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The Women in the Arts & Media Coalition will present the 2019 Collaboration Awards. which recognize women who successfully collaborate to create new and influential work, at the SVA Theater (333 West 23rd St, New York, NY 10011) on Saturday, March 30 at 6:30pm. The 2019 Collaboration Awards Gala will be held on International SWAN Day (Support Women Artists Now), along with numerous celebrations around the world supporting women artists.
At the gala, SAG and OBIE Award-winning actor and producer Alysia Reiner (Fig on Orange is the New Black on Netflix) and her collaborative team on the film Egg--director Marianna Palka, screenwriter Risa Mickenberg, and co-producers Michele Ganeless and David Alan Basche (as the one Honorable MEN-tion)--will be awarded the first Acclaimed Collaboration Award for a project with greater renown and visibility.
The 6th Biennial Collaboration Award winners are playwright Deborah Yarchun and director Jess Chayes for their play Preservation. Yarchun is a member of the Dramatists Guild, and Chayes a member of both Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and the League of Professional Theatre Women.
The Coalition will also be awarding the first ever Student Collaboration Award to the documentary Bread Machine, by Shelby Hougui and Julia De Santis, two students from SVA's Film and Animation Department, the first Academic Affiliate of the Women in the Arts & Media Coalition.
A limited number of tickets to the Awards Gala are available to the public. Ticket prices are: $15 for members of any of the Coalition's member organizations / $20 for non-members (early bird rate) / $25 after March 15 and at the door. There will also be a very limited number of Premium Seats (which includes reserved seating and a champagne toast with the honorees) for $100 each. Tickets can be purchased online at
The complete list of honorees is:
Acclaimed Collaboration Award
EGG (directed by Marianna Palka, written by Risa Mickenberg, produced by Alysia Reiner, David Alan Basche, and Michele Ganeless, starring Alysia Reiner, Christina Hendricks, Anna Camp, David Alan Basche, and Gbenge Akkinagbe)
Collaboration Award Winner
Preservation - Deborah Yarchun (Dramatists Guild) and Jess Chayes (Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, League of Professional Theatre Women)
Honored Finalists
Courage - Melissa Bell (DG) and Tannis Kowalchuk (TRU)
Click - Katherine Carter SDC (LPTW) and Jacqueline Goldfinger (DG)
United Flight 232 - Vanessa Stalling (SDC) and Brenda Barrie (AEA)
Special Mentions
Scars - Ophira Eisenberg (SAG-AFTRA) and Maggie Cino (DG)
The Uncivil Ones - Charissa Bertels (AEA SAG-AFTRA) and Ayumi Okada (AFM 802- Associated Musicians of Greater NY - Local 802 AFM/ DG - Dramatists Guild)
Student Film Winners
Bread Machine - Shelby Hougui & Julia De Santis (SVA Film and Animation), co-founders of JuJu Films
Awarded every third year, the Collaboration Awards encourage professional women in the arts and media from different specializations to work collaboratively on the creation of new work. The award recognizes the best of these collaborations and goes to a winning project and its two creators. 2019 marks the sixth time the Collaboration Awards have been presented. Past winners are: playwright T.D. Mitchell and director Sheryl Kaller for the play Queens for a Year (2015), Jane Edith Wilson and Grace Lee for their mockumentary, Janeane from Des Moines (2013), playwright Stefanie Zadravec and director Daniella Topol for their collaboration on the play The Electric Baby (2011); writer Jennifer Gibbs and director Kristin Marting for the play The Stranger (2008), and playwright Jennifer Maisel and director Wendy McClellan for the play Birds (2006).
Women in the Arts & Media Coalition ( Yvonne Curry and Avis Boone , Co-Presidents)is a non-profit organization, which represents more than 200,000 women in the performing arts and media through its member organizations and affiliates. The Coalition focuses the power of its member organizations and their memberships together and uses the combined strength to address issues of concern through advocacy, networking and educational events. Member organizations are: Actors' Equity Association, Associated Musicians of New York Local 802 AFM, Dramatists Guild, League of Professional Theatre Women, New York Women in Communications, New York Women in Film & Television, SAG-AFTRA New York Local, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and the Writers Guild of America, East. Affiliates are: BOLD, Drama Desk, International Center for Women Playwrights, The Lambs, Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative, National Theatre Conference, Professional Women Singers Association, 365 Women a Year: A Playwriting Project, Theater Resources Unlimited, Women in Music, The Women's Media Center, Women Make Movies, and WomenArts. For more information on Women in the Arts & Media Coalition, visit
Alysia Reiner , an award-winning actress and producer, is best known as Natalie "Fig" Figueroa on Netflix's hit Orange is the New Black, for which she won an ensemble SAG award and you can see her in all 6 binge-worthy seasons. Reiner recently joined the cast of HBO's The Deuce for season 2 and is returning for season 3. You can also see her in all 3 seasons of FX's critically acclaimed Peabody Award winning Better Things. Her motherhood dark-comedic feature EGG, which she produced and stars in with Christina Hendricks and Anna Camp, premiered at TFF 2018, and is on iTunes, Amazon & VOD Now. Additionally, Alysia produced and starred in Equity, bought/distributed by Sony Pictures Classics at Sundance 2016. Alysia loves working as a change maker for women, is an ambassador for the Geena Davis Institute for Gender Equality, a member of Times Up, recently received a MUSE "Made in NY" Award from The Mayor's office and New York Women in Film and Television, and is passionately committed to protecting the environment (see 
Marianna Palka , humanist filmmaker and proud Scotswoman, has previously directed 4 feature films. Her latest film Bitch just sold at Cannes after its Sundance 2017 premiere. Her film Good Dick was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, she returned in 2010 as a Sloan juror, and then again in 2014 with the short documentary The Lion's Mouth Opens, which was OSCAR shortlisted and Emmy Nominated. Marianna won the prestigious New Director's Award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and she's also directed a number of music videos for prestigious artists including Moby, Last Night, Carly Ritter, and Rain Phoenix.   
