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Guest Post: Viewing Hollywood’s Woman Problem as a Pressing Creative Opportunity

Guest Post: Viewing Hollywood's Woman Problem as a Pressing Creative Opportunity

I’m excited these days. 

I’m excited because people in our business are finally talking about women in film in the most open and honest way I’ve seen in a long
time and that’s a very good thing. I’m excited because identifying a problem is
always the start of finding a solution, and if there’s anything this town is
good at, it’s creative problem-solving. And I’m excited because I think I’ve
found a small part of that solution, and it’s called Film Powered.

Earlier
this year I learned coding for Wikipedia in order to increase the
representation of women directors and film organizations on that website. I
found this incredibly inspiring, empowering and, frankly, stupidly easy. That
led me to think about all the untapped knowledge that exists in any group of
people.                                                  

The women in this industry are phenomenal. Many of us have highly useful
skills and knowledge, and there is no reason we shouldn’t share them with one
another. Film Powered has been created to do just that.

Film Powered is a website designed to foster community and increase
the skills, health and success of its women-filmmaker members. It’s a free platform that allows users to give and take
classes from one another. Members
offer classes to one another, meeting either in person at a place of their
choosing or online, and in the process, share skills and knowledge, build
contacts and strengthen community.

We went live on Wednesday, May 27, and today, just two weeks later, with zero marketing, we’ve had sign-ups from over 150 members (including DGA,
WGA and ASC members) and 14 classes offered (everything from music for the
screen, directing action choreography and self-distribution to gluten-free
vegetarian cooking and yoga) that so far 60 women have signed up for. And it bears repeating: it’s
all free!

The great thing about problems is that they’re really are just pressing
creative opportunities. The gender-disparity issue in Hollywood may be a big
one, but it is not without solutions. And there are many smart
people and organizations contributing their efforts to fix it. Shout out to
Destri Martino of The Director List, Alliance of Women Directors, Film Fatales,
Emily Best, Jill Soloway, Maria Giese, Lexi Alexander, Women & Hollywood,
LunaFest, Geena Davis, Stacy Smith, ACLU, etc.

At the moment, aside from directing movies, my contribution
is Film Powered, and it is blowing up. It’s a little overwhelming actually. But
then, what that’s fun isn’t?

I love movies. I love this town. I love this industry. We
all have a responsibility to make it the best we can. Right now, we’re not
properly harnessing the incredible skills and talents of our women filmmakers,
execs and reps. I intend to do my part in changing that. Film Powered is what I
did this week.

Jen McGowan is the director of the feature film “Kelly and Cal,” starring Juliette Lewis.

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