Calling “Action!” on Women’s Leadership Behind the Camera: Filmmaker Lab Inspires the Next Generation of Female Content Creators
The lights of Hollywood shined brighter this summer during the 2019 AT&T Hello Sunshine Filmmaker Lab, where 20 young women from across the country shared diverse perspectives and talents behind the camera.
For the second year in a row, the Filmmaker Lab offered aspiring female movie makers an 8-day crash course in professional production. Participants were selected from a pool of hundreds of applications from across the country.
They traveled to Los Angeles to sharpen skills in film production, directing, audio and camerawork. They also learned from other women in the industry, including actress and Hello Sunshine founder, Reese Witherspoon.
For Zamzam Elmoge, a 17-year-old from Lewiston, Maine, the Filmmaker Lab experience gave her confidence around the technical aspects of filmmaking. It also affirmed her dream of becoming a director and giving underrepresented people in her community a platform to share their stories.
“The [Filmmaker Lab] has helped me understand the kind of woman I want to be and the kind of impact I want to have in this industry,” she said. “The Lab experience will help me get closer to attaining my goals because of the advice I received and the connections I was able to make during my time there.”
Whether it is in the newsroom, the director’s chair or the boardrooms of companies driving innovation in production and distribution, women are vastly outnumbered by men.
In 2018, men directed 96% of the year’s highest-grossing films. Minority female filmmakers have faced even starker disparities. Among the top money-making films from 2007 to 2018, there were no black female directors for 8 of those 12 years. Just three Asian women and one Latina woman directed movies during that time.
The Filmmaker Lab aims to remove barriers for young, diverse female content creators and storytellers.
“Including more women of color in the film industry will create more authentic stories that showcase the powerful women I see every day,” said Valeria Cazares, 19, a participant from Las Puente, Calif.
Cazares and others interviewed women who are blazing news trails in the industry. They also produced a short-form documentary now airing on DIRECTV and AT&T TV NOW. You can also check it out here.
“I’m so proud of the documentary we produced, and I’m so happy that people will watch our work and hopefully appreciate it as much as we do,” Cazares said. “I’m optimistic that this won’t be the last film I make. This is just the beginning of my career.”
She didn’t hesitate when asked what advice she would give to someone considering the program.
“The film industry needs your voice. You have an important story to tell. Go out there, be brave, and be great.”
It’s a wrap on the 2019 Filmmaker Lab. But the promising careers of these ambitious female filmmakers are just beginning.