Fly with Skye Borgman

I met Skye Borgman at the Oxford Film Festival early in 2018. Her award-winning, multi-festival run film “Abducted in Plain Sight” was playing there and I was blown away by it. Happily for me, she joined the panel of women directors that spoke after the screening of SIBWD. Smart, funny, talented, and insightful, I couldn’t wait to share her perspective on filmmaking with you!

In exciting news, the film received representation from CAA and has worldwide distribution coming in January of 2019!

1. What/who inspired you to get into filmmaking? It was really my travel that inspired me to start making films. I spent several years traveling the world, mostly in South East Asia, and it is there that I picked up a camera and started looking at the world through a lens. Everything shifted. I had grown up in a small town in Oregon (Klamath Falls, OR) and I didn’t really know that there were jobs available in the film industry. I had a love for theater (and an undergrad degree) and I wanted to figure out a way to combine storytelling, lighting and travel. So I begrudgingly came back to the United States and applied to film school. I had never made a film and had never owned a computer and the first week of class we were supposed to start editing in Avid. It was a steep learning curve, to say the least.

2. What obstacles have you had to face as a female in the industry? I think the biggest obstacle I have faced as a woman in the industry is getting the job. Once I have the job and I am leading my team, I don’t feel my “womanness”….but the challenge is getting in the room. I have been looked over and less qualified men have been hired. So much of filmmaking is developing relationships and I think that most people feel more comfortable with men – because that’s what they are use to. If I look at my rolodex of collaborators more than 50% of them are men. I have been actively seeking out, hiring and mentoring women in the industry for the last 10 years, and it’s tough because there are a lot of talented guys out there and I it’s easier because I know I get along with them and they are friends – but I have become increasingly committed to helping women by hiring them.

3. In your opinion, how could the industry make it easier for more female artists such as yourself to get the opportunities and recognition they deserve? Hire us! And fight for us. Men and women need to do this. Don’t let the studios determine the teams. I am a filmmaker and a cinematographer. Both are positions with hiring power….but I work on smaller projects. I really respect directors like Ryan Coogler who fight for their team in a giant movie like Black Panther. There is no way he went to the studio and said I want Rachel Morrison and Hannah Beachler on my team and they said. “Sure, no problem Ryan.” You know he had to fight like hell to get those ladies on his team. Also just committing to hiring more women on larger scale projects.

4. What advice would you offer other up-and-coming and/or seasoned female artists? It’s funny because a lot of people ask me this question and I always say. Get on set…and that seems so vague. So I have been actively trying to formulate a better answer. Here goes…..Don’t wait for the job. If you want to shoot go out and shoot, even if it is something small, shoot it on an iphone, cast your friends, whatever it is – don’t wait for someone’s permission or someone to hire you. Go to film festivals: You are surrounded by people with like minds who are creating like you are – you might find your tribe at festivals. Create relationships – those create opportunities. Go to the parties and talk to people about more than just film making. If you are a good person, people will know that and want to work with you. Work with people who are willing and excited to fail. Work with people who are honest and will tell you if something is shit. Talk about your work and introduce yourself with confidence (whether it be a cinematographer, director, writer, editor, etc.) if you believe in yourself, others will to.

5. Do you have anything lined up for 2018/2019 that we should keep an eye out for? I am co-owner of a production company, Top Knot Films, and we have set up a model where we work with some higher profile clients in order to create passion projects…and we have just started to make that work, which is very exciting. I am currently developing a true crime series that examines how brutal crimes, spread out over 35 years, terrorize a small community.

Film on Twitter: @AbductedDoc

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