Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Asians (Including Me) Invade The Academy!

Go to Film School Rejects to find out who these people are!
Last week, I was psyched to find out that I was invited to join the producers branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences! I'm honored to be part of the Academy's largest and most diverse class yet, and look forward to causing some trouble! I've kind of already started...?

Paola Mardo over at Film School Rejects kindly asked about my thoughts on getting into the Academy, and wrote a great piece about the new class's potential impact on Asian representation in film. But I wanted to post my full answers to her questions in the hopes that they might further illuminate this whole Academy and diversity business. Here you go!

How did you find out you were invited to join the Academy and what was your reaction?

I found out over Twitter from producer Effie Brown, who tagged me in a tweet congratulating me and others. An email invitation was apparently sent before that, but it went to spam. I was very excited to find out I'd gotten in, of course! It was with the encouragement of Laura Kim, head of marketing at Participant, that I decided to apply--with just two weeks left before the deadline. I didn't even know one could apply! But apparently, that's the traditional way to be considered. I'm grateful that Laura reached out. She was one of the folks who sent that letter to the Academy expressing dismay about Chris Rock's Asian joke. So I imagine she was helping with the outreach effort for new Asian members. I then had to ask two producers in the producers branch to sponsor me, and my mentors Mary Jane Skalski and Ron Yerxa thankfully agreed. Then I had to write really long explanations of exactly what I did on each of the features I produced.

By the way, producers: one very good reason to not give away full producer credits like candy is that the more "producers" there are on a film, the more diluted your credit becomes. For example, if there are 3 full "producers" on a film, each producer only gets 1/3 credit--and you need 2 complete producer credits on features to qualify for the Academy. So you'd need to produce 6 of these shared-credit films before you can qualify.

What are your initial thoughts on the overall list of new Academy members?

I was very happy to see that the list was so variegated (sorry, trying not to use the word "diverse") and large. I was also shocked to see how many amazingly talented people weren't in the Academy till now. My friend Vicci Ho joked, "It was as though they opened up an old Cannes catalogue and just found all the Asians in it to invite."

How do you think this list affects Asian Americans in the industry or Asian American representation in Hollywood?

It won't...yet. The new members represent 10% of the entire Academy membership, and Asians make up just about 10% of the new members, so it's a fraction of a fraction. On the bright side, we're no longer 'the only ones in the room.' Even within my own branch, there are four other Asian producers in the class of 2016, including my friends Anish Savjani and Nina Yang Bonjiovi.

How do you think you and the new batch of members will influence this coming Oscar season?

I'm not sure yet! I just got in so I don't know how it all works. I'm still trying to get them to resend me the invitation email that went to spam so I can create a login! But whatever opportunity I'm given to speak my mind or cast my vote, whether to explain why white savior movies need to be stopped, or complain about how so many so-called auteurs use 'art' as a justification for female objectification, or how American movies have an unhealthy reliance on the lone male hero trope. I would also love it if this new class could kickstart the demise of 'Oscar bait.' Because I hate that mediocre middlebrow shit!

There is a thought that this is just a first step toward diversity. Do you agree/disagree? Why?

Yes, it is just one step. There is a very long way to go. The Oscars come at the very end of a film's life cycle. But there is homogeneity in every part of the cycle, from development to financing to production to distribution and marketing. Producers, financiers, and distributors all need to get on board with "diversity" (ugh, had to use it) for Academy members to even have the option to vote for films that aren't by and about and starring white people. But the new Academy class does, I think, represent a victory for democracy: the diverse Twitterverse hashtagged its way to this result. Press covered it ad nauseum, and the Academy listened. So, I'd like to thank the Academy for setting a good example for everyone else. Now everyone else: please, get on board!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Hollywood’s Asian Whitewashing

Indiewire asked me to write something about whitewashing in Hollywood, so I recruited writer-director Andrew Ahn and journalist and author Jeff Yang to help me write an epistolary article about it. Hope you enjoy it!

