Sarah Moshman, producer and
director of The Empowerment Project,
agreed to do an interview with me at 8 AM on a weekday.
We talked about her new documentary The Empowerment Project: Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things is the incredible journey of 5 female filmmakers driving across America to encourage, empower, and inspire the next generation of strong women to go after their career ambitions.
Prior to the project, Moshman was doing some work for big network TV, but really “wanted to leave her mark on the world.” Sarah adds, “yes, it sounds really dramatic.” The road to The Empowerment Project was prompted by the question “if not now, when?” She read Cheryl Sandberg?’s book, Lean In and the question “what would you do if you weren’t afraid to fail?” really resonated with her. She wrote it over and over and one day decided that it was time to drop everything and make this film.
In late 2012 Sarah and Dana Michelle Cook, her business partner at
started a plan.
I mentioned the Representation Project and the film, Miss Representation, and asked if she saw her film as being in conversation with it, or different than it or what. Sarah responded that she was happy to be even in the same group with Jennifer Seibel Newsom. There have been some people asking about the similarity of these projects and others that are out there, wondering at the necessity for there to be overlap and to this, Sarah asks, “How many books have been written about Abraham Lincoln? Why can’t there be more projects on this? it is all adding to the landscape of empowerment…even if 5 other women interviewed the same women it would be a different film.”
Sarah’s favorite part of the project has been meeting other women in so many other fields that are passionate about their work. What wasn’t included in the documentary was the aspect of incorporating aspiring filmmakers in each city the crew went to. Asha Dahya from girltalkhq.com, put out a call for women interested in being on set, asking questions, learning how to use equipment and see the interview process from behind the scenes.
The more I talk to women doing these incredible, drop everything you are doing and run with your passion projects and ventures, the more I am getting these sort of free-form responses of not knowing what the hell you are doing as perfectly fine and empowering even.
Sarah didn’t know everything she needed to know before embarking on The Empowerment Project. For instance, with Kickstarter, Sarah said that “it is hard for everyone to ask for money, maybe women especially…but if you need me to stand on my head to make this dream happen…”. A major contributor to The Empowerment Project, also happened to be best friends with the CEO of IndieFlix, which Sarah was a huge fan of. Talk about serendipitous! “they were looking for me and I was looking for her,” says Moshman. “it was all women… it was really beautiful. They are literally putting their money where there mouth is. it was really empowering to have that validation.” Sarah jokes that in a way it was a good thing to know less, when it came to distribution. “You won’t make a film if you knew how hard it was to have people see it.”
To women interested in learning more about film, Sarah advises:
First, “find a way and go for it. Link up with someone who has a camera…ask questions: how will these cut together? why did you take it from this angle?”
Take a film class. You don’t need film school to learn how to make a movie.
Do everything. Be “a grip, gaffer, line producer, producer… learn all aspects of film- even if you never want to make a budget it is really important to know why making a budget is important.”
Volunteer, be an intern, make your own project.
Sarah adds,“The camera is a wonderful vessel that gives you this wonderful confidence to ask questions you might not necessarily be able to ask otherwise.”
To host a showing of The Empowerment Project email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more …https://indieflix.com/empowermentproject/
and here is a little preview of the documentary