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Two years ago, around the time my daughter turned one, I released a short film made in collaboration with Mimi Anagli: The Power of Visibility. In the 4 minute film, we argued that women working in film (directors, screenwriters, producers and cinematographers) are largely underrepresented and underestimated. Popular media outlets in 2022 still mostly celebrated male filmmakers. Why was this a problem? Women working in film – or aspiring to – have a hard time being taken seriously and getting funding for their projects.

We released the film at the end of January 2022, along with an op-ed in Women & Hollywood: “How the World’s Largest Search Engine Can Help Fix Hollywood’s Representation Problem”.

Mimi and I wrote:

Imagine this: you are a 14-year-old with a passion for movies and photography. Maybe one day you could make a career out of it, becoming a cinematographer. You are curious to see examples of notable people working in the industry. So you go on Google and search for “cinematographer.” At the top of the page you see a carousel of 51 Google cards with photos and names of famous directors of photography. Most of them are white. All of them are male, except for a few cards. As an African American girl, you implicitly get the message that maybe this field is not for you — nobody who looks like you appears in the results. If only you could have seen or read about Kira Kelly — the first Black woman invited to join the ASC in 2020, best known for her work on Ava DuVernay’s “13th” and HBO’s “Insecure.”

Watch our short film The Power of Visibility (running time: 4 minutes):

Rewind: my incredible visibility in Google search results (2019-2022)

Searching for “film director” and seeing which results pop up in Google Images is something I have been doing routinely for years.

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