WOMEN HELPING WOMEN
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2005  12 NOON - 3:00 PM
 


CONFIRMED PARTICIPANTS TO DATE:

In Alphabetical Order

 
ANGELA CHENG CAPLAN MELANIE COOK ANDREA NELSON-MEIGS SANDRA RABINS MARCIA ROSS
GRACIELLA SANCHEZ LIZ SARNOFF JENNI SHERWOOD LAUREL STEARNS ELIZABETH GUBER STEPHEN
KIM WILLIAMS AN EVENT NOT TO BE MISSED! -- AN EVENT TO REMEMBER!
 
ANGELA CHENG CAPLAN: Literary Manager/Head, Cheng Caplan Company -- (The company represents established as well as emerging writers, producers, directors, including Will Rokos, writer of Monster's Ball). Angela Cheng Caplan is the President and CEO of Cheng Caplan Company, Inc., a boutique literary/talent management and production company based in Los Angeles, California, representing Academy Award nominated filmmakers, best-selling book authors, Pulitzer Prize winning journalists and world famous comic book creators.

Two weeks after finishing college, Angela was in Los Angeles working for a talent and modeling agency. By the age of 25, Angela became Hollywood's youngest literary agent. After working for two prestigious agencies in Los Angeles and New York City, she opened Cheng Caplan Company, Inc.

Most recently, she was elected to the Board of Directors of the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, and heads the New Writers Award committee, whose 2001 winner, Alice Wu's SAVING FACE was in theaters this summer.

Angela holds a BA in Semiotics-French from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She is supported and encouraged by her husband and their daughter.
 

MELANIE COOK: Entertainment Attorney Extraordinaire.

QUOTE: "My business power is derivative. I am powerful because my clients are powerful. I understand it is not about me. It is my job to guide my clients n exercising their power. But what makes me feel powerful? A triple pirouette: making good decisions, running fast, conquering my fears, and being asked my opinion." -- Melanie Cook, Lawyer to the stars, dance teacher, soccer mom.


Melanie Cook is a partner in the law firm of Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca, Fischer, Gilbert-Lurie, Stiffelman & Cook LLP (the sole female partner at the firm). In 1997, she was the first woman honored as Entertainment Lawyer of the Year by the Beverly Hills Bar Association. Ms. Cook is frequently listed on Hollywood "power lists" and recognized as an expert in her field. Ms. Cook's practice includes representation of actors, actresses, writers, directors and producers in feature film and television.

Dubbed the most prominent female dealmaker in Hollywood, Melanie Cook is THE entertainment attorney to the stars. Clients have included Keanu Reeves, Barry Sonnenfeld, Scott Rudin, Sam Mendes, Tim Burton, Christina Ricci, among others.

Ms. Cook received her J.D. and B.A. (she was a dance major) from UCLA with academic honors including Order of the Coif and Phi Beta Kappa. Her article “Moving to a New Beat: Copyright Protection for Choreographic Works” was the winner of the ASCAP Nathan Burkan Award.

Melanie is on the Board of Painted Turtle, the West Coast sister camp to the Boggy Creek Gang Camp founded by Paul Newman which furnishes the camping experience to chronically and seriously ill children. She is active with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles, and is Co-Chair of their 50 Year Anniversary Gala. She is also on the Committee for Les Girls -- which supports the National Breast Cancer Coalition. Melanie is a Founding Member of Hollywood For Habitat for Humanity and is on the Host Committee for this September’s housing build. She is also on the board on the newly formed The Private Bank of California (an organization).

She lives in Beverly Hills with her husband of 20 years, Woody Woods, their sixteen-year-old daughter, Madeline, and a thirteen-year-old son, Willy. She loves to ski, dance, bicycle and travel.


ANDREA NELSON-MEIGS: Talent Agent, Motion Pictures, Creative Artists Agency.  Along with a team of agents, Andrea represents a wide variety of feature film actors. They range from Beyonce Knowles, (the five time Grammy winner), who will be starring in DREAMGIRLS next year, to Christina Applegate who was nominated this year for a Tony Award for her performance in SWEET CHARITY on Broadway. She also represents the very hot comedian Cedric “The Entertainer” who just starred in and produced THE CLEANER with Brett Ratner’s company for New Line, to the esteemed Oscar winning actor Jon Voight, who recently starred in the television film FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN based on the best selling book by Mitch Albom.

