We’re all about highlighting media that puts women’s voices at the center. We love it even more when we see film and TV content that becomes a vehicle for intersectionality, discussing important topics that seek to dismantle patriarchal norms and create space at the table for those who have typically been excluded from the mainstream.
We’re also passionate about supporting the work of female filmmakers, at a time when studies show women made up only 7% of directors on the top 250 grossing films in 2016, and that is a DROP in number from the previous year. San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television in film also found that women accounted for 13% of writers, 17% of executive producers, 24% of producers, 17% of editors and 5% of cinematographers. In a nutshell, nowhere near equal.
And it’s not as if female filmmakers and entertainment focused on intersectional issues don’t exist. A new feature film currently in production in Chicago called ‘Freelancers Anonymous’ is an example of exciting new content that is offering audiences something different than the tired mainstream Hollywood “white, male savior” trope. It is a fast and fun comedy that highlights the LGBTQ community and women in tech.
‘Freelancers Anonymous’ is directed by award-winning Spanish filmmaker Sonia Sebastian, produced and written by Amy Dellagiarino and Lisa Cordileone. It featured a top notch cast, including Alexandra Billings (‘Transparent’), Jennifer Bartels (‘American Woman’/Paramount Network) and Mouzam Makkar (‘Champions’/NBC) among others.
The story follows central character Billie who hates her job and is desperate for a change. So she quits a few months ahead of her wedding. When she breaks the news to her fiance Gayle, things don’t go exactly as planned. Billie meets a ragtag group of women who are also looking for employment, and is struck with the idea of cultivating their skills to develop an app for freelancers.
Described as “a lesbian comedy of errors” in a press release, ‘Freelancers Anonymous’ is part of a brand with a narrative story that will crossover and integrate on multiple platforms for a unique and engaging experience. The filmmakers wanted to make a film that not only reflected their own real life experiences, but also gave visibility to women and the LGBTQ community working in STEM industries.
“It all started when Amy and Lisa realized how much they hated their day jobs. Seriously. They sucked ass. So, they wanted to make a movie about it. Then a funny thing happened. They met Sonia, a passionate director from Spain who’s made some funny movies too,” said a description on the film’s website.
“What if we can actually affect change and close the gender gap in the workplace by crossing the lines from story to usable technology, and support women and the LGBTQ community working in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) industries?” it continued about its mission.
With the recent furor surrounding the controversial leaked Google Memo by a former male employee who thinks women are not equal to men, as well as numerous viral stories about sexual harassment and the dominant “bro culture” still existing in Silicon Valley, centering the voices and lives of women in tech couldn’t be more important right now.
Statistics show women hold only 25% of computing jobs, own only 5% of startups, and earn only 28% of computer science degrees, it’s clear there is a need for change. A recent study which surveyed 2000 professionals who voluntarily left their jobs found that bullying is increasingly driving LGBTQ individuals away from the tech sector.
“It found LGBTQ employees were the most likely to be bullied (20 percent) and experience public humiliation or embarrassment (24 percent), both at significantly higher rates than non-LGBTQ employees (13 percent). Nearly two-thirds of LGBTQ people surveyed (64 percent) said bullying contributed to their decision to leave their company,” wrote John Paul Brammer for NBC News.
Produced by Full Spectrum Features, the filmmaking team talk about their vision for ‘Freelancers Anonymous’, how they want it to be a a film that sparks challenging discussion about the issues facing women and LGBTQ people in tech.
“The gap in the market for the LGBTQ community and women in STEM industries pales in comparison to our male counterparts. Gender parity has become a hot button issue over the past several years in Hollywood and we are passionate about creating content that fills this gap! Our team’s unique vision is to integrate a narrative across several platforms and create a transmedia company that can engage audiences in new and exciting way. We are eager to create strong and positive representation for the LGBTQ community, as well as women in comedy, women in STEM industries, and female-driven stories,” they said.
In an interview with Screen Magazine, producer/writer Amy says audiences are ready for new types of stories about women and told by women.
“What’s exciting to me about this film is that not only is it a big, silly comedy, but it’s one made up almost entirely of women, mainly focusing on women in tech. I don’t think a lot of people are doing that type of thing right now, and I think it’s something everyone is ready for,” she said.