Congratulations to the 2018 recipients of grants awarded by Women in Cinema, a UT student organization. This is the second year WIC has given out grants with the goal to increase the number of women directors in RTF advanced production classes.
Fundraising for the grants began in 2016 through the Grants Initiative to Support Women and Diverse Filmmakers in RTF. Thank you to the donors who made the grants possible!
Women in Cinema has done a great job with the grants! In 2016, there was only one woman director and 12 men directors in the undergraduate thesis class. After two years of grants, this year there are five women directors and five men directors in the thesis class.
Do you want to check out the projects that Women in Cinema gave grants to this semester? Several of them can be seen in the End of Semester Screenings Spring 2018 hosted by the Department of Radio-Television-Film at The University of Texas at Austin.
May 11, 2018
FRIDAY FROM 5:30-7PM (Advanced Narrative):
– Alternate Reality Television dir. Rikki Bleiweiss
– Birthday Boy dir. Monica Silverio
– What Keeps Us Apart dir. Sarah Nouri
FRIDAY FROM 7:30-10PM (Undergraduate Thesis):
– Blackbird dir. Caitlin Ward
– Elina dir. Maria Forsythe
– Matchstick Willie dir. D.R. Garrett
– My Friend Shokat dir. Bita Ghassemi
– Tuskegee dir. Sharda Karim
All screenings will be in the Texas Union Theater. See you there!
Q&A after UT RTF Undergraduate Thesis Screening May 11, 2018. Congratulations to all the directors, producers, crew and cast! The films were very impressive! Listen around second 50, minute 8:30, and minute 15:20 to hear some comments on gender issues.
Women in Cinema, a student organization at UT-Austin, has posted the grants application for this year’s Women and Minority Directors Grants! If you are a woman in Radio-Television-Film at The University of Texas at Austin, you can apply for one of the grants if you’ll be enrolling in the advanced narrative, advanced cinematography, or undergraduate thesis class in spring 2018. If you’re in an upper-division class not listed and feel that you could use the money to help your film, please contact Women in Cinema to ask about it.
The applications are due by 5PM on February 16, 2018.
Last year Women in Cinema gave out more than $1,600 to five projects with funds raised through the Grants Initiative to Support Women and Diverse Filmmakers in RTF. This year, significantly more funds are available. The goal is to increase the number of women directors making films in the advanced directing classes in RTF. In 2016, the undergraduate thesis class had 12 men directors and only one woman director. In 2017, the thesis class had only 3 women directors out of 11 total directors. 2018, could be the year the thesis class is at least 50 percent women directors.
Congratulations to the first recipients of funds raised through the Grants Initiative to Support Women and Diverse Filmmakers in RTF and awarded by Women in Cinema. Thank you to all the generous donors who made the grants possible!
We plan to do it again in Fall 2017, so over the summer we hope to raise some more money. Women in Cinema did a great job administering the grants!
Behind The Lens: A Women in Cinema Screening, Friday, May 12, 2017, 2504 Whitis Ave, Austin TX 78705 – CMB 2.102
An evening of films directed by UT female and/or minority students presented in order to open a discussion about diversity in the current age of film. A panel with the directors of the films lead by RTF Associate Professor Mary Beltrán will start an interactive conversation with attendees about diverse representation in our new media landscape. This event is to be hosted by the UT student organization Women In Cinema and Professor Beltrán herself.
The five projects that won the 2016 Director’s Grant, and will be highlighted are:
“Cardinal” by Caitlin Ward
“Play Pretend” by Madeline Dimayuga
“Perdóname” by Tani Shukla
“Not Long Now” (Music Video) by Leo Aguirre
“Bokeh” (Music Video) by Akayla Lewis & Mariana Gonzalez
Thank you to the following organizations for supporting the grants program: ATX Television Festival, Austin Film Festival, SAFILM – San Antonio Film Festival, New Orleans Film Festival ,Austin Panic Room, Hotel Saint Cecilia, Hotel San José, Shayna Brown of Chez Boom Audio, Moving Image Arts & Education, Dr Jennifer Seger, Hooman Hedayati, and Kat Candler.
Tani Shukla director of Perdóname
Still from Perdóname, directed by Tani Shukla
Caitlin Ward was a 1st Level grant recipient, and the writer/director of Cardinal. Ward directed this film for her Advanced Narrative class last year, although she has thoroughly refined the film since then and we are very excited to see it! Ward is widely known for her top-notch production design skills but plans to keep diving into the world of writing and directing.
