Something’s been brewing for quite a while now. It’s “Utah Women in Film” which was started by Taunya Gren who has done extensive work as an actress in Los Angeles before making the move to Salt Lake City. Taunya has been acting for 38 years and has predominantly been a film and television actress for the last 18 to 20 years, as well as a producer and director for the last 15 years. She moved to Utah from LA 31/2 years ago to spend a few months with her daughter and ride out the writers and SAG strikes and their ensuing repercussions. While in in Salt Lake City, she got involved in the Utah film community and she soon realized that it was easier to produce things in Utah and the drive and passion here was enticing.
The idea takes Hold
Utah Women in Film came about when she was producing a short film called “The Threshold” in which she acquired a female director. A few men in the local industry challenged her to find a competent all female crew, stating that they didn’t believe she could. Well, she did and it was a unique and interesting experience because this was the first time she had been on set with so many female crew. “It drove the point home to me that women work a little differently, and we need different input to help us progress as film makers.” Says Taunya.
Laying the Foundation
A year or so prior to this, screenwriter Sally Meyer had started a facebook page called “Utah Women in Film for networking”. Taunya had been part of the LA women in film group so she decided women could stand to meet as film makers and discuss what was needed to bring a more balanced opportunity to women in the film industry in Utah. She set up an initial meeting at Sprague library in Salt Lake City and Marshall Moore of the Utah Film commission was the keynote speaker. In all, 35 people attended, 32 women and 3 men. The discussion was lively and impassioned and the outcome was that the ladies felt an organization dedicated to helping them progress would be helpful. “We took nominations for the initial board of directors that night” says Taunya. There was a month for the voting process and the rest is history.
The initial focus was to make the facebook page more comprehensive as a resource for networking and to set up some initial workshops to help both the ladies and men in the industry to progress. Since then workshops are held on a monthly basis with topics such as producing skills, stage makeup, studio tours, distribution, and so on. Since that time “Utah Women in Film” has incorporated a once a month networking event called a Schmooze. This event is for men, women and children in the industry and has been ongoing for over a year now.
Screen Writing competition
UWIF is now in its second year of its screenwriting contest and is currently in production on its first UWIF film for internship opportunities. More informative and educational classes are ahead and a resource directory of women in the industry, a female film maker film festival and more exciting events. UWIF has also created an advisory board and also sit on the advisory board of Broadview Entertainment University.
The workshops, internships and screenwriting contest are free. Internships, in particular, are only for UWIF members.