With Just $1, You Can Help Support The #DirectedbyWomen Initiative

Developmentally Edited and Copy Edited by Alexandra Hidalgo
Posted by Jessica Gibbons

Barbara Ann O’Leary, Catalyst of #DirectedbyWomen.

Barbara Ann O’Leary, the Catalyst of #DirectedbyWomen, has started a campaign for the initiative through Patreon. The #DirectedbyWomen initiative has expanded rapidly since 2014, and more time than ever needs to be devoted to keep the project moving forward. Barbara explained to us that “This is a passion project not associated with any organization and there is currently no financial backing.”

That’s where the Patreon campaign comes in. The campaign is designed to create a sustainable stream of support in a way that doesn’t put undue pressure on any individuals who want to participate. Not only that, but it will also help to build community and create a growing sense of appreciation for women’s authentic creative expression as the number of #DirectedbyWomen Patreon patrons swells. Support from patrons makes it possible to cover expenses and allocate time to the work of keeping the initiative going, and the campaign allows people to commit to support with as little as $1 a month.

Barbara believes that, “the simple act of dedicating $1 to the Patreon imbues the work with each person’s intention that the project will thrive. And together we grow a global film community that is appreciative of the creative expression of women filmmakers.”

Of course, if people’s financial situations make a larger commitment viable, that’s most welcome. The financial support will help the work move forward more quickly. Supporting the Patreon campaign will fuel the ongoing work of inviting the world to fall madly in love with films #DirectedbyWomen, and this donation structure allows those who appreciate the initiative a way to cheer it on.

People who donate to the campaign are considered to be PATRONS because PATRONS are people who recognize the value of creativity and put their personal clout behind a project. They associate themselves with the project, and that’s a very different energy than simply donating.

“Often we look around the world, observe the chaos, and feel it’s beyond our ability to move forward in more beautiful ways, but in community we can dream a new world into being,” said Barbara. “I invite people to step into this community $1 at a time.”

In addition, Barbara also wants to honor patrons’ commitment to the project by offering them a deeper experience. So once supporters commit to a monthly donation, they have access to Patron-only content. Barbara will share insights about ways we can evolve as a global film community to open awareness of and awaken appreciation for films #DirectedbyWomen. She’ll draw not only on her cinema knowledge, but also on her experience as an energy healer and shaman to invite patrons to cultivate practices that can shift their perceptions as film lovers/makers/programmers.

“I’ll invite conversation that facilitates looking with fresh eyes at the films women create,” said Barbara. “I see this as a space that can function as a calm, inspiring oasis in a turbulent world. We’ll focus on creativity, emphasize appreciation, and explore ways to expand possibilities.”

Joining #DirectedbyWomen on Patreon also gives individuals access to the Community post section which will be a place for people to share their love of films #DirectedbyWomen and discover what others in the community are watching/making. The vision is for this space to favor personal communication and steer clear of promotional posts.

Social media images highlighting #DirectedbyWomen Conversations with women directors.

The money raised through Patreon will help cover expenses including maintaining the #DirectedbyWomen website and enabling a web redesign that will display the Global Directory information in more inviting and mobile-friendly ways. The resources will also make it possible for Barbara to allocate time to all aspects of the #DirectedbyWomen initiative, including active social media engagement that highlights, shares about, and celebrates women directors and their work; expanding the Global Directory; cultivating the Conversation and Insight series on the website; inspiring participation in the September #DirectedbyWomen Worldwide Film Viewing Party; and being available to offer insights and support to women directors who frequently reach out to her.

For Barbara, “expanding the Global Directory is an act of love and appreciation. It’s a way to honor every woman who has worked as a director throughout the history of cinema… documentarians, feature filmmakers (studio or independent), experimental filmmakers, video artists, expanded cinema makers, makers of short films, commercials, TV, webisodes, etc.”

The #DirectedbyWomen Global Directory currently has over 11,000 women directors on it, and one of the things Barbara will do once she gets to 365 donors is to add 365 more directors to that list. The Global Directory dispels the myth that there are very few women who have directed/are directing motion pictures. It also makes it easier for people to find information about women directors. The intention is to minimize duplication of effort and highlight work others are sharing about the directors and their work. Barbara explained that, “the Global Directory is an invitation for film lovers to recognize how much they’ve been missing out on and to take steps to experience as much work by women directors as they can… women from all around the planet.”

To compile this directory, Barbara takes time each day to notice what’s unfolding in the film world. When she becomes aware of a woman film director whose work is not yet on the list (or when she finds additional info about one already on the list), she gathers that information and adds it to the database as time permits. There is currently a backlog of thousands of pieces of information that require attention. People also contribute information using this Google form.

Public conversation between Barbara Ann O’Leary and Megan Griffiths during the last #DirectedbyWomen Worldwide Film Viewing Party. Photo by Chaz Mottinger (IU Communications).

Expanding data in the Global Directory is time consuming, but Barbara told us that “each day as I bring my attention to the process, I feel my heart overflowing with love and appreciation for the women who have done the work of manifesting films in the world. I become aware again and again that there are so many women directors I barely have time to notice them and gather information about them. Although I watch 90 or more minutes of film by women directors every single day and often more—on the first of each month I dedicate 12 hours to a #DirectedbyWomen Film Feast—there’s no way I could ever personally find time to watch even a small fraction of the work women directors have been bringing into being. That’s what inspired the #DirectedbyWomen Worldwide Film Viewing Party. It takes a global village to properly celebrate the work of women directors.”

Looking ahead to a time when the Patreon community has reached 10,000+, for each month where there are 10,000+ patrons, Barbara will dedicate 10% of the contributions (after Patreon related fees) to projects and initiatives that benefit women directors and their work—following feedback from active patrons.

As Barbara said, “Let’s build a vibrant global film community that supports women’s authentic creative expression!”

If you would like to support #DirectedbyWomen, you can find the Patreon campaign here. You can also follow #DirectedbyWomen on  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or look at the Vimeo channel. You can also learn more about Barbara Ann O’Leary on her profile and in this interview. View Jessica’s profile here.