Film Forward

Two Companies Teamed Up To Focus On Female Filmmakers, And The Results Are Breathtaking

"The industry has a responsibility to help resolve gender disparity in the business."

The ways we watch TV and movies have evolved, and it's time for the talent in front of and behind the camera to do the same. Film Forward speaks on the initiatives to diversify the film industry and the stories it tells. New articles premiere every second Thursday of — and throughout — the month.

With #TimesUp, women in Hollywood have taken it upon themselves to turn the tide in an industry long dominated by men. While much of the attention is focused on leading ladies finally getting what they deserve, there are still many women behind the scenes who aren't given the same opportunities as their male peers. Still, in 2018, there is only one female filmmaker for every 24 male filmmakers. 

To address this disparity in representation, Condé Nast Entertainment (CNE) and 60 Second Docs' parent company Indigenous Media created Project HER, a female-focused film incubator that pairs up-and-coming women filmmakers with established industry mentors, including Rodrigo Garcia (In Treatment), Lesli Linka Glatter (Homeland), Kasi Lemmons (Eves Bayou), Betty Thomas (Private Parts), and Sarah Treem (The Affair). 

"We strongly believe that the future is female and Project HER is a platform to make women's voices heard," Teal Newland, senior vice president, marketing, distribution, and new platforms, Condé Nast Entertainment, said in a statement. "The incubator is a step towards creating an environment where women can explore new forms of storytelling and emerge to go on and navigate and disrupt the current Hollywood system."

Project Her selected seven women — Joyce Sherri, Jordan Trippeer, Maria Burton, Philiane Phang, Georgia Bernstein, Cemre Paksoy, and Blythe Haaga Parker — to create short films spanning multiple genres, from comedy to drama to thriller. In Snugglr, by Bernstein and Paksoy, an emotionally unavailable professional "Snugglr" provides comfort to her lonely and sometimes strange clients in the Chicago area. In another film, Black Night by Trippeer, four teenagers with inhuman abilities set out to escape an experimental lab and, if they survive, discover their origins. 

It should come as no surprise that as women's life experiences have always varied, so do the narratives they tell on screen. "As evidenced by the amazing work that each of Project HER mentors have done, women's voices are indisputably valuable, and the industry has a responsibility to help resolve gender disparity in the business by providing them the opportunities they deserve," said Garcia, co-founder Indigenous Media as well as a Project HER mentor.  

All the Project HER films are available to view on Condé Nast's digital video website, The Scene, and the Project HER Facebook Show Page.

Cover image: ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com

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