and international expansion, these women have made huge strides in recent years. Abril guides the strategy of leading global Spanish-language content creator VIS in EMEA and Asia, securing international co-productions such as the first Paramount Plus Italy original “Miss Fallaci takes America.” In 2021, Arnold oversaw socially responsible initiatives such as the MTV Staying Alive Foundation and its drama series “MTV Shuga,” which were shown by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) to have a tangible impact in 2021. The school’s study showed that young people who watched the series were twice as likely to get tested for HIV. “There is a methodology in the way that we create content and it starts with centering the audience right at the heart of everything we do,” says Arnold.
Advice for women entering the biz:
Abril: “Dream high, work hard, surround yourself with good and diversified talent.”
Entertainment obsession right now:
Arnold: “Euphoria, Downton Abbey.”
Managing Director, International Production, ITV Studios
In just her first year on the job, Perrin oversaw 20 production companies spread across 11 countries, all under the ITV Studio umbrella. Some of her projects included new scripted premium series in Spain and Germany. ITV Studios’ international series including “Summertime” and “Suburra” for Netflix, and “Citadel” for Amazon, also found fresh audiences across multiple distributors. The top-rated “Balthazar” was distributed across 75 markets. Perrin brought established producers Moritz Polter and Arturo Diaz in to work with the company and says she “can’t wait to see their first commissions come to fruition.” She looks forward to continuing to work with top talent ahead.
Entertainment obsession right now: “Guilty pleasure: ‘Love Island.’”
The Women of Power of the Dog
Jane Campion, Tanya Seghatchian, Ari Wegner
Writer and Director, Producer, Cinematographer
New Zealand, U.K., Australia
Will “The Power of the Dog” power its way to Oscar glory? The Netflix film is eligible for 12 statuettes at the 94th Academy Awards on March 27, many for the contributions of women. Campion brings gold pedigree to the table as the first female director to win Cannes’ Palme d’Or for 1993’s “The Piano.” She also received two Oscar noms for that drama — director and screenplay, and won for writing. Pundits say she could receive kudos in both categories this year for “Power,” plus share a producer honor alongside Seghatchian for best picture. Seghatchian worked with Campion on getting book rights for the “Power,” securing funding and supporting the director on the set every day during its New Zealand shoot. An Oscar salute for Wegner’s evocative cinematography would reward a career spanning shorts, docs, TV and features.
A goal for 2022:
Campion: “To stop cackling in interviews. I’m quite witch enough!”
I’d love to work with:
Sethatchian: “If I had the chance to produce for Paul Thomas Anderson or Sofia Coppola, I’d be over the moon.”
Advice for women entering the biz:
Wegner: “Learning from mentors is amazing, but growing and learning together by doing and helping each other out is the best film school there is.”
Director of Creative Diversity, BBC
Working in the industry for more than 20 years as an on-camera presenter, Sarpong has established herself as a well-known face on television. Now, in a newly created position for the BBC, she’s working to disburse its $134 million investment into a variety of diverse programming, an amount that swelled with an additional $16 million earmarked for radio. Sarpong urges young women to understand their valuable perspectives are “the best antidote to imposter syndrome.” Sarpong has been recognized as first a Member and then Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her contributions to broadcasting.
Entertainment obsession right now: “‘The Tourist’ on BBC iPlayer.”
Schrader’s “I’m Your Man” was a hit coming out of the 2021 Berlin Film Festival, where the film’s star, Maren Eggert, won the actress prize. The film earned a spot on the Oscar international film shortlist. Schrader, who’s also a veteran actor, won a directing Emmy in 2020 for “Unorthodox,” and tackles a hot-button issue in “She Said,” the dramatization of the New York Times’ sexual harassment investigation that took down Harvey Weinstein and sparked the #MeToo movement. Starring Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan, it promises to put her back in the awards season mix next year.
Writer, Director, Producer – “AlRawabi School for Girls”
Shomali created, wrote and directed groundbreaking Netflix Arabic Original “AlRawabi School for Girls,” about a group of high school girls in Jordan who plot revenge on a trio of student bullies. The show portraying violence, including sexual violence, against women and patriarchy in Arab society, reached No. 1 regionally on the platform in 2021 and made the top 10 in several other territories. There are no other women content creators in Jordan like Shomali, who says she has “learned the hard way,” that “some men and even women at times don’t really like to take directions from women,” so that women have to “double the time and effort to get somewhere, but in the end we get there.”
Advice for women entering the biz: “Fasten your seat belts, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride, but the journey is so worth it.”
