By Roudi Boroumand
Since its birth four years ago the Nevada Women’s Film Festival has honored women's contributions to film in support of fair representation in the medium. In a short few years the festival has grown and now showcases works by talented female filmmakers from around the world, and from the region.
This year Nevada Women's Film Festival announced their first Nevada Woman of Achievement recipient, Diana Eden, an alumnus of Art and Archeology at the University of Toronto. Eden danced for the National Ballet of Canada before a career in costume design for film, TV and stage that begin in 1974 she was first offered a job; to design and coordinate the wardrobe for Ann Margaret and her dancers performing at Cesar’s Las Vegas. That led to assisting Bob Mackie in designing costumes for Jubilee!. From there Eden’s career flourished and expanded into film, television and theater.
On the festival's opening night, KNPR’s State of Nevada host and producer Carrie Kaufman moderated a talk with Eden at the Eclipse Theater, who advised the audience that while most schools lack a costume design program, those with a passion for design should learn to draw and cut, take courses in theater and film, and learn to work with actors.
“Script is everything.” Eden said. After an idea is pitch, producers hire the heads of the main creative departments, and costume and production design work together to create the characters’ look. The most rewarding moment for the designers is when the actors feel the story and the mood of a script is helped by costume and production design, said Eden.
Much of her career was spent working in TV, which has its own challenges: strict time constraints, an indeterminate lifespan of TV productions, and the possibility that the project may never be picked up. Yet while those in the profession are always hustling for the next job, Eden found success for decades. She fondly recalled how in the Polaroid era of the 70’s she would send designs via FedEx, a process that today is done digitally.
By the 90’s female studio executives became more prolific in the entertainment industry, but those in Eden's profession were subject to another form of industry elitism. She was once nominated for an Emmy but was not invited to the awards ceremony since her position was considered a below-the-line production cost.
Even with general obstacles in the profession, Eden said most of her career opportunities were given to her by women.
Since her return to Las Vegas in 2008, Eden has collaborated with local productions by sharing her experiences, and lecturing on design for UNLV's College of Fine Arts.
NWFFest 2018 also held panels answering to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. The festival ran from March 22-25 at the Eclipse Theaters.
Roudi Boroumand is a Nevada-based indie filmmaker, film studies writer and translator. Roudi has published work both in English and Persian on major figures of cinema and film analysis, and has been a collaborator with Cine-Eye and Cinema Scandinavia film magazines. She is a graduate of Portland State University and North West Film Center in Portland and currently an MFA candidate in Writing for Dramatic Media at University of Las Vegas Nevada.