Indie Films Created For 168 Film Competition Empower Female FIlmmakers

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168 Film Competition Breaks the Glass Ceiling for Women Directors to Launch Careers in Faith-Based Filmmaking. Seven-Year-Old Girl Nominated for Best KidVid Film

Talisha Henderson on set during the production of her 168 Film. Photo by John David Ware

Talisha Henderson On Location, Filming for 168 Film Project.

“We encourage women, men, and even children filmmakers to develop and grow in the 168 incubator,” said John David Ware, 168’s founder/ director. “It’s rewarding to see alumni launching their careers and establishing themselves in the film industry."

Since its inception, the168 Film Project has been a catalyst for launching the careers of the next generation of filmmakers. Throughout its 13-year history, independent producers, writers, directors and actors have come together to create high-quality shorts that have set the stage for further opportunities and inspire talent both in front and behind the camera. This year’s films will be debuted at the 168 Film Festival, which takes place at the Premiere House at Regal Cinemas LA Live on August 29 - 30, 2015. Tickets are on sale at http://www.168film.com.

When Kathryn Bigelow won the Oscar in 2010 as Best Director of “The Hurt Locker,” her accomplishment carried an expectation that a gateway was now open for female directors. However, no woman has received a Best Director nomination since then.

The ranks of female studio director numbers have fallen from 8.1 percent in 2010 to 4.6 percent in 2014 according to an L.A. Times analysis (22 February 2015), and Directors Guild of America’s 2014 statistics show that women directors comprise only 14 percent of their current membership, and head 14 percent of TV directing roles.

There are bright spots for women in indie film. The 168 Film Festival has been a proving ground for artists for the past 12 years. This year, over 30 percent of the 2015 entries boast women directors, and nearly two-thirds of the entries overall featured women in above-the-line positions of Producer, Executive Producer, Director or Director of Photography. Entries in the 17-day speed filmmaking contest are based on an assigned Scriptural passage.

“We encourage women, men, and even children filmmakers to develop and grow in the 168 incubator,” said John David Ware, the contest’s founder and director. “It’s rewarding to see alumni launching their careers and establishing themselves in the film industry.”

Seven-year-old Rachel Lowry entered this year’s 168 contest with her directorial debut, “True Freedom,” the story of a young girl who is wrongly accused of a jewel heist. Lowry wrote, produced, directed and voiced all the roles in the film, which is a contender in 168’s “KidVid” category. See Rachel’s interview with her father here: http://tinyurl.com/RachelLowry-Sec

Second-time producer-writer April Manor returned to the 168 with the comedy, “Die Trying.” “My director, Liz Hewes, has a good rapport with our director of photography. She gave him room to do his job, so egos were left out of it. That lack of ego is magic,” said Manor. Her film is up for four awards, including Best Comedy. Last year these newbies won best comedy screenplay for their film, “The Parcel,” which starred four-time Emmy Award Winner Michael Learned (“The Waltons”).

The experience was challenging for “Birdie’s Song” Director Shari Rigby. “We lost our script, location and writer at 11 p.m. on Wednesday,” she said. “Just 48 hours prior to the production, we wrote a new script (in 12 hours), complete with all new shots and locations. The 168 really puts you in a pressure cooker. I ran a crew and cast of 40 people. The contest showed us what we’re made of, and who we are.” Rigby is also an actor, starring with Stephen Baldwin and Sharman Joshi in an untitled feature that is shooting in India.

Talisha Henderson's crew told her during production that they could not film on one particular day, so she went on a date with her boyfriend. "He had hired my crew to record our engagement. I got engaged last night,” she said. “I'm going off pure adrenaline today. This is our fourth year with the 168. I feel much more confident now.”

The 168 Film Festival takes place at the Premiere House at Regal Cinemas LA Live on August 29 - 30, 2015. Tickets are on sale at http://www.168film.com.

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ABOUT 168: The 168 Film Project (http://www.168film.com) is a catalyst for launching the careers of writers, actors and film producers in Hollywood. For interviews with Founder/Director John David Ware or for more information, please contact Lori Heiselman at 714-553-5181 or Lori@FrontGateMedia.com.

See Pictures and Captions here: http://tinyurl.com/WomenInFilm168

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Lori Lenz-Heiselman
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