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Alumnae Producers Break Boundaries with Female Film Crew

Alumnae Natalia Anderson ’06 and Kristen Murtha ’08, producers of the film Band Aid, told an Emerson audience Tuesday night about the challenges and rewards of hiring a crew made up entirely of women.

“It’s unique, because a lot of production crews [are] usually dominated by males, and so it was a mandate,” producer Anderson said via Skype following the Bright Lights Film Series screening of Band Aid in the Bright Family Screening Room. “We set out with that intention to hire 100 percent female.”

Band Aid follows a couple who work through their marriage difficulties by forming a band and writing songs about their fights. It was written and directed by Zoe Lister-Jones, who also stars in the film with Adam Pally and Fred Armisen.

More than half of this year’s Bright Lights program consists of films directed or co-directed by women, but Band Aid stands out even in that crowd. Not only is the crew all women, but it includes a lot of Emerson alumnae, including Hillary Gurtler '07 (production designer), Jamie Kennedy '11 (editor), Sherri Pender '05 (production coordinator), and Jenna Lyng '10 (production manager). 

Murtha, a co-producer on Band Aid who also joined via Skype, said the all-woman mandate wasn’t necessarily easy, but it was worth it.

“It pushed me outside my comfort zone, because a lot of the time you automatically turn to your Rolodex of people,” Murtha said. “But I’m so glad that Zoe pushed us.”

Not only did having a female crew break boundaries, it also became a calling card at film festivals, they said.  

Anderson said she originally was drawn to Band Aid—which premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival, where it was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize—because the female point of view was relatable and she thought it would be a satisfying project to work on as a producer.

Murtha said she knew straight away that she wanted to be a part of the crew.

“As part of our jobs, we read tons and tons of scripts,” Murtha said, “so a lot of the time, when you have a script in your hands that really comes alive for you when you’re reading it, you know it’s something special, and that’s what Band Aid was for me.”

If you missed the Bright Lights screening of Band Aid, it is available to rent on Amazon Video, iTunes, and Vudu.

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