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  • 08 Aug 2020 2:29 PM | Rosemary Owen (Administrator)

    Brandon Sichling is a filmmaker, writer, game creator, and more. While working on a number of creative projects throughout COVID, Brandon continues to work toward finishing their first feature, Intimates. Learn more about Brandon, their feature Intimates, and other projects below.

    Learn more at Brandon's website here!

    Meet WIFVNE Member Brandon Sichling!

    How did you get started?
    I started filmmaking as a teenager at a summer camp, going on to make some music videos and eventually going to film school.

    What do you love about the work that you do? 
    What I love most about filmmaking is seeing people get excited about the work they're doing. It's thrilling and humbling to see collaborators get something meaningful out of working with me.

    What can you tell us about your upcoming project?

    Intimates is about a woman stealing her high school girlfriend back from her brother. When we were in high school, my younger brother had a girlfriend I was friends with and I wondered how it would play out if I tried to steal her. I struggled a long time trying to figure out the story, but as I learned more about myself, the main character, Robert, became Roberta, and it clicked.

    Right now I have WIFVNE member Katherine Castro (https://vimeo.com/castrofoto) on as DP, along with a couple other crew members and cast. Right now, I'm focusing on fundraising for a two week shoot. I want to know how much money I'm working with and pay people proportional to the budget. To that end, I've been raising funds through donations to my Independent Filmmaker Project sponsorship (https://fiscal.ifp.org/project.cfm/2222/Intimates/). I'm looking for investors, too.

    This is my first feature, and something I've learned a lot about on this project is how to ask for support. I've had a lot of calls, meetings, and events. Not all of them have been successes, and that's ok; I'll keep talking to people and asking for their support, because I think this movie is worth making.

    Since shutdown started, I published my second novel and my second roleplaying game, so it's been less cinematic work, but fun nonetheless. I'm also working on a video game at https://www.habitofforcegame.com/, which does have a trailer.

    Do you have a mentor?
    My film professor at Columbia Chicago, Ted Hardin, showed me how I wanted to think about art in general and cinema in particular. As I teach, I find myself sounding like him, and that's very reassuring. 

    Were you told or did you learn a piece of wisdom or advice you now tell others in the beginning of their career?
    Call and email people, introduce yourself, submit to festivals, shows, and exhibits. Don't tell yourself your work isn't good enough, because deciding that is judges', curators', and panels' job to decide, not yours.

    What are some things you wish could change/would help if more women were in the industry?
    I'd love to see more risk taking in storytelling. Two of my favorite filmmakers are Mary Harron and Lynne Ramsay because they make moving, evocative, and weird movies. More of all of that, please.

    Where would you like to go in your work? 
    I want to make a mix of mainstream and more artsy/experimental work. On the one hand, I'd love to make a superhero movie (ask me if you want to hear my dream projects/casts), but looking at my work overall, I enjoy exploring bizarre, self-destructive behavior in and out of "genre." On top of that, I work in a variety of media and would like to continue doing that, so really I would just like more of my time going to making work.

    Why are you a member of WIFVNE?
    When I started pre-production on Intimates, I knew I wanted as many women as possible behind the camera. This is a story about cis women, straight, lesbian, and bisexual, so it's important to me that the story is told in a way that's particular to its characters: it isn't "all women's story," because no story can be. My guess as the best way to do that is talk with and listen to women. This is the best setting and forum I've found for doing that.

    That, and I met Katherine at a WIFVNE event.

    What I'm most immediately happy about is that WIFVNE and its tremendous staff hold space for beginning filmmakers to find and benefit from resources, including me and my experience. It's great to get everything I've already mentioned, but it's important and fun for me to share what I've learned.

  • 08 Aug 2020 2:23 PM | Rosemary Owen (Administrator)

    Kate Eppers is a multi-talented actor, singer, and songwriter from Salem, MA. From her early days acting in the Ig Nobel Awards, Kate has performed in many independent films, music videos, shorts, and more. She has also composed music for several independent films and web series. Kate most recently released a music video for “The Wishing Well,” the music video accompanying her album of the same name. 

    You can check out Kate’s website here, and check out her music video for “The Wishing Well” on YouTube

    Meet WIFVNE Member Kate Eppers! 

    How did you get started?  
    I began performance in theater at a very young age at a comedy science show at Harvard and MIT (The Ig Nobel Awards) when I was eight. Of course I was also doing school plays and writing my own. As soon as I got a taste I knew I loved it. 
    What do you love about the work that you do? 
    It’s an amazing creative outlet, and I love creating and collaborating with others. Whether it’s music, theater, or film, it’s the people you meet along the way that make it magical.  

