2019-20 WGAE COUNCIL
Beau Willimon is a screenwriter, producer and playwright. He earned an Academy Award nomination for screenplay “The Ides of March,” adapted from his play Farragut North, and made his first foray into television as the creator and showrunner of the Emmy and Golden Globe winning “House of Cards.” He is currently executive producing “The First,” a drama set in the near future about the first human mission to Mars, starring Sean Penn and Natascha McElhone. He also wrote the screenplay for the upcoming feature film “Mary Queen of Scots,” starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie. Willimon was elected to WGAE Council twice before becoming president of the Guild. He is honored to serve his fellow writers.
Kathy McGee is a news writer/producer at WCBS-TV and has been active in the WGAE for more than 20 years. She was elected to the Council in 2014 and is a member of the Diversity Committee. She has served as shop leader at WCBS since 2007, and on the negotiating committee for three CBS contracts. An Oklahoma native, Kathy has 30+ years of experience in broadcast journalism.
Monica Lee Bellais
Monica Lee Bellais is an American screenwriter, producer, and global media expert. She is well known for bridging Hollywood with Washington, D.C. area subject matter specialists in all spheres of government, military, and the private sector. Monica worked at James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment; in the Office of Jeffrey Katzenberg at DreamWorks; Warner Bros. Records; Discovery Communications; Smithsonian Networks; Public Broadcasting Service; and TeleProductions International. She has production experience in Canada, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Monaco, Pakistan, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates. Monica is a council member of the Writers Guild of America East. She serves on the Advisory Committee for Women in Film & Video after four years as a Board Member. She is on the Advisory Board for the Double Exposure: Investigative Film Festival and Symposium, which highlights investigative journalism in film. Monica holds a Bachelor of Individualized Studies in Journalism and Mass Communication from New Mexico State University. Her professional membership includes the Producers Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA, National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences – Documentary Programming Peer Group, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and The National Press Club.
Lisa Takeuchi Cullen
Lisa Takeuchi Cullen is a TV writer, author and journalist. She is currently in an overall deal with Universal Studios, under which she is developing a series at Netflix and writing on Season 21 of “Law & Order: SVU.” Lisa has developed drama pilots for ABC, NBC, CBS, A&E and Warner Bros.; her pilot “The Ordained” was produced by CBS. Previously she worked as a staff writer and foreign correspondent for TIME magazine. Her books are novel “Pastors’ Wives” (Plume/Penguin) and nonfiction “Remember Me: A Lively Tour of the New American Way of Death” (HarperCollins), a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick. Lisa was born and raised in Kobe, Japan, and lives in New Jersey with her family.
Bonnie Datt is serving her fourth term on the WGAE Council. She has been a producer of the WGAE Awards since 2009; in 2012 she became the first female Chair of the Awards Committee, a position she continues to hold. Bonnie also Co-Chairs the Animation Caucus and is a longstanding member of the New Members Committee. She began her career as a standup comic and has done punch-up on pilots and sitcoms for ABC, Disney and Paramount. She’s written for cable shows on the USA and Oxygen networks and children’s shows for PBS and Disney—including co-creating a pilot for the Disney Channel. Bonnie has also worked as a non-fiction story producer. In the world of new media, she co-created an animated short and was a regular contributor to the digital news site Racked for five years. Due to her varied resume, she learned firsthand the multiple ways which writers suffer without Guild representation. These experiences directly inspired her dedication to WGAE organizing. In her personal life, Bonnie is very active in national Democratic politics.
Kaitlin Fontana is an Emmy-nominated TV and film writer, director, and producer, and a National Magazine award-winning essayist. In a not-so-distant past life, she was a music journalist. She’s the current host of the WGAE’s craft and process podcast, OnWriting. Most recently, Kaitlin was a Field Producer on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. Her feature film script, GIRLFRIEND ON MARS, is in consideration for the 2020 Sundance Feature Lab. She is a 2018 NYTVF Development Deal recipient (“Peace,” Audible) as well as a finalist in the 2018 HBOAccess Directing Fellowship. Her directorial debut, Franchesca, was an official 2018 Sundance Film Festival selection. Kaitlin is a 2018 WriteHer List Honoree, an inaugural 2017 WGA/Made in New York Writers Room Fellow, 2017 Showtime Tony Cox Award winner, and 2017 Bitch List Honoree, all for her pilot Casey Can’t, which is currently in development. Kaitlin lives in Brooklyn, NY. She was born in Fernie, British Columbia, Canada, a distinction she shares with Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson.
Josh Gondelman is a comedy writer and standup comedian who currently works as a writer/producer for Desus & Mero on Showtime. Previously, he spent five years at Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, first as a web producer and then as a staff writer, where he earned two Peabody awards, four Emmy awards, and three WGA awards. He’s also the author of the essay collection Nice Try: Stories of Best Intentions and Mixed Results.
