Indie Film ‘Dragonfly’ Surpassing Mainstream Hollywood In One Main Area

We’re a big supporter of female filmmakers here at GTHQ. It is our passion to increase the visibility and representation of women in all industries, but since we are geared towards media coverage, we understand the power of the presence of women in film and entertainment. And positive female role models are important. So when we get the chance to collaborate with and promote what up-and-coming female filmmakers are doing, we jump at the chance.

We recently came across an indie film called ‘Dragonfly’ which is currently being crowd-funded on Kickstarter. The film is led by 3 key women, who have taken time out of their filming schedule to blog for us. One of the things that struck us about this film wasn’t just that it was 3 women making a movie together, but the fact that they are doing something that no mainstream or blockbuster Hollywood film is doing today. Instead of us talking about it, we will let the three filmmakers tell you about it themselves…



It was 11:30pm. My kids were tucked in, my husband had sensibly gone to bed over an hour ago, and even my brother, our line producer Matt, was sawing logs in our guest room. Meanwhile, I was in my PJs, nervously double-checking that I had everything in what felt like 80 bags I had packed to bring to set in the morning.

I’ve had many of these prep-nights getting ready for shoots, yet I felt totally out of my element on this particular Sunday night. Because, it was the night before my first day directing a feature film. Gulp.

Every Monday our project chooses a weekly quote or saying to inspire and remind us why we are sacrificing sleep and sanity as we make our film called Dragonfly. This week our Monday Mantra came from Joan of Arc: “I am not afraid. I was born to do this.” It summed up what I wanted to feel that Sunday night.

But, do you want to know the truth? I was terrified. What if I wasn’t up to this? What if the project was a complete failure? What if no one showed up the next morning on set?

Despite all of the fears, I was also deep down really excited. Excited to see months of planning and vision for a story with real heart to come to life. Also, so excited to be working on project that is helping to work towards gender equity in film.


I feel really fortunate to have two other women, Cara & Mim, leading the charge with me for the Dragonfly film. And while we have been met with strong support and genuine encouragement for the project, the lack of women in film overall cannot be overstated.

The ratio of men to women working in film is 5:1. In 2013, only 16% of the people behind the camera and 30% of the actors on screen were women.

But there is hope! Women have shown to support other women in film. Female directors increase the number of women working on their films by 21% for narrative films and 24% for documentaries. Tina Fey’s Mean Girls had the highest percentage (42%) of female crew members of any Hollywood film in the last 20 years.

Only four female filmmakers have ever been nominated for an Academy Award for best director: Lina Wermuller (Seven Beauties—1977), Jane Campion (The Piano—1994), Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation—2004), and 2009 winner Katheryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker).


Kathryn Bigelow is the only female director that has taken home an Oscar so far. She is a personal filmmaking role model for me, because her storytelling is so strong and also because of her wise perspective about women in film:

“If there’s specific resistance to women making movies, I just choose to ignore that as an obstacle for two reasons: I can’t change my gender, and I refuse to stop making movies. It’s irrelevant who or what directed a movie, the important thing is that you either respond to it or you don’t. There should be more women directing; I think there’s just not the awareness that it’s really possible. It is.”

So how do we make a change? How do we support women in film? Women with vision, talent, and a whole lot of passion for telling great stories. By following the advice of Brenda Chapman (the first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature): “Mentor. Inspire. Move forward together.” By valuing the perspective that women bring, not as new or other, but as apart of the full human experience.

On Dragonfly, 50% of the people working on and off screen are women.

Dragonfly is playing a part in pushing the film industry towards greater gender equity, increasing the number of professional women in the film industry, and upping their representation on and off the screen.

I’m proud to be breaking the mold, not only because I want to help share the voice of women through film, but also because Dragonfly is a story Cara, Mim and I are very excited to tell.

