WIFC to Honor Creative Powerhouses Jean Batthany, Kathryn Hempel, Megan Mercier, and Kris Swanberg at Annual Focus Awards 2016
CHICAGO -- WIF Chicago is proud to recognize the achievements of colleagues in the creative arts during its renowned Focus Awards gala, which will take place at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 28, 2016, at the brand new ArcLight Cinema, 1500 N. Clybourn Avenue in Chicago.
“Finding your voice and vision is often a lifelong journey within this industry. The women we will honor during Focus seem to have found theirs and it is powerful. They inspire me and they are sure to inspire others to dream big, work hard and stay the course,” says Carrie Hunter, president of Women in Film Chicago. “Each honoree is the complete package creative. They are vivacious, business savvy, and salt-of-the-earth. In the words of someone more renowned than me, they are a force of nature.”
Honorees are Jean Batthany, Executive Creative Director and Senior Vice President at DDB Chicago; Kathryn Hempel, editor and partner at Cutters Studios and artist; Megan Mercier, writer, actor, director, producer, and improviser; and Kris Swanberg, a Chicago businesswoman, filmmaker, and actress.
The public and press are invited to show their support for these amazing women who continue to make Chicago proud through their remarkable work in film, television and advertising. For more gala information about how to become a sponsor or purchase tickets, visit www.wifchicago.net
Single ticket for WIFC members: $50; Non WIFC members: $65
Women in Film Chicago (WIFC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization for all creative content professionals.

About our Honorees:
Jean Batthany is a native New Yorker.  She is currently Executive Creative Director at DDB Chicago where she leads the creative charge on recent new business wins Kohler and the American Cancer Society. With more than 20 years of experience championing ideas at BBDO, Merkey+Partners, M&C Saatchi, and Saatchi & Saatchi, her work has been recognized by the ADDYs, AICP, Clios, Communication Arts, Effies, London International, Luerzer’s Archive, Mobius, Ad Council’s Gold Bell for Public  Service, and the Keith Reinhard People Award. Jean was one of Business Insider’s 30 Most Creative Women in Advertising of 2015 as well as Advertising Working Mothers of the Year 2015 by AWNY and Working Mother Magazine. An advocate for changing the ratio of men to women in creative leadership roles, she sits on the Better by Half board, a gender balance initiative from DDB North America, and is a member of the Art Director Club’s 50/50 initiative. She helped launch and currently leads LaunchPad, DDB Chicago’s creative internship program, and is a big believer in the power of young, diverse talent as well as mentorship.
Kathryn Hempel is an accomplished documentary filmmaker and fine artist. She is the editor behind numerous award-winning commercial campaigns.  Earlier this year she edited the sensational global #LikeaGirl spot for Procter & Gamble's Always brand, which is now approaching 50 million hits on YouTube.  The ad recently earned the Grand CLIO Award and more top honors at the 55th Annual CLIO Awards Ceremony.  Kathryn is also widely known as the creator and founder of AICE's Camp Kuleshov competition, an annual festival that has been honoring assistant editors across America since 2001.
Megan Mercier is a writer, actor, director, producer, and improviser now based in Los Angeles. Before that, Mercier was Artistic Director and an ensemble member at the renowned Chicago Theater company, The Neo-Futurists, where she wrote and performed regularly in the longest-running late-night show, Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind: 30 Plays in 60 Minutes. She also acted as a producer and curator for several other events, including an annual summer film fest and an annual Chicago Pride benefit show, which raised money for homeless queer youth. She has also appeared in several independent films, including “Tiger Tail in Blue” “Privacy Settings,” “Autoerotic,” “Caitlin Plays Herself,” “Happy Christmas,” and the forthcoming “Digging For Fire,” all directed by Joe Swanberg. In 2011, she appeared in an independent improvised pilot titled “Shrink,” which received the Critic's Award and Best Comedy Pilot award at the 2012 NYTVF.  Megan recently co-wrote her first feature, “Unexpected,” which was selected by the 2015 Sundance Film Festival for the U.S. Dramatic Competition.
Kristin "Kris" Williams Swanberg is an American businesswoman, filmmaker, actress, and former high school teacher living in Chicago. She is best known for her work with her husband, Joe Swanberg, on the independent digital feature film “Kissing on the Mouth” (2005), in which she starred as Laura, and on the Nerve.com web series “Young American Bodies,” in which she stars as Dia. Her personal projects include the short documentary "Bathwater" (2006) and the Nerve.com documentary web series "Boys and Girls.” In 2005, she coordinated The Future Filmmakers Festival, which showcases work from filmmakers under the age of 21. Swanberg earned a bachelor's degree in film production from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and earned a Master's in Education from DePaul University in May 2010.
About WIF Chicago
For more than 30 years, Women in Film Chicago (WIFC) has been building a global community of film, television, advertising, digital, and on-screen media professionals. With 6,800 members in the United States and 12,000 members internationally, Women in Film is the preeminent organization for the advancement of women in these industries.
WIFC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization for all creative content professionals and provides a dynamic network to facilitate the exchange of ideas and opportunities and builds a solid educational platform to accelerate the professional development of our members.