Prior to CAA, Andrea received her B.A. from Tufts University
in Boston, Massachusetts, her J.D. from Duke University School of Law in Durham, North Carolina and is a member of The California State Bar Association. While she had some interest in politics and, thus, interned with Congresswoman Maxine Waters as well as the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office, she always knew that she ultimately wanted to work in the field of entertainment.

To that end, Andrea decided to leave
the District Attorney’s office when she was offered a position in the CAA mailroom. While many questioned her decision and equated the move as a ‘step down’, Andrea knew that it was just a ‘means to an end’ and would not be forever. She also knew that it would be an opportunity to combine her legal background with her creative interest in the business of entertainment. So, after a year in the mailroom, she was promoted to work for the well-respected, veteran agent, Fred Specktor. At that time, she got an opportunity to work with such clients as Robert DeNiro, the late Jack Lemmon and the unbelievably talented Geoffrey Rush who had just won an Oscar for his performance in SHINE.

Thereafter, Andrea was promoted to work for a top Literary Agent, Joe Rosenberg.
On his desk, she worked with the best directors in Hollywood – from Tony and Ridley Scott to David Fincher to Oliver Stone to Brian DePalma and more. Lastly, Andrea worked for Patrick Whitesell, who represented Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Hugh Jackman, and, within a short period, she was promoted to Motion Picture Talent Agent.

In November of 2002,
Andrea was featured in Honey Magazine in their "The Power List: The 25 Hottest Women in Entertainment" issue. In 2003, Andrea was featured on the cover of Black Enterprise, in their issue entitled "Hot List: The Best and Brightest Under 40".  In 2004, Andrea became a member of the Steering Committee for the American Black Film Festival.

As for hobbies, Andrea likes to run, swim and play tennis. She is fluent in Spanish
, having studied in Madrid, Spain while in college. Lastly, she is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, (an international community service organization) and is a member of West Angeles Church which she attends regularly with her family.

Andrea is married to John V. Meigs Jr.,
a partner at the entertainment boutique firm of Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, et al. They welcomed their first child into the world, three months ago on July 21st. Her name is Avery Nelson Meigs.
 

SANDRA RABINS: Executive Vice President, Sony Pictures Animation. Along with her partner, EVP Penney Finkelman Cox, she is responsible for all aspects of developing and producing CG-animated films for Sony Pictures Entertainment. The two executives have recruited an impressive team of directors and artists to work on the company’s inaugural slate of films, Open Season and Surf's Up!

Prior to joining Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sandra Rabins served as executive producer on the computer animated hit comedy Shrek, the blockbuster box office hit of 2001 and winner of the first Academy Award for best animated film. She joined DreamWorks in February of 1994 to start the Animation Division and to produce The Prince of Egypt. Although her primary focus was on the producing animated films at DreamWorks, Ms. Rabins was also instrumental in transforming commercials visual effects house, PDI, into a feature film facility for DreamWorks and executive produced their first computer-generated movie, Antz.

In addition to her producing responsibilities, Ms. Rabins fulfilled executive roles at DreamWorks from 1994 to 2001. She was responsible for the preparation of the studio business plan (television, animation, theatrical, distribution, marketing and music). In addition, she helped to establish the animation and interactive divisions and Pop.com, while producing DreamWorks first animated film.

As Executive Vice President of Sony Pictures Animation, Ms. Rabins is currently overseeing all aspects of the division's first two films, Open Season and Surf's Up! Directed by Roger Allers (The Lion King) and Jill Culton (Monsters, Inc.), Open Season features the vocal talents of Martin Lawrence, Ashton Kutcher, Debra Messing, Gary Sinise, Billy Connolly, Jon Favreau, Patrick Warburton, Jane Krakowski, Georgia Engle and Gordon Tootoosis. Producing the film is Michelle Murdocca; Amy Jupiter serves as line-producer. Open Season is scheduled for release on September 29, 2006.

Set against the backdrop of the high-octane world of competitive penguin surfing, Surf's Up will feature Jeff Bridges, Shia LaBeouf, Zooey Deschanel, James Woods, Jon Heder, Mario Cantone, Jane Krakowski, Michael McKeon and Brian Benben. The film will be directed by Ash Brannon (Toy Story 2) and Chris Buck (Tarzan) and produced by Chris Jenkins, with Lydia Bottegoni serving as co-producer. Surf's Up is scheduled for release summer, 2007.

