A lifelong thanks from EWA Network
Statement of Thanks from Ada Solomon, Executive President EWA Network, to Alessia Sonaglioni, Executive Director EWA Network
I discovered EWA Network through Alessia Sonaglioni and I agreed to be part of the game because of her vision and approach to the organisation. For me, EWA Network is about building on success stories, being inspired and empowered by other women and their experiences; it is about content rather than just advocacy.
EWA Network was ahead of its time in many situations and has been prepared for the challenges. This unique profile was developed with all the energy of an amazing powerful woman, Alessia Sonaglioni.
Since 2016, Alessia Sonaglioni has been managing and applying her vision for change in support of greater gender equality to the European Women’s Audiovisual Network.
This was a challenging role to take on as Executive Director, as the final round of the innovative EU-supported Multiple Revenue Stream Training for Future Films course had to be planned and organised across three European countries, a new research report “Where are the women directors in European films?” was to be released and many more challenges, including financial planning, needed to be handled with the utmost care.
Alessia rose to the challenge immediately with drive and determination. Not only did she ensure the training course was a major success, but she went on to establish a new mentoring scheme in 2018, which for the first time ever brought junior female producers in contact with experienced producers across Europe, ensuring that EWA Network’s key values of promoting networking and sharing know-how could become a tangible reality. There are now over 25 mentees and 20 experienced producers who form a strong pan-European community and many successful projects have seen the light of day thanks to this pioneering initiative; perhaps more significantly, many bonds of friendship and business connections have been created, ensuring that a supportive community of female producers can continue to grow and develop projects together in the future.
Close ties with festivals have also been forged under the management of Alessia: for the mentoring project with Trieste Film Festival’s When East Meets West co-production market, Thessaloniki Film Festival's Agora Co-production Market and the DOK Leipzig co-production market. A raft of prizes to support projects under development have also been given, including at Fest Forward Belgrade and some of the aforementioned festivals, and countless panels and conferences have taken place.
In times of crisis EWA, under Alessia’s guidance, has shown its ability to rise to the situation. The Online Hang-outs and transposition of workshops on pitching, loglines and many other subjects online, throughout the pandemic, have meant that not only has EWA been able to respond to the needs of existing members by offering a community and content, but many new members have also joined the network. New partnerships have been created with Les Femmes Non Alignées and SWAN to mention just a couple, funding partners have continued to back EWA Network and alliances across Europe has ensured that EWA remains as relevant today as it did at its inception.
I personally have been lucky & honoured to work closely with Alessia for the past 4 years and am certain her contribution at grassroots level has helped to ensure that the unequal playing field that is the European audiovisual sector has become that little bit more balanced thanks to her vision and energy. Lots of work remains to be done but Alessia has had a major impact in forging ahead for change.
The next Executive Director will have some big boots to fill going forwards.