Red Rock Entertainment was proud to be the lead sponsor of the ninth edition of TheWIFTS Foundation International Visionary Awards, which was held at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair on Saturday 2nd July 2016.

The prestigious awards luncheon is held annually by The Women’s International Film & Television Showcase (TheWIFTS), whose mission is to recognise and celebrate ‘women as individuals’, not only within the film and television industries, but also across other sectors of society. The ceremony, which is traditionally held in Los Angeles, also broke new ground this year by being the first to be held in London.

Red Rock Entertainment jumped at the opportunity to support an event that applauds and rewards the all-too-often unsung heroines of the entertainment industry and beyond. And as soon as the ceremony began, it became clear that these awards are indeed very special. Very rarely is a group of remarkable women brought together to celebrate and honour each other’s achievements in such a pure form.

Also rare in an awards ceremony was the modesty, humility and gratitude of the winners, which were chosen by TheWIFTS  Board on the grounds that they are “smart, have done what they wanted to do, have mentored and given, and are beautiful inside”. There was no agenda, politics or ego as each woman accepted her award, crafted in white porcelain and based on a wing design to “evoke the subtle curvature of the female form and a free spirit taking adventurous flight”, TheWIFTS spokesperson said.


TheWIFTS carries forward the spirit of two extraordinary organisations that were founded during the Second World War: the UK’s Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAFs) and the US’ Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs). Both organisations were pioneering in that they were based on the concept of ‘women as individuals’ — and the women gathered at the Millennium Hotel on Saturday, chosen specifically for the breadth and diversity of their work, certainly did that ethos proud.

In total 30 women were honoured from 16 countries for their contribution across the spectrum of international business, entertainment, the arts and more. Every honoree deserves a mention — and the full list can be seen here — from the wonderful Celia Imrie, the UK’s Olivier Award-winning and Screen Actors Guild-nominated actress, to the pioneering documentary producers Maya Newell and Charlotte Mars who, fresh from university, crowdfunded their way to producing an internationally successful film about children raised in single-sex households.

Indira Malwatte took home TheWIFTS Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award (Business) for her ground-breaking appointment as the first woman to serve as chairperson and chief executive of the Sri Lanka Export Development Board. Artist Fiona Hawthorn, who was recognised for her advocacy work in bringing carnival art produced by children to the streets of London, spoke of the “healing, empowering, emboldening aspects of art for children, as important as food or love”. And the Australian filmmakers who produced Unindian, one of the first films in Australian film history to depict multiculturalism, talked eloquently about how rare it is to find women’s talents celebrated anywhere and in any sphere.

Yang Ming Ming, the winner of the Jury Award China and Editor of the beautifully shot film Crosscurrent, sent a brilliant acceptance-speech video, filmed while she travelled the streets of Beijing on her moped. Barbara Tipple, artist and jewellery designer, and winner of the TheWIFTS Foundation Award, shared her honour with her friend, an actress and drama teacher, who was visibly moved by both the gesture and the day in general.

Filmmaker Alice Trueman was also present, documenting the ceremony for the event organisers. Trueman was the winner of the inaugural short-film competition launched by Red Rock Entertainment earlier this year in association with the Century Club. Her script, Jas, which tells the story of an English-Iranian teen and her unlikely meeting with a racist war veteran, starts shooting this month.

Red Rock Entertainment’s own Nicola O’C gave an impassioned speech on behalf of the sponsors, underlining her own and her company’s commitment to TheWIFTS’ mission, the inspiration she had drawn from the event, and the incredible things that can be achieved with passion, dedication and humility.

Successful women tend to be the last people who believe they deserve to be honoured — perhaps another commentary on the need for an event such as TheWIFTS Foundation International Visionary Awards. So it was with even greater pride that Red Rock Entertainment was able to contribute to enabling these remarkable women to have their moment in the sun.

Passion & Integrity, Commerce & Creativity, Equality not Hierarchy.

By Cheryl Clarke


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