Maddy Dimayuga was a 1st Level grant recipient and the writer/director of Play Pretend. Madeline is a young filmmaker hailing from Katy, Texas. Though widely known for her producing talents, this is her directorial debut.
From Madeline on Play Pretend:
“I want to tell a bit of my story that could possibly be shared by other mixed race kids who felt like they didn’t (or presently don’t) feel like they could fit into the neat little box others wanted them to. This is a film for those who get confused about which box they check on the census, or wonder why people say their English is surprisingly good, or have to explain to people what exactly makes up their specific shade of skin.”
“Play Pretend”, directed by Maddy Dimayuga, starring: Lucky Cantu (left)
Mariana Gonzalez and Akayla Lewis were 3rd Level grant recipients, and the co-directors for Bokeh- a music video for local artist Tocaio. Lewis hopes to continue working with music videos and more experimental formats, ideally hoping to work for Adult Swim. Gonzalez is an aspiring cinematographer but making Bokeh has inspired them to go into directing music videos as well.
Leo Aguirre was a 2nd Level grant recipient and the director, editor, and cinematographer of Not Long Now- a music video spec for the James Blake song. Leo is an Austin-based aspiring writer, director, and cinematographer. He was raised in El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico where he was exposed to classic Hollywood films by his grandparents. When Leo turned fifteen, his family was transferred overseas to the island of Aruba where he began making films.
Thank you to Kat Candler! She generously donated $100 to the Grants Initiative to Support Women and Diverse Filmmakers in RTF. Kat has inspired and taught many RTF filmmakers. I was in her advanced narrative production class. She founded Women In Cinema while a professor in RTF. She is the writer/director of Hellion, which screened at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. She has directed 2 upcoming episodes of Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey’s “Queen Sugar”. In a recent Daily Texan article, Kat said she believes the root of the problem with underrepresentation lies with those in power.
“The people who have the money and the power and the control are white males,” Candler said. “But just now we’re slowly seeing more women and more people of color come into positions with the opportunity to reflect their world.”
You can also donate to the grants initiative.
I have been raising money for grants in an attempt to increase the numbers of women taking advanced production classes in RTF at UT-Austin. Now, the Women in Cinema Director’s Grant for Women and Minorities is officially open! That’s right, you can apply RIGHT NOW. Check out the application to see if you meet the criteria, and apply for a chance at some $$$ for your film! Women in Cinema is administering the grant. The deadline for submitting is October 8th, 2016 at midnight.
In addition to cash grants, one recipient could receive an hour of professional ADR from Austin’s Shayna Brown. This will not only be a nice improvement on the final quality of the audio of the dialog in someone’s film, but it will be a great learning experience for the grant recipient and her actors to work with a professional like Shayna on an ADR session.
The grant will not be judged by Women in Cinema, it will be judged by outside professionals in the film industry. Either people working in filmmaking, film festivals, or film services.
Each semester there are some advanced production classes in RTF that have a large gender imbalance, e.g. in a class of 20, there often may be only 1-5 women. In spring 2016, the undergraduate thesis film admitted 13 directors, but only one woman was admitted to the class as a director.
While we have raised enough funds to cover the first semester of grants, we continue to raise funds for next semester and future semesters. We want this grant program to run at least four years so that we can tell if we are making a difference.
To donate, please visit the crowdfunding page.
Act fast and you could snag one of these great perks for donating to the grants initiative to support women and diverse filmmakers taking advanced filmmaking production classes in RTF at The University of Texas at Austin.
(SOLD OUT) The ATX Television Festival has donated two Weekend Badges, which we are offering for $125 each. You can snag them on the donation page. We only have two, so act fast. The ATX Television Festival Weekend Badge includes access to all panels and screenings at official ATX Festival locations June 9-12, 2016. Though there are thousands of film and music festivals, in and out of Austin, there is nothing like ATX. The focus of the ATX Television Festival is the celebration of the medium of television: looking back at its history, where it is now, and where it is headed.
The San Antonio Film Festival (July 26-31, 2016) has donated 2 badges for us to use as perks for donations. They normally go for $129, but we are giving them away for donations of $50 each. We want to thank the San Antonio Film Festival and the director Adam Rocha, who is an alumni of RTF at UT.
The San Antonio Film Festival sets up an amazing, creative innovative environment for just a few days every year where opportunities for one-on-one networking abound, connections are forged and filmmakers have a slew of unique opportunities to share ideas and advance their careers. As an accessible and inclusive platform for cinema artists, the San Antonio Film Festival also brings together scores of new and original films from across the country and around the world to delight, elevate and edify cinema lovers as well.
