Alfre Woodard, Salma Hayak, Jill Soloway, and More Offer Advice to the Next Generation of Female Filmmakers at the Glamour x Girlgaze Films Powered By Women Lunch at Sundance

The Sundance Film Festival is in full swing, and despite some dismal statistics regarding women in film broadly — only 17 percent of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers of the top 250 domestic grossing films in 2016 were women — the talented female filmmakers at the festival this week are proving yet again that films powered by women are films worth watching. 

This year, Glamour partnered with Girlgaze (an incredible initiative that supports female photographers) to help bridge the gender gap in Hollywood. First step: Gather some of our favorite actresses, producers, and directors for a discussion on how to create tangible opportunities for the next generation of female filmmakers.

At a #PoweredByWomen lunch at the Park City, Utah, home of ChefDance CEO and founder Mimi Kim, a table was set with custom Etro linens sent from Italy by Veronica Etro herself, a menu was designed by Iron Chef Cat Cora, and Fiji Water and Landmark Vineyards wines were at the ready. (The #PoweredbyWomen theme even extended to transportation; we dispatched a fleet of Ubers chauffeured by handpicked female drivers to collect our VIP guests.)

Over champagne and Stella Artois beer and cider, Glamour’s Cindi Leive and Girlgaze’s Amanda de Cadenet, joined by cohosts Salma Hayek, Jill Soloway, Jessica Williams, Zoey Deutch, Dee Rees, and Alfre Woodard, welcomed Hollywood luminaries and activists alike, including Shirley MacLaine, Kimberly Peirce, Marti Noxon, Michelle Morgan, Michaela Watkins, and the ever-charming Elle Fanning.

Conversation ran the gamut from female orgasms, to gender binary, to Trump, to identity politics. Still reeling from the excitement of the Women's Marches this weekend, Shirley MacLaine, dressed in head-to-toe purple and pink, demanded of her tablemates, "Where's the rest of the pink?"

Following MacLaine's lead, Jill Soloway dived into the gender-equality question at hand: "I say if you want to equal out the balance, hire 100 percent women for the next 100 years." Emmy-winning producer Geralyn Dreyfous added, “I would take a line from "The Help," which is 'Be kind; be special; be curious; and help each other.' It’s all about helping each other.”

We could not agree more. So before heading out with parting gifts of Etro scarves, LuMee Duo cases, Birchbox boxes, The Outnet gift certificates, and fashion photo notecards from South Coast Plaza’s fiftieth anniversary, we asked these inimitable female role models what advice they wish they knew when they began, in the hope that sharing it here will bolster the next generation of girls behind the lens.

Alfre Woodard: "I have all the power because I get to make the decisions. I wish I knew that. I learned it very quickly. You have no control over what happens—in the hiring, in the maneuvering—but you have control over what you will agree to."

Elle Fanning: "Obviously, you’re not going to get everything. The way that you deal with disappointment defines you."

Salma Hayek: "Be careful that we don’t fall into victimization. We should not hire women just because they are women. I want them to see I’m fabulous! 'I didn’t get the job because I’m a girl.' It’s condescending. Take the time to investigate. There’s an innovative, artistic genius inside your head."

Jill Soloway: "Take the feeling of power in your body the way you see men do it, and move in the world as if everything belongs to you…being thrilled with yourself all day long."

Ry Russo-Young: "It takes a long time. Be patient, and have a certain amount of faith, and keep working hard. It’s really just hard work. It’s hard, and that’s OK. There’s beauty in the process. And to not let fear drive your decisions and to not let other people’s fears drive your decisions."

Zoey Deutch: "Love what you do; work hard; stay humble; and sometimes that makes it so you’re ready to be lucky."

Lea Thompson: "Take yourself seriously because, if you don’t, no one else will. But on the other hand, don’t take yourself too seriously!"

India Menuez: "Keep living your life outside of the industry. Keep having experiences outside of auditioning, outside of being on set. Cultivate your 'real life' experiences that are your own personal experiences because that will be your whole treasure chest of material to pull from for the rest of your life."

Jessica Williams: "You don’t need to change. The one thing you need to do is be yourself and listen to your inner compass."

Dee Rees: "It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon. Keep going. And just by existing, just by still being here, you can make more of an impact. It sounds corny, but to just persevere, to just continue to exist, ’cause if you make one film and fizzle out…you’re not there to hold a space for someone coming behind you or someone next to you. Continue to exist. Take up space. I wish I had been given the advice to take up more space."

Cat Cora: "For me it’s really about coming together and having each other’s back. It’s just about showing up. That’s what women do. We’re so great at that. Let things be organic. Just take it easy, not sweat it so much. Sweet things are going to happen."

Dree Hemingway: "Pretty is as pretty does. That means you are only as beautiful on the outside as you are on the inside."

Sanaa Lathan: "There’s a lot of power in 'no.' Sometimes defining your career can be chiseled through what you don’t do. Persistence is the key. Just don’t give up."

More From Glamour:
• The Oscars Just Nominated Three Black Performers in a Single Category for the Very First Time
• Golden Globes 2017: The Biggest Wins for Diversity
• The 2017 Oscars Shut Out Women Directors Once Again

• TV Icon Mary Tyler Moore Dies at 80

Photo Credit: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Glamour

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