Fall 2015

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25 FALL 2015 / CINEMONTAGE I t was standing room only at Motion Picture & Television Fund's third annual "Deal with It: A Women's Conference," held in late September at the Montage Beverly Hills hotel. Some 325 women in the entertainment industry gathered for a day of insightful discussions with highly respected experts and speakers who shared their first-hand experiences — whether it was surviving breast cancer, dealing with aging parents or turning a passion into a successful new enterprise. The two keynote speakers were artist Candy Chang — creator of the "Before I Die" project, in which she transformed an abandoned house in her New Orleans neighborhood into a giant chalkboard asking a fill-in-the-blank question: "Before I die I want to ___," prompting revealing answers from her neighbors — and Nancy Giles, actress (China Beach, Delta) and CBS Sunday Morning commentator. Both women captivated audience members with their stories, which were entertaining, inspiring and, at times, emotional. Interspersed throughout the day, a dozen breakout panels offered invaluable resources and inspiration to tackle the issues most important to the women in attendance, including Alzheimer's Disease, heart disease, career re-invention, wellness, emergency preparedness, aging, elder care, patient advocacy, estate planning, wealth management and more. Among those who were in attendance were Editors Guild Board member and assistant editor Sharon Smith Holley and the Guild's Western Executive Director Cathy Repola, the latter speaking on the Aging Parents panel (see below). Executives and Board members from SAG-AFTRA were also present. "Deal with It" is an invitation-only event hosted each year by the MPTF, a charitable non- profit organization. It exemplifies the Fund's 94-year commitment to the well being of the entertainment community, and is one of many ways the organization touches the lives of those working in the entertainment industry. - Linda O'Hanlon T his was my second year attending the "Deal with It" conference and participating on one of the panels. When the event planner contacted me last year and asked if I would be a part of the Aging Parents panel, I didn't hesitate. But I also didn't really give it much thought before saying yes. For one, I can't say no to the MPTF. I have put in volunteer hours for its programs, serve on the committee responsible for the annual "Day at the Races," and was a co-creator and remain a committee member of the annual Heartbeat of Hollywood Lite fundraiser. I also sit on the IATSE/MPTF Advisory Committee. I love doing all of that for this organization, which provides so much to the entertainment community. But none of that prepared me for speaking publicly about my personal experiences with my 90-year-old mother last year. It was hard and it was emotional, but it was also amazing. So many women who sat in on this panel expressed their gratitude for my willingness to be so honest about a very personal matter with a room full of strangers. A good deal of them told me that it helped them so much in dealing with their own aging parents. Hundreds of women gathered together to spend a Sunday afternoon sharing stories and listening to the tough truth about any number of subjects that we all face at one point in our lives. We also shared triumphant success stories, some tears and tons of laughter. All were reminded of — and embraced — how powerful and enriching this kind of connection is; that is what it is all about. And that is why I agreed to participate again this past September. This year, both the whole conference — and the panel on which I participated — were no less profound an experience the second time around. f - Cathy Repola MPTF CONFERENCE HELPS WOMEN TAKE CHARGE Repola Returns as Panel Participant Cathy Repola, left, and Sharon Smith Holley at the MPTF's "Deal with It: A Women's Conference." Photo by Mathew Imaging Corp.

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