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A Reflection on #FemaleFilmmakerFriday

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More than a year ago, #femalefilmmakerfriday began as a campaign to share images of female filmmakers on social media.  Directors shared photos working on set, both in response to the #TimesUp movement and as an effort to inspire the next generation of women.  “If she can see it, she can be it,” was a common refrain on the posts.

The hashtag has continued, with some filmmakers committing to keep posting on Fridays to keep momentum and visibility up for the effort toward gender parity.  I participated and found it to be a community building exercise, growing my list of women in the industry I wanted to follow and support.  Additionally, I found it was empowering personally: to share images of myself on set – directing, producing, with my children, with my beloved colleagues on my nearly all-female sets.  Presenting myself as a woman who is pressing forward in spite of the miserable grind to get noticed in the industry.  While I am certainly hopeful it does inspire the next generation to see us, I actually needed the inspiration myself, a welcome and reassuring view into the largely underrepresented stories of women working in film.  We have not disappeared, despite the statistics, and many of us have years of photos that no one has ever seen until now.

I have spent some time reflecting on how effective something like the #femalefilmmakerfriday hashtag might be at moving the needle on representation behind the camera.  Are we shouting into an echo chamber?  To some degree, yes, I think we are.  However, I think we must not underestimate how powerful it is for us to have a method for identifying each other outside of the traditional channels.  Yes, it’s still hard to get in. To get noticed. And while the gatekeepers have not changed significantly, what is changing is that we are finding each other, where before we felt largely alone in the “Boy’s Club”.   Together, we get out of the line that is not meant for us.  Together, we form our own rooms, circles, and support systems.  Together, we DO move the needle on our own work.

The call to action is to champion each other in every way we can, in the press, on social media, in our hiring practices.  I no longer take the lack of opportunities personally.  I funnel that energy into demanding my community sees the warrior women who are out there creating.

Next Friday, search the #femalefilmmakerfriday hashtag and follow as many of the women posting as you can.  Watch their work.   Promote their work on your own social media.  Add them to your ‘hip pocket’ list on Glass Elevator.  Spend some of your weekly energy advocating for yourself, for women, and particularly women of color and trans women creators in your community.  Take unabashed pride in the films you are making, have made, and see your peers making.  Shout about them and celebrate the world you want to see. Get loud.  Stay vigilant.  Stay Inspired.

Jen Prince

About Jen Prince

JEN PRINCE (Producer, Director, Editor)- Jen Prince is an independent producer who hails from south Texas, where her love for music, theatre, movies and tableside guacamole began. Jen produced and co-edited the indie feature QUALITY PROBLEMS (Chris Mulkey, Mo Gaffney, Brooke Purdy), available on VOD, winner of Best Independent Spirit Feature at Sedona Film Festival, Best Feature at Women Texas Film Festival and Hell's Half Mile Festival, among other awards and critical acclaim. Jen recently produced the feature AND THEN THERE WAS EVE, (Tania Nolan, Karan Soni, Mary Holland, Rachel Crowl) together with Jhennifer Webberley (Metamorfic Productions), winner of a Jury Award at the 2017 Los Angeles Film Festival. She produced the micro budget award-winning indie- road feature, EVE OF UNDERSTANDING (Bellamy Young, Rebecca Lowman), distributed through Vanguard Cinema and screened at over twenty festivals worldwide. Jen is currently in pre-production on her feature directorial debut, MILES UNDERWATER (2018), which received a Hometown Heroes grant from the Duplass Brothers/Seed&Spark, teaming up again with the Metamorfic filmmakers who created Quality Problems. She is a graduate of the MFA Film Production Program at USC. She received her BFA in Acting and a BA in Liberal Arts in the Plan II Honors Program at the University of Texas at Austin. Jen has also worked in post-production television. Credits include the Emmy Awards, The Contender (Mark Burnett Prods), and The Amazing Race (CBS). Jen is a mother of four boys and loves trying to keep up with them and, at times, watching the grass grow.