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First Person

Her story

Through her website, xfactorfilm.com, 21-year-old film student and Littleton native Lauren Tracy today is launching a “Best Female Directed Feature Film” contest.

By Katie Johnston Chase
November 1, 2009

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The contest is part of your project, X-Factor Filmmakers, which raises funds for grants to female filmmakers. Why do you think it’s important to have more female directors? When we go to the movies, we’re only viewing the stories by men. And I kind of feel like I’m not getting the whole picture in terms of our culture.

Your thesis film at Rochester Institute of Technology cost $7,000 to produce. How do student filmmakers come up with that kind of money?

Any way we can. That was kind of the initial reason why my dad and I started the [X-Factor Filmmakers] fund. It’s a lot of summer work money, it’s a lot of asking friends and family for help. It’s a lot of applying for grants, in some cases even loans. It’s not an easy business for anybody to get into.

X-Factor’s online contest will feature 32 films by female directors. Do you think people will be surprised by any of the films on the list? One that surprised me was Wayne’s World, which is by Penelope Spheeris. The IMDB description of it is: “Two slacker friends try to promote their public-access cable show,” which you wouldn’t think would be by a woman.

You’re inviting the public to vote. How will it work? It will be set up like a final-four college basketball bracket. There’s no cost to participate, and there are prizes. There will be films in four different genres. You’ve pretty much heard of or seen all these films, even if you didn’t realize they’re directed by women.

What’s your favorite film directed by a woman? Before the The Hurt Locker by Kathryn Bigelow, I was obsessed with Across the Universe by Julie Taymor. I could watch either one of them over and over again.

You’re working as an intern on an indie film being shot in Rochester. What’s it like to be a female in a male-dominated profession? Most of the women are in hair and makeup and wardrobe. If I’m allowed the time to walk on set and follow the director, who is male, around, then I’m one of the only women on set. And you kind of have to figure out where you fit in.

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