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create / 2014

Women of Color Short Film Fund

Women of Color Short Film Fund

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by The Bitch Pack

We will fund Women of Color creatives to involve the LA community in making a series of short films through their points of view.


Please describe yourself.

Collaboration (partners are signed up and ready to hit the ground running!)

In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.

We will fund Women of Color creatives to involve the LA community in making a series of short films through their points of view.

Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • South LA
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South Bay
  • Westside

What is your idea/project in more detail?

We propose to make a series of short films by cutting edge Women of Color in LA for the purpose of exposing their talent and capabilities to hiring executives, the LA public and online community. We will select the filmmakers, help produce, fund, and distribute the films.

We need more storytelling by Women of Color about their experiences as Angelenos, as they themselves see it. Hollywood definitely has a dearth of Women of Color in film. Only 1 out 500 Top Films in History have ever featured a live action Woman of Color. There’s a danger in only being shown LA and the world through the point of view of the status quo. Women of Color in the LA community need to speak for themselves and film is the world’s most far reaching media.

What will you do to implement this idea/project?

Along with female led Seed & Spark, a local tech/film start-up that works internationally, we can distribute these short films via streaming. We’d like to partner with an LA theater, or an outdoor venue like Grand Park for a live screening and community celebration. We intend to set the basis for the first annual LA Women of Color Film Festival in 2016!

How will your idea/project help make LA the best place to CREATE today? In 2050?

If Los Angeles and Hollywood don’t nurture and invite new voices as an example of an inclusive modern city, then who will? We can lead the diversification of cinema and help improve the statistics for women of color creatives in the entertainment industry.

This would be a landmark for other cities to follow and showcase their diverse voices. Women of Color initiatives have never been done this way anywhere before, so why not in the city that makes the most filmed media in the universe? We have the talent but we need support in making a statement to our networks and studios that Women of Color are capable and cutting edge creatives for hire. Statistics say women often leave the film industry, when they are often pushed out for not getting opportunities that men and white people do. We feel it’s a shame that LA is such a melting pot of cultures, but our most dominant industry is negligent of this fact.

As an example- London has better initiatives set up to make films that are made by Londoners that show off multi-cultural voices. Many of their funding initiatives mandate diversity now. We, LA- the seat of Hollywood don’t have anything built in like this, yet.

Whom will your project benefit?

Everyone of every color, creed, age and gender will feel like their lives in LA count when they can see diversity accurately represented in the short films funded by this program. These films will show LA as a beacon for all to express themselves via film (what we’re known for). It is also important for the future of LA that we send the message to younger generations that their voice matters regardless of ethnic background and gender. People everywhere will be able to see Los Angeles in a different light, a true modern city where opportunities lie for all.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

-Seed & Spark CEO Emily Best (confirmed) Distributor http://www.seedandspark.com/who-we-are Emily was named one of the 2013 Indiewire Influencers, dedicated to 40 people and companies who are asking the big questions about what the independent film industry is today (and why) and, more importantly, what it will become. Emily is touring film and tech festivals around the world, Sundance and SXSWV2V to Sheffield and Galway, to educate filmmakers and learn their best practices in connecting with their audiences to build a sustainable career.

-Suilma Rodriguez (confirmed) Executive Producer Suilma has been an actor in a long list of commercials and short films over the last decade. She has also produced short and feature length narrative projects. Currently she serves on the board of directors at the Lincoln Heights Tutorial Program, helping urban youth attend college and become role models in their community. Along with administrative duties, Suilma’s extensive film experience will aid in the oversight of the content and execution of the short films.

-From The Heart Productions (confirmed) Fiscal Sponsor http://fromtheheartproductions.com/ FTH, led by Carole Dean, has sponsored numerous socially conscious and diverse films. They continue in this tradition by coming on board with this project as our fiscal sponsor.

