Movies

Laughs, emotion color WIF awards

MUMBAI: From Jennifer Aniston‘s self-deprecating remarks about her personal life to Universal executive Stephanie Sperber‘s recounting of her emotional personal story, laughs and heart were in attendance at Women in Film‘s 2009 Crystal + Lucy Awards.

Aniston generated plenty of laughs when, after she accepted the Crystal Award in excellence in film from Stacey Snider, compared the titles of her films -- The Good Girl, Rumor Has It, Derailed and The Break-Up -- to the evolving goings on in her life at the time.


On a more serious note, Aniston said that no matter how much the entertainment industry may try to distill movies into pure science or pure business charts, powerful and authentic stories will be told. "The people in this room will find a way," she said.


While Dorothy Arzner Directors Award recipient Catherine Hardwicke made a call for the room to write "beautiful parts for women of all ages, color and shoe sizes" and Lucy Award honoree Holly Hunter thanked everyone from her presenter Jodie Foster to the writers on her TNT show Saving Grace it was Universal executive vice president of partnerships and licensing Sperber who moved the crowd with her story of battling breast cancer.


Sperber recounted how last September, at age 43, she was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, how she underwent six weeks of chemo, daily radiation therapy, a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction, and had to have her ovaries removed. She also went through a divorce and found herself a single mom.


But, she said, it was the women in this industry that helped her through her terrible time.


"As I moved through every phase of this trial, and it was at times brutal in the true sense of the word, the support from this community grew," Sperber said. "I never went to a chemo session alone. My daughter always had playdates if I couldn‘t get out of bed.


"I had a hand to hold as I was poked, undressed, biopsied, and injected. I was told I was beautiful even when I had no hair on my head or no lashes and no eyebrows. And somehow these women made me believe it…Producers, directors, writers, executive of every stripe, you all circled around me and protected me as best you could. Many of these women are here tonight. I want to thank them all."

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