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WIFTA Puts on the Ritz

Annual Awards Ceremony Honors James Ivory

By Pamela Cole

October 19, 2007 (ATLANTA) -- Women in Film and Television Atlanta (WIFTA) celebrated their 33rd year as an organization by throwing their Annual Gala Awards on Oct. 19 at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead. The group honored James Ivory of Merchant Ivory Productions with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The 79-year-old Ivory, making a rare appearance, charmed the crowd at the Gala. (The following night, WIFTA sponsored a screening of the Merchant Ivory film, The Golden Bowl, which was followed by an interview and Q&A session with Ivory. Read more about this interview here.)

James Ivory, Tracy Martin, Eleanor Ringel (Photos by Pam Cole)

The Gala is a fundraiser for WIFTA, the second oldest chapter of Women In Film in America. It has also become an important networking opportunity for the Atlanta film and video community, as evidenced by the well-dressed crowd of notables in attendance, including Ivory, Roger Bobb of Tyler Perry Studios, producer Sarah Green (Frida, Passion Fish), and others.

The evening began with drinks in a crowded salon and photo opportunities for attendees on a red carpet at the Ritz Carlton. This was followed by an elegant sit-down dinner, and live entertainment by The Harringtons, and singer/songwriter, Sue Wilkinson. The well-produced awards ceremony ended the evening.

WIFTA's Co-Presidents, Bonnie Woods and Kristen McGary said in a statement: "A major WIFTA goal for 2007 has been to solidify WIFTA's place as a significant resource for Georgia's film and television industry."

In doing so, WIFTA won a 2007 Southeastern Regional Emmy Award and a 2006 Golden Cine Eagle award for two separate PSA campaigns produced by volunteers from WIFTA. At the Gala, WIFTA Vice President for Professional Development Widdi Turner announced that their next PSA campaign would be on the topic of ovarian cancer. Previous award-winning PSA topics have been child prostitution and domestic violence.

WIFTA presented the following awards at the Gala ceremony:

Lifetime Achievement Award
James Ivory of Merchant Ivory Productions

Creative Excellence
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, AJC Film Critic

Humanitarian Award
Elisabeth Williams-Omilami (CEO) and Afemo Omilami (Co-Director), Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless; Activists and Thespians (Roger Bobb, presenter)



Outstanding Achievement
Suzan Satterfield, President, SaltRun Productions

Outstanding Contribution to the Georgia Film Industry
Janet Tiller, Account Manager; Entertainment Imaging, EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY

The Woman to Watch Award
Tracy Martin, Founder of "The Woman's Angle," Film Director/Producer