I love women. I find them to be incredibly nuanced, smart, funny, charming and altogether fascinating. I love the way they see the world, the ways they aspire to improve the world and the ways they tirelessly continue the uphill battle for equality in the world. Women can and will make the changes we all wish to see because they understand what has to be done to make that happen. I also love being a woman, and I didn’t know just how much until I began telling our stories.
I also secretly want to be a superhero. Not the kind that wears a cape, but the kind that looks and sounds like Angelina Jolie and Hillary Clinton. I want to be a woman that people look up to, that inspires others and that truly makes a difference. I want to be that person for myself, for my children and for other women who perhaps haven’t yet taken that step to who they want to be when they grow up. I didn’t find my passion until I was 53, but I’m happy to tell you that when that door opened I jumped through it with both feet, and I’m thrilled to say I know many women who are taking chances later in life, not sticking with where they are because it’s safe and comfortable. I am so grateful to be living in a country where we can do that, and I thank the universe for it every day. Understand I know perfectly well that I’m not Angie or Hillary, but every girl should have a dream, right?
For my small part, I tell our stories. The second I had my ‘aha moment’ I created Soul Kiss Films (empowering women one film at a time) and went on to executive produce Elena Undone (2010) and A Perfect Ending (2012). Then came writing/directing Anatomy of a Love Seen (2014), and producing/directing Raven’s Touch (2015). My new project Ava’s Impossible Things is currently in pre-production, and as is the reality for those of us producing lesbian cinema, the financing game is afoot.
My friend Kate Johnston (Tru Love) says it perfectly. “Women filmmakers are rare (about 7% of films made are by women) and lesbian filmmakers even less represented. We are a handful. Almost all funding goes to men in the industry. That is a fact. Our stories need to be told so we are not invisible on the screen. If you want to see films with lesbian content then you must support the women making them at every stage of the game. It is that simple.” I agree with Kate wholeheartedly on this, so I won’t bother to repeat what’s already been stated with such directness and truth. I will however add a few bits of information that our audience might not know about, and this is strictly for me since I cannot speak for other filmmakers.
I am not a company or a group of suits, so I strip everything down to a human level – when you support I am moved because it is a vote of confidence, and that propels me to keep going on what is a very difficult road. In keeping with my belief in full transparency I will say there are days I’m not completely sure this is the right place for me because of how personally I do take it all. Then there is the financial reality – as I’m working on a project I have absolutely no income from that project until it gets distribution, often a year or two later. I think these things are true for most people in the arts and I stand in the midst of many who have chosen the same path. Why? Because we cannot imagine doing anything else, because we are driven by our passion, and because we believe with every fiber of our being that what we do brings something good to the people we touch.
In a recent Variety article, Cate Blanchett said the dominance of male stories on the big screen is bad business. “It’s not serving the audience,” she explains. “People want to see good films. We should have equal access to the multiplexes.”
I stand with Cate in my desire to bring our stories into the world, and this baby superhero in training wannabe humbly asks that you stand with me.
In 2009 Marina founded Soul Kiss Films, an independent film company dedicated to producing evocative, entertaining and compelling movies by women, for women and about women. Her first project out of the gate was to executive produce instant classic Elena Undone (2010), followed by A Perfect Ending (2012). In 2014 Marina felt driven to go down a more authentic path, writing and directing Anatomy of a Love Seen and creating an exciting new model of filmmaking not only during production, but with her creative distribution, earning much publicity. In 2015 Marina is thrilled to release her most recent film Raven’s Touch, directed in beautiful concert with phenom Dreya Weber. Marina is currently in pre-production on her fifth and most ambitious feature film to date, Ava’s Impossible Things, shooting July 2015