Ms. Rabins is credited with bringing cartoonist Aaron McGruder, creator of The Boondocks, to the attention of Sony Pictures Entertainment executives. While Sony Pictures Animation is in development of an animation CG feature based on the The Boondocks, she was instrumental in establishing the property as an animated television series for Sony Picture Television and Cartoon Network.

Among the many projects in development at Sony Pictures Animation include an adaptation of the classic children's book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, the space-themed project Big Nasty and a feature film version of Imageworks' Academy Award-winning short film, The ChubbChubbs.

Born and raised in Hollywood, Sandra Rabins began her career at Paramount Pictures, serving as a production accountant on many films including Terms of Endearment. In 1985 she moved to Walt Disney Studios, where she remained until 1993, achieving the title of Senior Vice President of Production and Finance for Buena Vista Pictures. During her tenure at Disney she was responsible for establishing the production entities to create and animate Roger Rabbit in England, Tim Burton's The Nightmare before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach in San Francisco. She was also instrumental in helping Pixar establish itself as a digital film entity to create Toy Story. She left Disney in 1993 to executive produce Dangerous Mind.
 


MARCIA ROSS: Exec VP, Feature Casting, Buena Vista Motion Pictures. Highly-esteemed casting director, Marcia Ross has been nominated eight times for the Artios Award from the Casting Society of America and has won five times. In 2002 Marcia was the recipient of an award from the Hollywood Film Festival for “Outstanding Achievement in Casting,” and in November 2005, Marcia will be receiving the Hoyt Bowers Award for “Career Achievement in Casting” from The Casting Society of America. Such recognition from one’s peers in a business that does not easily dish out accolades is rare, even for one who is the Executive Vice President of Feature Casting at Buena Motion Pictures.

In her ten years as an executive at the Walt Disney Company
Marcia has overseen the casting of well over 200 films. She has also been the casting director on eighteen of those films, which introduced such new talent as Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, Jennifer Garner, Spencer Breslin, Anne Hathaway, and Rachel McAdams

Marcia Ross began her career 25 years ago
as the assistant to the head of Casting at CBS Television in New York City. One year later she was invited to move to Los Angeles by the well-known casting director Judith Holstra to work as her Casting Associate. Eighteen months later Marcia became Judith’s partner in a company called Holstra/Ross Casting. During their eight year association Marcia served as the casting director on over 100 projects including such television movies as “Bitter Harvest”, one of the last films Ron Howard appeared in as an actor, the pilot and the first season of episodes for the acclaimed television series thirtysomething”, “Baja Oklahoma co- starring a very young Julia Roberts, and the feature film “48 Hours”.

In 1988 Marcia was hired by Harvey Shepherd, President of Warner Bros. Television
, to be his VP of Casting. In the course of her five years at Warner Bros. Marcia oversaw dozens of television pilots and on-air series including such shows as “Murphy Brown”, “China Beach”, “Head of the Class”, “Growing Pains” and “Night Court.” She also served as the casting director for most of the Studio’s television movies including the award winning projects “Murder in Mississippi” and “Sinatra”.

When Warner Bros. TV merged with Lorimar Television
Marcia returned to her own business, Marcia Ross Casting. As an independent casting director she cast the seminal film “Clueless.” It was during that time, in 1994, that she came to the Walt Disney Company to run the feature film department for Walt Disney Pictures and Touchstone Films, and later Hollywood Pictures.

Marcia is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences,
and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
 


GRACIELLA SANCHEZ: (Photo Pending) PARTNER & PERSONAL MANAGER AT ONE ENTERTAINMENT (the company represents A-List talent such as Charlize Theron, Kevin Costner, Kate Bosworth and Jamie-Lynn Spears).

Graciella Sanchez is a talent manager and principal in the all female-staffed management company One Entertainment.

Graciella was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She graduated from Yale University in 1994, after only three years. Her first job out of college was in the mail room at United Talent Agency (UTA). In her first month at UTA, Graciella met then agent and partner, J.J. Harris, who would become her mentor. For the next two years, she worked closely with J.J. as her assistant.

