Band Aid, a comedy written and directed by actress and writer Zoe Lister-Jones, tells the story of Anna (Lister-Jones) and Ben (Adam Pally), a couple who can't stop fighting and embark on a last-ditch effort to save their marriage—by turning their fights into songs and starting a band.
What viewers might now know as they watch the film: the production crew was composed entirely of women, from producer and alumna Natalia Anderson ’06 to the camera operators, electricians, and more.
“When [Lister-Jones] brought me the script and asked if I'd produce the film, from the first read, I was in!” said Anderson, who had previously worked with Lister-Jones on the CBS sitcom Life In Pieces. “I was involved before we were officially all female, but I do think it is important to shift the paradigm so that women don't feel like there is only room for one or few.”
Lister-Jones says she wanted an all-female crew to give women opportunities in departments that they might not otherwise have. She felt that working with other women would engender a different sense of confidence and a unique collaborative energy within the creative process. Initially, finding an all-female production crew seemed daunting.
Anderson brought on alumnae Hillary Gurtler ’07, the film’s production designer, and Kristen Murtha ’09, co-producer. Both Gurtler and Murtha say they found the script engaging and genuine and knew they had to be part of the film after reading it. But hiring an all-female crew immediately disqualified a large bulk of people that they knew. Some departments don’t necessarily attract women and in others, a woman isn’t necessarily the obvious choice.
“It took me a minute to wrap my head around it logistically. On film sets, and especially the art department, you really require a diverse collection of people, all with their own individual skill sets,” said Gurtler. “Despite my fears, my gut told me I'd be crazy to pass up this project just because I had to take a leap outside my comfort zone. I'm so thankful I did!!”
Gurtler says working on Band Aid was the most transformative on-set experience in her career thus far because she learned so much about herself as a designer and met women she might not have otherwise. Anderson had a similar experience.
“I welcomed the challenge and truly enjoyed expanding my circle of readily available talented filmmakers that also happen to be female,” said Anderson. “It was an incredibly rewarding experience to be working side by side with women in every department.”
Filming began during the summer of 2016 and Band Aid world premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24. IFC Films acquired North American rights shortly after while rights outside of North America were sold to Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions.
Other alumnae who worked on the film include Jamie Kennedy '11, an additional editor, Sherri Pender '05, a production coordinator, and Jenna Lyng ’10, a production manager. Lyng said the experience was special because, like most other crewmembers, she had never been part of an all-female crew before.
“You can feel how much heart went into Band Aid while you watch. The same was true on set,” said Lyng. “Sometimes you just know something is special while you’re making it.”
Band Aid opens in theaters on June 2.