Rachel Cann of Massachusetts – Writer – Member of WIFVNE
What’s the best part about your work?
What challenges have you’ve faced in this industry as a woman? (Or otherwise)
Keeping up with technology.
In the age of #MeToo & #TimesUp, what do you hope to see happening in the future for women in our industry?
What’s one way you would suggest people “Change the Lens”? (Such as going to see women directed movies, or pushing for an inclusion rider)
Quit being shy…speaking out when necessary.
What advice would you give to a new female filmmaker?
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
What goals do you have for this year?
Making new friends, finish sending queries for an agent/manager.
What women in the region (New England) inspire you?
Upcoming Events or Announcements? What are you working on?
Turning memoir of taxi driving into a feature film script (Pulse of the City)
How can your fans find you!?
Miriam Olken of Massachusetts – PA / AD Member of WIFVNE
I get to work with incredible people, creating awesome projects, learning lots of skills I hope to use in the future for my own projects.
What challenges have you’ve faced in this industry as a woman?
Sometimes difficult to get on over hire list or in touch with Key PAs but once I get an intro, show up my first day and work hard I am almost always asked back to work again.
I hope everyone of all ages, genders etc will understand boundaries and appropriateness and that when I go to the business meetings/parties after where a lot of the deals and networking happen, that I will be asked to work with someone or on a project based on my skills and qualifications and not bc of other intentions.
What’s one way you would suggest people “Change the Lens”?
Supporting more female and POC critics for film analysis of all films.
Never give up, keep trying, you will eventually find people that want to hire you for your skill and you don’t have to put up with the BS and survive in this business
Work on more professional projects, particularly feature films, finish my script, work on a friend’s passion project to gain more skills and learn
Michelle Meek, Anna Feder, Maria Agui Carter, Sara Archambault, Amy Greene, cinematographer Amanda McGrady
Writing a short film script, in first draft stage. Would like to put my first short film online for International Women’s Day, trying to figure it out
Instagram and Twitter: @Mimolken
Susan Bryant of Massachusetts – Sound Recordist – Member of WIFVNE
Adventures, interesting projects, cool teammates.
Due to the intimate places we have to mic, I feel women are more appropriate for my role.
I hope that no one ever thinks that kissing ass (or more) is mandatory for succeeding in the business.
When women bow out of being on camera, I’ve been explaining to them that they become part of the problem — allowing the media to portray their expertise/their contributions/their roles, without them. Without their identities present to diversify what younger people are able to see on the screen they are not helping balance gender representation in the media. (This goes for any underrepresented group of course).
Say yes to work. Get a good rental house that you can call to back you up. Hire good people.
Work on film projects that make an impact on the world.
Beth Cloutier, Nikki Bramley for their dedication to their sport of DP.
How can your fans find you!? (Please add your social media & websites so we can tag you!)
Through WIFVNE or Tim at Central Booking.
Raeshelle Cooke of Massachusetts – Award Winning Filmmaker
1) Being able to tell a story about love, loss and life through beautiful music; 2) sharing stories about women that look like me, without all the stereotypes and foolishness; showing that we are humans like everyone else, who live and feel like everyone else. There are many layers to our beings. We are artists, lovers, music lovers, hopeless romantics, boss women, and unintentional activists. I love showing all these layers in my work.
There have been times where a guy would tell me they’ll help me make a film if I date them. That was early in my career though. Needless to say, I laughed and made the film myself. I’ve also heard the whole “it’s difficult for black women to make a film. Read a book instead.” I heard that ridiculous advice 11 films and 3 awards ago. I don’t allow anyone to victimize me based on my race, and tell me what I can and can’t do. And I don’t think about my gender much at all. But I do notice certain things of course, and I handle them when they happen and move on.
What I want to see happen in the future for women in our industry is, I want to see more black female directors, and black women in lead roles. They get less opportunities and I want to see them become more successful in the industry, and showcase their artistic talents both in front and behind the camera. In my films, I always have a black female lead and tell our stories and share our thoughts and feelings. There’s no one more oppressed than a woman who is black. I want to help lessen that. As for #MeToo, I want to see them become more inclusive of black women. I don’t feel that that is the case right now and because of that, I have not related much, and I feel out of place. I want to hear and see support for our stories. I feel the same about feminism, and women’s marches etc. I feel it’s important to not be afraid to speak up and say these things, and that’s why I tackle these feelings in a couple of new films that’s coming out soon.
