GIRLS IN FILM
We met Nikola Vasakova when she spoke on our panel about women in the film industry. She's smart, passionate and pissed off. Pissed off at the representation of women in the film industry on and off screen. To address the raging imbalance Nikola founded Girls In Film (GiF) - a platform that represents, champions and connects the new generation of female-identified creatives in the film industry. We met Nikola after the recent launch of their new site to discuss her ambitions for the new outlet and her current prognosis for the film industry.
Why did you start GiF and what are the main activities?
GiF was originally conceived as a space for women in film to get together and let the magic happen. There was no grand idea behind it. As a producer, I am often asked to recommend crew and I realised that a lot of female friends worked in the industry but didn’t necessarily know each other. Having a regular meet-up was a way of addressing that. To be honest, I didn’t expect it to grow beyond my friend circle but it did very quickly from the first event.
How has this initial aim developed?
Following on from the success of the first event, we wanted to create online presence to be able to reach beyond our London audience. Through out social media platforms we feature the work of directors and visual artists we admire and we promote other female-centric film events or funds available. On our website, we aim to pioneer work of the new generation of female filmmakers that are bringing fresh air into the industry.
What are some of the issues facing women in the film industry?
In my opinion it is all about opportunity. As Emma Reeves, the director of Free the Bid campaign said at our last event: ‘Creativity is genderless, opportunity is not.’ Unfortunately, lack of representation, opportunity and underlying gender bias is still at play in the industry at large.
How do you see them getting better?
The recent rise in conversation we’ve been having on gender equality at large is having its echoes in the industry across film festivals, funding initiatives and even on set. We all want to see more films that reflect the diverse audiences they serve.
How do you feel about the content that is put out by bigger broadcasters and the diversity (or lack of it) in story telling that gets through to our screens?
To be honest with you, I don’t follow big broadcasters as much - I've never owned a TV since moving to UK and I’m almost totally focused on digital sphere. Don't think I can give you an educated answer on this but I love seeing web shows like Insecure, Broad City or Brown Girls stepping over from an online sphere to major broadcasters - I hope UK broadcasters are paying attention and taking notes and watching what’s happening on the web.
Can you tell me about the new site and what you hope to achieve with it?
Our online vision is to be the go-to destination for quality, short-form films made by women. The new site features six categories, including Documentary, Animation, Music Video, Fashion, Narrative, and Experimental. You’ll also find the Journal, a regularly updated feed for informed opinion, critique, review, and interviews, contributed by young women who share the perspective of our audience.
We decided to rework the site ourselves so after months of discussion, deliberation and debate, not to mention countless nights spent getting to grips with new software, we’re happy to see it done - it’s truly the fruit of our labour and I want to specially thank Jessica Straker who also runs amazing site juicevcr for being such amazing tech wizard on this journey. It is the first and only female-oriented video content site out there - we want to give platform to the great new wave of female filmmakers and we hope to better it as we go along to display the best from around the world, every week.
Who are the women whose work is exciting you at the minute?
Absolutely every single woman’s work featured on site, now and in the future. In terms of feature films, I am excited to see the new work by Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Laura Poitras, Rungano Nyoni and of course the new Broad City series! There is no better time to be a (female) filmmaker than now.
Photography by Stella Malfilatre