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A few weeks ago I was invited to the Women’s Exchange in Winnetka to hear a talk by two documentary filmmakers. When I arrived I was surprised to find two young women, Sarah Moshman and Dana Michelle Cook, with a purpose. The goal of “The Empowerment Project” is to create positive content for women by shining a light on inspirational, powerful, and strong women in many career fields across the US.  That evening there was terrific discussion about what made a woman extraordinary. One theme that came up again and again was not to highlight the big names, the top women, but to show the women who are competing in traditional male fields and succeeding, but succeeding by following their own rules. Growing up in the 80’s many of the successful women I saw were the ones who dropped their femininity and truth, so they could play the game of being a business”man.” Again and again at this event, there was a desire to see women who embraced who they were and still found the success they desired.

Extraordinary WomenWhat I loved was that Dana and Sarah are also walking the talk with the production of their documentary. There will be an all-female film crew participating in the one month cross-country trek. The filmmakers commented about how often women crewmembers are overlooked and wanted to ensure they were also empowering their team.  The documentary will tell the stories of ten strong women and shine light on what it’s like to be a woman in their professional position, what it took to get there, what it’s like to balance a personal life with work, as well as any advice or stories they can share. They plan to interview 10 women in a wide variety of career fields across the US to inspire women nationwide to go after their ambitions. The goal is to create a webisode for each story, ultimately making a 10 part docu-series as the end result.  Moshman explained, “We feel as though there isn’t enough positive content available in the media for women these days and we want to be a part of that shift towards a better balance.”

Sarah and Dana both come from reality TV backgrounds producing on shows like “Dancing with the Stars” and they have also produced two other short documentaries about female empowerment under their production company Heartfelt Productions. Their first webisode for the series briefly featured in their Kickstarter video includes 2013 Sundance Best Director Winner Jill Soloway (Six Feet Under, United States of Tara) as she discusses how women should follow their inner impulse when it comes to directing. Jane Lynch is featured in the full webisode speaking to Jill’s directing expertise as her longtime friend and collaborator.  To travel across the country for a month with 4 women is not cheap. Sarah and Dana need the money for equipment rentals (camera, audio, lighting, etc), accommodations, transportation from city to city, food, permits, insurance, hard drives, memory cards, and the list goes on and on. Upon writing this post, they are halfway to their Kickstarted goal. You can learn more or help them reach their goal here. This project will only be funded if at least $25,000 is pledged by Monday May 27, 12:31pm EDT.  Update:  Thrilled that the team reached above and beyond their goal!  Thank you all for your support.

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