Risa Mickenberg is an NYC-based writer. She grew up in Southbury, CT. Her plays have been commissioned and performed at South Coast Repertory, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Brighton Festival, the SoHo Theater London. Screenplays commissioned by Fred Zollo, Davien Littlefield + Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ideal Partners. She's written a comedy pilot for HBO and worked on HBO's Tell Me You Love Me. Author of Taxi Driver Wisdom (Chronicle Books) and Beauty Parlor Wisdom (Chronicle Books). Her fiction and humor have been published in The Baffler, Purple, The American Bystander, Vice, The Utne Reader, and Grlsquash. She received a Pushcart Prize for fiction. She is the lead singer, co-songwriter and co-producer of the 8-piece cabaret band Jesus H Christ and the Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse, lauded by NPR, the New Yorker, The Village Voice, Pitchfork. A former member of the BMI Lehman-Engel Lyricist's Workshop, she's received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. She is a member of the WGA East and SAG/AFTRA.
Michele Ganeless , Co-President of MO Studios, is best known for her tenure as President of Comedy Central, a position she held from 2004-2016.  Under her leadership, the network grew to be the number one brand in comedy. Prior to her role as President at Comedy Central, Michele held programming and leadership roles at USA Network, Comedy Central and MTV.  During her multiple terms at Comedy Central, Michele oversaw the growth of the Comedy Central brand as franchises including the Emmy® and Peabody® Award-winning "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart", "The Colbert Report", "South Park," "Inside Amy Schumer" and "Key & Peele", dominated the cultural landscape. Since leaving Comedy Central, Ganeless has focused her energy and expertise on producing. Her first feature film, Egg, starring Christina Hendricks, Alysia Reiner and Anna Camp, premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, and had its theatrical premiere in January. She is also a producer on Irreplaceable You, which premiered in 2018 and is currently airing on Netflix.  Both films were written and directed by women, and were produced with a clear mandate: hire more women behind the camera, thus helping to level the playing field for women in entertainment, a mission that is at the heart of MO Studios. Ganeless is a board trustee of Comic Relief, Inc, dedicated to ending child poverty around the world, and on the advisory board of Northwestern University's School of Communications.
Deborah Yarchun is a NYC-based playwright and a member of the 2018-2019 Civilians' R&D Group. Her honors include two Jerome Fellowships at The Playwrights' Center, a 2017-2018 Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellowship, an EST/Sloan Commission, The Kennedy Center's Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award, the Richard Maibaum Playwriting Award, and the Iowa Arts Fellowship. Deborah's plays have been produced and/or developed at places including Ensemble Studio Theatre, EstroGenius Festival, Fusion Theatre, Jewish Ensemble Theatre, the New Harmony Project, the Philadelphia Fringe, Playwrights Horizons' Peter Jay Sharp Theater by Young Playwrights Inc., Rattlestick, TheatreSquared, the William Inge Center for the Arts, and Williams Street Rep. M.F.A., University of Iowa.
Jess Chayes is an award-winning director and the BOLD Associate Artistic Director at Northern Stage as well as a founding co-artistic director of The Assembly with whom she has co-created and directed ten original productions. Recent directing includes Intelligence (NYTW Next Door), Venus Rising (Northern Stage), The Flick (Warehouse Theatre), Holidays In/Coyote (The Tank), Lipstick Lobotomy (The Juilliard School), and The Providence of Neighboring Bodies (Dutch Kills). She has developed new work with The Vineyard, The Playwrights Center, Ars Nova and New York Theatre Workshop, among others. Jess is a NYTW Usual Suspect, a 2018 Audrey Resident with New Georges, a co-founder of New Georges Jam artists' lab, and alum of The Civilians R&D Group and Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. Jess is the recipient of the 2017 Lucille Lortel Award from the League of Professional Theatre Women.
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