Shortland did the unimaginable in 2018 when she turned down an offer to helm Marvel’s “Black Widow.” Eventually, the film’s star, Scarlett Johansson, who loved the director’s 2017 film “Lore,” convinced Shortland to take on the project. “I got hooked on the idea of trying to tell a really personal, intimate story in amongst so much beauty and spectacle,” the director told Variety in July. “When I really decided that I wanted to do it, I decided 150% — like, I never wanted to do anything as much as this, in a way. It was strange.” Before “Black Widow” Shortland had made three feature films which earned a combined $4.2 million worldwide. “Black Widow,” which opened in July 2021 after several COVID-19 related postponements, grossed $80 million in theaters during its opening weekend and more than $125 million on streaming.
Soldi was recently appointed president of mammoth Italian state broadcaster RAI after proving her managing mettle as CEO of Discovery Italia. There she drove growth so much that the Italian market for Discovery became second only to the U.S. Now her gargantuan task is to reposition the pubcaster amid the disruption from linear to the digital world. Soldi notes that previous RAI presidents have been women, so this in itself is not a novelty. But “in a country where one third of the population thinks work and expertise are men’s stuff [according to Istat, the national statistics office], RAI has a great opportunity to be the change we want to see,” she says.
Entertainment obsession right now: “Two pop music obsessions and a series: Adele, whose music and shows give me goosebumps. A woman for whom transformation is the order of the day. And [Italian pop stars] Mahmood and Blanco who are the winners of this year’s San Remo song festival – won last year by Måneskin. ‘My Brilliant Friend’ is my series obsession, I loved Elena Ferrante’s the books and find the show’s third season currently playing on RAI, poetic dramatic and beautifully acted.”
The Women of Squid Game
Jung Ho-yeon, Kim Ji-yeon, Kim Joo-ryoung
Actor; CEO, Siren Pictures; Executive Producer; Actor
It’s hard to overstate the gargantuan success of “Squid Game” and its actors. Jung, who plays the stone-faced North Korean defector Kang Sae-byeok, gained 23 million Instagram followers in just a few months and won a SAG Award in February. “I felt a little scared, because too much was happening outside of my expectations,” the model-turned-actor says. But she and seasoned castmate Kim Joo-ryoung have taken well to the spotlight, and both say they are staying focused on their work. “I feel like I still have a long way to go,” Kim says. As for what made the show so successful in the first place, exec producer Kim Ji-yeon says it’s the “euri,” a Korean word for ride-or-die loyalty, that the characters show to one another as they make unthinkable sacrifices, including their own lives. “This is a story that we have often seen depicted in the world of men,” Kim says, “but not so much among female characters.”
Advice for women entering the biz:
Kim: “When we are in the production and planning process of creating content, there are going to be moments when you feel lost, moments that feel very abstract, almost as if you were swimming in darkness. And my advice would be to remember to hang in those many moments that feel like you’re swimming in darkness and be sure to do your best to make wise decisions and toughen up.”
Jung: “I would like to say to the women who are coming into this industry that it’s OK for you to be yourself and you should love yourself, and it’s going to be fine.”
Kim: “So this is not just for young women, this is for people of all genders. I really want to tell them: you are doing a good job. I mean, I really want to tell them that they should tell themselves that they’re doing a good job. That kind of belief in themselves is a big power engine behind everything they do. So I want to tell them that they should be boosted up all the time and this is going to work in their favor.”
SVP, Studio Operations – Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden
Simply keeping the lights on during the past two years of pandemic-related uncertainty would be a tall enough order for any studio operations exec, but Stillman has done much more at Warner Bros. Leavesden studio in Watford, including establishing the first permanent childcare facility for employees on a U.K. studio lot, developing an apprenticeship program as part of the studio’s DE&I efforts, and opening the virtual production V Stage, all the while keeping the facility running at full capacity. Stillman’s priorities going forward? Nurturing “access to mental health and well-being support for all, and to keep flying the flag for childcare in the workplace,” she says.
A region producing amazing content: “I am loving the content coming out of the Nordics – fantastic TV, interesting indie films. I particularly love Renate Reinsve’s spectacular performance in ‘The Worst Person in the World.'”
The Women of Succession
Hiam Abbass, Lucy Prebble, Georgia Pritchett, Sarah Snook, Jane Tranter, Harriet Walter
Actor, Executive Producer, Co-Executive Producer, Actor, Executive Producer, Actor
France, U.K., U.K., Australia, U.K., U.K.
