Kickstarted: The Empowerment Project

[E] Sally J. FreedmanPop Culture1 Comment

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Last spring and summer I wrote a series of posts called “Kickstartable.” Each post featured a worthy Kickstarter project that I thought might be of interest to our readers. This is follow up post to the post featuring the Empowerment Project

The Empowerment Project was funded through Kickstarter earlier this year. The funds raised enable the film crew to interview 17 women and get the film made. I was able to interview Sarah Moshman, and she filled me in on what’s happened since those magic words, FUNDED appeared on her project. Check out the trailer, and read what’s been happening.

What ran through your head as you realized that your Kickstarter was going to be fully funded? 

It was the most incredible feeling! To know how hard Dana and I worked for the 60-day period, to endure the anxiety and the doubt and the sleepless nights, and knowing it was all worth it was a big moment. More than anything else, completing a successful Kickstarter is a humbling feeling because so many people you have never met are showing their faith in you and your idea and literally powering you to go after your dream. We will always be grateful to those 404 backers for making our vision a reality.

Did your month on the road shape up the way you thought it would? 

The 34 days we spent shooting “The Empowerment Project” turned out better than I ever could have hoped. From conception of the idea to interview inspirational women with an all female crew to actually being on the road, the project evolved so much and it is still evolving today in post-production. I feel like I’m getting a Masters degree in filmmaking, there is so much to learn! The interviews were life-changing, the women on our crew were phenomenal and we drove over 7,000 miles through 22 states so we saw our country in a whole new way. None of which we could have planned for or imagined beforehand. We truly went on a journey and lived in an empowered world for a month, which is a gift I will always treasure, and I get to re-live it through the making of the film!

What were the best parts of your adventure? 

The best part of going on this cross-country adventure was meeting so many different kinds of people, all of whom were so supportive of our journey and our mission to empower women. I am still blown away by the kindness of strangers! From food that was donated, to people that opened up their homes to us, it reminded me that people are inherently good and when you are trying to do something that is positive, people take notice.

Spending a day in the life of each of the 17 women we interviewed was a special experience. We put on lab coats and went into a science lab with our biologist, we flew over the Golden Gate Bridge with a female pilot, we got to ask an astronaut what it was like to travel to space, we asked the co-creator of “The Oprah Show” how she got her start, and so much more.

Getting to know the other four women on the crew was very special as well. To spend a month in a minivan with five women is not easy but I think it was integral to the all around experience to stick together. It was a joy to learn all of their stories and tell my own. As we get older it’s harder to make good girlfriends, so this was like friendship in fast forward! I am so grateful they took a month out of their lives to take this leap of faith.

What did you learn along the way? 

I learned that there are so many amazing female role models out there! We met 17 of them! Our media today may be youth, image, and celebrity obsessed, but it doesn’t have to be that way. This project is about shining light on ordinary women doing extraordinary things in their lives. I take inspiration from each of them as I continue down my path and I think of it as my responsibility to carry on that message to other women.

I also learned so much about myself on this journey. This film is one of the biggest challenges professionally, creatively, and personally I have experienced. I often learn the most about myself when I am out of my comfort zone, being challenged and making mistakes. Everyday was a challenge logistically, but we operated so well together and it didn’t feel like work most of the time.

The biggest lesson I can take away from this whole experience is to go for it. If you have a project, a vision, a dream, whatever it is, there shouldn’t be any excuse not to go after it. There will always be a reason not to do something. Our biologist Mina Bissell shared with us a quote from Einstein that I think sums up our journey:

“For an idea that does not at first seem insane, there is no hope.”

The trailer is ready — what’s the next step?

I am hard at work in the edit room, as is my fabulous editor and we aim to have the film completed in April of 2014. We are teamed up with IndieFlix, and we are going to screen the film in schools starting in April to continue this message and empower the next generation of strong women. Beyond that, we will explore the film festival route as well as other distribution avenues. This is more than just a documentary, this is a movement.

If you want information on how to book a screening of the film contact empowerment@indieflix.com or go to indieflix.com/empowermentproject.

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[E] Sally J. FreedmanKickstarted: The Empowerment Project

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