Crystal + Lucy Award honorees


Women in Film making a difference

Lisa Cholodenko, filmmaker
Dorothy Arzner Directors Award

"I'm a completionist. For better or for worse, once I take something on, it's very hard for me to put it away, even if it doesn't seem to work. I'm pretty tenacious about walking up that hill. When push comes to shove, in the end it's your own vision on the screen. So that's worth staying strong-willed for. The process of trying to (do) a film like 'The Kids Are All Right' made me a better person. Spending so much time and sweat getting the script to a point where it really feels right, then going out in the world and trying to get people to invest in it, and dealing with all the obstacles in a really brutal financial environment -- that involved a lot of hard knocks. What I've learned is that, on the upside, if you spend the time writing a script, casting a film correctly and making a movie that is truthful to your own emotional view of the world, there's a really good chance it will resonate. The other thing I've learned is about the windows of opportunity: When you make a film that gets some attention, the window of opportunity doesn't stay open forever. It's just how the industry works. I learned through my own experience that, if you fall short of that window, it might be a long time before you make your next film."

Courteney Cox, actress
2010 Lucy Award

"So many good things have happened in my career when I least expected them to. Who knew that a Bruce Springsteen video would lead to a role on 'Family Ties' and that to the sleeper hit 'Ace Ventura,' which probably helped land me the role on 'Friends'? The biggest challenge during the heart of 'Friends' was the occasional invasion of privacy by the paparazzi. But even that helped inspire 'Dirt'! My main focus after 'Friends' was wanting to play characters that were nothing like Monica. And I wanted to learn everything I could about producing, which led to the formation of (Cox's production company) Coquette. I wish I could take credit for plotting and planning my career, but there's a lot of luck involved. I guess it's important to be prepared when you do get those big breaks."

Donna Langley, co-chairman, Universal Pictures
2010 Crystal Award

"When you're 25 years old, you're inexperienced. You don't know that it's only experience that makes you seasoned and good at what you do. When I was young I had to work hard and stay focused on what I wanted. That didn't leave much time for things like dating. I see a lot of women in business who have it all and I know now that you can -- but it's tough. No one should think for one minute it's not. I started my family later. Having the time to devote to things outside of the job was definitely a challenge. It's balancing both (work and personal life) that makes you who you are. There's nothing like a big disappointment to teach you something you never would have learned. The challenge is to turn all of your disappointments into learning experiences and not get bogged down in the negativity that might come with them. Sometimes your biggest disappointments show you a path that is a clearly better alternative, so you have to embrace all of your experiences. It's true in any business, but in Hollywood it's really important that you stay focused on what's important in your own life, irrespective of your job. We throw our heart and soul into our work, but you have to maintain a sense of what's real -- like your family and friends -- so that you keep your feet on the ground. You also have to be willing to do the work. There's no substitute for digging in and doing what you need to do to get the job done -- not money, not deals, nothing."

Cynthia Pusheck, director of photography
Kodak Vision Award

"I came up in the camera department as an assistant for a number of years. Eventually I began shooting anything I could -- small features, shorts, docs, etc. -- as I tried to build my reel. I wasn't making any money, and it was a frustrating time because, of course, I wanted things to move faster. Looking back, those lean years were really important in training my eye, building my skills and increasing my stamina for the ups and downs of the job. Ultimately, this all made me a much better DP. The sooner you learn how to deal with rejection, disappointment and projects that never get finished, the better. There will always be slow, tough periods, and you need to be strong and have trust that (they) will pass and your career will push forward again. When I looped back into the union world as an operator, I worked hard to make the most of each opportunity and stay focused on the goal of becoming a DP. I'm very thankful that the 'CSI: Miami' and Bruckheimer TV team were so receptive to my push to shoot. They gave me a lot of great opportunities, which eventually led to getting my own show as a DP. Recharging your batteries creatively and staying up on all the technical changes in the industry is, for me, a key to a successful career. We have to always remember the fun of what we do, and why we were drawn into this line of work. At times it's easy to forget."

Zoe Saldana, actress
MaxMara "Face of the Future" Award

"I wish I could point to one thing that helped make me successful, but I can't. Either I'm spending time looking at myself or I'm out there doing. I can tell you what I do not think are the keys to success: Fame is not a key to success. And so is not working. When I'm not working, I'm a mess! I'm one of those people who can't interact in the world of normalcy. I have to go to work to make me feel normal. I learned all of this from my mother, who is not attached to anything material. She didn't grow up in a capitalist society, so she always knew that to be happy you have to live today because tomorrow may be gone. She did teach us to have goals, but to not be obsessed, so you can live your life to the fullest. I have never known what I wanted -- but I have always known what I didn't want to do."
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