Independent Women and Independent Film: The Future of Female Filmmaking
This week marks the release of AS HIGH AS THE SKY on DVD, written and directed by Nikki Braendlin, who worked exclusively with an all female cast and crew. A recent study has found that the number of women writing and directing films shown at festivals has decreased — 21% of narrative films were written by women, and only 18% directed. These numbers might seem low in the world of independent filmmaking, but when compared to Hollywood/Studio filmmaking, only 6% of the highest grossing films were helmed by a woman.
We recently asked her to talk about the future of women in film. Here is what she said:
In the last few years, the media has been saturated with the abysmal statistics on the number of women working in front of and behind the camera. However, instead of reiterating the numbers, I’d like to offer some positives on the future of female filmmaking:
The gender gap in filmmaking is being talked, posted, tweeted and blogged about. And thus, it’s hard to ignore. The farthest reaching shout out for equality was recently given by Cate Blanchett during her Academy Awards(r) acceptance speech. 43 million people watched her remind the studios that female-driven films are not niche films and that women do buy tickets. Additionally, yearly data continues to be gathered, and reported, on the lack of female producers, directors, cinematographers, editors and characters. Pressure is a good thing. It leads to action.
- Women in Film’s Film Finishing Fund – Provides grants and in-kind services to films for or about women.
- Women Make Movies – Assists with the production, promotion, exhibition and distribution of independent films by and about women.
- GameChanger Films – Produces narrative features that have women attached as directors or co-directors.
- Chicken and Egg Pictures – Provides funds and mentoring to female documentary filmmakers.
And once you have your movie made, there are several female targeted film festivals to submit to. Among them are:
- Athena Film Festival – An engaging weekend of feature films, documentaries and shorts that highlight women’s leadership in real life and the fictional world.
- Women’s International Film and Arts Festival – Held annually during Women’s History month, the event is designed to celebrate women and to help them realize their dreams, visions, and voices.
- Moondance International Film Festival – Popularly known as the “American Cannes,” Moondance promotes, encourages, educates and rewards non-violent conflict resolution in writing, the theatre arts & film, as well as raising awareness to the invaluable contributions of women to the entertainment community.
- Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival – The longest continuous-running women’s film festival in North America. It showcases documentary, feature, short and animated films that are thought-provoking and enriching, and that encourage global awareness and personal growth.
- Lunafest – Established in 2000 by LUNA, the makers of the Whole Nutrition Bar for Women, LUNAFEST connects women, their stories and their causes through film. This traveling film festival spotlights the work of a diverse array of talented women filmmakers with intelligent, funny and thought-provoking themes.
Studies show that when a film has a female director, not only are there more female characters, more of the crew members are women. One woman getting in the door helps others. Additionally, in an effort to staff more women behind the camera, Reel Angels was launched in 2013. Started in London, they have a database of crew members across Europe and the U.S. who are ready to work! Look them up: http://www.reelangels.tv/
Women are adept and successful at DIY projects and film is no exception. With the advent of digital filmmaking and crowdfunding sites (most notably INDIEGOGO and KICKSTARTER) anyone can make a film. It won’t be a multi-million dollar venture, but it can be a smart, creative, moving movie. And with social media and digital releasing platforms, your film can get seen.
ABOUT NIKKI BRAENDLIN:
An executive member of Women in Film and a member of Film Independent, Nikki Braendlin is the manager of Aunt Kiki Productions, a Los Angeles based film Production Company. She began her artistic career at the Stella Adler Academy of Acting. As High as the Sky is her debut film as a writer/director. READ MORE