“Succession” brought together some of the most formidable women in the industry to make a watershed show that presents fully rendered female characters that don’t shrink from power plays or confrontations. The series’ formidability was recently celebrated by the 2022 Critics’ Choice Awards, dominating the TV category with eight noms including drama and J. Smith-Cameron and Snook for supporting actress. Snook also took home supporting actress from this year’s Golden Globes for her role as Shiv Roy. The ensemble won a SAG Award in February. Abbass, known for playing complex and imperfect women, has brought her powerful presence to her character Marcia Roy. Walter, who was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 2011, gave matriarch Caroline Collingwood a biting and showy presence. Executive producer Tranter has long advocated for powerful female roles and is now an Emmy-winner for her work on “Succession.” Prebble, known for her plays “Enron” and “A Very Expensive Poison,” brought the same keen insights into power struggles to “Succession.” Pritchett can move easily from the drama of family struggles to the comedy about the political process and has won four Emmys for her work on “Succession” and “Veep.”
Advice for women entering the biz:
Snook: “Know your center. And look after it. You need an anchor point.”
Tranter: “Don’t give up – keep going. It’s the responsibility of our industry to ensure that women can work through all ages and events in their lives in the same way that men can. The encouragement that we should give women when starting out needs to be matched by the less fashionable middle and later years. We will work together to make it so.”
Prebble: “I have no advice for young women entering the biz. I have advice for older men who have been in the biz for a while which is, don’t try and sleep with them.”
Walter: “It’s the same advice I have for everyone including myself: ‘Get out there and talk to people from different backgrounds, ages and experiences. Run from the echo chamber and listen. It will sharpen your ideas and your aims.'”
Pritchett: “Write all the time – you learn something from every line you write and every character you create.”
General Manager EMEA, HBO Max
Since being promoted to lead HBO Max across EMEA, Sulebakk has guided the platform launch in the Nordics and Spain, while overseeing the performance of HBO streaming services in 14 European territories, along with upgrading them to HBO Max. She’ll also be coordinating the launch of HBO Max in seven European countries where WarnerMedia hasn’t had a DTC presence before, including Netherlands, Turkey and Greece. “It’s an honor to be recognized as it is to lead HBO Max and our talented team in Europe. I can’t think of a more exciting and limitless time to work in the entertainment industry.”
A goal for 2022: “To launch and grow HBO Max in 21 additional European countries this year, taking the platform to 27 across Europe, and preparing for more to come in 2023.”
The Women of Ted Lasso
Juno Temple, Hannah Waddingham
In addition to winning viewers’ hearts with the unlikely friendship between Keely and Rebecca, Temple and Waddingham both landed Emmy and SAG Award noms — with Waddingham taking home the Emmy in September, and the ensemble winning SAG in February. Playing smart, complex women doesn’t seem to be a stretch for the pair, who both embraced being a “Boss Ass Bitch” in Season 2. In addition to Season 3 of “Ted Lasso,” due later this year, Waddingham is set to appear in “Hocus Pocus 2” while Temple has a role in “The Offer,” the Paramount Plus series about the making of “The Godfather.”
Advice for women entering the biz:
Temple: “This industry is intense but there is space for all of us — women are such extraordinary creatures, and we owe it to ourselves to support one another and not be pitted against each other.”
Waddingham: “Know your own mind and celebrate it, knuckle down, and go the extra mile. Whether it’s a low or high paid gig, bring your best, every single minute. Be kind, considerate and present with all who cross your path, not just the big wigs!”
Temilade Openiyi, known as Tems, didn’t sit around waiting for opportunities to land in her lap. “I was tired of waiting for help, so I taught myself the production skills I needed to make a song,” the Nigerian musician says. The singer, songwriter and producer landed in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 in 2021, first with her Drake collab “Fountains” (from his record Certified Lover Boy) and again after featuring on Wizkid’s single “Essence,” which was remixed by Justin Bieber. The track’s nominated for global music performance at the upcoming Grammy Awards. “Essence” also took off on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, boosting the growing spotlight on Afrobeats.
Turton leads and collaborates with a team of accomplished women across senior management in the U.K. and the U.S. She is at the forefront of D&I and training across the group, with initiatives including Step-Up programs, screenwriters’ bursaries, production accountants’ programs and directing and shadowing opportunities. “The market for high-quality content has never been stronger — more buyers, a thriving global marketplace, greater investment, huge innovation, sensational talent. It’s an exciting time to be a creator, producer and exploiter of IP.” The U.S. business doubled in size in the last 18 months, with 300-plus hours of content.
