By Susan Haley Associate Editor
In a recent interview, Liz Vice, Women In Film Portland’s 2013 Women’s Vision Grant recipient, stated, “Getting the Women’s Vision Grant changed my career in a way that just said ‘Keep going.’ It was that extra oil or that extra gasoline that kept fueling this engine that has been created within me to tell stories.”
As independent filmmakers, we can totally relate to Liz’s comments. No matter where we are in our careers—beginning novice to seasoned producer—we all need “fuel” to keep alive the vision and passion we hold for our projects. Each project brings with it its own set of challenges, some of which can sorely test our stamina, making it easy to think about just putting it down and walking away.
To remain sane and keep the creativity fires burning, connecting with others in the field is essential. But, because media is such a broad mixture of incredible creativity, good business practices, and astute planning that remains flexible at the drop of a hat, it’s not always easy to do. That’s why an organization like Women In Film Portland (WIFPDX) plays such a vital role in Oregon’s film and media industry. It’s a place to go to ‘refuel’; to meet others, discover new opportunities for collaboration, celebrate triumphs, swap war stories and generally relax with people who understand the specific challenges you might be facing.
WIFPDX was founded in 2009 by four local women filmmakers and, in its first five years, has grown into a 100-plus-member organization offering monthly networking meet-ups, special speaker events featuring prominent women directors, producers and other industry professionals, and a holiday gathering held every November to further engage both members and the broader local film/media community.
In 2013, the board focused on strengthening the organization through the development of a clear mission statement: To elevate women in film, communications and media through education, outreach and professional development. To meet this mission, WIFPDX added to its established programs a film funding workshop, a special meet-up for industry employers to connect with their members, and Doc Camp, a four-day intensive retreat for established documentary filmmakers to hone their skills in various aspects of documentary filmmaking and distribution. The 2013 inaugural retreat drew participants from both the local community and as far away as Pennsylvania.
In addition, each year WIFPDX facilitates the Women’s Vision Grant, formerly The Faerie Godmother Production Grant. Founded in 2005 by local film supporter and philanthropist Vikki Mee, the grant provides financial support aiding in the production or completion of a media project while helping to advance the artist’s vision and professional growth. Projects have covered a great diversity of subjects, both in documentary and narrative formats. Many have gone on to win significant accolades at domestic and international screenings, while the directors continue to work in all aspects of the industry and broadcasting platforms.
Entries for the 2014 Women’s Vision Grant are now being accepted. Visit www.wifpdx.org/grants for submittal guidelines and application. And please visit www.wifpdx.org for a calendar of networking meet-ups to connect with others in the local media community and for details about how you can join WIFPDX.