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We Launched! Donate to the Grants Initiative to Support Women and Diverse Filmmakers in RTF

grant2We have launched the initiative to raise funds to provide production grants to women and diverse filmmakers in RTF at The University of Texas at Austin.

Donate here. 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.

We want to end the days when any film student at UT walks into class on the first day and sees only 1, 2, 3, maybe 5 women in a class of 20. The goal of this initiative, organized by students and alumni, is to raise funds for production grants to support women and diverse filmmakers taking advanced filmmaking production classes in RTF at The University of Texas at Austin.

We are changing film school now, so that we can change Hollywood tomorrow.

Working to End Gender Disparity and Increase Diversity in Film Production Classes at UT

The grants would be open for submissions from people enrolled in certain classes including Advanced Narrative Production, 16mm Production, Advanced Directing, Cinematography, and Undergraduate Thesis. We hope to raise $10,000, which would allow us to give out at least 5 grants each semester of up to $250 each for several years. The amount and number of grants depends on how much we raise. Each semester, we will recruit judges to choose the grant recipients.

The grants will be administered by Women in Cinema, an official UT student organization.

This initiative will benefit film students in RTF, but to understand the wider issue, consider this: in the history of the Oscars only four women have ever been nominated for Best Director and only one woman has ever won the Academy Award for Best Director; no woman has ever even been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography.

Why we are doing this

Morgyn Utzman, RTF senior, Women in Cinema officer, says “a sad reality we are facing in school is the fact that women, the more specialized the production classes get, the fewer women register for those classes. The socialization of women in art is a problem that needs addressing, and incentivizing registering for production classes through a scholarship can make a huge difference in diversity.”

Grants Initiative to Support Women and Diverse Filmmakers in RTF

utgenderdropshadowThe 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.


Kat Candler

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).


Donate to Help With Film Festival Submissions

We want to submit to film festivals, but the fees quickly add up. If you would like to help us cover the costs of submitting to film festivals, you can make a donation. Getting accepted and attending film festivals is an important part of the process of building exposure for filmmakers, including for our cast members and crew. Festivals are where you network and meet other filmmakers that you may one day work with on another film. When an actor is in a film at a festival, it helps them get exposure to get cast in more films.

Any donations are gratefully accepted.

“The There” Screens in Same Block as “Mother’s Day” at SOMA Film Festival

“The There” starring Venus Monique and Teresa May Nichta is in good company at our film block at the SOMA Film Festival. Another film playing during our block starting at noon on Feb 13 is Mother’s Day. It has played at many film festivals and stars Academy Award winner Melissa Leo, who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in The Fighter. Actor/Writer Gabriel Furman discusses his short film “Mother’s Day” and how he got Academy Award winner Melissa Leo to star in it.

“The There” Screens Feb. 27 During 8:30 PM Film Block at Texas Independent Film Festival

TIXFF16-laurel-blackThe schedule is posted for the 2016 Texas Independent Film Festival in College Station on the campus of Texas A&M University. “The There” screens in the block of short films starting at 8:30 PM on Saturday, February 27, 2016.

Texas Independent Film Festival has partnered up with Aloft Hotels in College Station to reserve a room block for our out of town attendees!

Click here to reserve a room in the festival room block.

For additional information please visit the festival website at www.txindyfilmfest.com or contact the hotel at (979) 704-6400 and mention the Texas Independent Film Festival!




“The There” Screening in College Station at Texas Independent Film Festival 2016

CZE_tHpUsAAMCe2“The There” will screen at the Texas Independent Film Festival 2016 as an official selection. The festival takes place February 26-27 in the Memorial Student Center, College Station, Texas.

The event’s mission is to celebrate the vision and enterprise of some of the world’s finest contemporary independent filmmakers in the great state of Texas.

The annual event is run by Aggie SWAMP (ScreenWriting, Acting, & Movie Production) Club and brings truly independent cinema and film discussion to the Bryan/College Station community, showcasing emerging artists and visions.

SOMA Film Festival to Screen “The There” in February 2016

Laurel1 (1)The SOMA Film Festival will screen “The There”, starring Venus Monique and Teresa May Nichta, as an official selection. The fest takes place February 12-14, 2016 at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, a beautiful venue in South Orange, New Jersey. “The There” screens during a block of films starting at 12 noon on Saturday, February 13, 2016.

From www.somafilmfestival.com:
“SOMA is short for South Orange and Maplewood, two towns that pride themselves on artistic expression. Resting only 15 miles and a short train ride from New York City, these two communities in Essex County, New Jersey are home to countless actors, actresses, filmmakers, writers, producers, Broadway and entertainment industry professionals. These two unique towns are the perfect place to invite filmmakers into where they can show their work to a highly receptive and responsive audience who both understand and appreciate their creative endeavors.

