NYWIFT Blog

Meet the New NYWIFT Member: Cameron Kit

By Ozzi Ramirez 

Let’s give a warm NYWIFT welcome to Cameron Kit! Cameron is an award-winning feminist sci-fi director living in Brooklyn whose short film Chlorine was a big hit at multiple film festivals and won “Best Cinematography” at NYCA. Some of her other credits include directing the music video Go from Here for musician Anneliese and the whimsical horror short Negative Space. She also worked as a cinematographer in the short film Before the Rain and as part of the camera crew in Tokyo in NYC, another short film.

Altogether, Cameron’s projects have been featured at 30+ film festivals across the U.S. and Japan. From 2013 until recently, Cameron became familiar with the business side of the industry while working as the CEO and Artistic Director at Whiteboard Geeks in Richmond, VA. She received her BFA in Sculpture & Extended Media with a minor in Kinetic Imaging (video and sound design) from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2012.

As her website highlights, Cameron’s overarching goal is to “join in the development of an art that will contribute to a world in which women, people of color, and queer folks are respected as equal citizens on Planet Earth.”

To learn more about Cameron, check out her interview as we discuss the triumphs and setbacks that come with leading an animation studio, her ongoing Sci-Fi podcast They Came from Outer Space, the unyielding longevity of radio, how to make the most of your NYWIFT membership, and the magic that becomes possible when pairing feminism with science fiction!

  

NYWIFT Member Cameron Kit

 

Describe yourself. Give us your elevator pitch!

I’m a sci-fi and fantasy nerd, a Jeopardy fan, a big reader, and a practicing witch. I love films above all else, but books are a close second. I studied Sculpture in college but began making films and video art shortly after starting my major and never looked back.

My life goal is to create films that elevate women, people of color, and queer folks by imagining a future we want to live in.

 

NYWIFT Member Cameron Kit

 

Whether you’re creating a short film (Chlorine) about a young woman who discovers she can teleport through water or developing a television show about an all-girl punk band of witches (Supergroup), you’ve displayed an interest in merging sci-fi with feminist themes.

When it comes to your projects, what is the relationship between the two? Which elements of the science fiction genre do you feel serve to complement aspects of feminism?

A lot of the films I’ve made border more on fantasy because high-concept sci-fi like the kind I want to make (think Becky Chambers, Alien, Star Trek) is expensive, but the realm I lean towards is the “magical girl” genre (Sailor Moon, The Craft, etc.). I make films that bend towards a younger female audience and show women dealing with their abilities.

I also write a wide variety of films. Right now, I’m working on a feature called Battering Ram about a young theme-park ride attendant who goes on an odyssey across the park to confess her love to another worker before he quits. There is no fantasy there, but the story definitely deals with feminist issues of self-worth, self-love, and confidence.

For more than three years, I’ve also been hosting my sci-fi podcast They Came from Outer Space, and we now have over 60 episodes! Since its inception, it’s aired on WRIR in Richmond, VA. Hosting this show has helped me dive deep into sci-fi movies. I love to watch them and learn how they were made: Edge of Tomorrow, Children of Men, even Barbarella!

One thing that has really stood out is how the science fiction genre is male-dominated. Of the 60 movies I’ve talked about in my podcast, only two were directed by women. The road is long for films that deal with technology and the future. While gender and racial parity are slowly being addressed by the bigger production studios and Hollywood in general, female- and non-binary-directed films that receive funding are not big-budget action or sci-fi films. I want that to change.

The way we see the future in film will impact the future we build. I want to paint a picture of a world the way Hayao Miyazaki does; by showing strong heroines owning their struggle and taking the lead.

That’s why I make films! I want to make a difference in the minds of my viewers.

 

NYWIFT Member Cameron Kit

 

Between the unique storyline, remarkable imagery, and meticulous editing, your short film Chlorine is spectacular, thought-provoking, and can ultimately be interpreted in many ways. Considering the subjective nature of the film, what have been some of the more interesting reactions you’ve observed from viewers?  