The Austin Film Festival October 13-20, 2016 is 4 days of panels and workshops and 8 nights of films and parties. The 2016 Austin Film Festival Conference Badge is a perfect way to experience the full Conference. Gain entry into the panels, select parties and networking events – PLUS be first in line for all eight days of the screenings that make AFF the “not-to-miss” event of the fall season! The festival donated us 2 Conference Badges to use as perks. They are going for $350 now on the AFF website, but you can get a Conference Badge for a donation of only $250 on our crowdfunding page.
The Texas Panic Room in Austin has donated a voucher good for up to ten people to visit. We are offering this voucher as a perk for one person who donates $100 (normally, it would cost $200). Buy it here. So you get to have fun and donate at the same time! “Thank you for reaching out to us for your donation request! We strive to uphold our motto of being “more than just a business” and constantly provide back to our community. We love what your organization does in supporting women and diverse filmmakers on their journey to success!
Watch this video to get a taste of what Austin Panic Room can offer you and your team!
Shayna Brown is donating an hour of ADR to one of the grant recipients this fall. This will not only be a nice improvement on the final quality of the audio of the dialog in someone’s film, but it will be a great learning experience for the grant recipient and her actors to work with a professional like Shayna on an ADR session.
According to a profile in Austin Woman Magazine, “Shayna Brown is the founder, owner and chief cook and bottle washer at Chez Boom Audio, where she excels in the arcane and exacting art of audio (aka automated) dialogue replacement, or ADR. Besides being devilishly good at an indispensable part of filmmaking, she is also one of the few women in a corner of the industry that is often dominated by male egos and testosterone.”
She told us: “Thanks for reaching out. I’d love to help. Count me in! Great thing you’re doing. Rock on.”
Chez Boom Audio
Chez Boom Audio is the leading audio post-production company for TV, film, advertising, and audio books in Austin, TX.
If you donate $250, you can name one of the grants one semester after yourself or a family member. See the donation page for more details how we will honor you or one of your family members.
The Oscars are tonight and once again zero women have been nominated in the best directing category. Only 4 women have ever been nominated for best director and only one woman has ever won. In the entire history of the Oscars, zero women have been nominated in the best cinematography category. There are many initiatives nationally and elsewhere to support women and people with diverse backgrounds to advance in the film industry, but more needs to be done, especially at the local level. So I am organizing an initiative to raise funds for production grants to support women and other people with diverse backgrounds taking advanced filmmaking production classes at UT with a goal of raising $10,000, which would allow for 4-5 grants each semester of up to $250 each for several years. I will post the link to the crowdfunding page in the coming weeks. I am working with Women in Cinema, a student organization at UT, as a sponsor of the initiative.
If you are interested in donating after we launch the page, use the contact form.
I graduated in RTF at The University of Texas at Austin in 2014 and I saw first-hand how many of the undergraduate classes still had very few women. For example, during my last semester in fall 2014, there were only two women in two of the classes I took, Cinematography and 16mm production. The Advanced Directing class also only had 2 undergraduate women that semester. It had only one undergrad woman when I took it in fall 2013. In fall 2015, the 16mm class only had one woman. By supporting women students with production grants we can significantly raise the number of women taking the advanced production classes. Perhaps within five years, parity can be reached in those classes.
I asked for statistics from the office of UT Institutional Reporting, Research, and Information Systems on the gender breakdown of every undergraduate RTF course from 2000-2015 to confirm what I had observed with my own eyes and the data I received did confirm it. I also asked for statistics on ethnicity, but was told that was not available at that time. Some classes do better than others on gender, especially the editing and documentary production classes. However, the narrative production classes and cinematography classes consistently have far fewer women than men, as low in some years as only 12 percent women. Usually in a class of 20 there may be 3-6 women.
I was in Kat Candler’s advanced narrative production class at UT. Her feature film “Hellion” starring Aaron Paul and Juliette Lewis, played at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. She told me, “over the years the lack of female students in my classes has been incredibly disheartening. In a class of twenty students, three to five might be women. It breaks my heart every semester. Lower-level classes always seem more balanced, but as the students rise through the program, women tend to filter out of the upper level directing and cinematography classes. In 2011, I started Women in Cinema, a student organization to help create mentorships; offer workshops on camera, lighting and sound; and connect female students to professionals in their community. I love the idea to financially incentivize female students to helm more films through grant opportunities.”
For an idea of the national situation, see the table below with figures from September 1st 2014 to August 31st 2015 on 109 motion pictures and 305 broadcast, cable, and digital series. Source: Comprehensive Annenberg Report on Diversity in Entertainment (CARD).