The Causes of Frances Causey

Frances Causey


I had the pleasure of meeting Frances Causey and seeing her excellent film “The Long Shadow” at the 2018 Oxford Film Festival.  She joined the panel of women who direct after a screening of the one hour version of “Seeing is Believing: Women Direct,” and I knew right away I had to learn more about her and her work.

“The Long Shadow” takes on both the history of racism and Frances’ personal family history of growing up in the South. The post-film conversation was nothing if not riveting. I wasn’t the only person in the room who was moved by her honesty and the care she took in tracing how deep the roots of racism are in American law and lore. I think it’s fair to say everyone in the audience left a little more open, a little more aware. If that isn’t a successful documentary I don’t know what is!

She’s now working on another film, “Is Your Story Making You Sick?” which she talks about some here in our Q&A.  I find her commitment to documentary filmmaking and using it as a tool to heal our culture truly inspiring.


1. What/who inspired you to get into filmmaking?


I was restless after 14 years as a producer at CNN telling “short form” non-fiction stories. CNN had been bought out twice by corporations and each time, the fearlessness on the part of the company to tell important stories with integrity was waning.  So I left CNN in 2000 to form my company, Adhara Media. Adhara is one of the brightest stars in the Northern Hemisphere but is not very well known so it seemed like a perfect fit for me! (ha) It was a risky move and at times, I questioned my sanity. But I always knew that making documentaries was my calling in life, to tell important stories, taking on the toughest subjects almost as a public service. Documentaries are more important than ever because the journalism profession has been so compromised.

2. What obstacles have you had to face as a female in the industry?


The bias is there for sure but as an independent producer I knew I had to control the “business” side of making movies. This aspect can be so male dominated so I learned all that I could and therefore gained control of my fate better. I’ve been very fortunate to work with male partners who don’t mind and even relish working with a female director.

On location shooting “Is Your Story Making You Sick?”


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?


Male producers in positions of power need to make a point by hiring female directors. More begets more. Women directors are just as talented as men and bring, I believe, a more rounded experience to any film. Honestly, I am always conscious in my decision making that way. If it comes down to a man versus a woman I hire the woman.

On location for “Is Your Story Making You Sick?”


4. What advice would you offer other up-and-coming and/or seasoned female artists?


As is so beautifully pointed out in your film, Seeing Is Believing: Women Direct, NEVER GIVE UP! If you know in your soul that filmmaking is what you should be doing GO FOR IT! There will be sacrifices but have no regrets.


5. Do you have anything lined up for 2017/2018 that we should keep an eye out for?


Yes, THANK YOU!  I have two films out in 2018. The Long Shadow which is a deeply personal film about growing up in the south and the terrible anti-black racism that I witnessed there.  Also premiering this year is my film, Is Your Story Making You Sick? that investigates how we unconsciously author and live negative stories about ourselves based on our past and how these difficult emotions trigger inflammatory markers in the body.


Twitter: @FCausey  @LongShadowDoc, @HeistDoc

Facebook for “The Long Shadow”:

Subscribe to the mailing list

Keep up to date with all things Seeing Is Believing

Thankyou, you have been signed up to our mailing list.

There was an error with your email address, please check it is valid and try again.

. .