Women in Film - Dream it, plan it, do it!

Blur Nightclub

January 13th, 2019 11am - 1pm

Five successful, locally based women in the film industry discuss what it takes to move from an idea spark to an award winning film. This panel of thriving Writers, Directors, Producers and Actors will share actionable tips with the DIFF audience concerning how to maneuver through a traditionally male industry with finesse, confidence and purpose. These tips will save time and help prevent costly mistakes as you grow your film career.

Panelists include:
Victoria Jorgensen (Moderator)
Mary Rachel Dudley
Stefanie Davis
Melissa McNerney

Victoria Jorgensen is an award winning Tampa Bay based filmmaker, writer and film festival organizer. She has attended the Berlin and Toronto Film Festivals annually since 1999 returning to Tampa Bay with programming suggestions for local area film festivals. Her films have shown at festivals around the world including a three woman show, “formato”, at Museuda Imagem R Do Som, in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Cannes Film Festival 2017.  Jorgensen began her film career in 1977, her senior year at the University of South Florida. She registered for a Visual Concepts class in the Fine Arts Department taught by Margaret Miller (current Director, Contemporary Museum of Art). She wanted to stretch herself, learning more about visual art, as she was working toward a degree in Creative Writing. In that class, Miller showed Un Chien Andalou, a surreal short film by Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali. Mesmerized, Jorgensen asked Miller to help her get into the Cinematography Department. Miller introduced her to Charles Lyman, the Department Head and the show was on. Jorgensen spent the next two years studying and making three films: Konya, Carbon and Kryptikos) under the tutelage of Lyman, San Francisco filmmaker Will Hindle and a plethora of amazing mentors. Jorgensen was actively immersed with the Chinsegut Film Festival, a unique annual gathering of filmmakers from around the world.  See her documentary A Moving Feast.

Victoria Jorgensen is an award winning Tampa Bay based filmmaker, writer and film festival organizer. She has attended the Berlin and Toronto Film Festivals annually since 1999 returning to Tampa Bay with programming suggestions for local area film festivals. Her films have shown at festivals around the world including a three woman show, “formato”, at Museuda Imagem R Do Som, in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Cannes Film Festival 2017.

Jorgensen began her film career in 1977, her senior year at the University of South Florida. She registered for a Visual Concepts class in the Fine Arts Department taught by Margaret Miller (current Director, Contemporary Museum of Art). She wanted to stretch herself, learning more about visual art, as she was working toward a degree in Creative Writing. In that class, Miller showed Un Chien Andalou, a surreal short film by Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali. Mesmerized, Jorgensen asked Miller to help her get into the Cinematography Department. Miller introduced her to Charles Lyman, the Department Head and the show was on. Jorgensen spent the next two years studying and making three films: Konya, Carbon and Kryptikos) under the tutelage of Lyman, San Francisco filmmaker Will Hindle and a plethora of amazing mentors. Jorgensen was actively immersed with the Chinsegut Film Festival, a unique annual gathering of filmmakers from around the world. See her documentary A Moving Feast.

Mary Rachel Dudley is a SAG actor of 25 years who also enjoys the other side of the camera producing, writing or directing. Her recent on camera credits include Fear the Walking Dead, Rob Reiner's LBJ with Woody Harrelson and Ed Zwick's Trial by Fire with Laura Dern. Her current in production credits include her documentary The Peaceful Warrior and her mockumentary A Life Well Framed. Her mission statement, "Let's bring great people together to do what we all love to do best, tell a story and shine brilliant".

Mary Rachel Dudley is a SAG actor of 25 years who also enjoys the other side of the camera producing, writing or directing. Her recent on camera credits include Fear the Walking Dead, Rob Reiner's LBJ with Woody Harrelson and Ed Zwick's Trial by Fire with Laura Dern. Her current in production credits include her documentary The Peaceful Warrior and her mockumentary A Life Well Framed. Her mission statement, "Let's bring great people together to do what we all love to do best, tell a story and shine brilliant".

After ten years of studying and performing in New York, Melissa relocated to Tampa where she has continued her work as an actress in commercials, film, and television. She recently produced her first feature,  Death Cast , which was filmed entirely in the greater Tampa area, employing over 30 local crew/cast. Melissa is a member of SAG-AFTRA and is the 2019 Branch Chair of Women in Film and Television Tampa Bay.

After ten years of studying and performing in New York, Melissa relocated to Tampa where she has continued her work as an actress in commercials, film, and television. She recently produced her first feature, Death Cast, which was filmed entirely in the greater Tampa area, employing over 30 local crew/cast. Melissa is a member of SAG-AFTRA and is the 2019 Branch Chair of Women in Film and Television Tampa Bay.


After leaving the corporate banking world, Stefanie began as an actress and in 2015, she started to step behind the camera as a director, producer, and script supervisor. Films such as "Migraine Hell," "Speed Dating," and "BS Meeting" made their debuts with glowing reviews. Her award-winning production company, Bouncy Boxer Media, has created films that have screened in festivals around the globe. Through relatable characters and natural dialogue, Stefanie strives to tell stories that will resonate with audiences. Her first feature film, "Hot Mess In A Wedding Dress," is a character driven story that will connect with both men and women. Her goal is to continue to tell underrepresented stories with people of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Every story is important.

After leaving the corporate banking world, Stefanie began as an actress and in 2015, she started to step behind the camera as a director, producer, and script supervisor. Films such as "Migraine Hell," "Speed Dating," and "BS Meeting" made their debuts with glowing reviews. Her award-winning production company, Bouncy Boxer Media, has created films that have screened in festivals around the globe. Through relatable characters and natural dialogue, Stefanie strives to tell stories that will resonate with audiences. Her first feature film, "Hot Mess In A Wedding Dress," is a character driven story that will connect with both men and women. Her goal is to continue to tell underrepresented stories with people of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Every story is important.