The overarching mission of the SOMA Film Festival is to introduce unique and innovative films, and filmmakers to the world. It is our belief that film is an essential instrument in life; it can intrigue, challenge, and inspire.”

That’s the theater below.


“The There” Screens January 23, 2016 at Cinema on the Bayou

6T2C0876_0766_2nd_pic-434x290“The There” screens in Lafayette, Louisiana at the Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival on Saturday Jan 23 in a block of shorts starting at 8:30 AM at the Acadiana Center for the Arts, 101 W. Vermillion Street Lafayette, LA 70501. See photo of space to the left. Looks cool! Our film’s page on the festival’s website.

Louisiana is always worth a visit: the food! the people! the culture! the scenery!

The festival organizers Pat Mire and Rebecca Hudsmith have put together a great event! See the full schedule and all the films listed here.

Buy tickets here.


Here is the fill list of films in our block:

Media Reports on 11th Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival

From The Advocate in Baton Rouge:

The 11th annual Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival is set for Jan. 20 though Jan. 27.

Nearly 200 film selections will be presented at various venues in and around Lafayette, including narrative features, documentaries, animated films and shorts.

The festival opens at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 20 at the Acadiana Center for the Arts in downtown Lafayette with a screening of “Voyagers Without Trace,” a documentary about a French trio’s three-month journey kayaking white water rivers in the western U.S. in the 1930s and drawing heavily on 16mm film footage the group captured of their trip.

Grégor Trumel, consul general of France in New Orleans, will be the guest of honor at a reception after the screening.

Several workshops and panels are also scheduled, and more than 200 industry professionals are scheduled to attend this year’s event.

For tickets and a detailed schedule, visit www.cinemaonthebayou.com.

From KATC TV in Lafayette:

“The word is out among independent filmmakers that we have a top notch film festival that is very competitive and super fun with great food and music,” says Cinema on the Bayou Film Society President and Artistic Director Pat Mire. “And that means we bring really good films and the filmmakers who make them here to Acadiana each January for the benefit of the community, the culture and the film industry in Louisiana.”

“The There” Accepted to Cinema on the Bayou in Louisiana

304930_10151645483884202_695900128_nTell Lafayette, we are coming and we are bringing The There, starring Teresa May Nichta and Venus Monique, as an Official Selection, to the 11th Annual Cinema on the Bayou in Lafayette, Louisiana Jan 20-27, 2016.

Cinema on the Bayou is listed as one of the Top 15 Winter Film Festivals in the U.S.

To the Cinema on the Bayou @COTBFilmFest , merci pour l’acceptation. Vive la Louisiane!

From their website:

“The 2016 festival lineup was chosen from a total pool of nearly 1,200 submissions, a record number for the festival, and includes 27 narrative features and 25 documentary features, the majority of which are World, U.S. or Louisiana Premieres.  The festival lineup will also include 30 documentary short films, 89 narrative short films and 19 animated short films, the majority of which are also World, U.S. or Louisiana Premieres.  Included within the official selections are more than 30 French-language films and 20 films from Japan, as well as films from Nepal, India, Australia, the Dominican Republic, the U.K., Algeria, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Argentina, Canada and France.

Located in Lafayette, Louisiana, in the heart of Cajun country, Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival is dedicated to presenting narrative, documentary and animated films and filmmakers with truly original voices in one of the friendliest, most unique cultures in the world.

cotbayoulaurels2016Cinema on the Bayou, Louisiana’s second oldest continuously running film festival, was founded in 2006 in Lafayette, Louisiana, by filmmaker Pat Mire after Hurricane Katrina caused the cancellation of the New Orleans Film Festival in the fall of 2005. Pat was contacted by the National Film Board of Canada, which offered a U.S. premiere of famed Quebecois filmmaker Andre Gladu’s documentary, MAROON, originally scheduled to premiere in New Orleans. Cinema on the Bayou was launched in response, and Gladu and his film opened the inaugural festival, which screened more than 40 films. Pat continues to serve as Artistic Director of the festival.

Since 2006, Cinema on the Bayou has presented hundreds of internationally acclaimed narrative fiction, documentary and animated films, with filmmakers in attendance from across the United States and around the world. The Festival is now unique among film festivals in the U.S. in that it regularly screens a large number of French-language independent films and presents filmmakers from throughout the Francophone world each year here in French Louisiana.”

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