>> Hollywood’s Asian Whitewashing: Why It Happens So Often, And Why It Must Be Stopped

Monday, November 23, 2015

Roundup of My Most Recent Producing Advice and Musings on the Film Industry

Below is a list of some recent interviews I did and articles that contain producing advice and my various musings about the current state of the film industry. Thanks for reading/listening!

Behind the Brilliance Podcast | "Interview with Mynette Louie" (11/19/15)

Vulture | "100 Women Directors: Actors, Producers, and Twitter Users Suggest Even More Names" (11/3/15)

Indiewire | "Effie Brown on the Upside of the 'Project Greenlight' Controversy and Why Diversity is Suddenly a Hot Topic" (10/26/15)

The Hollywood Reporter | "Effie Brown Talks 'Project Greenlight' Diversity Snafus: 'Black Twitter Is Real'" (10/24/15)

Variety | "Effie Brown: ‘Project Greenlight’ Flap Has Driven Industry Conversation About Diversity" (10/24/15)

Bloomberg TV | VIDEO: "Gamechanger Films President Mynette Louie on The Hollywood Pay Gap" (10/16/15)

New York Film Festival 2015 Panel Podcast: New Hollywood? | Mynette Louie + Effie T. Brown, Ira Deutchman, Mark Harris, Susan Lewis, Rose McGowan, Lydia Dean Pilcher, mod. by Eugene Hernandez (10/7/15)

Gawker (sponsored by Wild Turkey) | "How This Film Producer Is Changing a Male-Dominated Industry" (10/7/15)

Gawker (sponsored by Wild Turkey) | "Let This Upstart Film Financier Teach You How to Make Your Voice Heard" (10/9/15)

The Mary Sue | "Gamechanger’s Mynette Louie on Changing Hollywood from the Inside Out" (6/2/15)

The Women Take Over | “Interview with Mynette Louie: President, Gamechanger Films” (7/9/14)

Crain's New York Business | “A Gamechanger for film biz” (1/19/14)

Indiewire Women & Hollywood | "Sundance Women Producers: Meet Mynette Louie" (1/19/14)

IONCINEMA | "2014 Sundance “Trading Cards” Series: #24. Mynette Louie (Land Ho!)" (1/16/14) 

Friday, July 10, 2015

4 Ways Women Get a Raw Deal in Hollywood

I wrote an article for Vulture breaking down 4 ways women are discriminated against in Hollywood. The piece is on the long side (though 1,000 words shorter than my original draft--so much to say on this topic!), so if you're too busy or lazy, Indiewire has written a nice summary of it. It was also picked up by Slate, and endorsed by folks like Christine Vachon, Lexi Alexander, Lynn SheltonTed Hope, Michael Moore, and, woot! Please read it and let's change the industry!

Monday, February 23, 2015

LAND HO! Wins Cassavetes Award! #SuckItDude

The day before the Spirit Awards, where LAND HO! was nominated for the Cassavetes Award honoring features budgeted under $500K, producers Sara Murphy, Christina Jennings, and I, and writers/directors Martha Stephens & Aaron Katz were all emailing about transpo and logistics. Sara mentioned, almost as an aside, "Guys. I mean...should we plan what to say if the crazy shit happens and we win?!?" We all just kind of shrugged it off. The next day, as we finished our uneventful red carpet walk (we trailed Olivia Munn, so the press barely noticed us) and headed to the sponsor tents in a quest for alcohol, we huddled for a minute after throwing back a few and rattled off whom we should thank just in case we won.

Well, we ended up "winning," and kept our speech short, as instructed. But of course, there was so much more that we all wanted to say. Now that we have the Internet, there is perhaps less pressure to remember to thank everyone you need to thank on TV--and anyway, I thought that the Cassavetes Award was one of the categories IFC normally edits out of its broadcast, since no one famous ever wins it. But they did broadcast it, and we wanted to take up the hosts' advice to tweet/post/blog the rest of our thank yous so we wouldn't bore the audience.

So here are all the people we want to thank:

Gamechanger Films - Martha did thank Gamechanger on stage, for having the faith to finance a woman-directed film containing "dick jokes" and "fart jokes" as the company's first film out of the gate. We all want to second that, and in particular, thank the founders, Julie Parker Benello, Dan Cogan, Geralyn Dreyfous, and Wendy Ettinger, as well as director of operations & creative affairs Derek Nguyen and senior advisor Mary Jane Skalski, and of course, each of the wonderful, progressive, and committed investors who make up Gamechanger.

