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This fall has been jam-packed with opportunities for Nebraska filmmakers!

I saw some really great work hit the big screen thanks to the Omaha Film Festival’s 48-hour Film Challenge, the Prairie Lights Film Festival and the Film Streams Local Filmmakers Showcase (I wasn’t able to make it to the White Light City Film Festival because of the overlap with PLFF).

As a volunteer for the Omaha Film Festival, I’m a proud supporter and cheerleader for all things film in the region.

With that disclosed, I have no other significant credentials for what I’m about to write in this post. I haven’t made a film. I haven’t written a film. I actually just wrote my first short film screenplay – it’s 4 pages. I hope to make it this summer.  I come from a TV news background with time spent producing digital content in both small and large TV markets.

All that aside, I have every right to say I have a big issue with something I’ve observed at these recent filmmaking events.

There are not enough women.

At the Omaha Film Festival 48-hour Film Challenge, I saw a handful of ladies at the kick-off and registration party.  Out of 21 completed short films, four listed a woman as the director.

  • Ben’s Last Day | Directed by Gabrielle Push (Student Category)
  • Unfortunately Fortunate | Directed by Kari Spangler and Kayleen Serfass
  • Wizard Quest – The Questing | Directed by Emma Korengel (Student Category)
  • Acorn of Peace | Magie McCombs

At the Prairie Lights Film Festival, 39 films, ranging from feature length to short, were screened. Six of them had female directors.

  • Waxing | Lexi Bass
  • Food Junkie | Christina Marie Leonard
  • Kiss a Fella | Dorothy Booraem
  • Handle With Care | Colleen Kenney
  • Taking Lena Home | Alexandra Grant
  • I Dream of an Omaha Where | Mele Mason

Only one of the 12 pieces of work showing as part of the 2016 FilmStreams Local Filmmakers Showcase was directed by a woman (two women, actually).

  • Over the Bridge | Maria Lavelle and Sarah Kocher

The organizers of these events do a great job selecting quality work to put up on the big screen. It’s a big task to accomplish and they deserve our thanks for supporting the local filmmaking community.

I am highlighting this issue (which is part of an industry-wide problem, really. Just look at the infographic below!) because I’d like to do something about it. I have sat through too many local filmmaker Q&As filled entirely with men. While I have seen women in many different roles, from acting to writing, I just think there’s more we can do.

If I was financially wealthy, I would offer a grant to help women fund their projects and pay for festival entry fees. But I’m not.

What I am rich in is support and encouragement.  Female filmmakers of the city of Omaha and state of Nebraska, we must band together.

Let’s collaborate. Let’s share resources.  Let’s create some great works of art.  If this sounds like something you’re interested in, let me know!  I’ve started a group called Midwest Female Filmmakers where we can start getting to know each other and develop opportunities to get together.

New York Film Academy takes a look at gender inequality in film
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