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February 2017

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WOMEN IN POST 16 POST FEBRUARY 2017 arlier this month, Victoria Alonso, producer and executive vice president of physical production at Marvel Studios, was the recipient of the prestigious Visionary Award from the Visual Effects Society (VES). According to the VES, the visual effects industry's professional global honorary society, the award was presented in recognition of her "enormous contributions to visual arts and filmed entertainment" and "for her dedication to the industry and ad- vancement of unforgettable storytelling through visual effects." Alonso began in the industry as a commercial VFX producer, work- ing closely with some of the indus- try's leading directors, such as Ridley Scott (Kingdom of Heaven), Tim Burton (Big Fish) and in 2008, Jon Favreau on Marvel's Iron Man. She went on to play a key role in Marvel Studios' development, serving as executive producer on the studio's string of Hollywood blockbusters, in- cluding the Iron Man franchise, Captain America, Thor, The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man and more. She's currently working on eight Marvel films — Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider- Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok and then next year, Black Panther (currently in production), Avengers: Infinity War (currently being shot back to back with Avengers 4), Ant-Man and the Wasp and crafting Captain Marvel. Following in the footsteps of such past recipients as Ang Lee, J.J. Abrams and Christopher Nolan, the Visionary Award also marks the first time, as noted by Alonso herself, that a woman has received the honor. "There's only been five or six other recipients and they're all men —incredible, successful, talented and creative men — it's amazing com- pany to be in. It's humbling and thrilling, and in a way, a big responsibility to hold the banner for all of us women. I feel the responsibility; I'm not going to lie. I feel it every day and I'm honored to be able to represent." Here, in an exclusive interview with Post, she discusses receiving the award, her advocacy for the advancement of women in the industry and her role at Marvel Studios. What are your thoughts about being a woman in the entertainment/ post industry? "I can tell you that I don't walk into a room, ever, thinking I am the woman. I walk in the room hoping I'm worthy to belong. That's it. And in every meeting I hope I performed and I hope I get invited back. Although I'm incredibly outspoken about equality, inclusiveness, gender parity, equal pay, you name it I'll speak about it, I'll speak loudly about it and I'll speak to the press consistently about it. I also think it's important to say that for me, if I've been discriminated, it's been behind my back, so I don't think I have a very common experience. But don't get me wrong, when I'm in the room, I do the counting and I'm usually one of two or three women out of 25-30 people. I don't ever say, 'Well, you notice I'm the only woman, right?' I often say, 'Where are the ladies?' And it's as easy as that. And I said it way before I had any real author- ity, and it's a style of saying things that I think is a little more conducive to people thinking about it, and saying, 'Well, she is the only woman.' If you look at the sta- tistics, there's something awfully wrong. There is no 50/50 in production. In post production, it's a little easier. Our roles in post are incredibly balanced — all of our movies are. Most of our movies have had one male editor and one female editor, our post supervisors are mostly women, our visual effects producers are mostly women. Our visual effects supervisors are not, and that's a quandary I'm trying to crack. "When I went to the Academy for the Bakeoff for Visual Effects, there were 40 people presenting and out of the 40 people, they were all white men. It's in your face, I'm aware of it. I look and go, 'Where are the women?' It all leads you to believe that either there isn't a path for women, or that there's a path that is incredibly difficult for [women] to get there. And it's two-fold — it's a choice we make as women not to take the job and it's the fact that they don't open the doors for women to take the job. It's not one or the other, it's both." Who are some of your early role models? I understand producer Kathleen Kennedy inspired you? "My mother is probably my biggest role model. She was one of those people that never gave up and was incredibly BY LINDA ROMANELLO MARVEL'S VICTORIA ALONSO ON RECEIVING THE VES VISIONARY AWARD, WOMEN IN POST AND MARVEL FILMS E Alonso (above) and on Iron Man Iron Man set with Gwenyth Paltrow. Ant-Man Black Panther Captain America

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