More women need to become writer-directors, and direct your own movies, assemble your own crews, and distribute your own content. Push your own content out there if no one else will. Don’t wait for things to change. Do it yourself. That’s how I go about my film career.
Assert yourself on the set. Don’t let them talk or run all over you on set. Don’t be afraid to be a “bitch”, as they would label it. Embrace it and push your content. Get in the same rooms as the men and represent yourself.
To shoot 2 new films this year, and package them into episode samples and take them to the American Film Market in Santa Monica in November to pitch a tv series idea. Get in those rooms with the men and represent myself. Continuing to push my content. But also enjoy myself and travel. I’ll be in Orlando in March, Memphis in May and hopefully Atlanta in September, with other trips in between. It’s important to live as much as you can. That’s what fuels content for the filmmaking. And film is not the most important thing in the world to me anyway, so it’s easy to take my own advice on that.
Eileen Slavin is an editor in the Region who I’ve known for years now. When I first met her, she would take photos on the sets of my films, then we started bonding on the basis of editing. I’d always email her and ask her for editing tips as she’s a great editor. Then we became friends. She’s editing feature films now and is doing her thing, and I love that she doesn’t ever compromise who she is. I’d definitely say Eileen inspires me!
In the spring-time I’ll be shooting a film called “Woke”. The film basically sends the message to black women: quit saving everyone but yourselves. Do what makes you happy. It’s a response to men like Hidden Colors director Tariq Nasheed, a filmmaker who stays hating on me because I don’t let men from either race posses me. We’ve gotten into it a couple times and now it’s time for me to hit him and men like him with a film. Then in the summer or fall, we’ll be shooting The Richest Woman in Foolope County, a film that talks about generational-wealth building and real estate investing. It also touches on the ignorance of perceived wealth. Also, I may be involved in a Director’s workshop in April. And my last film Wrath City will be screening at the Rhode Island Black Film Festival, also held in April. It’s setting out to be another good year in film. The different between this year and last is, I intend to stay focused and not let things that don’t deserve my energy to rock me off the boat this time.
How can your fans find you!? Facebook.com/raeshellecooke
My film work: www.vimeo.com/raeshelle
Kate Kaminski of Maine – Cineanarchist – Member WIFVNE
What’s the best part about your work? If I’m judging it for myself, I’d have to say that the best part about my work is a persistence of vision.
What challenges have you’ve faced in this industry as a woman? The biggest challenge for me has always been gatekeepers who have no vision or room for something “outside” what they already know.
In the age of #MeToo & #TimesUp, what do you hope to see happening in the future for women in our industry?Unfortunately, there’s a difference between what I hope and what I know is an inescapable reality: which is that change will remain very difficult in this industry. I suppose I hope that women makers will (continue to) refuse to take “no” for an answer and that women who do “make it” will pull up those further down the ladder rather than become co-opted by a system designed to keep us out. As far as men in the industry are concerned, I see a continued resistance there and I have no answer to that problem. When you’re the dominant group, it is nearly impossible to imagine giving up that power…
What’s one way you would suggest people “Change the Lens”? I think it’s essential that we evolve a more inclusive canon and learn a more accurate history of film (including the important role women have *always* had in it), whether through education or critical writing about film (and other media). When male film critics outnumber female film critics by 2 to 1, that’s a problem for women filmmakers. Studies show male critics are much harder on female-driven, female-directed films than they are on those directed by and about men. Critical acclaim is how filmmakers get to make more films, obviously. So 50% equity needs to happen across the board in terms of the film industry, but particularly in the critical arena and, of course, in decision-making in studio board rooms.
What advice would you give to a new female filmmaker?Be prepared to make your own way. Don’t let rejection stop you. Make your film.
What goals do you have for this year?I’m not setting any particular goals for the year (at least not right now). I’m a spontaneous filmmaker, so if I get inspired by something, I’ll just try to make it happen.
What women in the region (New England) inspire you?I’m continually inspired by Maria Giese, the activist-filmmaker who initiated the EEOC investigation into Hollywood’s discriminatory hiring practices. She’s amazing. I’m also inspired by all women in this little corner of the world who continue to make their films in spite of all the obstacles (personal or otherwise) intended to derail their expression.