Sony Pictures Classics - Aaron thanked Sony Classics on stage, but we wanted to add that we're so grateful they took a chance on a weird little film with no stars, and put it in over 150 theaters and stores and VOD platforms everywhere. It isn't every day that a $300K indie film gets shelf/screen space in the likes of Walmart and Redbox.

Piaget - I thanked Piaget for giving me the $25K Producers Award at the 2013 Spirit Awards, but I didn't explain why this mattered for LAND HO! The grant came at a critical time when I had just finished shooting one film, and was trying to get the next one off the ground. Most indie producers don't make any money unless and until they get something into production. So the Piaget grant bridged the personal sustainability gap for me until both LAND HO! and Gamechanger Films materialized later that year.

Film Independent - I thanked Film Independent for supporting me throughout my career, and I want to say that again (and again). Between the Los Angeles Film Festival, the Fast Track project market, equipment and post-production grants, Project Involve, and yes, the Spirit Awards, FIND is critical to the development of directors, writers, and producers who start out knowing nobody in the film industry. Aaron's previous features have also been supported by FIND: COLD WEATHER screened at LAFF and QUIET CITY was also nominated for the Cassavetes Award a few years ago. And our star Paul Eenhoorn's last feature, THIS IS MARTIN BONNER by Chad Hartigan, won the Cassavetes Award last year.

Emily Ting - We can't believe we forgot to thank our dear friend, Emily Ting, who co-financed LAND HO! Emily is becoming the Megan Ellison of microbudget cinema! Through her company Unbound Feet Productions, she was also an investor in fellow Cassavetes nominee MAN FROM RENO by Dave Boyle, and had invested in Yen Tan's PIT STOP, which was a Cassavetes nominee last year. Emily herself is a great producer, director, and cineaste, and generously opens her home and her heart to like-minded indie filmmakers. For that, we love her.

Cast - There would be no LAND HO! without Paul Eenhoorn and Earl Lynn Nelson. These two crazy kids were amazing sports throughout production and distribution, and kept us in stitches the whole time. Karrie Crouse, Elizabeth McKee, and Alice Olivia Clarke were fantastic on-screen foils for these rowdy boys, offering nuanced portrayals of real, independent-minded women.

Crew - We don't advise that you make a $300K film over 16 days in Iceland and 2 days in Kentucky with just anyone. You'd better be really simpatico with all the folks with whom you're going to be sharing meals, bathrooms, and beds, and enduring crazy roads and climates. Not to mention a 6-week picture edit, 3-week sound edit & 1-week sound mix! We'd like to deeply, sincerely thank our entire crew, with special shout-outs to cinematographer Andrew Reed (not many microbudget films shoot on 2 cameras the whole time!), composer Keegan DeWitt, who was scoring another Sundance film simultaneously with ours, and who whipped up our incredible theme song after we found out the song we originally wanted cost more than a quarter of our budget, and EP David Gordon Green, our earliest supporter.

Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW, IFP - LAND HO! premiered at Sundance last year, and we want to thank them for accepting us, but all of these festivals and organizations have played huge roles in our development as filmmakers.

Andre Des Rochers - Our attorney from Gray Krauss Stratford Sandler Des Rochers LLP, whose guidance is always critical and appreciated.

Film Sales Company & Brigade Marketing - Thank you to Andrew Herwitz, Jason Ishikawa, Lucas Verga, and to Adam Kersh, Caitlin Hughes, Deirdre Synan, Morgan Ressa for being among the first people to believe in our little film, and for working so hard to position it in the marketplace in the best way possible.

Our spouses & families - You know who you are, and we love you and thank you for being you.

LAND HO! is so special to us. Earl Lynn likes to say that the film appeals to people of all ages and backgrounds because everyone goes through difficulties in life: divorce, failed dreams, sickness, death, etc. For all of us and many fans who wrote to us, the film helped us feel less sad about growing old, more appreciative of friends, and more excited for new adventures. Thank you so much, Martha & Aaron, for this wonderful, beautiful, kooky brainchild that has brought so much joy to so many people.

