Independent Women…in Film!

By Drew Dorsey

During the month of July, Wiles Magazine revels in a month-long celebration of  independent thinkers, voices and expression. What better way to celebrate independent expression than with independent films?  But what exactly are independent films? 

Filmmaking pioneer Mary Pickford

Independent films are typically created outside the major film studio structure. They tend to have a more limited release than mainstream films – with a select few having the privilege of premiering at independent film festivals.  However, despite the level of creativity and engaging storytelling that are typically characteristic of indie films, many never see the light of day due to a lack of resources and opportunity. Thanks to events such as the Independent Film Series put on by the prestigious Women In Film organization, select films get the chance to be seen by audiences.

Women In Film.

With forty-eight chapters globally, Women in Film is an organization that promotes and supports women in the entertainment industry. By funding programs that provide internships and scholarships, WIF’s efforts foster both educational and professional opportunities. In addition, WIF supports women actively working in the industry by celebrating their work and inspiring a sense of community among peers. The Women In Film organization produces several events annually and throughout the year, including the Crystal and Lucy Awards, Entertainment Forum.  WIF also produces PSAs that shine a light on issues that are specific and relevant to the female community.


Independent Film Series.

Conceived by Women in Film’s Senior Consultant of Membership, Candace Bowen, the Independent Film Series debuted over a decade ago as an event designed to service, retain and recruit membership for the WIF. Bowen wanted to create an outlet for filmmakers to gain exposure and share their projects with WIF members and ultimately major distributors. Once a month, the Independent Film Series allows indie filmmakers to share their films and network with other members through screenings, receptions and Q & A sessions. The series is open to all WIF members and provides filmmakers with an outlet to showcase their work free of charge.

Films are screened once a month and rotate between documentaries, features and shorts. The IFS does not promise filmmakers in hopes that their films will be picked up by major production companies, but, rather, provides filmmakers with a foundation to screen their films and gain exposure. 


Many films that have been screened through WIF have gone on to enjoy major success. Documentaries such as Freeheld and The Magic of Fellini have gone on to gain attention from none other than Oscar himself at the Academy Awards. Founder of the IFS, Candace Bowen makes an excellent point in saying:

“Why rely on the gatekeeper? It is just someone’s opinion. I want to be able to put my stamp on a project as it makes its journey. Don’t get angry because someone says no, get smart. Why wait for the stamp of approval? Control the space you stand on.”

As Bowen noted, the business of making independent films is no cakewalk. While the organization provides a solid foundation, perseverance, she told us, is the real key to success is cinema.

“…Consistency and hard work, but as an independent filmmaker it is never “work” its fun! Nothing comes to a sleepy head but a dream and if you’re lazy that’s what’s going to happen.”

For more information on Women In Film and the Independent Film Series, please visit:

Take a look at one veteran IFS film that went on to take home Best Short Documentary at the Academy Awards here:




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