Celebrating Females in the Film Industry

BY AMANDA MOSES

March is Women’s History Month, an annual commemoration that highlights the contributions female figures have made throughout history. For centuries, women have faced obstacles that denied them basic human rights and equal opportunities. It took the likes of trailblazers such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Candy Stanton, and Lucy Stone to start the battle.

We have the suffragettes, pioneers, and innovators to thank for breaking through many gender and social barriers. These women did not take “no” for an answer. They were criminalized, discriminated, devalued, mistreated, and often ignored. But they did not give up on their dreams.

It’s has been a hundred years since the 19th Amendment was passed, and there is still more to be done with female representation in many professions. In light of Women’s History Month, the Spring Creek Sun salutes the women working in the film industry as they pave way for equal pay, representation, and directorial opportunities. We’ve compiled a list of Brooklyn film-makers, who are making strides to have their stories and voices heard in the art world. These individuals are also being featured at the 10th Annual Queens World Film Festival,(QWFF) which takes place at the Museum of the Moving Image and the Kaufman Astoria Studios from March 19th to March 29th.

Fernanda Parrado, 22, is a first time filmmaker who will be making her debut at the QWFF on March 22nd with her film Metamorphosis. The film takes place in Ellis Island and focuses on her experience of being a Brazilian immigrant living in New York City. Parrado was inspired to create this personal account after her grandfather passed away (his family immigrated to Brazil from Spain).

“He did not understand why I wanted to be an immigrant, like he was,” Parrado said. Upon his passing, she wrote the story to Metamorphosis, which is dedicated to all of the immigrants who are moving to find their homes, and in turn, discovering their true lives—living in a continuous state of metamorphosis like the monarch butterfly.

Isabella Jackson, 27, is a film producer. She helped produced an independent feature, Prom King 2010 in 2017, and recently My Boyfriend’s Daughter, which will be showing at QWFF on March 27th. The story concentrates on a young woman’s relationship with a much older man who refuses to introduce her to his daughter.

As a producer, Jackson helped director Kathy Meng with the film’s logistics including setting up locations, auditions, and schedules. She worked hard to make sure that everything went well. Jackson met Meng at the Hamptons Film Festival and realized that they both had a similar sense of film styles. When Meng pitched the story idea for My Boyfriend’s Daughter to Jackson, she knew that their collaboration would work out great.

Serena Kuo is a filmmaker who has been working in the industry for many years, particularly as a cinematographer. She will be premier-ing her first narrative film, End of Summer on March 22nd at QWFF. Kuo’s film is a personal account of her experience as a first-generation immigrant from Taipei, Taiwan.

End of Summer is about a young woman preparing to go to college in Southern California; however, her life is derailed when her father has a heart attack while in the middle of the desert, on their way to the school. The location of this film is very important to Kuo because it’s almost a character in itself, signifying the isolation and fear felt while venturing in unfamiliar land, and having adulthood thrust upon a young woman.

“It is a true story based on what happened to myself on my college move-in day. If there is one story that is deeply personal to me that I really want to tell it’s this one. To write something that is original and that I feel is sincere and genuine is a mountain that I felt like I had to climb,” she said.

Erica Washington is a producer who teamed up with her husband, Tyrik Washington to make the short film, Gentrified Rick, which tells the story about gentrification through the eyes of a 13-year-old boy living in Brooklyn. The film also stars their son, Tyrik Washington Jr. and will be shown at QWFF on March 28th.

In a dystopian, science fiction scope, the Washington family created a film that highlights the feeling of being pushed from their home. The inspiration to create this short film was inspired by Tyrik Washington’s experience of seeing his neighborhood become unaffordable to its longtime inhabitants. Erica Washington also felt that this story was important to tell because there are generations of families that are being displaced because they can’t afford to live in their hometown. “It’s important to me, and for my children, who are seeing a different Brooklyn from when my husband and I grew up,” she said.

Neha Gautam is a writer, filmmaker, and community organizer. She was born in India, and as a child her family immigrated to the United States. Gautam is a firm believer of representation and shining a light on South Asian diaspora. Her background is in documentary, and this year she created a non-verbal film entitled, Without Say, which uses human expressions and emotions to showcase an unspoken connection between two students passing notes to each other. The film will be shown on March 20th at the QWFF.

“It’s really highlighting the intersectionality between the identity of being a first-generation immigrant and being Queer. This is my first narrative, it’s a short film, and it’s based on real events. I grew up in Queens in a very diverse neighbor-hood, but I didn’t see that reflected in the films I was watching. I wanted to have the opportunity to tell stories that I would like to see more of,” Gautam said.

Photos by Amanda Moses