    You've acted in music videos, web-series, period feature films, and more locally.  What do you enjoy about acting in the New England region? What projects do you seek out? 
    Although I live out of state now, I grew up in Salem, Massachusetts and truly enjoy using film to showcase the beauty of our region. There is such a wonderful community of actors and musicians and I am so thankful for the opportunities that I found and fell into. 

    You also write and perform music. Can you tell us more about your music, especially that new music video that dropped on 1/1/2020?
    I wrote my first album quickly but spent years recording it as it was self-funded. As an independent musician it’s wonderful to have creative control, but it’s also great to work with others who provide amazing ideas you may not have thought of for your art. I wished to create music videos during the writing process, and I now have a total of three for this album. The music I write is largely theatrical thus it’s only natural that a short film (aka music video) was to be created to truly showcase the message and visual aesthetic I’m hoping to present with the music. 

    My latest video came out in January, and it’s the title track from the album entitled “The Wishing Well.” I saved the best for last as this is my favorite song on the album. I wanted this music video to be full whimsy and magic like the song. It came out lovely and starred local independent actors, and local independent film crews in Melrose and Newburyport filmed it. 

    How does writing your own music compare with the process of composing for a film?
    It’s similar because music is the soundtrack to your own life, some would say. The music for this album in particular was the soundtrack to my world as it unfolded during the summer I wrote it. It’s a timestamp of everything I was going through and feeling; emotions melted into piano chords and melodies along with progressively materializing lyrics, making it the musical embodiment of my real life emotions and experiences. 

    What has your experience as a woman in the industry been like?  
    It’s been a wonderful experience and of course there are always safety concerns that we have to consider that men may not have to. It’s a wonderful community and I’ve had nothing but positive encounters most of the time. But it’s important to always be aware, ask questions and do your homework before getting involved in projects. From my own experiences I have found the film community of New England to be very welcoming and female friendly. 


    “Staring Down a Barrel” (Sanford Film Festival, Script to Screen Winner) Stills (Actor)

    Were you told or did you learn a piece of wisdom or advice you now tell others in the beginning of their career?
    It’s OK to say no and don’t feel you have to take every opportunity that comes to you. At the same time it’s good to start out doing small things, volunteering, being an extra in films. This is a wonderful way to get involved and get familiar with your community, and to make friends and connections. Making new connections and becoming involved in projects will not only lead to wonderful friendships, it could also put you on the path to your next amazing opportunity. 

    What are some things you wish could change/would help if more women were in the industry? 
    I would love to see the numbers of female screenwriters and directors grow, and in reality it’s happening! Some of the most amazing projects I’ve been involved with were female led. I know this will continue and women in leadership roles in film will continue to grow and flourish. 

    Why are you a member of WIFVNE?
    I was so happy to have recently joined WIFVNE.  Being part of a female led community of filmmakers, writers, actors etc. can only be beneficial. Women working together, supporting one another’s endeavors, mentoring, performing various community outreach projects, etc., will continue to make the community of women in film and video stronger.

  • 15 Jul 2020 4:01 PM | Emily Abi-Kheirs (Administrator)

    A list of 250+ women and non-binary members of Brown Girls Doc Mafia are ready, willing, and able to join productions NOW! Please plan to PAY them well (and be open to negotiations for hazard pay/overtime), to CARE about their safety and health within pandemic production protocols, and to PROVIDE them the resources (and team) they need to be set up for success on your project.

  • 02 Jul 2020 7:00 AM | Anonymous

    Netflix posted the following statement on the Netflix Media Center’s company blog in late March.  Follow updates by visiting their blog.

    The Covid-19 crisis is devastating for many industries, including the creative community. Almost all television and film production has now ceased globally – leaving hundreds of thousands of crew and cast without jobs. These include electricians, carpenters, drivers, hair and makeup artists and more, many of whom are paid hourly wages and work on a project-to-project basis.

    This community has supported Netflix through the good times, and we want to help them through these hard times, especially while governments are still figuring out what economic support they will provide. So we’ve created a $100 million fund to help with hardship in the creative community.

    Most of the fund will go towards support for the hardest hit workers on our own productions around the world. We’re in the process of working out exactly what this means, production by production. This is in addition to the two weeks pay we’ve already committed to the crew and cast on productions we were forced to suspend last week.

    Beyond helping workers on our own productions, we also want to support the broader film and television industry. So $15 million of the fund will go to third parties and non-profits providing emergency relief to out-of-work crew and cast in the countries where we have a large production base.

    In the United States and Canada non-profits already exist to do this work. We will be donating $1 million each to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Covid-19 Disaster Fund, the Motion Picture and Television Fund and the Actors Fund Emergency Assistance in the US, and $1 million between the AFC and Fondation des Artistes in Canada. In other regions, including Europe, Latin America and Asia where we have a big production presence, we are working with existing industry organizations to create similar creative community emergency relief efforts. We will announce the details of donations to groups in other countries next week.

