The gender imbalance in Hollywood is leading more actresses to form their own production companies.
Dunham started A Casual Romance with her “Girls” colleagues Jenni Konner and Ericka Naegle in an effort to “push the ball forward on gender and sexuality in interesting ways” in television and film, explained the writer/director/actress. “We wanted a place to nurture other artists.” Konner added, “The only men around are male interns. Not on purpose. That’s the way it worked out.”
Among the one-year-old company’s projects are the documentary short “It’s Me, Hilary: The Man Who Drew Eloise” and two upcoming nonfiction films about transgender issues. There are also several TV projects in the works, all at HBO.
Byrne’s production company, The Dollhouse Collective, is newer, but no less ambitious. Formed with directors Gracie Otto and Shannon Murphy, actress Krew Boylan and producer/publicist Jessica Carrera — all Aussies — the brand-new shingle seeks to develop film, television, and theatre projects with “a strong female presence,” according to Otto. “This formalizes what we are already doing,” the filmmaker said. “Sitting around the dinner table we have always been sounding boards for each other.”
The group is currently working on the features “When All in the Water,” “Serious Red,” and “Girls in Hotels.”
“When there’s an industry devoid of women, there’s a tendency for women to feel like they have to protect their spot, like there’s not enough room in town for both of us,” Dunham said. “We need to break that down and support each other, because as my dad always says, ‘A rising tide lifts all boats.’ … “It’s our job as women who have been given a certain amount of success and visibility to pull other women along with us.”