-The Bitch Pack Executive Producer Thuc Nguyen - an Indiewire 2014 feature in “Heroines of Cinema” http://www.indiewire.com/article/heroines-of-cinema-how-thuc-nguyens-bitch-pack-is-fighting-the-corner-of-female-driven-stories CSUN Master of Public Administration, Non-Profit Management UCLA Screenwriting Certificate As a writer and activist Thuc is very passionate about the execution of this project. She will be executing administrative duties and overseeing content and outreach of the project.

*We already meet monthly to discuss how to change storytelling using women’s voices and technology.

Factors critical to the success of our project-

  1. Social media outreach and cross promotion.
  2. Quality control of the short films
  3. Support from industry players in the form of mentorship, donated resources, exposure, and collaborations.

How will your project impact the LA2050 “Create” metrics?

  • Employment in creative industries
  • Arts establishments per capita
  • Concentration of manufacturing activity in LA
  • Federal research grant funding
  • Jobs per capita
  • Minority- and women-owned firms
  • Gini coefficient
  • Number of high-growth startups
  • Venture capital investment
  • Measures of cultural and global economic influence (“soft power”) (Dream Metric)
  • Recruiting and retention rates at local higher education institutions (Dream Metric)
  • Percentage of graduates from local higher education institutions that remain in LA County 5 years after graduating (Dream Metric)
  • Unemployment rates (and opportunities) for the formerly incarcerated (Dream Metric)

Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.

Our project will encourage more Women of Color to apply to film schools and strengthen their career goals.

This project will encourage real and “reel” change and find sponsors, not just mentors for Women of Color.

A film festival dedicated to the creative works of Women of Color would bring revenues to the city as well as corporate partnerships, publicity, workshops, panel events, educational events, and a sense of pride and community. (We hope this project will kickstart a festival in 2016).

These short films can encourage tourism, by showing facets of LA only these Women of Color will be able to capture and express! (Much like Sideways created a boom in the Los Olivos area).

Please explain how you will evaluate your project.

Short films made in the program that get into national and international film festivals will lead to positive exposure and possible funding of feature length films to show off The City of Los Angeles.

More Women of Color applying and getting into LA film schools

More sponsors and hiring initiatives for Women of Color in Hollywood

What two lessons have informed your solution or project?

You have to go upstream to change scripted representation for women and women of color, not sit back and watch dismal numbers come in. We must have intervention to get to hear those who are not given the chances to tell their stories. The talent is out there and ready for opportunities.

Women of Color have contributed greatly to the big picture of LA as a city and this should be reflected in things we have the choice of viewing. If all we have is stories about only certain segments of society, how will we ever become cohesive and stronger as a city and have a stronger city-wide identity and brand with one another? The market shoots itself in the foot in that it doesn’t care about voices getting a fair shot: http://mic.com/articles/84899/hollywood-s-problem-with-women-of-color-is-even-worse-than-you-realize

Explain how implementing your project within the next twelve months is an achievable goal.

One full calendar year is a perfect production cycle for 3-5 short films. We will need 1-2 months for outreach and selection of filmmakers, 1 month for screenwriting and notes, two months for pre-production, a month for production, and 3 months for post production. Our administrators will be connecting resources, maintaining online presence and preparing for distribution throughout the year. We are excited about the 1 year challenge and believe it is consistent with timelines given to film students at top film schools.

There will be absolute tangible results in one year.

Please list at least two major barriers/challenges you anticipate. What is your strategy for ensuring a successful implementation?

There maybe push-back from those who think helping minorities and women is “reverse racism”. We will ensure that everyone knows this is a community wide project that can include the support from all types of members. We will encourage a wide variety of volunteers, production workers, and collaborators in order to support the aim of this project.

With film production, there are always fires to put out, deadlines and budgets to which to adhere. To ensure things get done, there will be advisers to attend to production issues. We will also look out for further grants, donors, and crowdfunding opportunities when necessary.

What resources does your project need?

  • Network/relationship support
  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)
  • Education/training
  • Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)
  • Community outreach
  • Quality improvement research