Since the big boys still have so much trouble letting the women into their club, dozens of female filmmakers in the New York City area have decided to mentor and support each other on the road to a successful film career. They've created a film collective called Film Fatales and member Danielle Lurie penned a persuasively optimistic profile of the organization for Filmmaker Magazine that explains what the group means to its members.
Film Fatales is the brainchild of filmmaker Leah Meyerhoff, whose film I Believe in Unicorns premiered at SXSW, and who is very frank about the professional hurdles that women directors face:
"It's harder for female directors to raise money. It's more work to be taken seriously on set. Less women are nominated for awards so they are less likely to win.... Women are told they are not assertive enough, or disliked for being 'too controlling.' Female filmmakers are often branded 'difficult' or 'crazy' when male directors in similar circumstances would be labeled 'eccentric' or even 'genius.' Women are more likely to write stories with female lead characters and then told that those kinds of films are less likely to sell."
The group meets monthly at a rotating location -- always at a member's house -- to help each other through an enlarged pool of contacts, technical knowledge, and grant and investor networks. Obvious Child helmer Gillian Robespierre recalls, "I mentioned that I was looking for 1st AD recommendations, and by the time I got home I had a list. By the end of the week I hired Laura Klein." The collective is also becoming the "go-to group when producers are looking for a woman director," according to Deborah Kampmeier.
Film Fatales also provides much needed emotional support from peers and colleagues. Director Ry Russo-Young says of the group's camaraderie, "It's comforting to know we're all going through similar processes, whether it be negotiating a deal, recommending a colorist or the emotional balance between the industry and making work you really care about."
Now sixty members strong, the organization is slowly expanding its mission and its geographical constraints. A Fatales Writing Group has formed in New York, and two filmmakers from the group led Fatales master classes at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.
Female filmmakers interested in starting local branches in their own cities are encouraged to email email@example.com.