I met Abigail through a friend (Bryant Martin who since introducing me to Abigail I have had the pleasure of directing in two short films, one of which he produced). I sat down with her for much longer than either of us anticipated and had a wonderful interview with her. Subsequently she introduced me to Susanna Styron with whom I also had an incredible interview. Oh the power of networking. I have never been very good at it but this project has taught me how it can work and be a positive not a selfish force. It seems only appropriate that this should be my first short interview edited by someone other than me. JC Scruggs took on the footage and wove it into this lovely little video. Enjoy!
I first found out about Lauren Tracy when I was purchasing a wireless microphone before I had interviewed a single subject for my thesis and documentary on female filmmakers. Chatting with Kevin my sales rep at Pro-Sound (a great place in New York City for sound equipment purchase and rental by the way) he asked what I was working on and I told him about my project on female filmmakers. He went on to tell me that he worked with a woman who had started a company with her Dad to promote women directors (X-Factor Filmmakers). He gave me the information about the company and I went home and immediately emailed her.
Moments later she replied to my email and we set up an interview for my first trip to Los Angeles. I watched her shorts online and read her blog and couldn’t wait to meet her. Her enthusiasm is contagious. She was my first interview. She connected me with others and kept in touch as I met many more women, some of her generation just starting out and others who had started when very few women directed their own stories in film. Stay tuned for more on all of those stories.
Lauren has taken the fight for female filmmakers into her own hands with X-Factor Films and is working on developing her own feature Sweet Desert Palm, as well Tansylvania – a webseries about a female vampire gang in The Valley, and Sheila Scorned written and directed by Mara Tasker.
Want to celebrate women making movies. Check out Hannah has a Ho-Phase. Nadia Munla with screenwriting partner Jamie Jensen directed the female-driven movie Hannah Has a Ho-Phase and made the movie with an all-female crew. I met Nadia after contacting USC about my female filmmakers project – and got the opportunity to shoot the interview above, edited by Dana Hayes.
Nadia and Jamie shopped around the script for Hannah in the traditional fashion and struggled with the consistent note, “It’s really funny. Like a female Hangover – but where is the male perspective?” …. So, Hollywood … here is the female perspective for a change!
When I knew I was going to interview Julie Dash I was incredibly nervous. I had written two papers on her at the Graduate Center and was a big fan of Daughters of the Dust when I was an undergraduate at UCLA. So needless to say I was thrilled at the possibility of speaking with her about her work. My nerves soon dissipated because she was so incredibly kind and charming.
Julie Dash made history in 1991 when she became the first African American woman with a theatrical release of a feature film with Daughters of the Dust. Before that, as a student at UCLA, she was part of a cinema movement now known as the “LA Rebellion.” The Outlaws, as they called themselves, included filmmakers such as Charles Burnett, Larry Clark, Haile Geima, Aile Sharon Larkin, and Barbara McCullough. When I was a student at UCLA I remember being exposed to the films of Charles Burnett and Larry Clark – but it wasn’t until much later that I became aware that Julie Dash was also a part of the group. Through Women Make Movies I was able to acquire a copy of her short film Illusions – and learn even more about the wonderful talents of Julie Dash.
Watch this short video of Julie Dash speaking to me about the LA Rebellion and the opportunities presented by the digital revolution (edited by me and camera by Robert Reber):
For more on Julie Dash:
http://voices.cla.umn.edu/artistpages/dashJulie.php (includes a full filmography and books by and about Julie Dash)
For more on the LA Rebellion:
Spirits of Rebellion – a documentary in progress on the LA Rebellion by Zeinabu Irene Davis
SPECIAL THANK YOUS
Kelvin Garvanne and Nanci Isaacs for introducing me to Julie Dash
Dan Watanabe for introducing me to his student Robert Reber who worked the camera during this interview (most interviews I haven’t had the luxury of having someone run camera so needless to say I was very grateful)