Catalyst Women: Focusing on Female Filmmakers

Ruth Ann Writes

Dispatches from our co-founder

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The first time Bill and I attended Sundance Catalyst, a multi-day event full of engaging presentations, panels, and conversations connecting film investors with filmmakers, we noticed that a number of attendees seemed to have become emotionally involved with the films they were supporting and the people who were making those movies. That was not going to happen to us. Until it did.

Now, we’re so impressed by the projects presented at Catalyst events and the extraordinary community of creative investors, producers, and directors who collaborate to make movie magic that we stepped up to sponsor the first-ever Catalyst Women. The event to spotlights women-led films worthy of investment and six projects will be showcased before dozens of creative investors May 4-5 in New York City. We’re hoping to report that each of the projects won hearts – and that money will soon follow. 

Why invest in films with women? When Bill and I commit personal or foundation funds to a film, we hope our investment will work to change the gender ratio in filmmaking. We want more voices telling more stories. We look for women in the big five jobs: director, producer, writer, editor, and director of photography. We look for stories that are important to women and other underrepresented groups.

We sometimes invest in a film simply because we want to see that story told, whether or not we see a financial return. Of course, we’re proud when projects we’ve supported gain industry recognition (Trapped and Audrie & Daisy won Peabody Awards last month). But the real satisfaction comes from investing our money in service of our values and amplifying the stories that help create a fairer world for everyone.