Female Filmmakers: Together in Tough Times

The Female Film Club (recently featured in Cinemamas) was founded by us, Liza Van Der Smissen (Dutch) and Nicole Lieberman (Italian-Israeli). We met at the BFI London film festival in 2017 and after finding out that we live only one street away from each other, our collaboration kicked off - starting with a short film called Neext!, which was shot with an 80% female crew. Neext! just rounded up its film festival circuit having premiered at London Independent Film Festival, winning various awards and securing online distribution at Herflix (a platform that champions female filmmakers and the female voice).

Liza works as an actor and received a 1st for her research in ‘Flawed Female Characters in Western 21st Century Film’ at Middlesex University. She has since also been working as a producer. Nicole comes from a human rights background- having completed an LLM in Human Rights Law with a distinction - and also works as a film producer. 

Due to Covid-19 we had to put our projects together on hold. Yet, we refused to let these circumstances stop our collaboration. We searched for a way to globally connect with like-minded filmmakers to keep pushing for a film industry we’re all proud of. Somewhere where women don’t have to compete in order to get somewhere, but have equal opportunities while also helping each other to find the right collaborations.

As film festivals were cancelled or moved online we found a way to connect, making our own platform. This was the start of the Female Film Club, an online networking platform and app for international female identifying filmmakers where we connect, inspire, and educate each other.

There are already many great female film organisations where we collaborate with, like WIFTI who who’s VP supports and advices us. With the Female Film Club we hope to connect these organisations on a global scale online.

We strongly believe female indie films need to be seen. There are so many non-English language films directed by women that don’t get the exposure they deserve outside their own territory. For the past four months we’ve looked at and discovered brilliant films from female directors such as: Divines (by Uda Benyamina 2016 ), Capernaum ( Nadine Labaki, 2016 ), Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade, 2016), Sisterhood (Tracy Choi, 2017) and Animals (Sophie Hyde, 2019). We hope these films will inspire members culturally and help promote global collaboration.

Over the past 4 months the club has expanded from a small group on video chat to a global platform. We have now over 50 members from 16 different countries and 7 different professions within filmmaking industry, and every day new members join. It’s very exciting for us to see how this started so small (with 6 people on the houseparty app!) and is now starting to grow into something bigger. Showing us that there really is a change in the industry and women are not feeling the need to compete with each other, but really lift each other up now.

We are so touched by the messages we recieve. For example, a London-based director named Molly wrote to us, saying: ‘Being a part of the Female Film Club has led me to watch some life-changing films that I would have otherwise not seen. It's been a really enjoyable and worthwhile goal to watch one film per week, highlighting creatives that are not championed enough. I really appreciate belonging to this community of varied creatives; discussing films, and our industry, from different perspectives. Given the weekly space to have open discussions has solidified my own voice, and changed how I watch things.’

The connections made within the club turned out to enable easy and regular communication without having to write the forced corporate email or having too personal Insta exchanges (hello holiday pics! 😉 ). It also provides the 'before and after treatment' for film festivals, as members can stay up to date with the biggest festivals and organise their own Female Film Club tribe to attend and keep in touch with.

Being a member in the Club enables us to connect through forums (like collaborations, industry updates, industry perks etc.), private chat, online film discussions and Q&A’s with directors and we’re continuously expanding the features. It makes it so much easier to be fully involved in the industry without spending extra time and money on things like travelling, drinks, babysitters etc, which we all know can be stressful. Mothers and women for whom live networking events are less accessible or who are keen to network with women from other territories find the FFC especially useful. Last but not least, we also made sure to offer online distribution with the VOD platform Herflix (Films about for and by women) for any short films or a feature length film made by our members!

Being members as well as founders of the club has already brought us so many valuable connections, allowing us to really get to know our members, their culture and values and restoring our faith in the industry.

"For there is no friend like a sister 
In calm or stormy weather; 
To cheer one on the tedious way, 
To fetch one if one goes astray, 
To lift one if one totters down, 
To strengthen whilst one stands" ―Christina Rossetti

If any of you readers out there are inspired to become involved in our global movement, we would love to welcome you in our Female Film Club tribe!  You can register at www.femalefilmclub.com. The membership costs $7.99 and you will get the first two weeks for free. But if you register now it’s only $4.99 per month (that’s 2 tube rides in London!) Members can cancel their subscription at any time. As we recognize not everyone has the same opportunities, we do have scholarships available (please email us with 'FFC scholarship' in the subject line for more information).

We believe that:
  • Our lives will be improved if we share our resources and knowledge
  • Every culture and viewpoint has value
  • Transparency and integrity are vital
  • Talent should be shared across borders
  • Women in the film industry should have the same opportunities as their male counterparts 
  • Films can change perception, open our minds, and make the world a better place
  • This is a sisterhood and we don’t compete with one another, let’s leave our ego offline

Our membership is a safe community where women can network organically, find opportunities for collaborations, and get inspired by films they wouldn’t have watched otherwise. 

The features are:
  • A personal profile where you can showcase your work and others can look you up.
  • Connect directly with the female film community. 
  • 1-1 chats between members.
  • Zoom coffee mornings to connect with other members. (child friendly ie: no swearing etc.) 
  • Evening zoom meetings (drink friendly ;) ) 
  • Weekly film discussion each Thursday for 45 min (short but oh so sweet) where we will explore a variety of films from female filmmakers or from the female gaze.
  • Access a database of in depth information regarding each film recommendation. (interviews/reviews/quotes/and more!)
  • A safe space to celebrate your achievements and get inspired by each other.

You can also reach us with any questions on info@femalefilmclub.com. We look forward to seeing you in the Club! 

Liza & Nicole x

Let's Get Social Actors!

You are an Actor!

So the product you are constantly promoting, pitching and selling is YOU!

So Let's Get Social! Are you Active on Social Media?

Let me Clarify ACTIVE..... I don't mean you only post once you book a commercial or film or TV show.  I mean ACTIVE, as in you post every single day.  You want the world to think about you right?  So why wouldn't you post daily.  You want the world to know you and understand who you are.

I get it, that could sound overwhelming so here are 5 ideas of what you can post to share a bit about yourself to your audience regardless if you are on set or not.

1.  On MONDAYS.  Post about your goal for the week and ask your followers what their goal is today so you can hold one another accountable.  Can we say #AccountabilityPartners

2.  Post about a cause you care about and tell us why you are passionate about that cause.  Tag the non profit and let your followers know how they can donate or volunteer.  Your followers don't just want to hear about your acting work but what makes your heart sing besides acting.  And if you can't think up a cause, maybe it's time to journal on that and find one you can get behind.

3.  Make a video telling us why you became an actor.  You can engage with your followers asking when did they know what they were meant to do.

4.  Post a picture or video of the show you are currently binge watching and ask your followers if they have seen it.  Be interested in what they are watching and create a conversation.  It is SOCIAL media.

5.  Post on TBT (throwback Thursday) or #waybackWednesday and post a picture or video of you performing as a child.  Perhaps there is a story that you can share along with the picture or video.

There are so many other ideas I trust you can think up and you can't really mess this up as long as you are authentically coming from your heart and sharing who you are.

I started posting once a week a living mantra which is an affirmation video.  I post every single day a living mantra on Twitter and LinkedIn and my Facebook page but recently upleveled to post a living mantra video on my Tik Tok page every Monday and I share it to my Instagram stories and Twitter.  It feels good to inspire more people especially during these uncertain times.

Comment and let me know what you are posting on SOCIAL MEDIA this week!  See you on SOCIAL!

Christina DeRosa