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ESSENCE, the #1 media brand for African-American women, has named Stefani Saintonge as the winner of its first The Essence Black Women in Hollywood Short Film Contest: Spotlight On Our Journeys, it was announced today.
An ESSENCE first, the Black Women in Hollywood Short Film Contest challenged entrants to present unique, refreshing visions of Black women—multidimensional portrayals that are different from the stereotypical and often negative images that respondents in a recent ESSENCE study said don’t reflect the totality of who they are. Last November, ESSENCE invited aspiring filmmakers to showcase their own inspiring images reflecting the truths and triumphs of Black women’s lives by entering the contest. Contest finalists were selected from an eclectic gathering of submissions by a team of ESSENCE editors. From there, ESSENCE’s Black Women in Hollywood Academy, featuring top industry tastemakers chose Saintonge as the winner—who will be recognized in the company of A-listers during the 7th annual ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon held onFebruary 27, 2014. Saintonge will receive the Black Women in Hollywood Discovery Award. Saintonge’s journey will be chronicled on Essence.com, and a portion of her film will be shown at the Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon.
The Black Women in Hollywood Academy featured Shonda Rhimes, creator and executive producer of hit shows Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal; actress Regina King; husband and wife producing team Mara Brock and Salim Akil; film director and writer Gina Prince Bythewood; producer Stephanie Allain; PEOPLE movie criticAlynda Wheat; director and editor-in-chief of Shadow and Act Tambay Obenson; filmmaker Ava DuVernay; director of development for 34th Street Films Amber Rasberry; and screenwriter and director Dee Rees. Continue reading