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Gamechanger Films, Supporting Women Narrative Directors, Launches Today

Jill Soloway's Afternoon Delight

in Filmmaking
on Sep 27, 2013

Gamechanger Films, a new for-profit film fund exclusively targeting narrative feature-length films directed by women, was announced today. The New York-based company was founded by Julie Parker Benello (Afternoon Delight, Pariah, Brooklyn Castle), Dan Cogan (Hell and Back Again, How to Survive a Plague, The Queen of Versailles), Geralyn Dreyfous (Born Into Brothels, The Invisible War, The Square) and Wendy Ettinger (Semper Fi: Always Faithful, The War Room, Eye of God), and will be led by producer Mynette Louie (Cold Comes the Night, California Solo, Children of Invention). Producer Mary Jane Skalski (Very Good Girls, Win Win, The Visitor) is the company’s senior advisor. According to the press release, “Gamechanger aims to shift the gender disparity in the film marketplace by tapping into the enormous existing talent pool of women filmmakers and providing the necessary financing to bring their work to movie-going audiences worldwide.”

Comments Louie in a statement, “An equal number of women and men graduate from the top film schools, but in the last four years, only 7% of the 250 top-grossing Hollywood films were directed by women — that’s a lower percentage of women than that found among Fortune 500 company boards, philosophy professors or aerospace engineers. Female-helmed projects are mistakenly perceived to lack commercial viability, and narrative film projects rely on a funding structure that is primarily operated by men. Gamechanger aims to increase the number of films by women in the marketplace by offering a dedicated financing option for them.”

Adds Cogan: “The best way to get more women in the director’s chair is to demonstrate to the industry that women directors can be just as financially successful as men. With Gamechanger, we will be providing capital to gifted women directors, enabling them to be successful and to demonstrate their ability to make a return for investors. At the same time, we will be educating and developing a new group of independent film investors who are supportive of this mission. With great filmmakers and sophisticated investors aligned towards the same goal, we have a chance to make a big difference in the status of women in the world of film.”

All Gamechanger films will be directed or co-directed by women, and can be of any genre, although the principals have spoken of a desire to find female directors interesting in exploring genres like science fiction and horror. According to an article about the company by Steven Zeitchik in today’s Los Angeles Times, unsolicited submissions will not be accepted, with new projects arriving through the professional networks of the company’s principals.

The company also hopes to use its financing to simply up the visibility of women directors working in feature film. From the L.A. Times:

“When creative executives get in a room and go down the list of possible directors for a movie that’s already financed, they simply don’t see many women to choose from,” said Mary Jane Skalski, a veteran feature producer (“Win Win,” “The Station Agent”) who is serving as a senior advisor to Gamechanger. “If we get more women making movies, there will be more people to consider from that list. On some level it’s simply a numbers game.”

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