WOMEN FILM ARTISTS OVER 40:
ANONYMOUS WAS A WOMAN
EMERGENCY RELIEF GRANT
This program will distribute $250,000 in grants, up to $2,500 apiece, to women-identifying visual artists over the age of 40 who have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. APPLY HERE
Anonymous Was A Woman (AWAW) has partnered with the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) to launch an emergency relief grant program to support artists impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The program will distribute $250,000 in unrestricted grants, up to $2,500 apiece, to artists who have experienced financial hardship from loss of income or opportunity as a direct result of the crisis. As with AWAW’s annual award, the program is open to women-identifying visual artists over the age of 40 in the United States and territories, and aims to address the unique challenges faced by artists in middle age or older, particularly at this critical time.
APPLICATION GOES LIVE ON SUBMITTABLE:
Monday, April 6, 2020, 10:00 AM EST
Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 6:00 PM EST
By Thursday, April 30, 2020
A link to the application form will be made available on Monday, April 6 at 10:00 AM EST.
Due to anticipated high demand, applications will be accepted from Monday, April 6 through Wednesday, April 8. All applications will be reviewed after the closing date. Funds will be awarded to eligible applicants in the order in which applications are received.
WHO CAN APPLY?
Stuck At Home 48HFP (FREE event!) – Two Weekends Left!
The coronavirus is upsetting daily life and presenting new challenges to people all around the world. For filmmakers who are looking for a creative outlet in these uncertain times, we created the Stuck at Home 48HFP.
This FREE filmmaking competition is open to any filmmaker around the world. Our first film challenge kicked off last weekend with a whopping 1800+ participants. There are two more chances to get involved, and registration is currently open now!
Stuck at Home 48HFP Film Challenge Weekends
On Friday night, you will receive the secret challenge. You and those in your home will have 48 hours to brainstorm, write and shoot a simple scene or scenes and upload them to the Stuck at Home 48HFP Facebook group.
Do you have a high school age budding filmmaker or screenwriter in your life? Then the High School 48 is the perfect launching pad for their future career in film!
It’s the place for students who want to make movies. Whether you are an experienced filmmaker or just getting started, the High School 48 is your opportunity to learn more and to show off your creativity.
The HS48’s first upcoming event is the High School 48 Short Script Project, this April 17th-19th.
The Short Script Project challenges you to write a script (10 pages max) for a short film. What’s the catch? You only have 48 hours to do it. We’ll give you guidance on what makes a good short film, and we’ll assign you a genre, a character, a prop and a line of dialogue that you must work into your script.
With your registration, you receive access to:
First prize is a $250 and a copy of Movie Magic Screenwriter Software.
For more information or to register, visit https://www.48hsfilm.com/short-script
Mass Cultural Council believes in the power of culture, and we recognize that the work done by creative and innovative individuals is key to our vital communities. We know that the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has caused major disruptions for the careers of individuals who earn income through their work in the cultural sector. In response, Mass Cultural Council today announces the upcoming launch (pending final approval by our governing Council) of the COVID-19 Relief Fund for Individuals.
Grants of $1,000 will be available to Massachusetts individual artists and independent teaching artists/humanists/scientists who have lost income derived from their work as a direct result of COVID-19 related cancellations and closures.
Pending Council approval, the program guidelines and online application will be available April 8, 2020, at 10am ET, with an April 22, 2020 deadline.
The next LEF Moving Image Fund deadline for projects in pre-production will be June 5 2020, and application forms will open in early April. LEF grants are open to New England-based filmmakers seeking funding for feature-length (40+ minute) non-fiction film projects. In order to be considered, applicants must submit an online application form, including a project budget and up to 10 minutes of sample footage from the current project. Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to read the LEF New England Moving Image Fund guidelines and frequently asked questions to determine if your project is eligible and a good fit for LEF’s funding priorities before beginning an application. Learn more here
New Fellowship Opportunity! The Film Study Center-LEF Foundation Fellowship is open to Boston-area non-fiction filmmakers who are not currently affiliated with Harvard. One filmmaker over the academic year September 2020 – May 2021 will receive a $10,000 grant (jointly funded by FSC and LEF Foundation), access to FSC’s pool of production and post-production equipment, and the opportunity to participate in the Harvard FSC community through work-in-progress screenings, workshops, and other activities. How to Apply: Finalists for LEF Moving Image Fund production and post-production grant awards will be considered for the FSC-LEF Fellowship if they meet the following criteria: (1) They reside within 50 miles of Cambridge; (2) They are not currently affiliated with Harvard (3) They will benefit from and contribute to the FSC community. Learn more here. Questions about this fellowship program can be sent to LEF Program Officer Gen Carmel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On February 29th, 2020, Women in Film and Video New England (WIFVNE) hosted the event “Bringing Hollywood Home” at the WSCA Radio Station in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The event was moderated by WIFVNE NH State Chair Christine Altan (pictured below, far right). The event centered on two special guests: Knives Out production managers and independent film producers Chris Stinson and Amy Greene. Chris and Amy spoke candidly on various topics such as their focus on bringing film work into New England, their process as independent filmmakers, for aspiring filmmakers and anecdotes of their film set experiences.
