For its fourth year the Sarasota Film Festival held its annual Side By Side symposium for women in the film industry. Partnered with Seed & Spark, Women Make Movies and UN Women, this private event is an all-day affair for its selected guests. An impressive list of women gathered at 12 p.m. today at The Francis, each involved in different aspects of the industry and each eager to swap stories and establish lasting relationships, both professionally and personally.
The filmmakers present were Rebecca Barry (I Am A Girl), Margaret Brown (The Great Invisible), Josephine Decker (Thou Wast Mild And Lovely), Ashley Maynor (Something, Anything), Leah Meyerhoff (I Believe In Unicorns), Catherine Murphy (Maestra), Jessica Oreck (The Vanquishing Of The Witch Babayaga), Sophia Takal (Wild Canaries), and Amanda Wilder (Approaching The Elephant). Also in attendance were Brandy Burre (Actress,,) Tallie Mandel (Joy Kevin), Kate Lyn Sheil (The Heart Machine), Amanda Trokan (Director of Content, Seed&Spark), Particia Beaury (Producer, Ship of Fools), Ashley Connor (Thou Wast Mild And Lovely), Judy White (Lies I Told My Sister), and Frances Presley Rice (Producer/Screenwriter).
Each of these women participated in roundtables and then, four mentoring sessions of 30 minutes. One of the mentors is Holly Herrick, a familiar name to the festival having served as SFF Director of Programming, who is now Artistic Director of the Austin Film Society. She also established a partnership between SFF and Women Make Movies as well as co-produced Michael Tully’s Ping Pong Summer, which is screening at this year’s festival. The other mentors include Anne Hubbell (Producer, Tangerine Entertainment), and Maureen Masters (Director of Regional Publicity And Festivals, Magnolia Pictures).
Mixing business with pleasure, guests were able to break from the sessions for lunch, which most women chose to use as time for even more industry talk only to be distracted by dessert: chocolate chiffon cake with house whipped cream, compliments of The Francis. The talk varied from how to find distribution for documentaries amongst different cities and countries, to how a director might get in touch with an agent. It’s just such a rare occasion to have so many influential women in film gathered in one setting, especially with the goal of female collaboration in mind. After the symposium, the group moved to a private location for a Cocktail Reception sponsored by U.N. Women.
Through Women’s Eyes continues to be a successful meeting of minds for women representing films from this year’s line up in various capacities. Through Women’s Eyes continues screenings today with the following films:
5:15pm- Approaching The Elephant
5:45pm- Wild Canaries
6:15pm- Joy Kevin
8:15pm- The Vanquishing Of The Witch Baba Yaga