After four years at UTA, Graciella moved to New York, where she was hired by Liz Dahling to work in the celebrity division of Special Artists Agency. While she found the commercial field interesting and challenging, she craved the close personal connections she had forged with filmmakers and actors during her time at UTA. It was not long before she found herself back in Los Angeles representing actors. She spent the next two years as a manager at Spivak Entertainment, until she once again crossed paths with J.J. Harris.

Nearly three years ago, J.J. and Graciella started One Entertainment, a small but powerhouse boutique management company that represents a select group of actors, including Charlize Theron, Kevin Costner, Kate Bosworth and Jamie-Lynn Spears.
 

LIZ SARNOFF: Writer/Producer (Lost, Deadwood, Crossing Jordan).  Elizabeth Sarnoff was born in New York City and graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She then moved to Los Angeles and after many false starts was lucky enough to get her first job writing television from the great David Milch in his new hour-long drama series "Big Apple."

After two seasons on NBC’s "Crossing Jordan" she was thrilled to join Mr. Milch again as a Writer and Producer on his new HBO Western "Deadwood." Elizabeth has recently joined the staff of ABC's "Lost" where she serves as a Writer and Producer.

Elizabeth's writing credits include the original plays, "Slow Dance in Midtown" and "Chemo Lounge." She has also written various feature films for Twentieth Century Fox and Paramount Pictures.


JENNI SHERWOOD: VP, Development & Production, HBO Films.
At HBO, Jenni has championed a long list of award winning films including THE LARAMIE PROJECT, HYSTERICAL BLINDNESS, NORMAL, and THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PETER SELLERS. She is currently in production on PU-239, starring Radha Mitchell and Paddy Considine.

Prior to her current position as VP, Development at HBO
, she held post as Director of Development and Production for the company after relocating from New York in 1999.

Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri,
she attended New York University where she earned a B.F.A in acting at the Tisch School of the Arts. Immediately following her graduation in 1992, she joined Miramax Films. At Miramax, Sherwood was able to form and nurture relationships that ultimately would launch her career. It was here that she worked in every area possible, from publicity assistant, to script reader, to Bob Weinstein’s executive assistant. She found herself in the unique position to not only learn about every side of the film business, but also have direct access to the owner of the company.

When the Walt Disney Company acquired Miramax Films
in 1993, the Dimension subdivision was founded, and Sherwood was brought on board as Story Editor. She quickly advanced to Story Analyst and Director of Development and Production.
 


LAUREL STEARNS:  -- Director, A&R, Capitol Records. Laurel Stearns started working in the music industry running recording studios when she was 19 years old. She worked at 4 major recording studios and was involved in many sessions with top names, from the Pixies to Rod Stewart to Ozzy Osbourne etc. An entrepreneurial spirit, she partnered with an independent manager when the studio business became a bit slow due to the rise of home recording, and went on to manage The Descendents, ALL, GWAR, Dirty Dozen Brass Band and a few others. Laurel had managed talent for 8 years when she was asked to "scout" by the Sony WORK group, which she did while still managing. Laurel loved working with talent and when the WORK group was shut down, she decided to do A&R full time. Laurel joined the A&R department at Capitol Records 6 years ago, where she is now a director. She has signed several clients with whom she works closely. Her artist roster currently includes Fischerspooner, Shout Out Louds, Sparklehorse, Starlite Desperation and King Elementary.

 


 

ELIZABETH GUBER STEPHEN: President, Mandalay Television and Executive Vice President Motion Picture Production Mandalay Filmed Entertainment.

With a background including significant achievement in acquisition and development
for both theatrical and television films, Elizabeth Stephen is well suited to excel in her dual roles of President, Mandalay Television and Executive Vice President, Motion Picture Production for Mandalay Filmed Entertainment.

Ms. Stephen's experience as both a business and creative executive are on display regularly as she oversees all creative development and production for the group. She serves as executive producer on all network and cable television movies, mini-series, and series. For the big screen, she recently developed the project currently titled HEADGAMES, which will be led writer/director David O. Russell (FLIRTING WITH DISASTER, THREE KINGS) and star Vince Vaughn (WEDDING CRASHERS, THE BREAK UP) and begins shooting next month. In addition to numerous projects in the development stage, Stephen acquired Laura Dave's novel LONDON IS THE BEST CITY IN AMERICA and attached Reese Witherspoon (JUST LIKE HEAVEN, LEGALLY BLONDE) to star. Gwyn Lurie (THE MAN WHO ATE THE 747) is currently adapting the book for screen.