A goal for 2022: “To grow the business with new shows, new talent, and the success of the returning franchises. As we continue to position All3Media for the future, scale and quality matter as does increasing our talent base and expanding our geography. In a competitive market, my job is to ensure that All3Media remains at the top of the list as a leading, world class content company.”
In her latest hit, the London native tackled a Delaware County (Pa.) accent for “Mare of Easttown,” a performance that brought her back into the TV spotlight, landing her a second Emmy Award. Now she can’t wait to get back to work. “I took last year off to be with my family and to recover from ‘Mare of Easttown.’ It was good to have a bit of a reset,” says Winslet. “But I love my job, and I’m really ready to throw myself back into it.” She’ll soon begin production on the film “Lee” alongside British actor Andrea Riseborough. Winslet notes, “She is entirely different, truthful and compelling in everything she does. I find her riveting to watch.”
Advice for women entering the biz: “My advice is to really go for it! Don’t expect the world to owe you something that you haven’t worked hard towards achieving for yourself. It won’t get handed to you on a plate. And to just keep experimenting and practicing, even if that’s just at home… Try not to be hard on yourself if you don’t get a role you really wanted, just keep going. Don’t scrutinize your appearance, it will only make you self-conscious and becomes a distraction. And enjoy it! Acting is a joy and a pleasure. Just keep enjoying what it feels like.”
Youn Yuh-jung has been turning in outstanding performances for over four decades, but it took until 2021 for the U.S. to notice. That was the year the acclaimed Korean actor made her Hollywood film debut in “Minari,” Lee Isaac Chung’s semi-autobiographical film about a South Korean immigrant family trying to build a farm in Arkansas. Youn’s turn as Soon-ja, the cheerful grandmother of viewpoint character David (Alan Kim), proved irresistible to audiences, and she sweeped award ceremonies that year to gain an Oscar, a SAG Award, a BAFTA and an Independent Spirit Award. The film has proved to be something of a new start for the actor, who was previously beloved in Korea for her work in films like “Woman of Fire,” “A Good Lawyer’s Wife,” “The Housemaid” and “The Taste of Money.”
“Since the Awards, it’s been crazy,” Youn tells Variety. “A lot of people have come forth to ask to work with me and it’s flattering. But I was so busy the first half of last year as I was also shooting ‘Pachinko.’ so much so, I just wanted to rest when I got back to Seoul. I didn’t want to leave my house. Things changed when Kim Deok Min, who I knew as an assistant director, asked me to be in his directorial debut ‘Dog Days.’ I thought I would do it as I liked the story and I wanted to support him.” Now 74, Youn is more in-demand than ever: she will next star in Apple TV Plus’ miniseries “Pachinko,” and has two Korean films, “Heaven: To the Land of Happiness” and “Dog Days,” in the pipeline. On “Pachinko,” Yuh Jung says, “It’s such a fascinating story that has not been told before and I’m just happy to help bring Sunja’s story to life.”
Advice for women entering the biz: “If you feel compelled to, then follow your dreams. Don’t be fooled, the film industry is not all glitz and glamour, but you just need to believe in yourself and stand up for yourself. Being an actor can be hard, it was -10 degrees Celsius outside last night when I was shooting, and I was lying on the road in the cold. It’s not glamourous at all. But you do it for the love of the craft. If you like what you are doing, then it will never feel like work.”
Zhang Zifeng debuted as a child star at age five, shooting commercials before her first film, “Aftershock,” which made her the youngest Best Newcomer award winner at the 31st Hundred Flowers Awards. Zhang consistently put out works on both the small and silver screens, and literally grew up with the audience over the years. In 2021, Zhang starred in seven films, including the familial-themed “Sister.” The film became a China box office hit, grossing $52.8 million in its opening weekend, surpassing Hollywood’s “Godzilla vs. Kong.” It is well considered as Zhang’s coming-of-age work with her down-to-earth performance as the main character, An Ran. At 21, Zhang won the actress prize at the 16th Chinese Youth Film Week. “I am thankful for the role of An Ran. And I hope she [An Ran] will continue to bring strength and courage to the viewers,” she said of the win.
CEO, Orange Studios
Relaunching a major French boutique studio amid a pandemic is no easy task, but Zimmerman, who joined Orange Group in 2019, did it and greenlit 15 projects last year with diverse, female-directed titles, including “The Gravedigger’s Wife.” Meanwhile, she positioned Oscar-nominated “The Father” (Orange co-produced) as an event when French theaters re-opened; director-writer Florian Zeller is now working on “The Son” with Orange for his follow-up. “There’s nothing more important than to make projects happen for good reasons,” says Zimmerman.
I’d love to work with: “Olivia Colman.”