by Nicki Katz, casting associate
I recently participated on the Events Committee for the MorningStar Commission, organizing a salon entitled, "Outstanding Women of the Emmys: The Changing Images of Jewish Women on TV." Our guest speakers were two award winning television writers / producers; Cindy Chupack, celebrated for writing "Sex and the City" and the ABC hit TV series, "Modern Family", and writer/producer Jill Solloway, head writer for the 2011 Emmys Awards and the acclaimed HBO series, "Six Feet Under" and for Showtime's, "United States of Tara".
After speaking about their own experiences in TV, Jill and Cindy led a dynamic discussion about the portrayal of Jewish female characters on TV. Over 30 film industry guests attended the salon, including established writers and actors from Israel, to producers and studio executives. Patti Felker, one of Hollywood's top entertainment lawyers and an MSC board member, reminded the group that most Jews in America live in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and a few other large cities.
Many people in America have never actually met a Jew, which is why the portrayal of Jewish women on TV has such an impact. My job as a casting associate is to find actors to play specific characters. I bring in talent from many different backgrounds pertaining to the written role. I agree with the goals of the Morningstar Commission to improve the quality of casting of Jewish characters in television and film.
About the MorningStar Commission
The MorningStar Commission was founded by Hadassah to advocate for a healthier diversity of portrayals of Jewish women in the media and entertainment industry. The Commission is sponsored by Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization, Inc., and maintains strategic alliances with The National Foundation for Jewish Culture (NFJC), National Hillel, the International Research Institute on Jewish Women (at Brandeis University), CBS Foundation, Women in Film, Writers Guild of America, Director`s Guild of America, The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Motion Picture Academy. Visit the MorningStar Commission at morningstarevents.com. To contact the MorningStar Commission: 310.712.5400 or MSCommission@gmail.com