Dru Johnston is a writer, actor, and longtime performer/teacher at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York City. He has a writer, producer and performer on The Chris Gethard Show and his writing has also been featured in The New Yorker, Slate and Funny or Die. As an actor he’s appeared in such shows as Law and Order: SVU, Orange is the New Black and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. He has written and performed in several sketch and improv shows at the UCB Theatre, most notably “Sketches from an Italian Restaurant: A Billy Joel Sketch Show” and “Improvised Seinfeld”. In 2014 he was awarded the Andy Kaufman Award for his portrayal of Dr. Turkey, a sentient turkey who’s also a creationist.
Kim Kelly is a freelance writer and organizer whose work on labor, politics, and culture has appeared in a number of publications, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Republic, the Pacific Standard, Pitchfork, Bitch, and Rolling Stone. She currently write a column on labor and working class history called No CLASS for Teen Vogue. Previously, she was the heavy metal editor at Noisey, VICE’s music vertical, and served on the original Vice Union editorial organizing and bargaining committees. She was also on the organizing committee to unionize the company’s TV and production units, and on the bargaining committee for the editorial unit’s current contract. She grew up deep in the South Jersey Pine Barrens, and currently splits her time between Philadelphia and Brooklyn. Follow her on Twitter: @grimkim
Christopher Kyle’s WGA Credits include Serena, Alexander, K-19: The Widowmaker, The Weight of Water, and Homicide: Life on the Streets. His plays include The Monogamist and Plunge (Playwrights Horizons), The Safety Net (Broken Watch Theatre), and Boca (Charlotte Rep). He is a graduate of the MFA program in playwriting at Columbia University and a former Guggenheim Fellow in Drama.
Gail Lee is writer/producer at CBS News who has been involved in Guild activities for many years. Her credits include 7 terms as WGAE Secretary/Treasurer as well as serving on the Finance, Awards, Real Estate and multiple WGA-CBS News Negotiating Committees. Gail was the recipient of the Richard B. Jablow Award for Devoted Service to the Guild. She has also won WGA, RTNDA and Peabody Awards for her work.
Hamilton Nolan is a journalist. He was a longtime writer for Gawker, Deadspin, Splinter, and elsewhere. He helped his coworkers unionize Gawker Media in 2015.
Phil Pilato has been a Writers Guild member for 35 years, and a Council Member for the last 10 years. He currently works as an Editor and Writer at 1010 WINS Radio. Phil has also worked at WCBS News Radio 880, BBC Radio Five, ABC Radio (Austrailian Broadcasting), ABC and AP Radio and SNC. He’s been nominated for two Writer’s Guild News Awards, and in 2013 was given the Richard B. Jablow award for service to the Guild.
A Guild member since 1980, Simon has written for twelve different daytime dramas, including AS THE WORLD TURNS, SANTA BARBARA, GUIDING LIGHT and ALL MY CHILDREN. She has won seven Daytime Emmy Awards and seven Writers Guild Awards. Simon has served on the WGAE Council since 2007, where she has been active in lobbying efforts to promote a diversity-based tax credit in New York state. She co-chairs the WGAE Diversity Coalition, is a member of the Awards Committee and has been chair of the Daytime Committee.
David Simon is a Baltimore-based journalist, author and television producer. A former crime reporter for the Baltimore Sun, he is the creator of the celebrated HBO series The Wire, which depicts the political and socioeconomic fissures in an American city. His other television credits include the NBC drama Homicide and HBO’s The Corner, Generation Kill, Treme and Show Me A Hero. His most recent project, The Deuce, follows the legalization and subsequent rise of the porn industry in New York from the early 1970s through the mid-1980s. The author of two books of narrative non-fiction, “Homicide” and “The Corner,” Simon is a 2010 MacArthur Fellow.
AMY SOHN is the author of five novels, including Prospect Park West and The Actress, and four non-fiction books. Her books have been translated into eleven languages. She has been a columnist at New York magazine, the New York Post, and New York Press. She has been a WGAE member since 2005 and has developed television for such networks as HBO and ABC. Born and raised in New York City, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband, daughter, and bull terrier.
Michael Winship is a Writers Guild East council member and its immediate past president. He is the Schumann Senior Writing Fellow at the progressive news website Common Dreams, where he writes and edits political analysis and commentary, and a veteran television writer and producer who has created programming for America’s major PBS stations, CBS, the Discovery and Learning Channels, A&E, Turner Broadcasting, the Disney Channel, Lifetime, Sesame Workshop (formerly the Children’s Television Workshop) and National Geographic, among others. In 2008, he joined his longtime friend and colleague Bill Moyers at Bill Moyers Journal on PBS and their writing collaboration has been close ever since. They share an Emmy and three Writers Guild Awards for writing excellence. Winship’s television work also has been honored by the Christopher, Western Heritage, Genesis and CableACE Awards.