January 30th, 2013

The Good Pitch! I really, really, really want to go!

 

Scott and I have worked like dogs the last week on The Good Pitch application. The Good Pitch sounds so perfect for us AND so fun.

This is how it works. IF YOU GET ACCEPTED, you go to New York City at the end of April and pitch your film to possible funders, NGO partners, philanthropists and media groups.

Watch the video on all the audience campaigns they have helped. So many good films. So many good causes. I just watched  it and got  teary  thinking that The Girl Who Knew Too Much has the possibility of being added to this list.

You get 7 minutes to present on a stage to folks they hand pick for you. Say, like, THE NIKE FOUNDATION, THE GATES FOUNDATION and GIRL UP. And, then there is a 15 minute hot seat where they ask you questions, and they if they like your project… meetings are set up….

and then, your film gets seen by the world and makes a difference in the world— and in theory, the filmmakers can still pay for their son’s preschool.

Fingers Crossed.

Hopeful. Excited.

 

 

 

January 23rd, 2013

Amy meets Holly Gordon, the producer of Girl Rising!

The founder of Julia Morgan School for Girls, my previous boss, my mentor, and my dear friend, Ann Clarke,  invited me to the Bay Area to sit on a panel with Holly Gordon, Executive Director of the 10×10 project and Pat Loomes, the founder of Girls Inc. These are two women I admire so much!  I jumped up and down and said ‘yes’. Actually, I have a policy, never say ‘NO’ to Ann Clarke. The woman knows what she is doing.

Holly was being awarded the Freedom Award at the Bentley School. I have been following Holly Gordon’s 10×10 project for almost two years now. And now, it is has become a film, GIRL RISING— all about how girls’ education is the best thing we can do in the world. This is what Scott and I originally set out to do with Shanta’s story.

Well, Holly and I did have a lot in common. I mean, Girl Rising is a much huger thing. Like, it has a big budget and star power behind it, with the likes of Meryl Streep and Selena. The girls in Holly’s film are alive and thriving, while the girl in ours is gone. However, I believe our two project complement one another really well. They fit together like puzzle pieces. To meet her was a really big deal for me. She is smart, driven, matter-of-fact and fun. She worries about the projector not working every time she screens, just like I do.

 

During Holly’s presentation, I got pretty emotional actually. She just happened to show the section of the film starring, Suma, a girl from Nepal. It really  hit me. ‘What if we were telling the story  of Shanta and she were still alive?’ It has been a long time since I have really imagined our original idea of the film, GirlWorld. It was going to be so awesome. We were going to return to Shanta’s village to see her be a doctor. It was going to be so hopeful. Sigh….

I know Shanta’s family wishes we were making that film too.

But the good news is, Holly has the issue girl’s education covered. Girl Rising is going to be BIG. It has a super cool new distribution model. YOU, YES, YOU can get the film to a theater near you. You can hold your very own screening! Check out their website to find out how. I am going to try to do it when we get back from Nepal, but am afraid we are going to be way too busy. However, if you are interested, I would love to share in getting Girl Rising to Seattle.

At the event, I presented after Holly, and it was a real honor. I talked about how Shanta is still a revolutionary even though she is no longer here. All these girls—the girls in Girl Rising, Shanta, her sisters, Malala Yousafzai—they are all revolutionaries. And in every revolution— there are casualties. My hope is that our work will help the women in the world get through this revolution quickly and safely and not alone.

 

Thank you again, Ann Clarke! You make magic happen and I love that I keep getting to be a part of it!

Notice in the picture below how Holly and I ‘clicked’!

This is the panel: (left to right) Arlene Hogan, Head of the Bentley school, Holly Gordon, me, Pan Loomes, founder of Girls, Inc and Ann Clarke, founder of the Julia Morgan School for Girls and much more!

November 29th, 2012

This Kickstarter thing… It is about way more than funding

This past six days have been amazing. I am reeling. Responses from people about the film via our Kickstarter and Facebook have been phenomenal. People that I have never met are sending notes with their words of encouragement,  thanks, excitement — as well as their personal stories about suicide, deep connection with Nepal, their concerns about the lack of mental health in the developing world. What keeps me really walking above ground are all the notes we are receiving from Nepalis from all around the world. So many of them saying, YES suicide is a HUGE and HUGELY ignored issue in their country; ”Keep up the good work”; “I can’t wait to see the film”; “How can we help?”

We are not crazy. This film really does need to be made.

I asked permission to repost this note from Yasmine,  a Nepali grad student at Duke University. She addresses an aspect of the film that I have felt and hoped comes across, but have been unable to articulate. I have read Yasmine’s email over and over. I love it. I love what it says and I love that something I made (am making) affected someone I have never met so much that they sat down and wrote about it… thoughtfully and beautifully.

Here is what Yasmine wrote.

“I must tell you that I started tearing up, as soon as it the video began (the duster erasing the chalk on the blackboard): undoubtedly because issues of gender and education mean a lot to me, but also because unconsciously I must have felt a sense of pity (not an emotion I am consciously proud of having). But then a chuckle quickly ensued when Shanta said “kina tyaha mathi baseko..tala basa…barta hudai bascha.” and then a shot of beautiful handwriting. it brought me back to reality: the brief split second of pity..not needed. Following this shot…up until the end when you (Amy) are talking, there were two important things that happened a) I felt a whirlwind of emotions, of hope, of sadness, and of a desire to do something to contribute….as a documentary like this should do, and b) I saw two distinct voices speaking, very much literally, one of Shanta’s and one of the film-maker(s)’s: one of reality, and one of advocacy. Although the former made me want to give immediately, the latter was the main reason that made me want to support this project. I have a feeling that this production will not only showcase the sad state of gender and education in Nepal, but it will more importantly highlight a life lost in a social milieu of many variables (relationships, socio/economic/political statuses, wishes/dreams, etc) to advocate for cultural awareness about psychological issues.

I think this is a very thoughtful and important venture, and I could not not be a part of it. I would have loved to give more, but I am living on a graduate student stipend :) . As I mentioned in my facebook message…if there is anything I can help with, I would love to support your project in ways other than only monetary.”

Thank you, Yasmine!

Wow! Thank you everyone for your encouragement and enthusiasm about this project. Thank you Kickstarter for not just making art and ideas possible, but bringing the people who love the art, ideas and possibilities together.

I feel so blessed.

 

November 15th, 2012

The Third Time Was the Charm (‘Was’ being the operative word)

 

But then we sent the preview out to a few trusted advisers. Back to work.

November 11th, 2012

Famous in West Seattle!

The super awesome West Seattle Blog posted a note about our rough cut screenings, coming up. Yay! Love the local luv!