THE DOMINATION of the film industry by white men is hardly news. On the heels of a notoriously non-diverse Oscars season comes a unique film screening that includes only films made by women.
“Film & Her: A Female Filmmaker Showcase” will take place at the Sentient Bean on March 5 at 7 p.m. and highlights women behind the camera in the Savannah and Atlanta areas.
SCAD film student Britty Lea was inspired by her own senior film, which utilized an all-female cast, to assemble the showcase. She worked together with fellow film student Alaina Evans to bring the idea to life.
“I am a female filmmaker, so I know there’s a lot of wonderful filmmaking talent in Savannah, even aside from SCAD. I wanted to showcase that; I didn’t want it to be a competition,” she says.
“A lot of them are people I asked personally because I know their work and I saw a lot of them here at the SCAD senior showcase.”
“Film & Her” includes only shorts—“With shorts, we can show multiple filmmakers,” Lea notes—and there are enough to last over an hour. As of press time, submissions were still being accepted, so even more shorts may have made the final cut to be included.
The diversity of the shorts is impressive, incorporating live action, animation, visual poetry, and music videos, among other types. There are comedies, tragedies, and everything in between.
“Each piece is so different in tone that we have a wonderful variety,” says Lea.
The showcase is divided into six role-based categories: Animator, Director, Cinematographer, Editor, Writer, and Producer. Some of the women perform multiple roles in the short.
For example, Paula Sprenger is director, cinematographer, and editor of “Tanto De Ese Algo (So Much Of That Something),” and Elisha Nain takes on the same roles in “Our House.” Gabrielle Ray, Nicole LaCroix, and Chandler Ellison are listed as animator/director on their projects.
Lea explains that piling on roles means serious dedication to, and belief in, the project. “Filmmaking is a very collaborative art. For one woman to take on multiple roles means that they are very dedicated to getting their vision told in a way that they feel comfortable doing,” she says. “Many times the filmmaker feels that they can create a better film if they took on multiple roles.”
Female filmmakers often take on multiple roles out of a mixture of perseverance and perfectionism, but occasionally they do so out of necessity.
“There’s not a ton of female crews in key roles,” she notes. “You could probably name five female directors and that’s it, and there’s only a handful that have ever won Oscars. I think that’s kind of a trickle-down effect. I don’t see a lot of lead female roles behind the camera in Hollywood, but I do see more female filmmakers in independent film.
“Granted, just because a filmmaker took on multiple key roles does not mean that they didn’t have any additional help in creating the film. It just means that they were able to make the majority of the creative decisions.”
Freedom for female filmmakers means a world of difference in a male-dominated industry. According to a study by the Women’s Media Center, women comprise only 19% of non-acting Oscar nominations. While few and far between, women who have creative control over their projects deliver great results—Scandal, anyone?
Of course, the amount of acclaimed female-led projects is rising, but the ratio of men with creative control to women with that same privilege is, sadly, still uneven.
Lea’s showcase looks to deliver outstanding projects with a dash of female empowerment, an ultimately winning combination.
"Film & Her: A Female Filmmaker Showcase" is at the Sentient Bean Saturday, March 5 at 7 p.m. Free and open to the public.