SoCal Mag asked permission to repost Women In Film‘s Executive Director, Kirsten Schaffer’s account of the awesome “Girl Power” building momentum in Hollywood.
Why did we ask? Because we totally support gender parity in front of and behind the camera.
Here is Kristen Schaffer’s most recent weekly newsletter for her WIF supporters.
“This weekend brought San Diego Comic-Con, one of the largest pop culture events in film & television.
I was delighted to join the panel “WOMEN ROCKING HOLLYWOOD: WOMEN DIRECTORS CHANGING THE FACE OF FILM AND TELEVISION” and to be in the company of visionary, talented storytellers who talked candidly about how they got to where they are and where they are going next!
Photo Credit: Sarah J Eagen (twitter – @sarahjeagen)
The tide is beginning to change for women in action. In the superhero world alone, we have seen WONDER WOMAN and its Director, Patty Jenkins, bust through the glass ceiling as the official highest-grossing movie of the summer ($389m domestic and counting), the announcement that Brie Larson will be playing the title role in 2019’s CAPTAIN MARVEL, and the huge news that Gina Prince-Bythewood will become the first female director of color to helm a tentpole franchise movie with 2018’s SILVER & BLACK. In the greater science-fiction world, there is an incredible amount of buzz for Disney’s big budget adaption of the beloved children’s book A Wrinkle in Time, directed by powerhouse Ava DuVernay, as well as the new action film from Focus Features, ATOMIC BLONDE about a British spy named Lorraine, starring Charlize Theron. In her Comic-Con panel, Charlize demurred on the thought that she could play the first female James Bond with “I’m fine with leaving that over to Daniel or to Idris- who I think would be a frickin’ awesome Bond- and I’ll do Lorraine.”
Photo Credit to Entertainment Weekly
Perhaps the most interesting casting news came from the recent announcement of Jodi Whitacker assuming the role of the Doctor in “Doctor Who,” a BBC series that premiered in 1963 and has seen 13 actors play the role-all of whom have been men. This announcement has been met with seemingly equal parts celebration and scorn in this fanbase, and has forced a greater dialogue about the misogyny (both hidden and obvious) in the science fiction community. For a genre that has been known to tackle social justice issues, it will be telling to see how these advancements for women, particularly women of color, will change the landscape of this corner of entertainment. And perhaps one day soon, we’ll see the work of my favorite science-fiction writer, Octavia Butler, on the big screen!”
Written by Kirsten Schaffer
Kirsten Schaffer is the Executive Director of Women In Film, Los Angeles the preeminent organization promoting gender parity in Hollywood. Previously, she spent fourteen years at Outfest, as Director of Programming before being appointed Executive Director in 2009. She is widely credited as having grown Outfest into the leading LGBT media arts organization that it is. During Schaffer’s tenure at Outfest, she launched three new programs for the organization: The Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, the Fusion LGBT People of Color Film Festival and OutSet, the Young Filmmakers Project from the Los Angeles LGBT Center and Outfest. Kirsten has extensive experience in film programming, small business management and arts administration. She is a graduate of National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program and the Wells Fargo New Executive Director Institute. Kirsten was named one of POWER UP’s “Top 10 Women in Show Business,” and was the recipient of a “Women in Business” Award from Senator Liu.
At the intersection of South Figueroa and 7th Street, is Downtown LA’s leading
shopping and dining destination – FIGAT7TH – a major player in the resurgence of Downtown Los Angeles.
Reigniting the city this summer with eclectic sounds and tunes, for the fifth consecutive year is Brookfield’s FIGat7th Downtown Festival. The event’s
highly anticipated return is presented by Arts Brookfield, the cultural arm of Brookfield Property Partners. The festival opens on Friday, August 4th and will run weekly at downtown L.A.’s
premiere shopping destination, FIGat7th. The center’s outdoor plaza will be reimagined as an intimate concert venue for four Friday nights in August with performances by leading pop, rock,
soul, funk, folk and alternative artists.
The FIGat7th Downtown Festival is free and open to the public as part of Arts Brookfield’s continued effort to bring Brookfield’s public spaces to life through visual and performing arts.
Kicking off the festival is Los Angeles’ hit funk-dance duo, Tuxedo, comprised of singer Mayer Hawthorne and producer Jake One. Hot on the heels of Tuxedo is the raunch ‘n’ roll
singer-songwriter Hanni El Khatib on August 11. The New York-based band Sinkane follows on August 18, introducing a cocktail of progressive funk rock and Sudanese pop. The festival closes
out with another L.A. music staple, Quetzal, who peppers their fiery mix of Mexican musica ranchera and salsa with socially conscious Chicano rock and R&B.
Attendees are encouraged to arrive at 4:00 p.m. for a DJ Happy Hour with NONA
ENTERTAINMENT in the TASTE Food Hall Courtyard where a variety of excellent eateries
and chef-driven concepts are offered. The festivities will move upstairs at 7:00 p.m. for more fun
beats as local DJs warm up the crowd before the talented, internationally recognized headliners
take the stage.
