The Vail Film Festival is proud to present the Women in Film panel, featuring four highly creative and talented female filmmakers who all have films at this year’s festival. The discussion will focus on their personal journey within the film industry, as well as explore the broader aspects of representation in film, including the range and available roles for women both in front of and behind the camera. There will be an audience Q&A after the panel. Panelists include producer/director/actor Miranda Bailey,  writer/director/producer Courtney Balaker, writer/director Leila Djansi, and producer Katie Mustard. Moderated by Denver Film Festival Director and producer Britta Erickson.

Saturday April 1, Cascade 2 at 3:45pm


Miranda Bailey

As an actress, writer, director and producer, Miranda Bailey is involved in every aspect of the independent film business. She executive produced Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale, and since then her producing credits have included Time Out of Mind starring Richard Gere, the award-winning documentary Spinning Plates, Swiss Army Man starring Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano, Don’t Think Twice directed by Mike Birbiglia, Norman starring Richard Gere and Michael Sheen, Lake Bell’s next feature, What’s the Point?, and the award-winning 2015 Sundance sensation Diary of a Teenage Girl, in which she played a supporting role opposite Kristen Wiig. Bailey plays a significant supporting role in Like Cotton Twines, written and directed by Leila Djansi, and an official selection at this year’s Vail Film Festival.

Courtney Balaker

Courtney Balaker is a producer, writer, director and actress. She produced LD Entertainment’s horror film The Collector from director Marcus Dunstan, the documentary Can We Take a Joke? starring Adam Carolla, the Wes Craven produced horror film Pulse starring Kristen Bell and Ian Somerhalder, and Dimension’s horror film Feast starring Balthazar Getty and Henry Rollins. She wrote, produced, and directed Vail Film Festival official selection Little Pink House starring two-time Oscar nominee Catherine Keener, and acclaimed actor Jeanne Tripplehorn.



Leila Djansi

Leila Djansi began her directing career while still studying at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Her directorial debut I Sing of a Well netted an unprecedented 11 nominations at the 2010 African Academy Awards, winning the Jury Special Award for Best Film. Her critically acclaimed screenplay for Movie Africa Subcity won the best screenplay award at FESPACO in 2007. She also won the WorldFest Platinum award for her screenplay for the film Grass between my Lips in 2009. In 2015, Djansi directed Where Children Play, which stars Grammy-winner Macy Gray. Her other credits include And Then There Was You and Sinking Sands. Leila Djansi’s Like Cotton Twines screens as an official selection at the Vail Film Festival.


Katie Mustard

Named one of Variety’s “Top 10 Producers to Watch” in 2015, Katie Mustard has made a name for herself in the movie industry, producing 17 projects in just the last 3 years alone. In 2014, Katie was honored with a "Women In Film" Award by the St. Louis Film Festival. Katie produced Simon Helberg's We’ll Never Have Paris with Alfred Molina and Maggie Grace, Paul Bettany's directorial debut Shelter with Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Mackie, and Ideal Home with Paul Rudd and Steve Coogan. Katie has three films screening at the 2017 Vail Film Festival, Tony Award winner James Lapine's film Custody with Viola Davis and Ellen Burstyn, Amanda Sharp’s Sticky Notes with Ray Liotta and Rose Leslie, and Katie Holmes' directorial debut All We Had.


Britta Erickson - MODERATOR

Festival director of the prestigious Denver Film Festival, Britta made her foray into producing in 2009 with the documentary film Convention, chronicling the 2008 Democratic National Convention. She next produced the ground-breaking documentary Rolling Papers about the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and the appointment of the nation’s first mainstream marijuana editor at the Denver Post. Britta’s latest film, Actor Martinez, a narrative feature directed by Mike Ott and Nathan Silver, has achieved great critical success, and screened at world renowned film festivals such as Rotterdam, Tribeca, and AFI.