Event offers rare opportunities for women filmmakers to connect with funders for their projects
NEW YORK – Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) Commissioner Julie Menin today announced details for the 2018 MOME Finance Lab, an afternoon of collaboration and networking that will provide filmmakers with projects by, for or about women with a variety of professional opportunities, including 'speed funding' meetings with financiers to seek support for their projects. On April 17th, thirty women filmmakers will have the opportunity to deliver pitches for their projects to the industry's leading financial backers. The aim of the event is to cultivate films in New York City made by, for, and about women. Now in its second year, the MOME Finance Lab seeks to address the persistent gender gap in the filmed entertainment industry.
"We need more women behind the camera. New York City is giving women filmmakers the resources and the connections they need to greenlight their ideas and tell their stories. We can and we will change this industry," said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen.
"As events of the last year have made clear, women's voices in the entertainment industry are getting louder – and we want our agency to serve as a catalyst for this revolutionary moment," said Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin. "The MOME Finance Lab presents an unparalleled opportunity for a diverse range of women creators to connect with potential funders, and seek support for their projects. I thank all of the financiers, filmmakers, and industry organizations involved in this year's event."
Women filmmakers, especially those in the early stages of their careers, face formidable odds in securing funding for their work. According to a recent study from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, women made up just 11% of directors on the top 250 films of 2017, 25% of directors on independent narrative features, and 33% of directors of documentaries. Financing difficulty ranks among the top reasons why more films by women don't get produced.
The event itself revolves around a series of pitch sessions. Thirty filmmakers will deliver 10-minute pitches of their projects to the industry's leading film financiers. Each filmmaker will meet with and present to several financiers over the course of the afternoon. After the pitches are complete, filmmakers will be invited to join a networking reception with financiers, members of the selection committee, and other industry leaders.
While the participants for this year's event have not yet been selected, last year's filmmakers were incredibly diverse: they ranged in age from 22 to 75; covered a range of genres, from comedy to horror and documentaries; and are at various stages in their careers. Last year's event was attended by executives at production companies including A24, Big Beach, and FilmNation, and Maven Pictures, as well as financial firms including Crayhill Capital, Fifth Third Bank, and Oliver Media Finance.
Participating filmmakers for this year's MOME Finance Lab will be determined by a selection committee representing a diverse range of entertainment industry organizations, including New York Women in Film and Television, the Writers Guild of America East, the Producers Guild of America, Tribeca, Independent Film Project, Film Fatales, Firelight Media, Asian Cinevision, Cinema Tropical, Women Independent Producers, and the Sundance Institute's Native Program.
Prior to the MOME Financing Lab, participating filmmakers will have the opportunity to attend a pitch workshop at the Made in NY Media Center, designed specifically to help them strengthen their pitching skills in advance of the event. Relationships like the ones made possible by the MOME Finance Lab allow filmmakers to pursue their vision, and this event will open doors for dozens of promising women in film.
The MOME Finance Lab is one of many initiatives the agency has developed to elevate the role of women in the entertainment industry. Others include a $5 million grant fund to support film and theatre projects by, for and about women; #GreenlightHer, an innovative screenwriting competition for women; #ThatsHarassment, a powerful public awareness campaign promoting crucial conversations around sexual misconduct and gender inequality; an inspiring new block of programming on Channel 25 focused entirely on women and their perspectives; and a report analyzing the gender imbalance of directors in the film industry.
Filmmakers interested in participating in this year's MOME Finance Lab can find more information on the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment website.