I also want to give a special shout-out and thank you to our fellow Cassavetes nominees. I don't know the filmmakers of TEST (but am now looking forward to watching their film!), but I consider the filmmakers of the other 3 nominees, BLUE RUIN, IT FELT LIKE LOVE, and MAN FROM RENO, to be friends, and I am honored that LAND HO! was nominated alongside their wonderful films.

The very first person who texted me congratulations yesterday was Anish Savjani, producer of BLUE RUIN, and the 2011 Piaget Producers Award winner. I met his immensely talented and gregarious director Jeremy Saulnier when we served as jurors together at an awards show, which was a really fun experience. But Anish and I go way back: we met in 2008 when IFP selected us as the American producing fellows for the Rotterdam Lab. For the last 7 years, even though we've never formally worked together, we have exchanged numerous crew recommendations, distribution experiences, production tips, financier warnings, and the like. Anish has been critical to my growth as a producer, and I'm so thankful that we are friends.

I first met IT FELT LIKE LOVE director Eliza Hittman and producers Laura Wagner and Shrihari Sathe when I was consulting for sales agent Visit Films. My production designer on COLD COMES THE NIGHT, Laurie Hicks, first told me about the film, which was shot by her talented, Spirit Award-nominated DP husband, Sean Porter. I sent the film over to Visit, and they ended up repping it at Sundance. I got to know Eliza, Laura, and Shri at Sundance, and kept in touch with them afterwards, not only because I liked them personally, but because based on their amazing debut feature, I knew they were going places. Shri also has a special talent for getting into parties--a very important producing skill!--which Sara and I joyfully discovered at Toronto last year. We even shared a meal with him after the Spirit Awards!

Finally, some of you may have noticed my special message on stage to Dave Boyle, director of MAN FROM RENO: "Suck it, dude!" Suprisingly, some people came up to us separately afterwards and, with concern, asked if I was being serious. So let me just make it clear: this*was*an*inside*joke! One borne from our mutual admiration and affection. I first met Dave at CAAMFest (then called the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival) in 2009 when he was there with WHITE ON RICE and I was there with CHILDREN OF INVENTION by Tze Chun. We got to know each other on the festival circuit, and when traditional distribution eluded our films (because they both had primarily Asian American casts, and 2009 was the nadir of indie film), we decided to join forces to do a DIWO ("Do It With Others") theatrical release.

I would never seriously tell someone with whom I've driven from cafe to bookstore to supermarket hanging film posters and dropping off postcards to "Suck it, dude!" I said that to highlight the ludicrousness of our "competition" for the Cassavetes Award, and to give a nod to our camaraderie. Not to mention, I've known MAN FROM RENO co-writers Michael Lerman and Joel Clark for years, and producer Ko Mori was also a Rotterdam Lab Fellow in 2008 with me and Anish (by the way, along with Shri, we can claim that 80% of the Cassavetes nominees had Asian producers!).

When you find other filmmakers who try hard to make good movies for the right reasons, you cherish them. We respect each other's integrity, perserverance, and yes, independent spirit. With indie film faltering in the face of tentpole films, TV, and the Internet, those of us left raging against the dying of the light need to stick together.

So that is the backstory of #SuckItDude: a story about community, shared creative passion, friendship, and affection.

Now, please, everyone go and watch ALL of the Cassavetes nominees, as well as all the other lower-budgeted Spirit Award nominees (just FYI, women-directed or co-directed films are marked with *):

CASSAVETES (Under $500K)
Blue Ruin
It Felt Like Love*
Land Ho!*
Man From Reno

Appropriate Behavior*
Dear White People
Force Majeure
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night*
The Guest
Jimi: All Is By My Side
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter
Little Accidents*
Love is Strange
Norte, the End of History
Obvious Child*
The One I Love
She's Lost Control*
Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
Still Alice

20,000 Days on Earth*
Stray Dog*
The Salt of the Earth


Monday, July 28, 2014

Can You Recommend a Producer?