FIGat7th Downtown Festival’s unique lineup reflects the vibrancy and diversity of the city and
the cultural and creative center that downtown L.A. has become!
For more information http://www.artsbrookfield.com/event/figfest-2017/
What is it like to be a foreign actress living and working in Los Angeles? We asked Jana Nawartschi, an alumni of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, who made her first strides in the award winning AFI short film The Haircut, and is also known for her portrayal of Candace Mack in the anticipated indie feature “Clocking the T“. Jana
1. What is the hardest thing about following your dream?
Being away from home is probably the hardest thing for me, as I have a great relationship with my family. Skype and Smartphones make the whole thing easier, but it’s not the same. And this career can be very draining, emotionally and mentally, and there are days when I long for a hug from my mom to help me instantly feel better. There’s also the guilt I feel sometimes, because I know my grandparents miss me very much, and are not getting any younger. But I try to keep a positive perspective and am fortunate that my entire family supports what I do, and that I get to see them at last once or twice a year.
2. What is your favorite thing about LA?
I think what I love most about this place is that it is so diverse and multifaceted. Not only the people but also the different parts of town. If you know exactly what you care about and what’s important to you, you can lead any type of life here and there’s no pressure to fit in. You’ll always be able to find people and places that are on your wave length, sometimes you just have to look for them a little longer.
3. What TV show would be your dream show to be cast in?
I’m a huge fan of darker material and strong, ambiguous female characters. I was obsessed with The Killing and The Fall and it would be a dream come true to play a detective like that on a show with a similar feel. Maybe it’s time for an all female True Detective? That would be amazing.
4. How old were you on your first modeling/acting job?
I guess technically it was the Nativity Play at church when I was 5, but I discovered my true love for film and theatre, after watching Moulin Rouge as a 12-year old. My father bought me the soundtrack and after that not a day went by without me reenacting that entire movie to the soundtrack in my room, including dramatic coughing attacks and a tragic death a la Nicole Kidman. My parents must have thought me nuts. I may not be dancing around in my pajamas anymore singing “This is your song”, but better yet, I’ve made a childhood dream become reality.
5. Which do you prefer – modeling or acting?
I definitely prefer acting. I have a lot of fun modeling but I sort of fell into it more than I made a conscious decision to pursue it. It’s another creative outlet, but I feel a lot freer as an actress and enjoy the opportunity to play, build a character, and dig deep into a subject. As an actress I get to be in charge of my craft and collaborate with other artists, as a model the whole process is a little more passive. And screen acting is like being part of this gigantic puzzle that magically comes together in the editing room. I really love that. Every little move you make gets captured by the camera, so you have to get so specific. I guess if I had to choose, I’d choose film. It’s just such a powerful medium
6. How much has having an accent counted against you?
Honestly, I don’t think it really has. When I first moved here, I had a very slight accent and over the years I’ve gotten rid of it. People don’t suspect I’m foreign, so I’ve been able to play a lot of different roles, not depending on where I’m from. Funny enough, I’ve gotten a lot auditions lately that require a German accent and even fluent German. So having that other skill has come in very handy!
7. How many auditions do you go to in a month?
That really depends. During Pilot or Episodic season it might be 15 or more, other times I might go without a single audition for a couple weeks. It’s a weird business that way. You can’t count on your job to keep you busy at all times. You have to find joy in the downtime.
8. Is there anything you’d do differently if you had to start from scratch?
I’d care less about the “rules”, because there really are none. When I first got here, I thought that there must be a certain way to go about the whole acting business, and I listened to a lot of different people. For sure, there are some things that you should do that are helpful and necessary, but it’s not rocket science. At the end of the day, I know what’s best for me and what I’m capable of, so coming back to my instincts and getting very specific about what I want, has been a big lesson. If I had to start over, I’d listen to my gut more and just go for it.
9. What are your hopes for the future?
I feel like hopes can get you into trouble, because they tend to stay in that dreamy, unspecific place. But I’m also not a robot, so I do have lots of hopes and dreams! I hope that I’ll be fortunate enough to do this job for the rest of my life. A lot of that is out of my control, so I hope I’ll be able to. For the rest of it, I like to set goals. It makes me go after it more. Getting my work visa renewed is probably one of the biggest ones at the moment, because it’ll allow me to keep building on everything I’ve done thus far. I’d also love to work with directors like Reed Morano or Wes Anderson. Their style is so specific, and being part of projects that jiggle the viewers mind in any way, is the dream. And I want to work with my friends more. I have a very talented group of people around me, and getting together to create with them on any level, is always inspiring.
10. Do you have any upcoming shows?
Definitely. I’m a guest performer for Whoa Man on the 23rd of July at the Meta Theatre. They’re a super hilarious group of female comics that have a monthly sketch comedy show, fully produced, directed, and written by women. It’s so worth seeing!
I’m also in Season 2 of the web-series Liked that just got picked up by Elizabeth Bank’s online platform Whohaha. That should come out in the next few weeks. And I have an episode in a new show called Counterpart opposite JK Simmons, but that’s not coming out until the end of the year.