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Breaking Hollywood Norms

Jan/06/2024 / by team-seema

 A visionary’s mission to uplift women in Hollywood

In the heart of Hollywood, one filmmaker and advocate for women in the industry has taken it upon herself to reshape the narrative. Fuelled by her passion for storytelling and the silver screen, award-winning filmmaker Vineesha Arora Sarin took the bold step of founding her own production company, NY Studios, ushering in a new era of creativity and innovation in her career. 

Navigating the challenges of a male-dominated industry, she recognized the lack of opportunities for foreign filmmakers, particularly women. “When I came here initially as a foreign filmmaker, I saw so much of a lack of opportunity,” she says. “We were independent filmmakers having to navigate everything on our own—from communications and financing to making and delivering a movie, getting it distributed, and even entering film festivals.”

Sarin shot, wrote, produced, and directed her debut feature film entirely on a smartphone during the pandemic. Between Mountains, which has been making waves on the film festival circuit, was not a planned production. “I started shooting when we had a little trip at the end of 2019,” she says. “I remember telling my husband during those initial days, ‘Okay, you need to break down here. I have something in my mind.’” The beauty of nature, coupled with her husband’s willingness to immerse himself in the storytelling process, led to the gradual emergence of the film’s narrative.

The tipping point to start her own organization came when a few friends, despite being nominated for Oscars, struggled to garner the support they needed. “I’ve seen women around me struggling to get their film financed or distributed because we are women,” she explained. “It’s been harder for us to get in the door. People don’t listen to us the same way they listen to a male counterpart or a male director.”

Determined to challenge the existing norms, Sarin launched Women in Showbiz Everywhere (WISE) at a pre-Oscar party in Beverly Hills. The global, collaborative organization provides support and opportunities to women in showbiz. “Our mission rests upon the fact that influential, powerful women come together and uplift the emerging talent of women,” she explains. “All women, non-binary individuals as well because we know how much of a lack of opportunity they get.” The organization also hosts the annual “Oscar Doc Visionaries” aimed to spotlight documentarians, an often-overlooked category.

She encourages young South Asian women to be fearless and resourceful. “Use any tool to get your message across. Don’t be shy. Don’t be afraid to use whatever you have around you,” she said. “Keep pushing, keep believing in yourself. Perseverance is key.”

Seema

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