SXSW & CherryPicks Launch Inaugural Female Filmmaker Award


Committee Will Select Winning Female Director/Producer Team From 2019 Narrative Lineup

CherryPicks to Present Panel 
“What Makes Critics Love, or Hate A Movie”

Austin and Los Angeles – South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Film Festival and CherryPicks,® a digital brand dedicated to the female critical voice, are excited to announce the inaugural 2019 CherryPicks Female First Feature Award.  The CherryPicks Female First Feature Award will award prize money to a first time narrative female director in the SXSW 2019 Film lineup whose team includes at least one female producer. While inAustin, CherryPicks will also host a SXSW Conference panel on March 8: “What Makes Critics Love, or Hate A Movie.

The CherryPicks Female First Feature Award recipient will be chosen by selected members of the CherryPicks and SXSW programming teams. The winner will embody the CherryPicks mission: to create more inclusive storytelling and teamwork in entertainment. The winner will be announced by SXSW at the Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, March 12, 2019.

CherryPicks’ SXSW panel on March 8 will discuss why film reviews matter to filmmakers. Every filmmaker knows waiting for reviews to come out after the premiere can be nerve-wracking. Great reviews can elevate an independent film, giving it legs for further festival exposure and capturing the attention of potential distributors. Negative reviews during a festival run can create hurdles for a film in a crowded marketplace.

Moderated by Miranda Bailey, the founder and CEO of CherryPicks, this lively conversation will explore how critics analyze films and why it impacts a film’s chances for distribution. The discussion will also explore how acquisitions executives approach reviews as a harbinger of how the film can be positioned or how it would play in public. Thus, reviews can be an important measurement for the film’s future success. Link to schedule here.

Panelists include:

Michael Barker, the Co-President and Co-Founder of Sony Pictures Classics (with Tom Bernard) since January 1992. Sony Pictures Classics distributes, produces, and acquires independent films from the United States and around the world.

Thelma Adams, a prominent American film critic and an outspoken voice for gender equality in the Hollywood community. She has been the in-house film critic for Us Weekly and The New York Post, and has written essays, celebrity profiles and reviews for Yahoo! Movies, The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Parade, Marie Claire and The Huffington Post. Twice chair of the New York Film Critics Circle, where she was a member for two decades, Adams is also the author of the bestselling historical novels “Bittersweet Brooklyn” and “The Last Woman Standing”, as well as “Playdate”, which Oprah Magazine described as “a witty debut novel”. 

Monica Castillo is the respected Latina critic who has reviewed films for The Boston Phoenix, WBUR, Dig Boston, The Boston Globe, and co-hosted the podcast “Cinema Fix.” After a stint as an Entertainment Reporter for International Business Times, she’s reviewing films for, NPR, Village Voice, Tribeca Film, Paste Magazine, Remezcla, among others. She is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Women Film Critics Circle, and served as a co-chair of the Boston Online Film Critics Association. 

Moderator Miranda Bailey is a prolific producer, actor and director, known for producing high quality independent films. Her passion for bringing compelling, well-crafted stories to the screen has been the driving force in her distinguished 15-year career. Bailey has produced over 20 films, such as the Oscar-nominated The Squid and the Whale and the Spirit Award-winning The Diary of a Teenage GirlSwiss Army Man, released by A24 and the critically acclaimed Norman, released by Sony Pictures Classics. Bailey’s directorial narrative feature debut You Can Choose Your Family premiered at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival. Bailey previously directed two documentaries: Greenlit and The Pathological Optimist.

About SXSW:
SXSW dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries. An essential destination for global professionals, the event features sessions, showcases, screenings, exhibitions, and a variety of networking opportunities. SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together. SXSW 2019 will take place March 8-17, 2019. For more information, please visit To register for the event, please visit

Our Score

Jim Morazzini

Movie buff, gym rat and crazy cat guy

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