Upcoming Events or Announcements? What are you working on? I’m working on a live performance piece to present at PortFringe (Portland’s fringe theater fest) in June 2019. It’s called “Séance on a Tuesday Afternoon,” and it’s a comedy.
How can your fans find you!? Twitter: @gitgofilms FB: facebook.com/gitgoproductions Insta: @fromthegitgo Websites: katekaminski.com + gitgoproductions.weebly.com
Shannon Ashe – Actress – Member of WIFVNE
What’s the best part about your work?Being able to tell someone’s story in a way that hopefully touches someone or impacts them in a positive way. Number two would be working with such incredibly talented creatives.
What challenges have you’ve faced in this industry as a woman? As a young woman I felt the pressure to be sexy and beautiful in order to land roles. I don’t feel that way as much as I have grown older and focus more on my work.
In the age of #MeToo & #TimesUp, what do you hope to see happening in the future for women in our industry?I hope women will help empower each other to use their talents and not their bodies for growth in the industry. To use their voices and take a stand when put in compromising positions. I want to see more women filmmakers with bigger budgets from the networks and equal pay for men and women in leading roles.
What’s one way you would suggest people “Change the Lens”? We can all change the lens by lifting each other up and not judging each other so harshly. We tend to get in our own way. We should support women of all races, sizes and backgrounds.
What advice would you give to a new female filmmaker?As an actress, I can’t advise a filmmaker except to create more roles for women and do their best to hire more women crew members.
What goals do you have for this year?I recently joined SAG-AFTRA. My hopes are to ban with other union members in the area and help bring more films and television series to New England to create more job opportunities. We need more consistent work to be able to survive.
What women in the region (New England) inspire you?I am inspired by so many women in the area! One inparticular, a woman named Mary Beth Paul. She is a local actress who friended me when I was new to the area and helped me get the lay of the land. She was selfless. We have supported each other instead of being intimidated by each other. It really is tough to find other women who genuinely want to help you succeed.
Upcoming Events or Announcements? What are you working on? I just wrapped working on “Knives Out” directed by Rian Johnson with the most amazing crew I have ever worked with. I have a few things coming up, but nothing inked. Every day is a hustle.
How can your fans find you!? www.shannonashe.com @theshannonashe
Maria Giese of Connecticut – Writer, Director, Activist – WIFVNE Member
What’s the best part about your work?Far and away, the best part of my work has been writing, directing, and collaborating on films and TV projects, however, the most effective work I have done has been battling for American women filmmakers as a collective.
What challenges have you’ve faced in this industry as a woman? I have faced severe under-employment, lack of access, poor representation, and retaliation for activism for women directors.
In the age of #MeToo & #TimesUp, what do you hope to see happening in the future for women in our industry?I hope to see 50/50 gender representation on screen and behind the scenes in all US entertainment media content. I believe that will come through outside intervention into our industry: legal action, legislative reform, state tax incentive programs, and federal enforcement of Title VII (equal employment opportunity law).
What’s one way you would suggest people “Change the Lens”? Awareness. Read about it, talk about it, tell your representatives about it. Make sure our great EXISTING laws ensure equal employment opportunity for ALL women in our nation’s entertainment media. We ARE the stories we tell.
What advice would you give to a new female filmmaker?Every woman who becomes a filmmaker is a pioneer and a trailblazer. Charge ahead with a team of women and a machete. When women can participate equally in our cultural narrative, we will also share equally in our power structure.
What goals do you have for this year? I hope to direct a children’s film, and I plan to help instigate an industry-wide legal action to challenge employment discrimination against women in US entertainment media.
What women in the region (New England) inspire you? There is so much female talent in New England, I am inspired by each and every one. Every voice has the potential to change the world– let’s make sure each one of us has a fair shot at contributing to our nation’s cultural narrative through entertainment media storytelling.
Upcoming Events or Announcements? What are you working on?I am helping promote the brilliant feature documentary, “This Changes Everything,” about the battle for equality for women in Hollywood will hit the theaters this spring. Directed by Tom Donahue, I truly believe this film might live up to its title. And please watch my TEDx talk on this issue: “The Battle for Female Voices in Entertainment Media” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7P5ZCP29CxI
How can your fans find you!? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Instagram: @maria_giese |Twitter: @MariaGiese | www.mariagiese.com
Ann Marie Shea of Massachusetts – Actor, VO, BG – WIFVNE Member
What’s the best part about your work? Being part of the creative scene.
