“The Empowerment Project” documentary hosted a sneak peak screening with Women Empowered Los Angeles at General Assembly in Santa Monica last weekend that had fans lining up to talk to Director Sarah Moshman (“Dancing with the Stars”) and Co-Producer Ashley Hammen (Relativity Television) afterwards. To take you there, enjoy our recap of this inspirational film that is a 99-minute pep talk from 17 extraordinary women.
What makes this positive reinforcement so powerful is that every type of dream is shown as possible for women. You get to hear different takes from female role models, including Ellen Rakieten (Executive Producer of “The Oprah Winfrey Show”), Sandra Clifford (Pilot), Dr. Sandy Magnus (Astronaut), Jan Schakowsky (Congresswoman), Vice Chief Michelle Howard (First Woman to Achieve Four Stars in the US Navy), Katherine Darnstadt (Architect), Beth Klein (Human Rights Attorney), Molly Barker (Founder of Girls on the Run) and 9 others, who are just as amazing.
And what makes this film even more motivational is the story behind the story. After reading “Lean In”, Director Sarah Moshman, became focused on the key question in the book, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid to fail?” Knowing that she wanted to make a documentary, Sarah and her co-producer Dana Michelle Cook (Heartfelt Productions Founder) put together a team of five female filmmakers, raised $28,000+ on Kickstarter, got backing from the CEO of IndieFlix Scilla Andreen and set off across country for one month to “live in a female world.”
The core team then experienced a 7,000-mile road trip cross-country that has forever changed their lives, and hopefully will inspire millions who watch this documentary. Thank you Sarah Moshman (Director/Producer), Dana Michelle Cook (Producer), Ashley Hammen (Co-Producer), Alana Fickes (Director of Photography who works with Maker Studios) and Vanessa Crocini (Documentary Shooter and "America’s Funniest Home Videos") for your extraordinary work.
During the Q&A Sarah spoke from the heart, “It’s really transformed me as a person,… It just shows me that you say yes, and you try, and you fail, and that’s ok, you learn from it. It’s just a tremendous lesson in perseverance.”
Both Sarah and Ashley are happily in relationships and love men, but for one month, they wanted to see what it felt like to live in a woman’s world. We met Sarah’s husband Ryan at this event, who is briefly in the film and told us with a big grin, “I’m excited to see the film for the sixth time.”
Along with the 17 inspirational stories in this documentary, what really makes this film flow are the scrapbook graphics by Wing Sze Lee. At the end of each story, you’ll see a snapshot of the five filmmakers with the woman featured, and then it quickly moves to the next story. We also loved the little hearts graphics used for emphasis and transitions.
During the Q&A, Sarah emphasized, “This film is really about saying yes to yourself. This was just an idea a year ago, I can’t stress that enough. This was just me looking in the mirror saying I can do this and calling up my best friend Dana Cook and saying, Do you think we can do this?”
Ashley Hammen was offered a one-year freelance job, and decided to join "The Empowerment Project" documentary team instead. When asked if it changed her life, Ashley’s replied, “How could it not change you? You got to listen to 99 minutes. We got to experience 34 days of every day waking up knowing you were going to step into someone’s shoes who was absolutely phenomenal, who had taken a step to live their dream, and it was absolutely inspirational.”
“The Empowerment Project” is doing a grass roots marketing campaign to get the word out about this film through screenings at schools and social media, and is now applying to film festivals. The team greatly appreciates any tweets using #TheEmpowermentProject @EmpowermentDocu. Sarah emphasized, “It’s incredibly important to us to actually make an impact, and not just make a movie because it’s so much more than a movie – and empower girls and boys along the way.” Similar to “Girl Rising”, this documentary is much more than a movie!
© Liz H Kelly @LizHKelly, National Digital Entertainment Columnist and Goody PR