Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking recently wrapped up their bold, successful outreach effort. Every Tuesday for the month of November, the HWF team opened its doors to potential filmmakers, their parents, teachers, caregivers and school officials so that they could see what the organization was about. They could visit the space, meet the people behind the organization, meet former participants and also sign up directly for the upcoming filmmaking programs.
The idea of the month-long open houses was the brainchild of Community Outreach Coordinator Daniella Ortiz-Padilla.
“It was really an opportunity for us to reach out to the community to let them know we’re here and what we have to offer,” Daniella said.
Daniella started this outreach campaign by contacting various school officials and letting them know that HWF place would be open for anyone interested to visit. Potential participants, families and school representatives could walk around the space, watch films produced by HWF’s camp participants and actually hear from former participants themselves.
“It was good to have camp alumni and mentors there so that our potential filmmakers could pick their brains with any questions they may have had,” Daniella said. “By doing these, our hope was that, if they have aspirations to become filmmakers, that they have that avenue. We want them to know that we are here for them and that we want to give them the skills they need to be successful.”
HWF team members on hand included Founder and Executive Director Vera Zambonelli and filmmaker-in-residence Valerie Narte.
The open houses gave an opportunity to Vera to share with visitors the reason behind HWF’s existence. The screening of the promo videos of the Reel Camps and MMTM was a great way to show the importance of providing programs and initiatives like theirs.
"When looking at the numbers, the situation is quite dire. Yet, rather than passively accept the current inequity that characterizes the film industry, we decided to do something, and our programs and several initiatives are a way address that issue,” said Vera.
By starting HWF and providing filmmaking programs for girls, Vera and the team strive to close the gaps in the industry and provide a safe space for the girls to learn and become media makers and agents of social change.
The team wanted to show off that space to anyone interested. HWF hosted teachers, counselors, students and their parents. In addition to having girls sign up for camps, this helped facilitate collaboration with schools.
Afterward, those who wanted to stay, were treated to a film screening of documentaries that share the same feminist agenda, and pizza too!