Perhaps the question I am asked most often is "Can you recommend a producer for my project?" In light of this, I've decided to share this list of 100+ independent film producers I've compiled over the years. It comes in handy whenever I'm looking for a producing partner on a project, or more recently, for a trustworthy producer to lead the charge and take care of the money on films that Gamechanger may want to finance. Note that this is not meant to be a "best" list (in fact, I don't know some of the producers on the list); it is merely an objective compilation of all of the producers who have been Independent Spirit Producers Award nominees, Sundance Creative Producing Lab fellows, and Rotterdam Lab fellows from the U.S. (so you should do your homework on each of them).

But these are just three sources! There are many other good and great producers who aren't on this list, including some very established indie producer institutions like Christine Vachon, Ted Hope, Anthony Bregman, Ron Yerxa & Albert Berger, Anne Carey, etc. (you should look at Oscar nominees for those!). Other sources you can research include: Film Independent Producing Lab; Berlin Talent Campus; PGA Diversity Workshop; Gotham & Spirit Award nominees; recent film festival program guides; recent project market guides; graduate producing students at film schools like USC, Columbia, NYU, AFI, and UCLA; personal recommendations from fellow writers and directors; and good ol' IMDbstart by looking at who produced recent films you've liked.

Before approaching producers, remember to do your research on them! If your project is microbudget, you should probably skip the folks who haven't produced a microbudget film in the last five years. If the producer has recently gotten a new full-time job as a studio executive, an agent, or the like, she's probably not looking for new projects to produce right now. (Ditto producers who have left the biz...many of us do!) If you're looking for a producer to help you develop your script, attach cast, and find financing, make sure he actually has that experience, or at least the smarts and hunger to learn all that stuff on the job. Also, don't pigeonhole a producerjust because she's never produced a horror film before doesn't mean that she can't or doesn't want to. And remember that not all "producers" are created equal - some are not actually creative/holistic producers, but rather financiers, managers, sales agents, line producers, or writers. Make sure you figure out what kind of "producer" they are.

Finally, don't unnecessarily weigh down your project with multiple producers from the outset. Like directing, producing is an art, and too many cooks do spoil the broth. Don't attach producer deadweight, because it's hard to unattach. Get your lead producer on board first, then decide together whether it's worth attaching additional producers.

Finding the right producer can be as tough as finding the right spouse. Best of luck to ya!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Saturday, May 31, 2014

My Grandparents Didn't Make History, But They Made Me

It's been almost a year since my Grandma Louie died. She was my favorite grandparent, and the last of all of them to go. Since they're all gone now, I'd been wanting to write some things down about their lives before I forgot them. They don't have Wikipedia entries or defunct Facebook accounts, and they don't come up in any Google searches. The only signs of themselves that they've left are embedded in their descendants' memories. So I wanted to encode my memories of them in text before they disappeared, and what better time to do it than the last day of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month?


My paternal grandparents were from Taishan, and had an arranged marriage, as was tradition in rural southern China at the time. My grandma's education ended after the second grade, but my grandpa went to college and law school, practiced law, and eventually became a judge. They were married as teenagers, and the wide educational gap between them, not to mention the arranged marriage, was an issue from time to time. In her 60s, my grandma would often joke about divorcing my grandpa.

Grandparents Louie & me on a trip to San Francisco
Seeking a better life, they immigrated to Hong Kong in the early 1950s with 3 small kids, including my dad. They lived in Sham Shui Po, and my grandpa worked as a teacher. While in Hong Kong, my grandparents had 2 more kids. There would've been 2 others had one not died in childbirth and another as an infant. In 1967, shortly after U.S. immigration restrictions were relaxed, my grandparents immigrated with all 5 of their children to New York City.

Much of my grandpa's family, including his own father, had immigrated to Toronto a generation before. The first of these settlers opened a laundromat and planted roots in Canada, but my great-grandfather eventually went back to Asia and retired in Hong Kong.

