It’s no secret that women are underrepresented in the male-dominated film industry. For every Sophia Coppola or Amy Talkington, there are dozens of men filling those director’s chairs. And the male-female ratio on film crews is even more out of whack.
To that end, the Chick Flicks Film Festival, a fundraiser produced by Women in Film Dallas, takes to the screen for the seventh time on Thursday. The purpose of the event is two fold: to highlight work by Texas women and to raise money for a pair of scholarships – a $1,500 tuition scholarship and a $3,500 project completion grant that allows a filmmaker to finish up a film.
At the festival, which screens at 7 p.m. at the Angelika Film Center in Mockingbird Station, work by more than a dozen Texas women will be shown, including 10 minutes of A Native American Dream, the film that recent University of North Texas grad Liz Daggett used last year’s project completion grand to finish. In addition to the films, there will be raffles, with all the proceeds going to the scholarships. After the screening, it’s over to Urban Tacos downstairs for the after party. Tickets are $8 for WIF.D members and $12 for non-members and may be purchased at www.wifdallas.org.
Jessica Schoenbaechler, a writer and story producer with AMS productions, sits on the WIF.D board and oversees Chick Flicks. During a recent telephone conversation, she offered a look into this year’s festival.
Art&Seek: Tell me a little bit about the mission of Chick Flicks.
Schoenbaechler: Our mission has always been to highlight the production work of Texas women, because their role behind the camera isn’t always evident. We really only include work by women with Texas roots or some kind of strong connection to Texas. That can be as a producer or as a director, and this year we have a new category called “Crew Girls,” in which a crew member can submit their film.
Art&Seek: How does the festival fit into Women in Film.Dallas’ overall goals?
Schoenbaechler: We tried to make this program a natural extension of our entire mission. The proceeds benefit the scholarships, and we always try and include the scholarship winners in some way.
Art&Seek: The name of the festival is cute, but do you think it in anyway sends the wrong message?
Schoenbaechler: I’ve wondered about that, too, because I’m new to the board and we had the name before I came on. My understanding is that when they adopted the name it was a very conscious effort to reclaim a phrase that was a bit light-hearted and slightly derogatory.
Art&Seek: Without asking you to play favorites, is there a particular film that you are looking forward to showing on Thursday night or a filmmaker we should watch out for?
Schoenbaechler: Personally, I find the documentaries very exciting, but I think I’m probably most excited about this Crew Girls category, because it really highlights women’s roles in technical positions. Women are definitely in the minority when it comes to working on a film crew, so it’s really nice to see that we do have so many talented women in those positions doing really good work.
Art&Seek: It’s a common observation that there aren’t enough Hollywood films made by women directors. Why do you think that is, and do you see progress to that end?
Schoenbaechler: I think that the industry, historically, has been a boy’s club, but women’s voices provide a vital contribution and much-needed insight. Film is a great arena for women to make progress on issues that are important to them, because it’s such a collaborative effort and because it requires teamwork and communication and creativity. Those are all things that women can excel at. Women in the industry are very communicative and collaborative and do help one another, and I think that Women in Film.Dallas has certainly participated in promoting that.