“I’m not interested in competing with anyone. I hope we all make it.” I think about this Erica Cook quote a lot, especially in relation to women in film. It is my firm belief that one of the most important things we can do to make strides for women in the industry is to support each other. Not just the women who are making big budget blockbusters (who are awesome, and of course worthy of support) but also the female filmmakers who are making everything from low-budget indies, to television, to web series, and everything in between. Which is why I was thrilled to be able to catch a documentary that I felt truly exemplified Cook’s quote.
Seeing is Believing: Women Direct screened at the DTLA Film Festival this fall. Directed, produced, and edited by Cady McClain, the film is made up of dozens of interviews with film directors from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds. The film’s website explains that the movie “opens the conversation up to ask ‘What is the broader role of storytelling in our society and how can women use filmed media as a unique opportunity to catalyze progress?'”
The result is an intensively inspiring and informative documentary that should be on any aspiring filmmakers’ must watch list. The film has a great educational aspect, taking the time to define “movie speak” for the audience, so even non-filmmakers who are interested in learning more about the experiences of women in the industry could easily follow it.
The interviews cover a wide range of topics, which give a strong picture of what it is like for women trying to break into directing. There’s a wealth of information about what did or didn’t work for the interviewees, as well as how their journeys in the industry have impacted the kind of art they’ve ended up creating. While some of the stories about the specific difficulties of getting a career off the ground as a woman are frustrating, ultimately the interviews are inspirational stories of the value of perseverance…even if the odds are stacked against you. I loved the message of the movie, and that McClain took the time to interview people with such a wide range of experiences.
If you’ve ever wanted to take up directing, this film will give you a healthy dose of motivation to take steps to make it happen.
To learn more about the film, check out www.seeingisbelievingwomendirect.com. The website also includes some great resources for filmmakers!