Cady is Keynote Speaker at WEHO Women’s Conference 2017

In March, 2017, our Director Cady McClain was invited as a guest speaker in conversation with Maikiko James, Women In Film Los Angeles, at the WEHO Women’s Leadership Conference & Network and 3rd Annual Mini-Film Festival.
Topics discussed included the importance of women seeing their narrative become available to a wide audience, and what women directors can do to make that happen!
About “Seeing is Believing: Women Direct,” McClain shared, “it was so fulfilling to hear these women’s stories of perseverance. I didn’t realize how much I needed them. Now I feel a huge responsibility to make sure this information gets out there.”
McClain wants to make sure this documentary is encouraging, especially to young women.
“That we have to be perfect before we try, that’s a real misconception.” As much as a female director might want to set aside her gender, McClain feels, “We always have to return to what it is to be female and discover what it is for ourselves, which other women help us learn.”

Being influenced by male directors for the majority of her career, McClain feels that women have been “dominated by male voices in their storytelling.” McClain admits that it was not easy to find her own voice, as she often “struggled to find permission within herself without looking for it from without.”

While Lesli Linka Glatter counciled, “Know what you want, “ McClain discussed with Kimberly Pierce the issue of permission, which McClain felt could be a major issue for women. Pierce encouraged her not to seek permission from others, emphatically stating, “You don’t need permission.”

When discussing the state of women directors today, McClain is optimistic, “Women are no longer a niche or a genre. We’re starting to be valued. It’s a big deal and it’s important to recognize the generations before us who’ve been fighting for that.” When asked how women can continue to foster change McClain feels that focusing on bad news can be “discouraging, and sometimes does not reflect the truth of the situation. There are literally thousands of women directors out there.” McClain feels that women directors need to continue to seek places where they can come together to find support and mentorship. She mentioned writer Maureen Murdock and her book “The Heroine’s Journey,” stating, “Men go to the cave to fight the Minotaur. Women go into the cave to sit in a group of other women and seek wisdom. Sometimes women decide to put on the mantle of men and fight with a sword and shield, but ultimately we return to what it means to be a woman. And sitting in a group can help women find that answer for themselves.”

Check out “The Heroine’s Journey” Project

When discussing the challenges against women directors at this time, McClain stated, “There’s a sense that there’s only room for so many women and that’s just not true.” One action women can take is an adjustment in the way they relate to one another. “Women need to lift one another up as opposed to thinking of each other as competition. That’s not going to help move things forward.”

McClain feels it’s important that, “This issue of women directors doesn’t become a blame game against men.”  Instead she advises, “We as women can take the lead in solving the problem.”  One of the things I find helpful is when you’re a woman in a situation leading a majority of men, you have to give them a context to understand you.”  But she warned, “Don’t define yourself by your gender. Define yourself by your work.”

When asked what gave her hope recently, McClain stated, “The statue of the little girl put up in front of the bull in New York City brought me to tears because it’s like… they recognize us. And that girl child lives within every woman, like the boy does in every man. And now there she stands, with a pony tail, no less! Totally un-sexualized and strong. That is something that gives me a lot of hope.”

Watch their FULL conversation by clicking the link below!

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