Encouraging women to give each other a break

Sabrina Doyle“Women help and inspire each other every day, but unfortunately that is not always how women are portrayed”, says Sarah Innes, P&G North America FemCare Marketing Director. “Even a little encouragement from another woman can spark amazing accomplishments and we want to celebrate women supporting other women.” 
So, Always, a P&G feminine hygiene company, sponsored a program called Give a Girl a Break. Its purpose is to help change perceptions about how women treat each other, as well as to inspire young women.
“Give a Girl a Break” showcased three teams of female filmmakers as they created films to show how support from other women can make a difference. The filmmakers were followed on Facebook and Twitter.  Their completed movies debuted on the Always Facebook.   Fans were encouraged to show support and root for their favourites. When the films were completed, fans voted for their favourites in the different categories.
I found this project intriguing. I wondered if it really engaged young women on Facebook.  I was also curious about how young female filmmakers viewed the project. Did they see it as just a means to an end, or were they truly invested in making a difference in how women treat each other? 
I was able to put my questions to the directors of the three films. Their answers were enlightening; all three women had very different perspectives and answers. I hope you take time to read what they had to say and see the films.
 Alana Goldstein
Amie Steir, Alana Goldstein, and Sabrina Doyle are the young filmmakers in the project. Below are their answers as well as links to their films:
DD: How have you been helped in your career or education by another woman? What did it mean to you? (Please use an example unrelated to this project.)
AS: One of my best friends, Alexandra Shapiro co-financed my second short film 'ZOE LOSES IT' because she believed in the idea and she believed in me as a filmmaker. It was an amazingly empowering feeling to have someone who was willing to give me cold hard cash to make my movie when it wouldn't have been possible otherwise because I was broke from putting my first short on credit cards. I ended up selling Zoe Loses It to HBO, getting an agent, and launching my career as a writer and director. I still owe her big time, and I tell her that every time I see her.

AG: When I was first starting out, I worked for Lauren Greenfield; she's a strong female photographer and director with a distinct point-of-view. She has helped me intentionally and unintentionally. She never rests on the success of her last project, but looks instead to make the next better. This drive and dedication to her craft has been an incredible influence on me.

After I worked with her for over a year, she saw that my talent and interest was above and beyond my original job description, and asked me to produce her film "Kids + Money". Her confidence and belief in me was exactly what I needed to help her create an award-winning film, and eventually go out on my own and direct and produce my own projects.

SD: Aged 18, I became the first person from my family to go to college, and the first person from my inner city school to win a place at Cambridge University. Cambridge was wonderful and eye-opening, but also very intimidating, and I felt all the other students were smarter and better educated than me. A wonderful professor of mine, Emma, worked tirelessly to build my confidence. She encouraged me to put my own personal voice into my writing, and I'll always remember her encouraging comments written in purple ink in the margins of my papers. Emma gave me the self-belief to go on and graduate with one of the top five grades in my subject in the whole of Cambridge University, an achievement I am still proud of to this day.
DD: How specifically do you see your film impacting the way young women behave towards each other and why?
AS: I hope the act of making LUCIA LIBRE and the project 'Give A Girl A Break' helps young women see that there are other women out there making movies, and there's an audience for projects about women. As far as the actual story of Lucia Libre film goes, I hope it shows that there's room for lots of women at the top (not just a select few) and the only way to make that happen is to stay connected because no matter how talented you are, nobody can go it alone.

AG:  I think that one of the things you take away from the short film that I directed "To the Rescue" is that behind every achievement is someone that helped you get there. Laura was able to pursue her dreams of starting a pet care and dog rescue business through the generosity of another woman. I hope that what young women take away is to dream big and be open to the generosity of others because we all need help, no one gets there alone. 
SD: In our movie, I love that you have one woman being a cheerleader for another woman, without the slightest trace of envy and competitiveness. Our fairy godmother character is this completely cool and hip young woman – but she's open-hearted enough to do a good deed for another woman, helping her discover her inner creative voice. So I would love it if women could be fairy godmothers for each other, sprinkling stardust in each other's lives, and providing inspiration. 

DD: Has working on this project changed the way you relate to other women professionally? If so please share a specific example.
AS: Working on this project I discovered such a fresh, young, group of talent — Jane, Allison, Elizabeth and Sara — that I now have a bigger and better network of talented people to work with on future projects. This project made me realize how many talented young women there are out there working in more traditionally male positions, like my Director of Photography (DP) Allison Hefner. Not only is she a DP but she also works at a camera shop (a real boys club) and her technical know-how came in especially handy when we had to fake a big crowd shot with just a handful of extras.


AG: I can't say this project has changed the way I relate to other women professionally but it's been a wonderful reminder of how much I love working with other women.

SD: I love the quiet, tacit support women provide for each other. It's not showy, it's not overstated, and yet it's so important for creating a sense of harmony and ease on set. For example, my cinematographer, Conci Althouse, cooked me a nutritious meal the night before we started shooting because she knew how hectic I'd been with pre-production, and she wanted to make sure I was well-taken care of. Or, there was my production designer, Elena Albanese, who was insanely busy sourcing props, but took the time to draw me a detailed illustration of what one of locations would look like after the set was dressed – because she knows I need visual references in order to properly plan my shoot. And my other teammates Yuki Aizawa and Hyerim Park were equally thoughtful and supportive. Filmmaking works best when there's a synergy between the different creative players, and my experience working with women is that they are insanely good collaborators who leave their egos at the door and do whatever's best for the team and the story.