Chris Stinson transferred from working exclusively in Los Angeles for over 20 years to creating his own production company Live Free or Die Films in New Hampshire. After a strenuous burnout from working on big budget films as a stunt double and producer, Amy Greene met and joined Chris. Together they began to produce independent films in New England. As they set their foot onto their new pathway in filmmaking, they made a clear focus to not only produce films in the area but to also bring in work from external sources.
The two producers explained the beginning stages for their production process. “It starts with breaking down scripts and the locations. We try to find locations in New England that could work for films,” Amy details, while Chris adds that they “acquire scripts and ‘selfishly’ want them to be set in New England.” Chris anecdotes a script being reworked to fit their needs as New England producers. “A script was written for New Mexico, but the writer was convinced to re-write it for Massachusetts.” This course of action exemplifies Stinson and Greene’s determination to not let New England be forgotten as a staple of opportunities for the film industry. Chris detailed that he focuses “on a smaller scale.” He initiates talks with production companies to have them work in New England for small production days such as three days or a week. For example, parts of the film Woodshock starring Kirsten Dunst, in which Stinson worked as a line producer, was filmed in Redwood, Massachusetts.
And in the same fashion as the film Woodshock, many other projects have veered into New England over the course of the years, something that as film producers Greene and Stinson find very pleasing. In fact, 2020 is only starting and Massachusetts’s agenda is already on a “booked and busy” status. Chris delightedly mentions “We got a lot of work happening; four movies, a couple of a tv show pilots.” *
The conversation turned to an inside look of the environment of independent filmmaking. According to Stinson, indie films allow the crew members to know each other much better, and this leads to better opportunities for networking and collaborating. It is something to think about, it is much easier to remember the names and faces of a crew of 50 than one of 250. And when it comes to choosing projects, as producers, Amy voiced that they are pulled into scripts that have a “more human story.” The two expressed their openness to unsolicited script submissions. “Just email our secretary,” Chris joked.
Not only did Chris and Amy provide insight to their process, but they came in with valuable information and advice. To aspiring filmmakers or anyone who wants to work in the film industry, Chris advises “[to not] be lazy… There are a lot of lazy people and those who work will rise up much more quickly.” And to the surprise of many in the audience, the two mentioned that film school is not a must, as “a lot of things can be self-taught.” Good work ethic along with networking is a sure way to climb up the ladder, according to Stinson. “It’s about knowing people, network but be nice. Nice people are what they want.” Greene adds to that advice, that those who did not or will not attend film school are to “learn every department in film productions” which they can “achieve by starting out as a production assistant.”
After working in the industry for 20+ years, the producers assured the audience that to this day, they still feel the same excitement they felt years ago when they first stepped into a film set. “I feel it a lot. Getting overpaid for something that I love is cool,” Amy joked. “I love being an environment where 50 people all love doing what they’re doing,” Chris added. When it comes to motivation and passion, Chris makes it clear his are as intact as they were years ago: “It is not about the money for me, as long as my rent is paid and I love the script, then sure I’ll do it.”
It was exciting and refreshing to hear the two touch up on one of the most prolific agendas: diversity. Chris detailed how he and Amy take part in this agenda. “I’d walk into a room full of white men and I’m like okay, let’s get more resumes of women.” Chris adds, “We’re actively making that happen. This industry is all white men and we need more diversity.” Not only are the two pushing for more changes behind the camera, they keep in mind the representations of minorities in front of it as well. In one of their projects, a character was deaf; Amy said that they actively looked for and hired real deaf actors to take part in the project, as it was important to have that representation cemented into the film.
