Aisha Tyler directing her feature debut AXIS

#FF Friday Fundraisers for April 28, 2017

It’s been a movie-filled week here in Nashville, TN! Along with attending the Nashville Film Festival, I made a point to catch Losing Ground (1982), directed by Kathleen Collins, in a feminist retrospective series at the local indie cinema, The Belcourt. It’s a multi-layered masterpiece that is credited as one of the first fictional feature films made by an African American woman. Collins once described the film as a comedy about a young woman who takes herself too seriously. It’s truly unlike anything I’ve seen.

Fast forward several decades, and the road paved by African-American female filmmakers like Kathleen Collins is now utilized by directors like Aisha Tyler. Pardon the road/car pun, but Tyler’s first feature, Axis, which I mentioned last week, is entirely set in a car! Before she graces the red carpet for tonight’s Nashville Film Festival screening, Aisha talked with me by phone about failure, prep, and crowdfunding.

In her book, Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation, Tyler refers to failure as a positive thing, so to begin I asked how she used that mindset going into the production of Axis. She replied:

People who are worried about failure tend to hedge and move very conservatively and as a result you just don’t get as an aggressive or expansive approach. Being brave and taking risks requires an understanding of the value of failure and its role in creative growth. It was a very ambitious movie… [and] being prepared for failure doesn’t mean you don’t prep. 

One aggressive approach Tyler took in the creation of Axis was in funding. Tyler gave it her all in the crowdfunding stage to be able to be efficient in production, but also to maintain the edgy elements in the original script.

[Crowdfunding] was a really positive experience. It was nerve-wracking, it was exhausting, it’s an incredible amount of work. No matter what people tell you going in, you’re not really prepared for how much work it’s going to be.

However, because of the self-funding model, she reflects that there wasn’t a studio or influencing power, worried about profitability, that may have pressured her to cut off the hard edges she chose to include in the film’s story. Ultimately, she made exactly the film that she set out to make from the very beginning. 

It’s a gift to the first-time filmmaker (or the 3rd or 4th-time director!) to find that space via contributions through crowdfunding. Consider how you can make space for artistic freedom by contributing to the projects listed below. Thanks for your support!

                                              — Sarah


Reminder: All of the projects listed below have female directors at the helm OR they are projects that benefit women directors (e.g., film festivals, funds, etc).  The campaigns at the top of the list are the ones ending soonest, so get in there and support ASAP (with $$ or an RT on Twitter). Click the titles to go directly to each project’s crowdfunding page, those in italics are new additions this week.

Thanks for visiting and thank you very much for helping us support and raise awareness about WOMEN DIRECTORS AT WORK!

Crowdfunding Projects for Friday, April 28, 2017


MARGOLAND, directed by Sarah Simone – @sarrrahs18 @MargolandFilm

LULU, directed by Diana Cignoni – @GroundHeroFilm

HUMAN PLIGHTS, directed by Melanie D’Andrea – @melaniedandrea

BUTTERFLIES, directed by Cady McClain – @CadyMcClain, @butterfliesmov

STREETLIGHTS, directed by Patricia Santana – n/a

JOYRIDER, directed by Bianca Kajlich and Clare Kramer – @MissKajlich @ClareKramer @JoyRiderMovie

BAD EXAMPLE, directed by Kimberly Banks – @kimberlybanks2

BEFORE THE INK DRIES, co-directed by Alexandra Sedlak – @alexkaysedlak

DEAR GEORGE, directed by Emily Skyle @deargeorgefilm

MIRROR, MIRROR, directed by Anngelica-Marie Eshesimua – n/a

600 BOTTLES OF WINE, directed by Ainslie Cloutson – n/a

AN ACT OF TERROR, directed by Ashley Brim Riddle – @anactofterror

SILVER STREAM, directed by Grace Kiley – @gracekileyact

MI TIERRA, directed by Sandra Camargo – @mitierrafilm

SHAMAN MEDICINE WOMAN, directed by Sara Pozzoli – @ShamanWomanFILM

PUSH, directed by Justine Bateman – @justinebateman

Tanji – led by Melinda Fox – @FoxMelinda @TanjiMobi


If you’d like your project included in our next #FF Fri Fundraiser post, please email us with the details listed HERE.


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