My grandparents came to New York because my grandma's siblings (including a brother-in-law who fought as an American soldier in World War II) had immigrated to Brooklyn and Queens many years prior. My great aunts and uncles lived in Rockaway (one of them ran a laundromat there!), Bay Ridge, and Marine Park, and my grandparents settled in Kensington, Brooklyn, where I spent most of my own childhood and adolescence.

My grandparents joined the Soo Yuen Benevolent Association, a community organization based on family surnames that was founded in 1846 in China, and first established in the U.S. in 1880 in San Francisco. My grandpa would eventually become the longest-serving president of the New York chapter. The language barrier made his legal and teaching experience moot, so through his new friends at Soo Yuen, he got a job selling tickets at a movie theater in Chinatown that played a mix of regular and pornographic Chinese films--I'm still trying to confirm which theater, but I'm pretty sure it was this one, which the Chinese knew as Hua Du (华都) Cinema. My parents would leave me and my sisters there for grandpa to babysit us while they shopped for groceries. I snuck a peek at the screen sometimes, and my grandpa caught me once and yelled at me, but even as a kid, I knew that his anger came from shame. Most of the time, my sisters and I just stayed in the lobby eating popcorn and candy, trying to dodge the rats that scurried about. Grandpa would wear a 3-piece tweed suit and a driving cap to work. He smoked Marlboros and drank Johnny Walker Red (in moderation), and lived till his mid-80s.

Grandma Louie & me
My grandma worked as a seamstress in a sweatshop on East Broadway. She was a member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU). During the summers when I was little, she'd bring me with her to help cut threads. I remember there were very short lunch and bathroom breaks, and a lot of yelling from the bosses. This was probably where I learned my first lessons about hardship and injustice.

I think part of why Grandma Louie was my favorite was because I was her favorite, but for a completely unfair and patriarchal reason: I was the oldest child of her oldest son, and the Chinese are all about sons! Of the 12 cousins in my generation, counting both my mom's & dad's sides, there is only one boy, and he was the second-to-last to be born. If the stats weren't in our favor, I don't think we girls would've become as strong-willed as we are.



Like my father, my mother was also born in southern China, but in a different part (Zhongshan), and to parents who actually married for love. They only ended up having 2 kids, a boy and a girl, as 2 others died in childbirth. When Grandma Sah was pregnant with my mom in the late 1940s, my grandpa went overseas to try to make his fortune, as Chinese men at that time were wont to do. He landed in the Dominican Republic, where he worked odd jobs, mostly in restaurants, and sent some money home to China. He ended up staying there for 18 years, and apparently fathered a half-Dominican daughter. So I have an aunt out there somewhere in the world that I've never met (Auntie, if you're reading this, please contact me!).

Chinese plantation workers in Hawaii
My great-grandfather had also done a stint overseas, working in the watercress fields in Hawaii alongside many other immigrants, Chinese and otherwise. He returned to China with enough money to build a big house for his extended family, including my mom. But eventually, the Communists took over this house and made it a regional office, confining my mom's whole family--her grandparents, mother, older brother, and several aunts and uncles--to live in the kitchen.

She Saihua with her dragon head cane

When my mom was 4, her mother was hit by a bus and killed while riding her bicycle home from a women's association meeting. She represented her village in the association, which fought for women's rights in China. Growing up, my mom and her relatives would always talk about how we were descended from a powerful woman general during the Song Dynasty named She Saihua (佘賽花) a.k.a. She Taijun. According to Wikipedia, "Trusting her loyalty and judgment, Emperor Taizong made her the commander-in-chief and awarded her a Dragon Head Cane, a symbol of the emperor, for absolute control of the male-dominated army."

When my mom was 6, her aunt carried her on a boat to Hong Kong while another aunt swam there (!) to escape Communist China. My mom didn't meet her own father until she was 18, when they both immigrated to Hawaii in 1966.

It was in Hawaii that my parents first met. My dad opted to enroll at the University of Hawaii at Manoa rather than be drafted to fight in Vietnam. To put himself through school, he worked New York hours (5-6 hours ahead of Hawaii) as a teletypist sending buy & sell orders to stock exchange floors, first for Walston & Co., then Dean Witter, then Bishop Trust. My mom also went to UH Manoa, majoring in studio art, while earning her tuition by packing pineapples on an assembly line at the Dole Cannery. My parents met while dancing at their college's ballroom dance club.

