March 22 - 25, 2018 Los Angeles
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My views … right there in black and white.

How our Film Festival Can Further Empower Women

I have long been a huge fan of powerful women and long wished that women were more valued in our world – if I can lend one thing to this world it would be redefining the feminine principal. We have the power to affect all generations positively by altering how women view themselves and broaden what they think is possible in life. We can convey the message that women don’t need to sit back and wait for someone else to take action for them.

Our culture has reinforced the notion that femininity is passivity. Nothing could be further from the truth. Women have been agents of physical action since the dawn of time. Whether it was the Amazons, Boudica, Joan of Arc, modern day athletes, soldiers and first-responders, women have always taken physical action. One need only watch a mother when her child is threatened.

I come from a long background in strength conditioning, fitness, injury rehab, and the like – I’ve dedicated many years to making women physically stronger through strength conditioning.

I quickly learned when women exceed what they think is possible for them physically, their horizons of what they believe is possible for them personally expand greatly. I trained all kinds of bodies in both genders, and I can say this: pound for pound, many women are stronger than men, have higher pain tolerances, more endurance, and I’m certain that women are as physically capable as men. I have long believed that until women are as seen as physical equals to men, we will always be seen as less. I think sexism is the last bastion of acceptable racism.

I’m 6’ tall, athletically built, and as actor, could never make a victim believable. In my pursuit of producing content with heroic female characters, I’ve hit many ceilings in this industry as well as an amazing amount of resistance to the concept.

I believe filmmakers have a responsibility in our messaging to the world. We can influence women to believe they can be the heroes of their own stories – not just in film, but in real life. I’d like our art to reflect a world where our children, both boys and girls, share in equal power, strength and love. I believe the fastest path to seeing women take up a stronger place in society and culture is through creating empowered images of women in our media. These thoughts, ideas, and philosophies are the heart of the inspiration for the film festival.

The Artemis Women in Action Film Festival is the very first dedicated completely to women in action roles. I founded it to celebrate action films and the women who kick ass in them. Our inaugural event is planned for April 24-26, 2015. The response to the festival has been astounding. We’ve received an amazing number of submissions from the world over, even an animated work of art from Iran showcasing a strong, fearless woman on a journey of self-empowerment.

Why our Crowd Funding is So Important

I’ve always loved strong empowered women. In my life, I’ve been inspired by female leaders, athletes as well as strong women in film and TV. These women and images have helped create a greater strength within myself.

And while films can be seen as just “entertainment”, our media has massive influence on our culture and society.  Some of the most influential role models in the world are our heroes in film and television.  Entertainment that portrays women who are strong, intelligent and empowered sends a message to girls and women everywhere that it is okay to be these things!  It allows everyone see women in a stronger and more equal light.

We all want to see a shift in consciousness so that gender is irrelevant to any job and any area of life.  We want to have girls and young women look up to role models of strength, integrity and power.  We want young people of all ages to embrace that women can do anything men can do. And our festival, showing films from around the world, will spotlight just that.

For our 1st year, we’ve received about 200 submissions. The quality of the content we’ve received is truly astonishing. All of the films feature women stepping way outside normal confines. We originally planned a very intimate festival which will not support an adequate viewing of these amazing films. And they really need to be seen. Linda Hamilton will receive our very 1st Action Icon Award, venerated stunt women Angela Meryl will receive our Stunt Unsung Heroine Award, and stunt woman/stunt coordinator Maja Aro will receive our Stunt Warrior Award. We have additional honoree announcements coming. Also, we have stunt women, film historians, and athletes wanting to do panel discussions and demos. And we do not have a proper home for these events. This festival is just our first effort to create a space where women in action roles are celebrated. We have much more coming down the pipeline that supports further spotlighting women.

Our festival can really be a thunderous voice in the world that calls for greater gender equality. In order to achieve the thunderous voice, though, we need your help. We have 8 days left in our fund raising campaign which was designed to raise money for additional theater space. Please visit www.WomenKickAss.com and give what you can. No dollar amount is too small. Every FB post, every Tweet truly matters. Please, if you can, sacrifice the $5 bucks you’d pay for your coffee today to support the empowerment of women. Your contributions are wildly appreciated. Thank you so much.

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