Featured Female Filmmakers – Part 20!

I can’t believe I have featured 20 filmmakers on my blog already! I’ve shared stories of independent and crowd-funded feature debuts, a bunch of short films, and some truly engaging web series over the last 3 years. These posts are the reason I do what I do and I’ve still got tonnes more amazing women to celebrate including this weeks featured director Monique Sorgen.

Monique’s journey into directing started with a desire to tell stories. “I wanted to tell stories because I find that storytelling is the most accessible and positive way to influence people toward the greater good,” she explained. “I just want to live in a world where people are good to each other, and we all work together as a community on the parts that need improvement. But we can’t improve anything until we recognise where the problem areas are. If nothing else, film and TV are really good at pointing out the problems in our society, and giving us hope that they can be solved.”

This latest short film Sorry Not Sorry, inspired by the poem by William Carlos William’s 1934, This is Just to Say, is a comedic and relatable look at being in a relationship. “I wanted to tell this story in part because it’s my favourite poem, but also I have some very personal feelings about marriage and relationships.” she said. Fitting in with her desire to explore problems within society the film looks to break down some of the complexities within relationships both internal and external facing. “I think women tend to be taken for granted just because of their place in society, and it’s something that makes me angry.” she explained, “I also think the film is an interesting examination of the different communication styles couples might have.  Every couple communicates in their own way, and it’s easy to judge others for who they pick and how they communicate, when in fact, we may not have a full understanding of why that style might work for them, and how they may be communicating very well on a whole other level.”

The film has already screened some pretty prestigious Oscar qualifying festivals like Cinequest, Cleveland International Film Festival, Florida Film Festival, as well as high profile festivals such as the American Pavilion of Emerging Filmmakers Showcase at Cannes and the 10th Annual Women in Comedy Film Contest by NBC. I asked Monique what some of the highlights have been. “I’m not going to lie, winning awards is always a highlight because you feel like you’ve been toiling away at this thing and you’re finally being recognised for all the expertise that you’ve taken the time to grow over the years,” she said. “Another thing that’s been fun has been meeting the other filmmakers on the circuit and feeling this bonded community that starts to arise from running into the same people all over the country and all over the world. It makes you feel like you’re taking part in this group of people who are really serious about what they’re doing. I relate to that and it makes me feel less alone in my struggle.

But not all film projects get to a finished cut without some road bumps and for Monique the hardest times were actually when she wasn’t even filming at all. “In pre-production you’re struggling to find all the elements you need that are going to make your vision come to life in the way you envisioned it (on a tiny budget). So finding the right location was really hard, and finding the right actors was hard, and signing everybody up. In prep you’re just making sure that you’re prepared enough that nothing will go wrong on this shoot the shoot day— and if it does, you have a backup plan. ” she said, “Then in post-production it’s really hard because you have to put it all together in the best possible way and you often don’t have any money left to pay people what they’re worth. So you do a lot of begging and you hate it because you’d rather be able to just make offers to people and let them know that you value them. Also when people are working for little to no money, they don’t make you a priority, so you can get stuck in post-production from months just waiting for people to be available to do you a favor. It’s the loneliest time of filmmaking because you’re all alone and going from one post need to the other without much support— at least that’s been my experience working in indie film.”

After the success of Sorry Not Sorry Monique already has a new project on the cards which will lead to, possibly, her feature film debut. She has been developing it with lead actress from Sorry Not Sorry Jessica Oyelowo through her production company, Yoruba Saxon. “It’s called bad BFF and it’s about a girl who is so desperate to hang out with her lifelong best friend that she pretends she’s getting married. The idea is that now her best friend— as the maid of honor— has to help her plan all the parties, and cake tastings, and go flower shopping, and all that nonsense with her” Monique explained, “The script is pretty much where we’ve been trying to get it now, so we’re going to move on to packaging and follow up on some financing leads. I would love to be shooting by the end of the year!”



FOLLOW MONIQUE SORGEN

Website: www.moniquesorgen.com
Film’s website: https://sorgenm.wixsite.com/sorrynotsorry
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/moniquesorgenlove/Film’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NotSorryFilm/
twitter: https://twitter.com/moniquesorgenFilm’s twitter: https://twitter.com/NotSorryFilm
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/moniquesorgen/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/monique-sorgen-b5b10134/

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