Wow, thank you so much for the kind words. That film was a labor of love. I received a lot of different interpretations and personally viewed Rina’s teleportation powers as a coming of age/menstruation/maturity allegory – showing her having to deal with a power she doesn’t want.

One viewer told me they saw the story as a reaction to the male gaze. While Rina’s bandmate Sabine gets called out of the pool by a smarmy music exec, our main character escapes the insinuated sexual pressure by leaving through the pool. I was floored!

Many people have commented that it felt like a dream.

 

 

You served as both the Creative Director and CEO of Whiteboard Geeks, an animation studio based in Richmond, VA. During your tenure, you helped the company generate more than S3,000,000 in revenue while expanding the number of employees from four to 30! This is a great accomplishment! 

While working in these leadership positions, what were some choices you made that contributed to Whiteboard Geeks attaining these results? 

Wow, I know! Wild! I made some choices (really mistakes) that I learned from and can hopefully help others who read this. Creating videos and working with corporate clients is something many folks in film will do in their careers. But building the company up over a decade and making sure we were always profitable required falling flat on my face many times.

  1. HIRING: Early on, I messed up big time by not hiring the right people and realized that hiring was the most important function to ensure a thriving culture. Everyone getting along equals everyone working well. I hired a salesperson who I had gone to art school with, thinking that because I was an artist who learned to sell, any artist could. That was a big mistake! You have to hire based on whether the person is naturally social and driven, and this person was not. They struggled for over a year before we let them go. I made a few other big hiring mistakes, but I learned from each one. By the time I finally left the company in April of this year, I can confidently say that all of the 20+ employees loved each other. That’s a big deal.

 

  1. READING: I didn’t go to business school and don’t have an MBA, so I read, read, and read! I read about 50 books on management, selling, company structure, storytelling and marketing, learning from the greats and the people who already knew how to do the things I was trying to figure out. I instituted multiple book clubs so our employees would benefit the same way. We read Creativity Inc. about Pixar and this led to some major changes and good discussions.

 

  1. THE NUMBERS GIVE YOU A PEP TALK: I met with the owner every week and we looked at a dashboard of income – what was in the bank account, expected receivables. The amount of net gross plus the number of deals we had in work agreement did a lot of the talking. I learned the hard way to keep dashboards instead of making decisions based on what I “thought” was happening.

 

Your upcoming documentary Sister Radio centers on two Black female journalists, Atari Gems and Massitan Coulibaly, who live on opposite sides of the globe and connect through radio to discuss topics relating to representation in their communities. 

With so many options for content creators (YouTube, podcasts, and other social media platforms), do you believe it’s important to preserve more traditional forms of media such as radio? If so, why?  

Oh, this is a big one! I was a radio DJ for six years in Richmond at WRIR, where I also ran the production team that taught community members how to edit and produce live radio shows. I view radio as a crucial medium for independent media. It is accessible for creators and listeners – it will never die!

Even with Spotify and podcasts, AM/FM radio still has the biggest “share of ear” in the US, reaching almost 50% of listeners weekly. And in West Africa (Mali), where Massitan Coulibaly lives, radio reaches 93% of women on a weekly basis. Women listen to the radio while cooking, cleaning, and tending crops. Erica Pomerance, my co-creator, worked on a story about women in radio that showed how Malian women used radio to share agricultural information and even sneak healthcare info into traditional women’s programs.

I think radio is a crucial form of media to preserve, based on the fact that women and community members can get on the air at independent stations and instantly reach a community audience. Podcasts require a search and subscription, while radio only requires you to have a radio. 

 

Cameron Kit (left) on set

 

What brought you to NYWIFT? What insights do you feel you can offer other members?

