Female Filmmakers Share How to Drive Change

There was a lot of talk around the lack of representation of women directors, producers and writers at Sundance this year. Following the Women’s Rally with Jane Fonda, Gloria Allred and Common, we held a panel discussion in the Dell Den with female filmmakers to talk about where we are today, where we are going and how we’ll get there.

Audience member asking question at female filmmaker panel discussion held by Dell at Sundance Film Festival 2018

Maybe the Academy Awards heard our roar given they nominated three women for Best Original Screenplay. If one of them wins, it will be the first time in 10 years.

But diversity and inclusion isn’t just a Hollywood and film industry conversation. It’s a big conversation in the tech industry, too. So I want to share a few calls to action from the panel and audience discussion with you that I think we can all act on starting today – #FemaleFilmmakerFriday.

Our panelists included filmmakers and media powerhouses Ondi Timoner (Director, Dig! and We Live in Public; two-time Sundance Grand Jury Winner), Robyn Moreno (Co-President, Latina Media Ventures) and Robin Houser (Director and Producer, Bias and CODE). We discussed how they’re using film to impact society and what their experiences are like in today’s world; as well as the underrepresentation for women and people of color on camera and in film.

Take a few minutes to watch it now, or skip past the video to see key takeaways about how we can drive change.


Takeaways for women in film, tech and everywhere:

  • Make unconscious bias conscious – this is the only way to change it.
  • Apply for those jobs and go for it. Robin Hauser shared a study on how women will not apply for jobs if they do not feel 90 or 100 percent confident they qualify.
  • If you have a child, go speak at their school. Young women need role models.
  • If you’re in a position to do so, hire more women and people of color. You can accomplish this by broadening your selection pool.
  • Be bold. We have more power than we think and we need to use it.
  • Acting agents need to help female actresses land the next film.
  • Include programs in schools to get young women and minorities interested in film.
  • Support Latin films and filmmakers by going to watch their films.  Vote with your wallet.
  • Be loud and own your voice. We can’t stay quiet.

One thing we are doing at Dell is investing in women and film. Dell is a sponsor of Robin Hauser’s Bias documentary, which she made on our technology. Super proud of that and of her amazing work and accomplishments.

Panelist and director, Ondi Timoner concluded the panel by challenging us to collaborate and not to compete with one another. She also encouraged us to challenge others and spread the conversation. I want to do that here. What calls to action would you add? What do you want to see change for women in film or the industry you are in?

Jennifer Davis

About the Author: Jennifer Davis

Jennifer “JJ” Davis joined Dell in Dec. 2000 and currently serves as vice president for Operations and Global Client Solutions (PC) Communications. JJ also leads the company’s women’s strategy and marquee program the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network, founded in 2010 to support women entrepreneurs’ success worldwide. She started her public relations and public affairs career at the Arkansas Office of the Governor and has held various communications leadership roles for both corporations and agencies nationwide. JJ lives in Austin with her husband David and three young sons. She is active in her boys’ sports; the family foundation, The Aimee Melissa Davis Memorial Scholarship, supporting graduating seniors with Juvenile Diabetes, and serves on the Women in Philanthropy Institute Advisory Board.