2019 Girl Power Film + Media Summit

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The work I saw was crafted with time and effort and filled more than just quotas. They were filling us with inspiration for a future in which female-identifying filmmakers are seen as equally important to our male counterparts in the film industry. And that is the power in attending the 2019 Girl Power Film + Media Summit.

As a college student, you don’t get many opportunities to network outside of your own classmates, and while my classmates at Columbia College Chicago are amazing creators in their own right, it can feel suffocating. I’m on the cusp of graduation, which is why working for Cinema Femme has been so liberating to me in terms of networking opportunities.

This past winter, I was brought in as a marketing coordinator for the team, and one of the first companies I reached out to was Imagine This Productions through their support for The Light Leaks, who I’ve worked with before. We were invited by founders Susie Francois and Patrice Francois to be a partner for the 2019 Girl Power Film + Media Summit in Brooklyn, and the summit blew me away.

As a student in Chicago I can feel limited to just Chicago creators, but stepping into New York to discuss women in film with an international group of people was refreshing. This experience allowed me to connect and talk about not only my work for the magazine, in terms of us looking for future interviews, advertising, and collaboration opportunities, but also my work as a student studying television. I was able to speak with other college filmmakers and even see their screened work.

I also spoke to industry professionals who are building a place for themselves in a male-dominated field, and it could not be more inspiring. I went in feeling like a shy college student who was out of their element and I came out feeling empowered and in my right place.

Sometimes it can feel as if imposter syndrome sneaks up on you fast in this line of work, and being reaffirmed that you have a voice that can make waves with what you do is important. I can recall tangible moments in my career where I’ve felt like my work was a waste, but my work with Cinema Femme has shown me that even the smallest of connections can make a difference. If I hadn’t sent a simple email, then I would have never found this beautiful opportunity. No matter the amount of work you do, it is still valuable to this industry as we move forward with empowering women directors. I think that is what I learned the most during my time in New York as I saw each woman around me sharing her experience and her work from international places.

The allyship of sisterhood is such a strong connection that we at Cinema Femme are proud to uphold so that female-identifying filmmakers have a place within our society that has previously swept them under the rug.

Our voices ring out louder when we support each other, and I know as I move forward in my career it will not be without women at the helm bolstering us up.

You can feel as if you’re not fulfilling your full creative potential, and then be sparked into coming to the understanding that your mere contributions are part of the process in which you come to your creativity, and that constant creation does not define a creator.

The work I saw was crafted with time and effort and filled more than just quotas. They were filling us with inspiration for a future in which female-identifying filmmakers are seen as equally important to our male counterparts in the film industry. And that is the power in attending the 2019 Girl Power Film + Media Summit.

Photo Credit: Millie Gillana

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