NYWIFT sits down with members of the film and television community for a look at how the global COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the industry, particularly those who work in the indie and art house world. And how women are adapting, evolving, and growing creatively. If you would like to share your story please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are compiling a NYWIFT Emergency Resource Directory on our homepage – please continue to check back as we update it with the latest information.
By Heidi Philipsen
I reached out to online streaming distributor, Adriana Shaw, to talk about how she is coping during the COVID-19 pandemic and how her company Herflix is adjusting to the challenging times.
Adriana Shaw is Founder and President of Herflix (www.herflix.com), an online movie theater curating and streaming films by, for & about women. Adriana has 32 years of experience as a successful executive in home video and film distribution. Called a “pioneer in the home video business” by Variety, Adriana was the Founder & President of the publicly traded indie home video distributor, Today Home Entertainment, and partnered in RGH International Film Enterprises, an independent distributor/agent/financier of feature films to the domestic and foreign markets.
With Herflix, she has become a distributor for women-centric content and an advocate for women filmmakers.
How as the COVID-19 pandemic affected your organization? How serious is it?
Well, I certainly don’t want the people I depend on to be out there in harm’s way. Yes, it’s serious. No meeting, event, etc. is worth the risk.
How are people/businesses/films affected by and reacting to the social distancing?
Well, [there was] certainly no SXSW Film Festival. And we were going to announce [something] at Cannes. Ha. Not happening for all the right reasons. So you reassess. Work with what is possible. I find that filmmakers are more focused on working to promote their films in cooperation with us instead of relying on Herflix solely to push their work out there.
What are some of the ways, if any, your organization and journalists are being hit, but coming up with “out of the box” solutions?
On March 28th & 29th, we joined NYWIFT, Women in Media & the Arts, African American Women In Cinema, FF2 Media, & 2020 One Woman One Vote and celebrating SWAN (Support Women Artists Now) Day online by offering a community watch on our HerFlix site. Previously, we always did screenings at a theater.
We’re also working with Women in Film & TV International (WIFTI) on initiatives for their WIFTI Channel that was put on hold until now, when all parties are “sheltering in place.”
Everyone has been really cooperative. One distributor sent me a nice note saying “hey, here are my films, let’s do a handshake for now.” Again, doing for the common good to build relationships seems to be in the zeitgeist.
Are you all still working? From home? How is that going for you?
There is that cliché – When life gives you lemons, make that lemonade. It’s refreshing.
Less time in meetings. More time spent in the chair on the computer getting the nitty-gritty work done. Probably all more focused actually. And now I can access articles I pinned but never had the time to read before.
What are little ways or things that you are doing coping on a personal level that is also helping you in your professional teams?
I keep thinking of something I heard Mother Teresa say in a documentary: “Happiness comes from serving.” I’m finding most people are trying to cooperate with each other. And have the time to do it. Also, the financial angle is gone, for the most part, while we are going through this cycle. What we are doing takes on a different goal. Creating business solutions that might be more fun than profitable.