A new film fund is banking on money being the great equalizer when it comes to getting more women calling the shots behind Hollywood's cameras.
Gamechanger Films plans to exclusively finance up to 10 narrative feature films directed by women, reports the Los Angeles Times. Female directors with budgets generally ranging from $1 million to $5 million and across all genres, will be the fund's beneficiaries.
Mynette Louie, an independent-film producer (“Children of Invention”) who will serve as president of Gamechanger, told the Los Angeles Times:
“Hollywood speaks in terms of money, so our goal is to use that same language,” “We want to shift the balance, to effect long-term change and increase the number of women directors.”
There are also other women in the process of creating other funds that are aimed at changing the ratio. Susan Cartsonis, a film producer and the president of Storefront Picture told VITAMIN W:
"Gamechanger's new initiative of supporting female directors benefits the film industry. We have have to hit parity from other angles as well. I'm currently raising a film fund that will be used to produce films for the female audience. There is a huge audience of both men and women who enjoy movies like "Bridesmaids" and "The Hunger Games."
Actresses Ellen Barkin, Geena Davis and Julia Ormond are among Gamechanger's board members.
Organizers say the fund is the first of its kind. Money for Gamechanger was raised by Chicken & Egg Pictures and the film-investment group Impact Partners.
The Los Angeles Times writer Steven Zeitchik writes:
The company says it will focus solely on scripted features, in part because documentary films, which require less up-front investment, already see a greater proportion of women directors. On the other hand, those investing in scripted movies tend to be less willing to put up money for a film directed by a woman.
The idea behind the fund grew out of studies such as the yearly Celluloid Ceiling, which found that women were vastly underrepresented behind the camera.
Of the top 250 grossing movies released in 2012, only 9 percent were directed by women, according to the Celluloid Ceiling report by San Diego State University's Martha M. Lauzen.
Yet women have been making crucial decisions that have resulted in big returns for studios.
Cartsonis was the executive producer on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," which spawned a billion-dollar industry. She also produced "What Women Want," which broke box office records.
"I've long known both viscerally and empirically what would work for this audience. Let's cure the amnesia about female audience driven films--which often have better profit margins than tentpoles," she says. "Content needs to be written by, produced by, greenlit by and distributed and marketed by people who are specialists in and have a passion for this great audience. And because women buy over 50% tickets sold and arguable influence another 10-20% (as "deciders on a date" and as "choosers" for kids), there is room for more initiatives and companies that even the playing field."
Fledging directors don't get too excited. You still have to know some pretty influential people. Gamechanger will not accept unsolicited submissions.
Ms. Cartsonis are you looking for scripts?