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by Lina Bhambhani

Women in Film created a music committee group and launched it on May 7, 2016. This group recognized the lack of women composers and songwriters scoring in films. “Women scored fewer than two percent of the top 500 films in 2015, a minuscule improvement from one percent in 2014” (Newman, Billboard, May 2016).  This committee was formed to build awareness of expanding Women in Film and mentoring programs for future female composers and songwriters.

The party was held at Disney executive Kaylin Frank’s and composer of The Muppet Show Ed Mitchell’s private home. To launch the party the committee combined it with a Los Angeles event that featured Oscar-Winner Melissa Etheridge.

The party had over 100 composers, songwriters, agents, music supervisors and studio executives. Of those attendees, the mentors that signed up for the program were Cheryl Tiano, (Gorfaine Schwarts), Laura Engel (Kraft-Engel), Vasi Vangelos (First Artists), Peeter Golub (Sundance Institute), Paul Broucek (Warner Brothers), Russell Ziechker (Lionsgate), Alicen Schneider (NBC Universal), Tony Scudellari (Sony TV), Brian Loucks (CAA), and Robert Messenger (Fortress Talent).

The mentoring program is set up to help female composers and songwriters make it in the industry. The upcoming mentoring sessions will provide tips, business ideas, and meetings between composers and executives. The committee will also organize showcases to create a platform for existing talent, gain a community of female composers and songwriters, plus network with existing organizations such as Alliance For Women Film Composers, Sundance Institute Film Music Program, and the Guild of Music Supervisors.

“We’re here to start building bridges of opportunity for this community where women are not in the conversation” said chair representative of the new committee Tracy McKnight.  With McKnight, Frank, ASCAP’s Loretta Munoz, and Nettwerk’s Christine Belden all together join the new committee to represent the goal of providing support for women composers and songwriters in film, television, gaming and visual media.

Through society women are under recognized in various industries, but McKnight is a step ahead in the film industry. Her initiation for this committee will bring the women in the conversation and build awareness in other industries as well. The community that she is building will be recognized throughout the entertainment and music industry and hopefully will make a move on making women top headliners as composers and songwriters.

Newman, M. May 2016. Women in Film Launches Music Committee With Help From Melissa Ethridge & Rita Wilson. Billboard. Received from


Women in Film is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting equal opportunities for women, encouraging creative projects by women, and expanding and enhancing portrayals of women in all forms of global media. Given that women comprise 50 percent of the population, WIF’s ultimate goal is to see the same gender parity reflected on and off screen. Founded in 1973, WIF focuses on advocacy and education— provides scholarships, grants, and film finishing funds—and works to preserve the legacies of all women working in the entertainment community.  For more information visit