2019 Iris Award Gala
WiFT~Louisiana's 2019 Iris Awards Gala
And The Award Goes To..
Award winning actress, Rutina Wesley!
Women in Film & Television-Louisiana are proud to announce our 2019 Iris Award Winner, Rutina Wesley!
Rutina Wesley is currently starring in the fourth season of Ava DuVernay's critically acclaimed series Queen Sugar; She stars as “Nova,” the journalist/activist/herbalist in this drama that takes an inside look at what it is truly like to see family come together. Many reviewers are in agreement with USA Today’s Robert Bianco who says that “Rutina turns in a tour de force performance as the grieving daughter…” Prior to Queen Sugar, Rutina was busy starring on yet another critically acclaimed series Hannibal, from the mind of Bryan Fuller. She got to tackle the role of “Reba,” the blind love interest to the “Red Dragon,” played by Richard Armitage. Following that, Rutina starred as the co-series lead in the ABC pilot The Broad Squad; from Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage’s Fake Empire which addressed the issues surrounding newly appointed female cops in Boston throughout the late 1970’s.
Some of her theatre includes tackling the coveted role of “Viola” in Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” at The Old Globe, “The Submission” Off-Broadway with director Walter Bobbie, as well as on Broadway opposite Julianne Moore in David Hare’s “The Vertical Hour” from acclaimed director Sam Mendes. She has starred across all genres in the feature world such as “13 Sins” from Radius/TWC, “The Perfect Guy” from Screen Gems, “Last Weekend” from Sundance Selects and the lead role in the Sundance Film Festival favorite, “How She Move” which was bought and distributed by MTV Films. Rutina is perhaps best known for immortalizing the role of “Tara, the Southern, tough-talking, best friend to Anna Paquin’s, Sookie Stackhouse” on Alan Ball's HBO hit series: True Blood. She has developed a huge following and continues to wow directors and producers with her intense, heart-touching performances.
Wait, there's more!
Necar Zadegan (NCIS: New Orleans; 24; Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce) will receive the 2019 Empowered Woman Award at the WIFT La. Iris Award Gala. Get your tickets now and get ready for one of the best parties of the season!
Powerhouse actress and philanthropist Necar Zadegan is the guest speaker for the opening 2019 Women in Film and Television Louisiana's Alice Evening networking event 7 p.m. Tuesday Jan. 8 at Second Line Stages, 800 Richard St., 5th floor.
Known for her career on stage and screen, Necar currently portrays Special Agent Hannah Khoury in the CBS global franchise series NCIS: New Orleans. She's garnered critical acclaim for her role as First Lady turned president Dalia Hassan on Fox’s hit series “24”; as Layla Shokrani alongside Tim Robbins and Holly Hunter in the HBO drama “Here and Now” from Oscar winning screenwriter, creator Alan Ball; as high powered attorney Delia Banai in the Bravo comedy on Netflix, “Girlfriends Guide to Divorce”; and on the cast of the ABC hit “The Good Doctor.” Other series regular roles include her portrayal of Dr. Gina Bandari on “Emily Owens MD” and in the lead opposite Greg Kinnear in the FOX comedy “Rake.” Other credits include roles for Steven Spielberg company produced series “Extant,” opposite Sean Bean in the spy series “Legends” and as the Queen of Iran in Showtime’s “Masters of Sex” opposite Michael Sheen, with whom she also starred opposite in the Columbia Tri Star film, psychological thriller “Unthinkable” alongside Samuel L. Jackson.
She appeared with Adam Sandler in Judd Apatow’s “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan” and played the title role in “Elena Undone.”
She has worked in theaters including The Mark Taper Forum, the Royal Dramatic Theater of Stockholm, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and toured internationally in the Persian language production of “Satellite with Love.”
Born in Heidelberg, Germany and raised in Northern California, she speaks Persian, French and German and has learned Spanish, Arabic and Hebrew while working in those languages.
She studied theater and dance at the University of California, Santa Barbara and received her bachelors in English Literature, graduating with honors. She also studied at the Sorbonne University in Paris.
Ms. Zadegan is an ambassador for BuildOn.org and travels with them around the world building schools for children.
2019-2020 WiFT-Louisiana Board
From Left to Right: Vice President-Amy Le, Sponsorship Chair- Bianca Siplin, Treasurer|Events Chair- Ashley James, President- Shameka Gray, Secretary|Education Chair|Webmaster-Keota D. Picou, Volunteer Chair-Angel Omoike, Baton Rouge Chair- Portia Washington, and Communication Chair- Lizeth Hutchings (not photographed).