Women in Film, Owning it,Feeling it,Living it!

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Last weekend I had the honor of moderating “The Women in Film” Panel discussion at the Carmel International Film Festival. In the process I felt reignited by the candid, lively, insightful conversations we had, as well as the laughter and wine shared with four exceptionally talented, accomplished, beautiful women who are “Owning it” in the Film industry. The Power of “F” in Film- Fearless, Focused, Far reaching & authentically Female …These women are totally Fabulous!

Five women with very different backgrounds,but, like minded in our approach to life, career and love of sharing stories represented this Panel: Cathryn Michon, Independent production co,”Surprise Hits,” director, writer and comedic actress. Bonnie Arnold, Big Studio film producer in nearly every genre.Currently Dream Works Animation “How To Train Your Dragon 1 & 2, previously Disney, Sony. Lauren Selig, Financier, Film Fund mgr,producer,exec producer, former President of IndieFlix, Philanthropist. Vivienne De Courcy, Screen writer and director of her first feature film “Dare to be Wild,”after a 20 year career as a Bond Lawyer.Myself, Diane Danvers Simmons, advertising, marketing, PR, Independent film and founder/spokesperson for my company, Own it,Feel it,Live it  and my Spirituality in Stilettos empowerment forums.

The Women In Film luncheon took place on the main stage of the Sunset Center hosted by Co Founder Erin Clark. Almost 200 people attended including festival filmmakers, producers, industry professionals, patrons, board members, and film lovers…please read on.

Media overview: The moderated Panel Discussion was the highlight of the program. High achieving women in film discussed their perspective on gender issues, women’s roles in film, financing, and support through relationship building. While the opinions varied, it was clearly obvious that each of the five women have worked very hard to get where they are and they enjoy their work. Their perseverance has allowed them to focus their energy, creativity and philanthropy on their projects of choice. Coverage by JoAnna Daum / Social Media Center Team — with moderator Diane Danvers Simmons.

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Some of the key discussion points:

1]Our consensus is simple, the issue is not male vs. female, it’s common sense, business sense and equality! Lets face it, if 50% of the world is female and 52% of the movie going audience is also female, should ‘t we be producing more films with women in front of and behind the camera?

2] Perception vs. Reality : Sometimes we need to re frame expressions. Multi -tasking: is it a negative or a positive? Yes, women multi- task, they always have, but that’s because they’re Multi-dimensional, multi-faceted individuals. We’re capable of sharing the human experience, and in turn telling the human story on many levels.I do believe that’s a skill and talent needed to make a great movie.

3] Mindset: One’s mindset and attitude to work and life is the clincher. None of the women accepted the premise that they’re less capable or valuable than the next person, male or female, they go after their dreams with conviction and passion.They don’t live inside the box,and they certainly don’t allow gender differences or issues cloud their vision. Each focused on moving forward with courage, trust, perseverance and possibility where others may see road blocks. I finish with the message that we are proud to be women, we are different than men, and we don’t need to replicate being male to be successful. We need to value who we are, recognize our unique talents, find our voice and follow our dreams with grace. We should build relationships that support each other rather than tear us apart.We need to acknowledge and discuss the statistics, but not dwell in them.With so many sound bites today it can only behoove us to take the time to share our own experiences, to acknowledge that it takes more than an idea, that ones mindset and actions are the tipping point. We need to lead by example, mentor, seek out solutions and encourage women to take the “Fear” out of following their dreams.

As Vivienne’s movie title puts it so eloquently ….Dare To Be Wild!…

I will sign off by thanking Erin Clark who is the Co Founder and heart of the CIFF  and by saying to all women, Own it, Feel it, Live it with Wit and Wisdom….Diane Danvers Simmons

Viv, taking be wild to a whole new level!

Viv, “Owning it” and  taking “Dare To Be Wild” to a whole new level!

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