Lenses

Why I Made This Film

A few months ago, I was in the market for a new digital cinema camera. I frequently shoot my own documentary projects, and having purchased my last camera five years ago, I decided to go to a camera superstore in New York City that shall remain nameless to check out what was out there. I approached a counter of display cameras, and the male employee looked me up and down and asked in a condescending tone if there was anything he could help me with. After I explained what I was looking for, he began questioning my credentials and literally quizzing me on pretty basic camera terms, for example, “This camera shoots 4K. Does that…mean anything to you…?” He ended up recommending a much lower end camera than what I ended up purchasing a few weeks later after extensive online research, and I left the store feeling belittled and worthless.

This interaction made me think back on other instances of subtle and not-so-subtle sexism that I have experienced over the years as a woman in film. And then, of course, there are the countless instances of sexism that hundreds of other women experience on a daily basis while working in the film industry.

Suddenly, instead of feeling sorry for myself, I realized that I needed to do something about this. I needed to make art out of it.

A few weeks later, I found myself brainstorming short film ideas with my co-director Laura Goehrke, and this one immediately came to mind. I wrote the first draft of the script with two male camera store employees questioning the legitimacy of an Oscar-winning female filmmaker, and then I flipped the genders for the second draft, which became Lenses.

Writing this film was extremely cathartic, and I am pleased to see the overwhelming response the film has garnered so far, both from women and men alike. Even women who are non-filmmakers have related to this film on a deep level, and I couldn’t be happier that this negative experience is able to serve as a humorous tool that sheds light on a real problem.

Narrative Short 2017

Written, Co-Directed, and Edited by Becca Roth

Screenings

Info here