CARA GREENE EPSTEIN (Writer, Co-Director and Lead)


Anyone that knows me will tell you that I dream big and I don’t scare easy. That said, I’ve had a dream of making of movie for years and it used to scare the shit out of me. Then finally, back in November 2013, I got up the nerve to post on Facebook that I wanted to make a movie, but I didn’t know how to do it.

My friend Maribeth replied moments later saying, “I think I know a girl who can help”

And Dragonfly was born.

I’m an actor and a writer who has also directed and produced theater.  I know a lot about what happens onstage and on-camera, but behind the camera? Um, not so much.  Maribeth, on the other hand, is wonderful filmmaker and storyteller and a genius with a camera.  The idea of working with her made me feel like I could actually make a movie and we started to work on a 10-minute short film. As we developed and deepened the story, we realized that we were actually making a 90-minute feature film. I was instantly terrified again.


Enter Mim. Mim is my amazing sister-in-law who is also a ridiculously talented commercial producer who can rock a tight schedule and a well-crafted spreadsheet like nobody’s business. I knew that if Maribeth and I were really going to make a feature film we were going to need a seriously skilled producer, so I pitched Mim our movie idea and she liked it! Once Mim agreed to come on board, the film began to seem less like a dream and more like a reality.

Our story is about struggling artist Anna Larsen. Her mother has never understood her. When her mom is diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s, Anna returns home to Minnesota to help care for her, but brings years of family baggage with her. However, the rediscovery of a magical “dragonfly” mailbox, and the search to solve its mystery, forces Anna to confront the fact that maybe she’s the one who doesn’t understand.

Dragonfly is about how we see the world, who we are in the world, and how those two things don’t always line up. And it’s also got a little bit of a mystery too.

MIM EPSTEIN (Producer)


I’ll never forget sitting in my first class at Indiana University: Intro to Telecommunications. My professor asked the room “Why are you here?” Then he continued, “If you’re here because you want to be rich and famous in Hollywood. Leave my classroom, this is the wrong industry for you.”

He went on to give us a reality check. Production is hard work and no matter how brilliant and innovative you are as an individual you will never make anything without appreciating that production is a team effort and you’re all in the trenches together.

This humble idea that we’re in this together, bringing our individual passions and experiences to the table, to bring a unified vision to life…that is production.

When we started on this journey Cara, Maribeth and I asked ourselves what do we want to get out of this experience. Why are we here? We dug deep and we learned that each of us had different passions that were driving us forward.

With each new Dragonfly team member comes different backgrounds, passions and expertise. We have assembled a diverse and talented group of people that have come together to bring Dragonfly to life.


I met our Illustrator/Animator, Abby Duel at the MCAD portfolio review. She’s a ridiculous talent and so sweet I just want to keep her in my pocket always. She has a girly style that fits perfectly with our Dragonfly aesthetic. She’s been so willing to jump in headfirst and help us find our Dragonfly look and feel. Her illustrations will allow us to see the world through our lead character’s artistic eyes. She’s become a key player in creating our story.

The first time I spoke to our Line Producer, Matt Brown I knew he was a rock star. He’s taken on this massive project full steam ahead and with a smile the whole way. His dedication to the project has been incredible and I’m so thankful to have him on board.

Marcus Taplin, our Director of Photography, joined the project and has immediately become part of our inner team. He took the lead in pulling our amazing crew and equipment together.

We have an incredibly talented production crew and insanely dedicated art, wardrobe, hair and makeup crew that have taken on the daunting task of transforming our cast and locations from present day to 1989 flashbacks. We also have a killer group of production assistants and social media team that keep this whole production running while keeping all our village up to speed on all the latest Dragonfly news. We have donors that have helped keep our crew well fed, people opening their homes and businesses to us, and wildly supportive families that have made this dream a reality.

We’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to help raise the funds we need to see Dragonfly through to completion and we would be so grateful for your support. Tackling a dream of this size takes a village. We would be so grateful to have you as part of ours.

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