To end the night, the two producers expressed that although independent filmmaking has taken center stage in their lives, they still jump on board with bigger projects if the script pulls them in. In fact, the two shared their latest project will be set in New York alongside none other than Ray Romano, who will be debuting as a writer and director.
“Bringing Hollywood Home” was a small and cozy event, with a “get together” vibe rather than that of a formal panel. At the end, Chris and Amy were very welcoming and approachable, as they took their time to answer each and every question anyone had even after the Q&A session on the panel had culminated. The two even invited everyone to continue networking at a nearby bar.
*Most productions in New England are currently on hold due to precautions relating to COVID-19.
Costume Designer, Shrine (Sony/Screengems)
What do you love about your work?
I love being able to delve into different characters and imagine how they would present themselves and dress. I enjoy creating my own backstories that help inspire the type of wardrobe they wear. Collaborating with other artists such as the directory, DP, and production designers is another enjoyment of mine. It’s always interesting to see other creative perspectives behind the world we’re creating, and it’s such a joy to see it all come to life. I love that my work is always changing with new projects, people, and surroundings. I’ve never been one to like repetition or routine so I greatly appreciate the constant change my work entails.
What is your vision for yourself, female filmmakers, or the media industry in 2020?
In 2020 I would really like to gain more momentum in my career. Design jobs are hard to come by as companies typically hire outside of Massachusetts despite the fact that there are many talented, qualified designers that are local. I’d love to see all of the local female filmmakers get more of the creative department head positions.
What’s one way you would suggest people “Change the Lens”?
As a single mother I would love for people in hiring positions in the film industry to change their perspective and start to support working mothers. There have been times when I have questioned my ability to land certain jobs based on the fact that I have a child. It is a very unfortunate thought to have cross your mind but I fear that there is some bias that exists in an industry where hours are long and most people opt to not have children.
What advice would you give to a new female filmmaker?
The road is long and hard but completely worth the journey if this is what you’re really passionate about. When I look back on my career and how it began I can’t help but be amazed at my progress despite all of the hardships. You are stronger than you think and give yourself credit for. There will be times when you feel you’ve hit rock bottom and want to give up but you need to recognize those situations as part of your journey. There were several times where I just had to go and get a regular job. One of those occasions led me to work as a tailor at Nordstrom. I met the most amazing women during my time there. These women were all from different countries with different outlooks on life and they all had different sewing tips to teach me. Had I not worked there, I wouldn’t have gained the knowledge they gave me. This knowledge has helped me immensely in the film industry and I am forever grateful for all that they have taught me, including how to remain open minded.
Which women in the New England region inspire you?
Andrea Ajemian, Deb Newhall, Debbie Holbrook, and Virginia Johnson. These women all work in the film industry and they are all killing it in their careers!
What film or series are looking forward to watching this year? Why?
Defending Jacob, I can’t wait to see the results of all our hard work. It was a long job and everyone got so close during the process. It was also a period of my life where I was in the middle of a life changing transition and I appreciate the close friends that I had supporting me in my time of need. It was the most fun I had working on set despite the job itself being very hard on everyone.
Attending any film festivals or events, and why you are attending them.
Sadly none of us will be able to attend any events for a while but I look forward to the day where we can start to get things back to normal. I believe we will all come out of this with a greater appreciation for the lifestyle we are able to have in America and a kinder attitude towards the people who make up our great country.
How can your fans find you!?
Audio Recording/Location Sound
The people I get to meet who are from all over the world.
Not taking no as an answer and not letting someone else’s negativity get in the way.
Seeing women directed movies and pushing for an inclusion rider sounds like a great start.
Take people’s advice with a grain of salt because they may not know where you’re headed.
Alecia Orsini Lebeda and Alicia Rodriguez
Covid-19: Pushing Creatives to Think from Inside the Box
With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, many professionals have been left with many questions about what comes next. Businesses have been forced to close, resulting in the loss of jobs for millions including the entertainment industry. So, at times of total social isolation many wondered what is there to do? Fortunately, one of the biggest perks of being part of the entertainment business is the ability to think outside the box, or in this case of quarantine, from inside of it.
