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“The Balanced Amount of Male and Female Crew Working Together”: Directors Bert&Bertie | Troop Zero

Allison Janney and Viola Davis in Troop Zero (photo by Curtis Baker)

Whenever directors watch their own films, they always do so with the knowledge that there are moments that occurred during their production — whether that’s in the financing and development or shooting or post — that required incredible ingenuity, skill, planning or just plain luck, but whose difficulty is invisible to most spectators. These are the moments directors are often the most proud of, and that pride comes with the knowledge that no one on the outside could ever properly appreciate what went into them.

So, we ask: “What hidden part of your film are you most privately proud of and why?”

We wanted the making of this film to not only resonate with a global audience, but also have a positive affect on our local cast of extras—close to 200 young girls between the ages of 9 and 14. Our main crowd scene at the Jamboree was shot over four days in the scorching midday sun in summer in Louisiana. To help our rowdy young ones, we set up a roaming microphone. In between set ups we kept them focused and energized by calling up female members of crew—of which there were many—to tell the audience what their role is, how they got there ie, what they studied/work experience, and what they want to be one day. Then the girls would ask questions and engage. We also set up a legacy project at Amazon, aptly named Troop Zero, where teenage girls from the local schools would visit set so they could see not only female directors at the helm, but also the balanced amount of male and female crew working together. We never had these examples to look up to when we were growing up, so this was very important to us, and fortunately our predominantly female team at Amazon supported us in this idea. We are incredibly proud of this achievement.

Sundance Responses 2019

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