I attribute my love of dancing to them, and my passion for social justice for women, immigrants, people of color, the working class, and the otherwise disenfranchised to all of my ancestors.

Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Because the Email Never Stops

It just keeps coming and coming and coming...

At the risk of sounding jerky, I'm jotting down this list of frequently asked questions that I get over email (oh, horrific, relentless, vast oceans of email!). I do it (a) for my own sanity, (b) so my directors, investors, and collaborators don't get pissed at me for replying to your emails instead of working on our films, and (c) to provide you with a timely response. 

1. Will you produce my project?
I'm currently not looking for any new projects to produce due to my full-time commitment with Gamechanger Films. But thank you--I'm flattered that you asked! If you have a woman-directed or co-directed narrative feature project that you'd like Gamechanger to consider financing, check out the FAQ page.

2. Can you recommend a producer for my project?
Please look at the following sources: Sundance Creative Producing Lab fellows, Independent Spirit Producers Award nominees, Film Independent Producer Lab fellows, Rotterdam Lab fellows, producers of recent films you like that are in your budget range, and graduate producing programs at Columbia, NYU, USC, AFI, etc. 
[UPDATE: I've written a detailed post dedicated exclusively to this question.] 

3. Can you recommend a DP/editor/production designer/line producer/1st AD/etc. for my microbudget film?
I don't produce 5 films a year (whoever does is either not human, not actually "producing," or lying!), and even if I did, great crew members graduate to higher budgets quickly. Instead, please look at my IMDb to see whom I've worked with, and if you like their work, ask how I liked working with them. Also, call below-the-line agents. Lastly, watch a lot of movies!

4. I'm looking for work. Do you know of anything?
I might, but I'm not an agent, manager, headhunter, or job board. And if I've never worked with you before, I'm less inclined to recommend you. If I do know of something, I usually post it on my Twitter and Facebook.

5. I'd love to get your feedback on my script/production plan/rough cut. Can I send it?
Unless I've specifically solicited it from you or your rep for Gamechanger to consider, sorry, but no

6. I'd love to chat with you about some things I'm working on.
Really? What? Don't be vague. I like details. And I hate talking on the phone! Why? Time it takes me to read your spiel = 15-30 seconds; time it takes me to hear your spiel = 15-30 minutes + time spent scheduling the call. Do the math!

7. Can we meet for coffee?
If you'd like to have a general, speculative, or advisory meeting, I'm afraid I won't have time to meet. You see, in addition to being a "manager," I'm also a "maker," and the schedules for these two types of people are at odds with each other, so I basically work around the clock. What the hell am I talking about? See here. If you are seeking producing advice, please read this blog, which contains links to interviews I've done and articles I've written about producing. You should also read Ted Hope's blog, Filmmaker Magazine, books about filmmaking, and the trades. You can follow me on Twitter and Facebook too--if you do, I thank you!

Thanks for understanding my effort to control the flood of emails. In order for me to be an effective producer and human being, I must protect my time to focus on my own projects, investors, directors, creative cultivation, and life. I hope that you understand. Best of luck with your projects!

Friday, February 14, 2014

"Land Ho!" At Sundance Was Quite The Trip!

Colby D Crossland / Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival
Last month, the latest feature I produced, "Land Ho!" premiered at Sundance. This was my third feature to premiere there (after "Children of Invention" and "California Solo"), and it has been a different but always rewarding experience each time. 

This time, I felt sort of like I was in bizarro world because I was part of one of those storied, infamous "all-night" negotiations that you always hear about but can't actually imagine being real. I put "all-night" in quotes, but it actually was all night--from 6pm Tuesday till 4:30am Wednesday. At the end of that night, or morning really, Sony Pictures Classics had acquired the film. It was a dream come true for all of use since we've always wanted to work with them.

