Right before the lockdown I had an amazing experience with Women's Weekend Film Challenge. Me and my team Stella created a short women western, Outlaws, in just 3 days.
Women's Weekend Film Challenge works for gender equity by creating opportunities for women to bring their leadership, talents, and stories to the forefront of the film industry.
Women's Weekend Film Challenge was founded by Katrina Medoff and Tracy Sayre in November 2017 in New York. It started with a post on social media when Katrina asked the filmmaking community if anyone wanted to make a film in one weekend with women in every role of production. Nearly 300 women commented within 10 hours, eager to participate. Most of them had been working in the industry for years and were tired of being the only woman on set. Since then, Katrina and Tracy have developed relationships with major brands in the film to provide top-of-the-line gear and stipends for festival submissions. The challenge has always been free for participants in order to remove the financial barriers the women face in the film industry.
Let the Challenge Begin
It was the very first challenge in LA and I got selected and became one of 200 participants in six teams, all talented women of the industry, to make magic in one weekend. The first meeting in less than a week before the action was so powerful, collaborative and positive, I don’t think I have been around that strong supportive energy before that in my life. And my team Stella had not met each other until that day, but we became one.
One of the rules of the challenge is that you don’t know ahead in what genre you have to create a movie. And during the first meeting right after “hello, my name is” we discussed the possible options for locations to shoot, workspace, props, and wardrobe options. That moment I realized – challenge begins.
On Thursday night Katrina and Tracy randomly picked the genres for each team from a hat and we got, drumroll ... western. We got on a call to discuss everything and writers immediately started to work. One of the team members, thanks to her co-workers, provided a great warehouse for the shoot. The next day the girls arrived there to rehearse and plan the shoot. I was a video editor and decided to save my energy for the actual editing process, so my assistant Kate was on the pulse of the process.
The next day I came to the location right before they wrapped up to go over details on postproduction and after, that girl was working all night on exporting, syncing, and organizing projects for me to work. On Sunday I woke up with excitement to make it fast and good. Director Julianne arrived after I made the first cut and we all collaboratively worked on adjustments and finalizing. Around 8 p.m. on Sunday we have submitted our movie to review and the next day we pretty much only made some color and sound correction and sound.
I have never color corrected the final video myself until then. I literally was watching tutorials on DaVinci Resolve and asking people inside the coffee shop where I stopped on the way from the meetings (next to the Sony studios)) to help me because of the deadline. It was a lot of fun.
After the Challenge
Gils hosted an official screening in ArcLight Cinema theater and a networking party for all completed films. It was really fun to see our creation on the big screen and also the other five movies from other teams. I really enjoyed that night and feel proud of my team.
Katrina and Tracy provided submission stipends to film festivals for participants and coached them on how to submit to festivals so that they can network with a larger audience. And our Outlaws got selected for Indie Short Fest.