Why do we often feel the need to label a film made by a woman, a person of color or by a disabled person with the specification of what that person is coming from, instead of just simply calling it “a film by a filmmaker”, like we do with all films directed by a straight white man. With film industries booming all over the world, from Canada to Uganda, the possibility to tell diverse stories should be easier than ever. How do we make films more diverse, and stay clear of stereotypes?
Rachel Watanabe-Batton, is president of Contradiction & Struggle, a production company connecting cinema, causes, capital and audiences by telling authentic stories by and about women, people of color, immigrants and our relationship to the land we live in, cultural shifts and community. She has been a champion of diverse filmmakers since her days as a development assistant at Spring Creek/Warner Bros with Paula Weinstein, assisting director Peter Weir, and running and co-founding Department of Film with Nick Quested at Goldcrest.
Jaspal Binning, acting accolades include being a series regular on the Netflix Series 'Brown Nation', a lead on Lifetime Movie Network's 'I Love You But I Lied' and a lead in the independent movie 'Ovum'. As a director, he won the Best Director award (Shared) at New York Television Festival for Doomsday. This project also went on to win Best of Festival at ITV Fest, Best Pilot at Brooklyn Webfest and HollyWeb Festival. He was selected for The Independent Magazine's 10 Filmmakers to watch for Doomsday.
Cornelia Ravenal, is a writer-producer with work produced at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center and regional theaters, published in newsmagazines in Asia and North America, and screened at over 25 film festivals. A founder of Wilderness Films, she has originated, developed and/or produced over a dozen film, TV and theater projects. In 2013, she initiated the Ravenal NYWIFT Grant for a women director over 40 and founded the Women Producers Group, now WIP (Women Independent Producers).
Karma Deki, is the first female director from the Kingdom of Bhutan. She has directed feature films, as well as TV series for the Bhutan Broadcasting Service. In addition, Karma Deki actively participate with the International Jury in the Thailand International Destination Festival, in Bangkok. Her latest feature Kushuthara was the one of the first Bhutanese features to screen outside the Kingdom.
Birgit Gernböck, is a hands-on independent producer who works side by side with all creative departments involved in getting the film made from development, to production, to completion, to festivals and distribution efforts, both in the US and international arena.