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The Cricket
Sean P. Means
Sean is the movie critic and columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @moviecricket.

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New film fund aims to put women in the director’s chair

The launch of a new production company — tasked with supporting new films by woman directors — points out how few major movies are directed by women.

Here’s just one statistic: Out of the 25 highest-grossing movies last year, 24 were directed by men — and the 25th was co-directed by a man and a woman, and the woman was fired during production. (That would be Brenda Chapman, who shared directing credit with Mark Andrews on Pixar’s "Brave.")

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That’s what Gamechanger Films — a new fund that launched over the weekend with a big splash (including an article in the Los Angeles Times, the movie industry’s hometown paper) — aims to correct.

"Hollywood speaks in terms of money, so our goal is to use that same language," Mynette Louie, Gamechanger’s president, told the L.A. Times. "We want to shift the balance, to effect long-term change and increase the number of women directors."

Gamechanger’s goal is to partly or fully finance up to 10 feature films (narratives, not documentaries) in the next few years, with budgets ranging from $1 million to $5 million.

The company’s first film is now being shot in Iceland, and two more will be underway shortly.

Among the company’s founders is Geralyn Dreyfous, producer of documentaries ("The Invisible War," "Born Into Brothels") and founder of the Utah Film Center. The other founders are: Dan Cogan, co-founder (with Dreyfous) of the Impact Partners Film Fund; and the founders of Chicken & Egg Pictures, producers Julie Parker Benello and Wendy Ettinger.

Louie, Gamechanger’s president, is a veteran indie-film producer whose credits include "California Solo" and "Children of Invention."

The new company has signed on producer Mary Jane Skalski ("Win Win," "The Visitor") as senior advisor.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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