Morgana McKenzie: Multifaceted Modus Operandi

Morgana McKenzie

#DirectedbyWomen team member Jacalyn Evone had the chance to connect with filmmaker Morgana McKenzie, whose versatile approach combines a range of creativity to her work. Through imaginative storytelling, topped with a determined focus on mood, color, and elements that visually stir emotions, her films spur the experience through light placement, set design and location backdrops. Adding directional ability, McKenzie offers up fictional worlds with symbolic meanings. Her films are captivating to watch and explore. Her color grading techniques appear seasoned beyond her age. Beginning her filmmaking journey at the age of 12, Morgana recently turned 18 years old this June 2017. Today, Morgana is taking on a new project, a film entitled Indomptable. She has begun the journey to raise funds through her current Kickstarter campaign. The campaign ends Friday June 30, 2017.Continue reading →

Tema Staig: Helping Women Get Hired

Tema Staig

#DirectedbyWomen team member Maria Corso spoke with Tema Staig recently about her love of film, and her commitment to helping women flourish above and below the line.  Women directors are among those benefiting from The Women in Media Crew List, “a Google doc for women crew and people who want to hire them.”

DBW: What is your earliest memory of film?

 TS: When I was a little kid, my dad took me to see Fantasia in the movie theater.  I was enthralled by the music, vivid colors, and wonderful ideas in that movie.  I was absolutely terrified by the Night on Bald Mountain sequence, however!  Even though I knew it was only a movie, it felt very real to me.  My dad hugged and assured me that the pictures were not real, but wonderful stories that we can learn from and enjoy.  We revisited this conversation when I was a teenager when he sat me down to watch A Clockwork Orange. My dad was big on critical thinking. I think these conversations shaped the person I am today.Continue reading →

Kate Gondwe: Defining Her Own Destiny

Kate Gondwe on set of Best Friends

#DirectedbyWomen team member Jacalyn Evone had the chance to speak with seventeen-year-old Kate Gondwe who, prior to graduating high school this past May 2017, made strides into the film industry.  She found writer, director, producer, cinematographer, editor, and award-winning filmmaker Gondwe to be clear-sighted about her goals, and possessing strong awareness about developing her own landscape of ideas and views. Tapping into her potential early on, Kate Gondwe is at a powerful starting point in her life.Continue reading →

Michelle Mboya: Telling Untold Stories

Still image from The Camel's Back

#DirectedByWomen team member Natalie Makovora recently had a chance to talk to Yale grad Michelle Mboya, director of the award-winning short film The Camel’s Back, which is currently going around the festival circuit. The film follows a 13-year-old Kenyan girl, Susan (Tatiyana Gati), who believes she only has one day left to live and wants nothing more than to find Diani Beach before she passes.

DBW: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to develop The Camel’s Back.

MM: I am from Kenya. I am a woman. I like telling stories—I always have. I’m not actually very good at telling stories. I never really learned. I didn’t start making films until college. I just haven’t been honed in that field so much. I went to a British high school which is very rigid in academics, focused on three subjects: math, history and economics. So, when I came to Yale I thought I would focus somewhere in math, history or economics — and I sort of did, I majored in economics I ended up double majoring in film studies when I took a first year film course and I loved it. Continue reading →

Leah Warshawski: Filming Family, Finding Humanity

Still image from Big Sonia

#DirectedbyWomen team member Alex Landers recently had the great fortune to speak with Leah Warshawski, director of the award-winning documentary Big Sonia, as the film’s team works to distribute the festival favorite to theaters across the country. Her previous feature Finding Hillywood put the spotlight on Rwandan filmmakers. In Big Sonia, Warshawski turns the camera on Sonia – a 91-year-old public speaker, successful tailor-shop owner, and neighborhood icon, who also happens to be a Holocaust survivor – and her own grandmother.Continue reading →