But even more important than the deal was the audience and critical reaction to the film. I can't remember the last time I went to a movie and the audience laughed that much (and also cry!). It made me so proud to have been a part of making this film, along with writer-directors Martha Stephens & Aaron Katz, producers Sara Murphy & Christina Jennings, and our wild and crazy boys Paul Eenhoorn & Earl Lynn Nelson. I was extra proud that this was the first film financed by Gamechanger Films, the women directors film fund that I run.

We cannot wait to share "Land Ho!" with everyone this year! Until then, check out some of these great articles about the film and our Sundance experience. For more, see our Facebook page.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

"Cold Comes the Night" Premieres Today!

The new film I produced, "Cold Comes the Night," opens in theaters and on VOD this Friday, January 10th!

It's a crime thriller starring Alice Eve (Star Trek Into Darkness)Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus), and Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)--and they are all FANTASTIC in it!

We are an independent film with a limited release, so our opening weekend is extremely critical in getting theaters to extend our run. We'd be so grateful if you came to see it with your friends!

TONIGHT, Fri 1/10, in Los Angeles: Director Tze Chun and co-writers Osgood Perkins & Nick Simon will be doing Q&As after these screenings:
Laemmle NoHo at 7:50
AMC Burbank at 8:15

TOMORROW, Sat 1/11, in New York: Director Tze Chun and I will be doing Q&As after these screenings:
Quad: 5:207:30
AMC: 7:45
Check out the trailer & film stills, and BUY TICKETS! For the full list of ways to see the film, go here.

CLICK TO TWEET the premiere!

Thanks in advance for helping to spread the word, and we hope to see you this weekend!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

My Top Films of 2013 & New Year Resolutions

Four of my top ten films of 2013 happen to be directed by women: Lake Bell's In A World,
Eliza Hittman's It Felt Like Love, Shannon Plumb's Towheads, and Hannah Fidell's A Teacher

Indiewire asked me to list my top ten films of the year, and talk about what I'm looking forward to in 2014. To my delight, nine of the ten films are "true indies," four were directed by women (see photo above), and all of them are narrative features. (Sadly, I don't have much bandwidth to watch documentaries, though I'm eager to see so many of them.) Check out my complete list and resolutions here.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Follow me, says Indiewire

According to Indiewire, I'm one of the "100 Filmmakers to Follow on Twitter." Aw shucks. Thanks, Indiewire. Woot!

So...please follow me? @mynette

And while you're at it, check out my Facebook too. Lots of heated debates about film, race, and gender, with a bunch of snark on the side.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Sorry boys, but it's time to change the game!

Me, Mary Jane Skalski, Julie Parker Benello, and Dan Cogan on a Brooklyn rooftop
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles TimesSeptember 20, 2013)
I'm very excited to announce my new gig as President of Gamechanger Films, the first for-profit film fund dedicated exclusively to financing narrative features directed by women!

Check out the Los Angeles Times piece about the company: 
“New movie fund Gamechanger Films is formed to back women directors”

Here's to more diversity in film!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Me Me Me

I recently did a very long 6-part interview with The Black List's Go Into the Story blog. Check it out if you can. Perhaps you will find something useful, or at least amusing, in it. If not, I am sorry.

Part 1: “I’ve probably known since 7th grade that I wanted to produce films. Growing up in New York and seeing movie sets in the street all the time, I was always fascinated by how that whole circus of crew, cast, lights, and trucks got assembled.”

Part 2: “Put yourself in other people’s shoes to figure out how to negotiate with them. Poverty breeds creativity. Try not to let them see you sweat. Feed your crew well. Don’t produce and AD at the same time. Guard the truck!”

Part 3: “I only take on projects that I’d be willing to lose sleep and nutrition for, and that I’d be proud to put my name on.”

Part 4: “So it behooves you to not put all your eggs in one basket, to make films back-to-back or even simultaneously. It’s an insane way to live. No indie film producers actually sleep.”

Part 5: “The next person who sends me an immigrant drama or microbudget Mumblecore comedy will get it chucked back in their face! (Unless, of course, it happens to be brilliant.)”

Part 6: “As a producer, I look for characters that great actors would want to play because the vast majority of indie films are still financed by way of cast attachments.”