WOMEN IN THE FRONT SEAT was the winner of BEST FEATURE FILM at the May 2022 Toronto Documentary Festival.
What motivated you to make this film?
I have been riding motorcycles since my early twenties. In the early days, I never saw other women riding. But over the last decade the number of women riders has grown exponentially. Especially for older women, many whom were on the back of their partner’s / husband’s bike for many years. I wanted to capture the stories of these women and this movement.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
I first had the idea 10 years ago to make a 3 part docu-series and pitched it around Hollywood, making it to a final round at Sony before they passed. I finally set off to make it on my own, starting pre-production on it in July of 2017. It started then as a docu-series that I thought would be for YouTube, but as I worked on it, I saw all the interweaving stories and it started to take shape as a feature documentary. I finally completed it in May of 2022.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
Finding the right editor. It’s not a traditional documentary. It’s a personal story, and individual stories of the women, and also interrelated themes about women’s empowerment and motorcycle riding. I needed someone who could really think out of the box, could work with my ideas and help to find the cohesive shape. I went through several editors before finding someone who clicked with the material and saw the vision I was talking about.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
Excitement. It’s really amazing to hear what resonates with other people and what stands out. And when people feel and experience what you hope to convey to the audience, it is really thrilling. And it’s wonderful to have it laid out in a video for reference and sharing.
Watch the Audience Feedback Video:
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
I knew as a teenager I wanted to be a filmmaker. My father was a professor and an activist, and my mom strong and independent, and I felt the desire early on to tell stories that had strong positive messaging. I wanted to tell stories about world views that were important to me, and that were missing in the media landscape.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
The film I have seen most in my life has to be Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a true childhood favorite. I always loved musicals and this one which stirs the imagination, full of fun, family and a fantastical adventure, was an all time favorite. I can still remember most of the words to many of the songs. I love musicals to this day, Tick Tick Boom being a more recent favorite.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
Meeting other filmmakers and connecting with other creatives through festivals can really be helpful. Often it’s possible to meet a future collaborator who is at the same career stage. So having events that foster meeting and greeting one another is really great.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
FilmFreeway is really streamlined. Submitting is easy. Creating the film’s profile is straightforward and easy to update. My only wishes are that it would be helpful if there was a communication section where you could reference emails sent from a particular festival.
10. What is your favorite meal?
If I am to be really honest… I have to admit it’s pizza. Bread, cheese, and any of your favorite things on top – how can anything be better! I love lots of toppings, particularly peppers, olives, mushrooms, and ham!
11. What is next for you? A new film?
I have several projects in development. Before I began this documentary about women motorcycle riders, I had written a female motorcycle centric coming of age feature screenplay that made it the final round of the Sundance lab, so I’m reworking that script. And also, I am adapting a book centered around a cross cultural romance in the 60’s.