Stephen and Mandalay Television are currently on location in Providence, Rhode Island shooting the first season of BROTHERHOOD, a series for Showtime. Jason Isaacs (THE PATRIOT), Jason Clarke (RABBIT PROOF FENCE), and Annabeth Gish (MYSTIC PIZZA, THE X FILES) star while Phillip Noyce (DEAD CALM, CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER) directed the pilot episode. Other television success driven by Stephen includes the movie BLOOD CRIME for USA, which starred James Caan and Johnathon Schaech and was the network's highest rated "Crime Friday" movie of its season; and X TEAM for ABC, starring Bai Ling (RED CORNER) and Eric Mabius (RESIDENT EVIL).

Prior to joining Mandalay, Stephen spent six years as executive vice president in charge of feature film development and production for The Avnet/Kerner Company, the prestigious film and television company headed by award-winning director and producers Jon Avnet and Jordan Kerner (Fried Green Tomatoes, Risky Business, Up Close and Personal, When a Man Loves a Woman). While with Avnet/Kerner, Stephen co-produced the Walt Disney feature film The Mighty Ducks 3, and served as executive on the Disney mega-hit George of the Jungle. She also structured the future Disney feature Today I Am A Boy, written by Academy Award winner Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy) and set to star Dustin Hoffman and Adam Sandler. She also acquired the much sought after life story rights to David Kaczynski, brother of convicted Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, for a Touchstone Pictures feature film.

Stephen was also active in creating television long form projects for Avnet/Kerner, including the 1999 ABC Television movie My Last Love starring Nancy Travis and Scott Bairstow which was based on the true story of a single mother who, when diagnosed with inoperable cancer, had to search for a guardian for her child.

Prior to Avnet/Kerner, Stephen worked in feature films as a studio executive, acquiring and developing hits such as Hollywood Pictures' The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, Eddie Murphy's The Distinguished Gentleman and Tristar Pictures' Only You, which was directed by Norman Jewison and starred Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey, Jr.

Stephen, a graduate of Brown University, grew up in Miami, Florida. She and her husband – Tim Stephen, an attorney at Lions Gate Television, have a four year old daughter, Caroline.
 


KIM WILLIAMS
: Casting Director, Reuben Cannon & Associates. Kim Williams has a casting resume that could be the envy of many. In association with legendary casting director, Reuben Cannon, Kim is one of the most sought-after casting directors in Hollywood, with a list of credits that span several pages and associations with top directors, producers and production companies. Her tremendous credits include studio and independent feature films, as well as television movies, series and pilots.

Feature Films
: Madea’s Family Reunion, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Woman Thou Art Loosed, Getting Played (Independent), 30 Days Until I’m Famous, Johnson Family Vacation, Love Don’t Cost A Thing, Play’d, Deliver Us From Eva, Robbie’s Brother, The Perfect You (Independent), Ghosts of Mars, After The Storm, Dancing In September, Leprechaun in the Hood, Magnolia (Additional Casting), 3 Strikes, 1031 (AFI Short Film), Mr. P's Dancing Sushi Bar (Independent), and 3 Ninjas.

Television Movies: Deadly Isolation, Over The Edge, 44 Minutes: The Shootout in North Hollywood, A Christmas Visitor, Superfire (ABC 4-hour miniseries), Stepsister From Planet Weird, King of The World: The Muhammad Ali Story, Black & Blue, Y2K, Something To Sing About (Independent), The Color of Friendship, and Memoirs of Sally Hemings.

Television Series: The Boondocks, The Parkers, Cedric The Entertainer Presents…, Half & Half, My Wife & Kids, All That, Martin, In Living Color.

Pilots: Pool Guys, Save The Garcias, The Crib, The Boondocks, Half & Half, Wanda At Large, Save The Last Dance, Brats, The Red Hot Tornadoes, Monsignor Martinez, The Bernie Mac Show, Girlfriends, Maggie Bloom, The Castle, Klump:The Nutty Professor, Dead at 21 (MTV), City High, Martin, The Big Dis.

Prior to joining Reuben Cannon & Associates, Kim was Manager/Director of Casting - HBO Pictures, HBO Original Programming, & HBO Independent Productions.
 

(Panelists are confirmed, schedules permitting)