These inspiring artists are using their powerful films to break barriers and challenge bias.
Film is a powerful empathy generator – the right story can transport the viewer from their world into the life of another, changing perspectives by humanizing issues and people we would’ve never otherwise been close to. We witnessed this firsthand at Sundance, where the winners of the Project 1324 + Sundance Ignite “What’s Next” challenge screened their impact-driven short films.
From topics of culture and class to relationships and heartbreak, these five filmmakers told stories that shattered stereotypes by bringing to life the people and places whose stories needed to be told.
We asked each filmmaker to tell us how they use film to shatter stereotypes; get inspired by their creative approaches:
1. Emily Ann Hoffman, creator of “Ok, Call Me Back”
“I like to explore issues of gender roles, norms, and what it means to be a feminist today. We’re entering a period in which we see traditional gender identities blurring, morphing or dying.
I hope my film shares a message of sex positivity and confidence. There’s a misunderstanding sometimes in regard to feminism in which the “strong, independent woman” is conflated with a cold, solitary and asexual woman. I believe there is strength in vulnerability, and strength in understanding and acknowledging desires for companionship. The modern feminist can absolutely be strong and independent, but this doesn’t make her void of desire and emotion.”
2. Johanna Nyberg, creator of “Comedians”
“Film makes us experience a life other than our own, it can mirror society and raise awareness to important issues. I want to be part of changing the way women are portrayed in cinema: the industry is still producing stereotypes which in turn leads to becoming a part of the media creating prejudices and certain expectations of gender. I would like to write unconventional female parts that are allowed to be funny, ugly, and sexual for themselves.”
3.Charlotte Regan, creator of “Standby”
“I love telling untold stories – everyone is unique because of the experiences they’ve had so I like to tell stories that I feel a personal connection to. I like shining a light on groups that are overlooked or looked at in the wrong light.
Film is such a powerful tool, it has the power to open people’s eyes to experiences that are foreign to them, it allows people to briefly step into the world of another person. With my film ‘Standby’ – which follows beat cops through their day-to-day – I hoped to show a different side to both the police and the criminals that are in and out of the police car, I hope I’ve managed to show how similar both groups are and how easy it is for them to bond if their social status or class is ignored.”
4. Tyler Rabinowitz, creator of “Burning in Birmingham”
“What goes on the screen is an amazing conversation starter. If we’re going to have a conversation about what we see, then what we see needs to be worth discussing.
Sometimes I feel like I’m using my camera as a shovel: digging up what’s going on beneath the surface and getting to the roots. I think that a film brings you inside of a perspective, a mindset, a vision that’s not your own. You can see it, hear it, feel it – you get the entire sensory experience.”
Watch the inspiring films by the winners of the Project 1324 + Sundance Ignite “What’s Next” challenge at sundanceignite2016.com.