Creatives have utilized the power of the internet. Stepping into online platforms, many initiated collaborations on screenwriting projects through shareable documents, table reads via conference call, holding parties via Instagram live and hosting online interview segments. Benjamin Zidel, a New England based producer and admin of “Channel 14”, a PA and filmmaking job posting group on Facebook, became one of those creatives with a plan. Zidel quickly jumped into action on Facebook urging the “Film Fam” (film family) community to post their projects.
Sure enough, within minutes the community overwhelmingly responded by sharing projects they’ve written, directed and starred in. The trick Zidel was hiding under his sleeve? To create an online film festival! “The New England Quarantine Festival” described as “The first and hopefully only Quarantine Online Film Festival, a welcoming space where all can gather to experience the local storytelling talent this region has to offer.” Benjamin Zidel curated the festival which received over 160 entries in total. It’s split up on two playlists, one on YouTube and one on Vimeo. As he explains “Not everyone’s art is in the same place, so I was hoping to do my best to consolidate them for the easiest viewing experience.” And of course, its needless to say that this festival is open to the general public, so anyone can access it to support and appreciate their fellow filmmakers while holding their spirits high in this time of seclusion.
On how he came up with the idea, Zidel responded “The idea was that a lot of entertainment workers are now sitting at home not creating, how could we be useful with this time? So, the premise was to collect as much local New England talent as possible, assemble their work in one place so with this newly found time on our hands, we can get familiar with the creators around us.” He also hopes that this festival leads people to “connect once quarantine ends [so] we can see some new beautiful work come of the collaborations.” And when it comes to the actions taken in the community Zidel hopes “the community sticks together, help when we can be by donating goods or volunteering to pertinent causes or simply sharing funny videos to distract us. [ And to] search inside ourselves about why storytelling is important to us. Let this time be made useful by expressing gratitude for things that may have [been] taken for granted. And maybe find an amazing story to tell from all of this.”
Quick, creative and decisive action such as Benjamin Zidel’s ingenious online film festival only shows that despite hardships, and moments in which time takes a halt, there is no need to forget our roots as creators; utilizing our gift of creativity to find productive pathways in the most unlikely places.
Joan Cassin – WIFVNE Member
Former President of WIFVNE & Founder of Boston Production Moms!
So many things! Because I’m both a director and a producer I get to tik off a couple of boxes at once. I love that I get to be creative in a way that lets my imagination loose and also creative in a problem solving capacity that feels like flexing a muscle. I also love that filmmaking is a team sport so you get to add your brain to a bunch of other amazing thinkers and become greater than the sum of our parts.
My vision for myself this year is one of action, moving forward, and taking all the next right steps to get me where I want to go. Essentially I want to just be doing more more more of what makes me happiest and sets me on fire and the only way to do that is action. I want the media industry to reflect the real world around us and to me that means I want to see more women on my sets, more people of color on my sets, and I want to see more of all of our stories in front of the camera as well.
The easiest things for us to do is support other filmmakers. Follow them on social media, promote their work and accomplishments, GO SEE their work when you can, and also show up for yourself. It can be hard to promote ourselves sometimes but put your own work out there to be seen as well. You’re worthy. Mentorship and support is huge too. We can always reach back and pull others up with us and reach forward for the hands that went before.
Keep going and don’t be afraid to suck. Think of how many shitty male made things there are out there that are forgivable because of the shear volume of male created work. I heard once that we’ll know we have equity when a female made film that sucks is just not a big deal because there are so many other female made films that are great. Rashida Jones said something in passing in an interview about directing once that I’m sure was small to her but made a big impact on me. “I think that women just need to keep failing – just keep failing, you know? – and then eventually, it’s not a failure,”. Just keep failing until you don’t.
Ugh. Which women in the NE region DON’T inspire me is a better question. Anybody out there doing what they love inspires the hell out of me. Margie Sullivan, Kristen Kearns, Amanda McGrady, Nikki Bramley, Mary Agnes, literally every single member of the Boston Production Moms group. It feels weird to call anyone out right now because there are so many..
I can’t wait until the final season of DARK comes out. One of the best, most unique sci fi shows I’ve ever seen. Everything about it is fantastic. I’m also about 15 minutes into the show The Deuce and I’m already hooked. Jury is out on it but it’s been a while since something sold me in the first few minutes like that. A lot to unpack in that show.
Past Blog Posts
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