The Rise of a Feminist Film Collective

Posted by: Roy Wilbur

The following is an excerpt from “They Try to Change Their Worlds,” which appeared on Broadway Magazine, January 27, 2016

Caroline Conrad is the co-founder of SRSLY, a film production company centered around female-identified filmmakers and feminist content. Conrad started the company in 2015 along with Claire MacDonald. Together, the two are seeking to break down the gender disparity in the film world and beyond.

What initially drew you to the film world?
I fell into filmmaking sort of by accident, actually. I went to college with the goal of eventually becoming a clinical psychologist, but Wesleyan has a very highly regarded film program. I took an intro class on a whim, and that turned into a love affair with cinema. I met Claire during my junior year, and she was another mentor and a role model who helped me grow into a confident, outspoken filmmaker and young woman. A passion for storytelling drew me to a career in film, but a succession of supportive, feminist mentors inspired me to believe in myself enough to pursue it.

What’s the story behind the name?
Our friend and collaborator Mai Fujiwara came up with the name. We’d been discussing the idea of starting our own company for a long time, but after a conversation with Mai, Claire decided we should just go for it and take our dreams “seriously.” We chose the all-caps and abbreviated spelling because it’s playful and that reflects the balance of fun and seriousness we try to incorporate into our work.

How do you think SRSLY can impact what’s happening in this field?
By producing for and promoting female filmmakers, we’re trying to give these women opportunities they may not have had access to otherwise, which will lead to more doors opening as their careers progress. We believe that if more women, and especially young women, see female filmmakers succeeding, they’ll be inspired to pursue their own dreams and not be held back by the insecurities we both felt when starting out.

What does SRSLY do differently that makes it stand out from its competitors?
One of the biggest motivations is our mutual desire to provide mentorship and guidance for young female filmmakers. Unfortunately,  support is extremely rare. Women in film are often driven to see one another as competitors rather than collaborators. That’s something Claire and I really want to change with SRSLY. We make a dedicated effort to fill as many roles on our sets with women as we can, and look for clients and projects that cater to the female gaze and feminist issues. We connect female filmmakers with one another and to clients who come to us for recommendations. We want to create not just a network of female filmmakers, but a community.

How is SRSLY connected to other communities, within Brooklyn and beyond?
SRSLY is partnered with a really rad Brooklyn-based production company called Anchor Light, run by our friends Kevin Hayden and Sydney Buchan. Anchor Light strives to produce stories that otherwise might not be told, and tell stories in new and interesting ways, so our frequent collaborations come really naturally and we work together to come up with fresh ideas.

Photo courtesy of Caroline Conrad’s Twitter page


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