Monday, March 26, 2018

Started alone, finishing strong

When I began my filmmaking journey, I wanted to create a great film about two women searching for their place in the world and looking out for each other. This was reflected in my screenplay, Red Door and Lemon Tree. But the hard part was turning it into a working production.

As a woman writer, I wanted to express my voice, tell my story. It wasn’t easy to get the financing. I had to face off in meetings with businessmen and try to prove that this story was relevant and worth the investment. Some laughed and told me to come back when I had some big Hollywood names. Others cancelled meetings, repeatedly. For a while, it was hard to ignore the feeling that the story was hard to sell exactly because it was about women. Especially when the financiers started to “suggest” that I change it into another version of “The Hangover”, with more male cast.

The first light came in the form of a woman investor who looked at the story and decided it needed to be told. After that, the rest of the dominoes fell in place. After a long struggle to secure financing, I am thankful to those who believed in my project, even before I had recruited my stars.

I started almost all alone. Along the way, the past three years, I have been fortunate to attract many interesting, talented and professional people who have either helped with the production or with introductions or advice. Even those who offered their ear late at night when I needed to vent or cheer.

The Universe has a sense of humour, after all. Without meaning to, and with an almost perfect confluence of random events and serendipitous meetings, I seem to have managed to recruit a brigade composed of powerful, talented and successful women, both behind and in front of the camera. It is now possible to make this film with a team where all the lead positions above-the-line are women: Producer, director, cinematographer, assistant director, costume designer, casting director, production designer, composer, and a few co-producers. This is unprecedented and would almost never happen in a large studio production. Not to mention that the top two cast salaries are both women.

When I founded my company, I put a mission statement on my website that I wanted to promote opportunities for women in film, and that is exactly what I was able to do, effortlessly. I gave the opportunities and these talented women took them. I couldn’t be prouder.