    What’s happening is unprecedented. We are only as strong as the people we work with and Netflix is fortunate to be able to help those hardest hit in our industry through this challenging time.

    -Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer

  • 24 Jun 2020 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    A special thank you to everyone who entered WIFVNE’s 2020 Short Screenplay Competition.  We are delighted to announce our winner:  Peri Michael! She wins $100 and an annual WIFVNE membership.

    Peri has been working mainly as a production assistant and coordinator in the local film industry since graduating from UMass Amherst in 2018. During school, she studied business and film, and she was a campus talk show producer and a broadcast production intern with MGM Resorts. She has been spending quarantine baking (so many banana breads), studying (there was a solid attempt), and binge-watching Project Runway (oops). Peri looks forward to doing more writing and producing with the ultimate goal of producing scripted television.

    Peri’s script “Beyond these Walls” is about a young woman struggling to be seen encounters a woman hiding from the world.  “In writing the script,” Peri tells us, “I considered different interpretations of what ‘isolation’ could mean to someone, and I approached it with the broader goal of telling a story that is not often told. I really liked the idea of contrasting a woman experiencing literal isolation with one feeling it in a figurative sense. That concept grew into an encounter between an agoraphobic woman and a younger woman who feels pressured by her traditional religious family.”

    The competition runner-up is Michele Hogan for her script “Rachel Birdsong Goes to War.”  When Rachel Birdsong’s abusive ex is killed by his second wife, Rachel makes a bold decision that brings her out of isolation and restores her sense of dignity and self-determination that he stole from her long ago. Michele will receive an annual WIFVNE membership.

    Originally from Boston, Michele is a film and TV writer whose writing draws on her extensive and varied life experiences, from having been a rebellious daughter of a prominent second-wave New England feminist, a single teenage mother living in a housing project, a law student working two jobs and raising three sons alone, a lawyer in New York’s Chinatown, and a teacher of legal English in Eastern Europe.

    Michele’s feature, “Kelly’s Bar,” is being produced by Yvonne Russo and Casey Affleck’s Sea Change Media, with Academy Award nominee Matia Karrell attached to direct. “Kelly’s Bar” is based on Michele’s early marriage to a young Mi’kmaq man, which drew her into the South Boston Mi’kmaq community and resulted in the births of her first two sons.

    Michele writes that “‘Rachel Birdsong Goes to War’ aspires to break the silence and shame around the lifelong psychological consequences of domestic abuse. #MeToo, #ShoutYourAbortion, #YouKnowMe, among others, have begun to shed light on the common female experiences of abortion and sexual harassment. It’s empowering and affirming to know that we are far from alone in these experiences.”

    Special thanks to our guest judges!

  • 18 Jun 2020 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    The Directors Guild of America (DGA), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) and the Basic Crafts, and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) released “The Safe Way Forward,” a Multi-Union Report on Covid-19 Safety Guidelines.

    For details and to review a copy of the report, please click here. 

  • 16 Jun 2020 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    Women in Film & Video – DC has been collecting (and suggesting) relief resources for freelancers, artists, and small businesses across the region (Maryland, Virginia, District of Columbia)

    A collection of resources related to emergency funding,loans, freelancers and artists, mental health, and general info can be found on the WIFV website.  Please click here for their list. 

  • 16 Jun 2020 6:30 AM | Anonymous

    Resources to Guide Production during COVID-19 Pandemic 


    As we begin to open up as a city and region, many of you have asked for guidance on how to plan for shoots in our current COVID-19 world.

    In the absence of universal guidance, we wanted to share with you some resources and examples to help shape your safe production practices moving forward.

    Please note that these are not produced by Women in Film Chicago, and in many cases will continue to be updated and amended as needed as the COVID-19 environment changes.

  • 15 Jun 2020 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    The Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers released a 22-page industry white paper in early June.  This white paper can be downloaded here.

    Additional reporting on this issue can be found at DEADLINE at these links:

    Latest in Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force 

    AMPTP, SAG-AFTRA, DGA, MPA Weigh In On Industry White Paper Protocols For Safe Return To Work – Update


    SAG-AFTRA has released a statement about the white paper, which can be found here.

  • 03 Jun 2020 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    The board of WIFT US is deeply saddened by the death of George Floyd and countless others and would like to offer our condolences to all of their families and communities. The world is at a turning point and WIFT US is here for our members.  WIFT chapters were founded to protect women in our industry and as always we stand together to speak out against and condemn racism, hate, brutality and apathy in the wake of current events.  The Board of WIFT US will continue to show support to our black, brown and diverse members.  If you would like to offer suggestions about more concrete actions WIFT US should take, please email info@wiftus.org to get involved.

    “This is precisely the time when artists go to work… We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.”
    Toni Morrison



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