By Katie Chambers
As summer winds down, New York Women in Film & Television gears up for the start of our new year – and with it, new faces join our leadership team!
A 501(c)3 non-profit, NYWIFT is governed by an 18 member Board of Directors, elected by the membership in late Spring. This diverse, accomplished group of women are at the top of their game in TV, film and digital media. They steer NYWIFT in advocating for equality, providing unique professional development opportunities, funding women filmmakers, and celebrating women’s achievements.
Meet Kerry Fulton, co-founder of Evenfield Entertainment.
How did you first get involved with NYWIFT?
I moved back from living in Europe (Madrid) in 2013 and joined NYWIFT as a way to reacquaint myself with the NY industry. I met great people. I volunteered at Muse, attended many events, I worked with Debra Kirshner to create a film financing day. I helped develop and became a board member for FS2P (From Script to Pre-Production).
Why do you love NYWIFT?
I love the community of women. [I look forward to working to] make it even more relevant to today’s market, but I believe women helping other women is the only way we will actually change the world.
Tell us about what you do outside of NYWIFT.
I have a global career in both film and television. I’ve worked at HBO, Mediacorp in Singapore, and Sony in Europe to name a few. I have produced movies – narrative, documentary and animation. In 2017 I graduated from NYU Stern with a MBA and I am now building a company that will finance commercial films written and directed by women. The indie film industry still needs its #MeToo moment. We want to create an army of female filmmakers that will hopefully make a dent in all the appalling statistics that continue to not really move. If anyone is interested in investing/donating/contributing please get in touch. #storiesmatter #perspectivematters.
What is your fondest memory of working in the entertainment industry?
I don’t have just one. It’s a recurring moment, I get a rush and excited when I find a new project I want to work on – and know I’m going to work with the team to make it happen.
Inequality in film, television and digital media has been a hot topic in the media lately, especially the last few years, and righting that imbalance has always been a big part of NYWIFT’s mission. What are your thoughts on the problem? And how should it be solved?
Inequality has been a hot topic in the industry for 100 years, not just recently. The first narrative fiction film was made by a woman in 1896. [Alice Guy-Blache’s The Cabbage Fairy, above]. Yet five women in 100 years have been nominated for a directing Oscar. That is just crazy. We are, after all, 50+% of the population.
But I believe the only way we’ll solve it is with capital. Women have to run the money and the companies that finance. Which is why I am building Evenfield Entertainment. I would love to disrupt the film financing model. It’s antiquated and not conducive to smart business strategy. In tech first money in gets the biggest return; it’s the opposite in our industry. The fail rate in both industries is close, 75% in tech and 80% in film, yet the perception of film being a riskier investment has to do with the financing model.
There is a 10 year study (2007-2017) that was recently completed that shows nothing much has changed, women are still 12% of writers, 12% of directors, and only 29% of protagonists.
A change has occurred though since #Metoo – guys are now are telling our stories because they have realized there is a committed audience and it’s profitable. We need more women financing, distributing and doing film criticism (women comprise 34% and men 66% of all film reviewers). We at NYWIFT need to champion these professionals and bring them into the fold.
What’s the best TV show/movie/web series you’ve seen recently? Why?
TV show – HBO’s Euphoria because it is a significant story about real contemporary issues. What do we think is going to happen when we medicate our kids? And more significantly, how what kids watch/consume sets unrealistic life expectations (i.e. porn or Disney love stories). I was also blown away by Erin Carr’s Documentary I Love You, Now Die. The family never took responsibility for their son’s death but needed to blame another mentally challenged minor. Extraordinary exposé of the erosion of civil society.
Movie – I laughed out loud and hard at Booksmart. I loved that Beanie Feldstein’s character was unapologetically smart, political, bossy (managerial) and funny. Women are complex creatures. I was a bit surprised at the way the film was released, though. A first time director with two unknowns released wide on a holiday weekend against a big Marvel film – who made that decision? I also loved Border, a Swedish film about being different and needing to find your people, it was an incredibly surprising and moving story.
Web series – Fleabag on Amazon. Season 2 is incredible. It just gets better. Phoebe Waller- Bridge’s character is terrific. I love the way she talks directly to the audience and brings us in to feel the excruciatingly awkward comfort/discomfort of her choices. I also admire When They See Us on Netflix. It was incredible to understand what the families went through; it really showed the power we as storytellers have to create real change in the world.
What are your plans for the summer?
Mostly working – in the world of start-ups it’s 24/7. But I am taking a week in Colorado in August for some very fresh air.
When NYWIFT Board Member Kathryn O’Kane headed off to direct season two of The World According to Jeff Goldblum for Disney+ it was, in her words, “the worst of times” – the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, before vaccines were available and film production felt particularly dangerous and fraught. But the difficult work paid off, and has led to the best of times! Season two of the docuseries, which follows the beloved quirky actor as he pulls on the thread of a familiar topic to unravel a world of fascinating secrets, has been nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special.
We checked in with Kathryn to offer our congratulations, learn more about the filming process, and discuss what’s next for her.
As summer heats up, New York Women in Film & Television gears up for the start of our new year – and with it, new faces join our leadership team! Next up, meet Gretchen McGowan, an award-winning producer and Head of Production at Goldcrest Features.READ MORE
NYWIFT member Alex Cirillo is a director, producer and the Co-Founder of Big Vision Empty Wallet, an inclusion-focused incubator that produces content that keeps you at the edge of your seat. Next up, she brings her talents and passion for inclusion to the NYWIFT Board of Directors.READ MORE