I LOVE NYWIFT! I was briefly in WIFV DC and have known about your organization for years. When I moved to New York four years ago, I saw NYWIFT as a way to build community in the city and meet new friends, mentors, and coworkers. So far, it’s worked out just as planned. I read the weekly news and tips and go to events and workshops. The TV Directing workshop with Mary Lou Belli presented by Film Fatales was amazing, and I only learned about it because of a NYWIFT email.

The biggest insight I have for new members is really just my advice: Join the Writer’s Group and come every month. Join two groups and show up. The Writer’s Group has helped me so much, both in terms of getting things written and the invaluable honest feedback you get. You don’t get that kind of feedback from your close friends or Mom.

There are women in these groups with massive careers and decades of experience, and they are giving you twenty minutes to talk about your script or logline. They tell you straight up, “This part works, but the ending doesn’t. Here’s how you can be more clear.” It’s amazing!

And, of course, go to the events. Be brave, hand out your business card, and ask people to lunch. I’ve had wonderful success in networking by asking people for a 30-minute informational interview on Zoom. I’ve interviewed a good handful of NYWIFT members this way. Ask women whose lives you admire, “How did you get there?” They will give you more information in half an hour than many university classes would. It’s worth it! 

 

Cameron Kit (left) in the recording studio

 

What is the best and worst advice that you’ve received?

Best Advice (filmmaking): Follow your gut, even if many people are telling you to change your script or scene. If you know you have to have it a certain way, don’t compromise. When it’s your project, make it the way you want to see it.

Worst Advice: “Just stay in your corporate job for a few more years until you feel safe to jump.” Newsflash! There is never a safe time to jump.

 

Still from Chlorine

 

How did the pandemic influence your professional life?

Well, I isolated for two years which meant my networking went down 90%. I’m one of the chosen few who enjoys networking, so it was really hard. I felt like the first 2.5 years of my time in New York were stuck in limbo, but so was everyone else. I made it! Actually, at Whiteboard Geeks, we grew a lot during the “pandy.” Big companies suddenly had conference budgets open for marketing and video because there were no conferences, so we performed swimmingly.

I took this time to read, write my first screenplay, finish Chlorine, and do my best to network virtually. Of course, I watched many movies, including a bunch of 30’s and 40’s films. Joan Crawford is my favorite!

 

Still from Song in a Spell

 

What’s next for Cameron Kit? Do you have upcoming projects? 

I just finished shooting my sixth “large set” short film Song in a Spell which, like Chlorine, takes place in the Supergroup universe. It’s about an all-girl band that accidentally writes a spell during band practice. My goal is to start submitting it to festivals this Summer!

I’m working on four films, including a feature-length documentary, and will be starting a documentary production company – more on that to come soon! It will focus primarily on AI, nanotech, and space tech… Sci-Fi stuff! I’m deeply interested in and terrified of AI, so I want to lean into it by bringing my art background to documentaries that find ways to simplify the big concepts out there right now.

Life is good in my world! I’m apprenticing with a director who I met at a NYWIFT event and learning so much from her! I’m using my skills to start a new business, and in the meantime, I’m editing all day. I attend as many NYWIFT events as possible and am a regular at the Writing Group hosted by Jennifer Wilkov.

Plus, I was just added to the NYWIFT New Works Lab which I’ve become obsessed with. Those two resources alone make the cost of the NYWIFT membership worth it. I’ve recommended it to so many friends!

 

Connect with Cameron Kit on her website www.cameronkit.co, and follower her on Instagram and Twitter at @Cameron_Kit.   

PUBLISHED BY

Ozzi Ramirez

Ozzi Ramirez Ozzi Ramirez is a current intern at NYWIFT and aspiring film producer and programmer. He studied English Literature and Theater at the University of Vermont and later received a Master's Degree in Mass Communications from Florida International University in Miami. Having moved to NYC in 2019, his interests include moseying through Manhattan with his headphones on full blast, most dogs and cats, coffee, discovering good deals on theater tickets, politics, traveling, and of course, experiencing great storytelling through movies, TV shows, and books.

View all posts by Ozzi Ramirez

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