What challenges have you’ve faced in this industry as a woman? Lack of roles for my type (over 60 yo)
In the age of #MeToo & #TimesUp, what do you hope to see happening in the future for women in our industry? R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Younger women are expected to be “hot” to be employable, yet by so presenting are often seen as “available.” Actually, it’s good to be a character actress (not “dishy, ” as Dame Maggie Smith says), if only the roles were there.
What’s one way you would suggest people “Change the Lens”? Women are natural storytellers; why not trust us to direct more? Inclusion rider is fine. Also looking at and filming life after 35–that’s where the demographic is going. It would be a good business trend.
What advice would you give to a new female filmmaker? Work every job in school and indy productions, to learn lighting, camera, audio etc. Learn the messiness of finding locations, securing permissions, etc. And for heaven’s sake, learn what an actor does. I worked with a newby (male) director who didn’t understand that fight scenes had to be rehearsed, that actors like to read a scene looking at each other, etc.
What goals do you have for this year? Kill every audition. As an actor I have to wait on the initiative of others.
What women in the region (New England) inspire you? Too new to the community to be able to drop names. That’s why I joined WIFVNE.
Upcoming Events or Announcements? What are you working on? Waiting for a possible call back for upcoming miniseries.
How can your fans find you!? Boston Casting/AgencyPro. Available from Amazon, “Abe and Phil’s Last Poker Game,” where I play wife of Martin Landau.
Jemma Byrne of Massachusetts – Content Producer and Video Editor – Member of WIFVNE
What’s the best part about your work?I love the creative control I have over my projects.
What challenges have you’ve faced in this industry as a woman? I find that I don’t get taken as seriously as my male colleagues. Even if those male colleagues have less experience, I’ll need them to back up my knowledge or they’ll get chosen for jobs which I then have to help them do, but they get the credit and title for. I’ve also been accused of sleeping with a director for the position of assistant director on a short film after kicking a male crewmember off the set for ruining a shot by talking during a take. I was also consequently called bossy and power hungry.
In the age of #MeToo & #TimesUp, what do you hope to see happening in the future for women in our industry?I hope that men won’t find #MeToo as a deterrent for hiring women. I want men to advocate for equality, education, and understanding in the workspace to inhibit toxic environments that bring sexual harassment and abuse.
What’s one way you would suggest people “Change the Lens”? Talk to women. Ask women how they felt when certain situations happened to them, whether in the work place or out of it.
What advice would you give to a new female filmmaker?Don’t give up. Don’t shut up. Don’t stop loving film.
What goals do you have for this year? My goal for this year is to finish a technology educational series.
Kristen Lucas of Massachusetts – Producer. Member of WIFVNE
What’s the best part about your work? First and foremost I love telling stories about badass women. And being able to work alongside so many super talented people that support the vision makes it that much sweeter for me.
What challenges have you’ve faced in this industry as a woman? (Or otherwise)This industry is not for the faint at heart. There is a lot of rejection and you can’t take it personally. You just have to persevere and find your audience. For me it’s not necessarily about being a woman, but being outside of Hollywood, you sometimes are not taken as seriously as you might like to be. So you just have to earn the RESPECT by continuing to pitch stories that will appeal to audiences.
In the age of #MeToo & #TimesUp, what do you hope to see happening in the future for women in our industry?I just want everyone to have a voice no matter who they are, here they come from, what color their skin is, etc. Everyone has a story to tell and share.
What’s one way you would suggest people “Change the Lens”? I am working on changing the lens in terms of the stories I focus on. I will not discriminate against hiring male crew members (so much amazing talent to choose from), but I will also continue to make a conscious decision to be inclusive. My team is already very diverse and I plan on continuing on growing as we expand. I would encourage others to do the same.
What advice would you give to a new female filmmaker?Network as much as you can. And then follow up and ask how you can get involved if you meet someone that sparks your interests. All they can say is NO, and you never know what or who you might meet as a result of it.
What goals do you have for this year?2019 is a transition year for me and the team. Stay tuned for more!
What women in the region (New England) inspire you?Too many to name. You know who you are. We are already working together.
Upcoming Events or Announcements? What are you working on?It’s too early to say… but check out my new website at goldilocks-productions.com for an update on the projects I have in development.
Instagram: @goldilocksfilm @respectherhustlebrand @snowflakemovie
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