Filmmaker Berenika Bailey, originally of Warsaw, Poland, says that strong female leads are big now with buyers. "They're asking for them all the time. We're no longer the wimpy woman running with her high heels and waiting for the big strong hero to rescue us. We're the one's rescuing them. We're the action heroes now and we're a great role model for kids, especially the girls."
As a writer/producer, Ms. Bailey prefers hiring women. "75% of my crew are usually women. They know how to communicate better and are more committed to the end project. Men, when things get too intense, tend to walk off. people think that women aren't strong enough to handle the jobs, but I know first hand that they are. More nurturing, they tend to hold the team together rather than split it apart. I like giving women the chance since too often we are overlooked. This is a territory that has been neglected before."
In addition to hiring women, she says that the female lead is coming into it's own. "The majority of films I have are female leads and that is what the buyers are looking for." She cited "Jaguar," her film shot in Mexico City, which was a gold winner at the Prestige Film Awards and was featured at the Moiveville Sarasota International Film Festival as best action film or "Painkiller" another of her award winning films. She likes shooting in Los Angeles because of the many resources and talented people here. Often, when she does shoot in other locations, she will fly her crew and talent in.
Of her 14 films, all shot for under one million, several were sold here at the American Film Market. She found buyers from Japan, Taiwan, France, Spain, the UK and Canada. While horror, action and thriller dominated what they asked for, she was surprised to note that romantic comedies - good old fashioned love stories - were popular, too. Family and kids films also were asked for and Ms. Bailey was pleased to be able to offer several including "Monster and Me," which premiere's on November 17 at the New Beverly Cinema.
"Kids films are fun to do because the kids are so easy to work with. I remember when I was a child and feeling lonely and needing role models. Kids films are popular because everyone can identify with them.
As a producer, she gets at least 50 scripts a month and only picks a few of them for production. "For one, it has to be a film that can be shot for a low budget." All of her films, so far, have been shot for under a million. "You can keep the budget low and still get a lot of production value. Low budget films under a million are often neglected."
While Ms. Bailey is starting small so that she can replay her investors and make money for them, her goal is to do bigger things like science fiction and one of the days, hopefully in the near future, she'll get her wish.