Copy Editing and Posting by Sam Fegan
The following is a letter from Vaishnavi Sundar, Founder of Women Making Films. We thought our agnès films community could help Vaishnavi and support Women Making Films.
Dear fellow filmmakers, film activists, and women associated with film,
I am writing to women filmmakers to ask for a favor.
It is almost the end of 2017, and this year has been quite a whirlwind for women in cinema. At Women Making Films, it has been quite a ride too, with a bunch of members, international collaborations, and some fierce articles on feminism and cinema.
I am not sure how many of you are aware that WMF is entirely run by ONE INDIVIDUAL, and when I say run, I mean the cost of keeping a community up, the immeasurable amount of time that is spent in building the Journal, interviewing some amazing women, maintaining a social media presence to get the word out about the advocacy, getting people to sign up, engaging them in collaboration opportunities with other members of the community, conducting film festivals, and constantly keeping up with the latest news about the world of women making films. All this for ABSOLUTELY NO RETURNS.
These past years (a little over 3), I have done all this with immense happiness and satisfaction, putting WMF before myself sometimes, and I will, of course, continue to do the same for as long as I believe in our fight. But I realize I am burning out. Because I am a filmmaker too, if I am in the middle of a production, I have to focus on the film AND community work, to the effect that nothing is compromised.
I am writing to you to help me out—I DON’T NEED MONEY (Although if you do wish to speak about donations, you could write a separate email later). I am asking you to speak about WMF, and here’s how I would like you to do it:
- Please consider shooting a video of yourself about why you think a community like WMF is necessary and important (a regular landscape-mode video shot from either a phone or a laptop, casual style, limit it to about 3-4 minutes)
- You could speak about all that WMF has done so far (added below)
- If you have personally benefited from WMF, found the database useful, or if your film was screened to a global/national audience, you can speak about that
- If you have been interviewed, you could talk about your experience in voicing yourself without any restrictions. I know that almost all the women I have interviewed have always remarked on my effort to ask unique and relevant questions that invariably add to the joy of speaking up
- If you have collaborated in any other manner, as a writer or community runner from elsewhere in the world, you could speak about that experience.
For the videos, please introduce yourself, your credentials, and your capacity of association before beginning. Though it seems like an ordeal to get yourself to face the camera and speak about this, I assure you, it will mean the world to me and our community. If you think the video is not for you (though I sincerely beseech you to do it in AV, even if it is JUST one or two sentences) and would like to help me get the word out, please write to me.
A thriving community with:
- 18 film festivals that screened over 50 films made by women
- Active members from 18 countries
- 14 collaborations within the community
- Workshops/lectures in schools and academic institutions
A thriving feminist Journal that has:
- 37 interviews of women filmmakers from around the world
- 6 focus/showcase reviews of films made by women
- 24 critical essays on issues such as the portrayal of women, mental illness, and representation of sexuality in cinema
If you see any merit in all these humble accomplishments, voicing your opinion could benefit other filmmakers. PLEASE do help me out by speaking about it (NOT about who is running it, or how it is being done, but just put WMF first, if you could).
I realize that one needs to reach out to the sisterhood one is aspiring to build a community for in order for it to sustain. I come directly to women filmmakers, with all my predicaments. I hope you will help a fellow fighter out. I certainly cannot do it without you.