Student Film Earns Acceptance into Prestigious Festivals
As they prepare for careers as directors, writers and cinematographers in an industry that’s dominated by men, female filmmakers at Kent State University empower and support one another through the Female Filmmaker's Initiative (FFI).
In April 2021, the student group premiered its first film, "I Am," and the short documentary has now earned acceptance into several prestigious film festivals: The Montreal Independent Film Festival, the Chagrin Documentary Festival and the Women's Film Festival in Philadelphia. Three members and alumnae of the Female Filmmaker's Initiative recently attended the Women's Film Festival, Sept. 16-26, 2021: Ailene Joven, '21, director of photography of "I Am," Hana LeBrew, '22, Director and Managing Director of "I Am," and Addy Birkes, '22, Creative Director of Female Filmmaker's Initiative.
In early 2021, FFI was awarded a grant from the University Research Council that has allowed them to submit "I Am" to film festivals and gain additional exposure.
Assistant Professor Dana White, an award-winning independent filmmaker, created Female Filmmaker's Initiative because throughout her career, she has seen the importance of creating female-driven content and leadership opportunities in film. White teaches digital media production (DMP) in Kent State’s School of Media and Journalism.
“As someone who has spent my whole life in the (film) profession, I’ve observed that women don’t always help each other,” she said. “I don’t think that’s the right way to do it. I think women have to band together. That’s how change happens.”