Women's Panel - 39th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival
SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 17: (L-R) Madelyn Hammond, Diane Warren, Karen Hartley-Thomas, Maite Alberdi, Laura Karpman and Julie Zachary speak at the women’s panel during the 39th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival on February 17, 2024 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images for SBIFF)

Oscar Nominees – Women’s Panel at 2024 SBIFF




The 39th Santa Barbara International Film Festival is talking place LIVE February 7 – February 17, 2024. Official events including screenings, filmmaker Q&As, industry panels, and celebrity tributes, will be held throughout the city, including at the historic Arlington Theatre. Passes for the 2024 Festival are on sale now at sbiff.org.

A-list and industry guests will once again ascend to Santa Barbara, making it a must-stop location on the awards circuit, and delivering a record number of films with many World and U.S. premieres. The 39th festival will open with the World Premiere of Disney’s MADU and it will close with the World Premiere of CHOSEN FAMILY directed by Heather Graham starring Julia Stiles, Heather Graham, Andrea Savage, Thomas Lennon. The festival will debut 45 World Premieres and 77 U.S. Premieres from 48 countries. Film lineup and full festival schedule can be found on sbiff.org.

  • Speaking to the notes her team received about the LGBTQ+ themes and content in the film, Julie shared that, “We had received many notes along the way to ‘talk about the gay thing’ or to take it out, which we were never going to do…It’s so seamlessly integrated, because for Nimona specifically…we wanted to make the world reflect the world that we live in. And guess what, there’s gay people in the real world, there’s trans people in the world.”
  • On writer ND Stevenson’s feelings on the film, Julie said, “At the end of the day, when we showed him our final version, we screened it in Burbank, he turned around and said ‘You guys made the movie I didn’t even realize I was trying to tell 10 years ago.’”
  • On her new role as an executive at Annapurna, Julie expressed that, “As a filmmaker, understanding the business and understanding the process, I almost feel like it’s a perfect marriage.”
LAURA KARPMAN - American Fiction
  • Talking about the representation of women in the composing world, and more specifically the percentage of women represented in the top films of the year, Laura noted that, “In 2014, it was 2% of the top 250 box office films. Now, 10 years later, we have advanced, we had 14%. But people, 50/50 by 2030. Enough with incremental change. It’s time to go for it.
  • On the jazz undercurrent of the score, Laura stated that, “They were looking for people who were well-versed in jazz and people who had a tremendous amount of experience in film scoring…I grew up playing jazz and classical music, I learned them almost simultaneously, so for me, they’ve always been present in my work, even if it’s not as evident as it is here.”
  • On the emotions involved with getting nominated, Laura shared, “What do you say, I literally still can’t believe it. I just never, ever thought it would happen. It’s something that I dreamed for so long, that one day I just stopped myself from dreaming it.”
MAITE ALBERDI - The Eternal Memory
  • Speaking to the subjects of the film Maite explained that, “Both of them are very important figures in Chile. He was an important journalist, he made clandestine reports, things that wouldn’t appear in the official media. And when the dictatorship was finished, he was the main journalist, creating all of the programs that exist in the cultural memory… She’s a very important actress for television and theater, and she was the first minister of culture that we had in Chile.”
  • On first seeing the two after hearing about Augusto Góngora’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, Maite said, “It was unbelievable, they seemed very happy in this context. It was the first time I saw a person with Alzheimer’s not isolated or alone, and neither was his caregiver…And from there I knew I wanted to make this film.”
  • Maite also shared a bit about what makes her film distinct, explaining, “We are so used to the fiction, dramas about Alzheimer’s, that it’s always tragedy, difficult, but they’re the perfect example that the way you manage and live are what make the difference.”
  • Karen shared a bit about her hesitations in joining the film with only 6 weeks to prepare, saying “You never want to do that kind of film Helen, an iconic woman, and Golda, an iconic woman, you never want to do it poorly.”
  • Karen also talked about the specifics of the look she and her team created for Helen, explaining, “I think Helen had it in her mind that she’d have her face totally consumed, but we did the piece in a way different than most people usually do, we had eye bags, cheeks, separate pieces, so we could decide to do as many pieces as we wanted.”
  • In terms of the process, Karen also shared a bit about the specifics of the application process: “It’s 2.5 hours to put it on, but 1 to take it off. And you have to be so, so careful when taking the pieces off.”
DIANE WARREN - Flamin’ Hot
  • Addressing the reasons why she decides to do a project, Diane shared that “It’s not about money for me, it never was. If I feel like I can do something great for it, if I can get inspired by it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a doc or a huge movie, if I think I can do something great, I’ll do it.”
  • Diane also talked a bit about the song itself, sharing that “The fire inside is about passion. And when you have that fire in your belly… As I was watching the movie, I was going ‘I’m Richard Montañez.’”
  • Talking about the emotions she brought into the song, Diane said, “Everybody can slam doors in your face, but the fire inside burns all of them down.”


Maite Alberdi (THE ETERNAL MEMORY) – Director/Producer
Karen Hartley-Thomas (GOLDA) – Hair and Make-up
Laura Karpman (AMERICAN FICTION) – Composer
Diane Warren (FLAMIN’ HOT) – Songwriter
Julie Zachary (NIMONA) – PGA and Head of Production at Annapurna Animation