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Creative Frame Of Mind

Local artists Nadya Wynd (left) and Jennifer Marcil are part of Creative Lab Hawai‘i’s 2019 Producers Immersive cohort, which runs June 17-21 at Kaua‘i Marriott Resort.

Kaua‘i residents Jennifer Marcil and Nadya Wynd are two of the talented women selected to participate in Creative Lab Hawai‘i’s 2019 Producers Immersive.

This year marks the first time an all-female cohort was selected for the program. Joining Marcil and Wynd are producer Alison Week, who is originally from Kailua-Kona, and producer/writer Zoe Eisenberg, co-founder of Made in Hawai‘i Film Festival and Aerial Arts Hawai‘i.

The Producers Immersive is designed for producers in motion pictures and television. (Programs are also available in broadband/ new media, screenwriting, mobile game application, animation, music and design/ fashion.)

The yearlong production initiative includes five days of intensive work in Hawai‘i, followed by a one-year coaching program, during which participants receive guidance in developing and financing their scripts, and helping with distribution and marketing.

“It is very important and timely for women to receive the support they need to succeed in the primarily male-dominated entertainment industry,” says Wynd. “It has been ridiculously challenging for women producers. Still to this day, women make up only a small percentage of the total number of producers in the business.”

Hihi‘o is a short film produced by Jennifer Marcil and filmed by her husband Serge Marcil. PHOTO COURTESY JENNIFER MARCIL

The women readily acknowledge the challenges they face as female producers but are hopeful about the progress being made. “A large part of producing is being able to have access to the money,” Marcil adds. “That means being able to network and get your project heard to gather investment interest. You need a seat at the table in order to be able to start the conversation. Women now have a pinky toe inside the door to the conference room where the money table is.”

Another challenge that these women face is in creating access and finding opportunities while living in the middle of the Pacific. To that end, Creative Lab Hawai‘i was founded in 2012 to address those very needs. It’s part of the state’s Creative Industries Division and is designed to help build the state’s creative entrepreneurial capacity.

“Living here on Kaua‘i, you have to be very resourceful, creative and self-sufficient,” Marcil explains. “We don’t have the luxury of easily flying in equipment, crew and talent. You have to be able to handle things from start to finish with your island team. You have to learn to view challenges as opportunities to push things in a new direction.

“It has been ridiculously challenging for women producers. Still to this day, women make up only a small percentage of the total number of producers in the business.” — Nadya Wynd

“Kaua‘i (may be) tiny, (but) it is still possible to produce great projects from here.”

Wynd’s work, titled Ghosts of the Sinclair Plantation, is one such example of a project that’s generated on Kaua‘i and also represents the island and its history back in 1888.

“Although it is fictional, it is based on historical research and depicts Hawaiian culture, history and language,” she says. “Kaua‘i has a special place in my heart, and I love sharing what is special about it with others.”

Now, with the additional support of programs such as Creative Lab Hawai‘i, these women are fortunate to be able to pursue their work in cinema from their island home.

For local keiki who want to follow in the footsteps of women like this, Marcil offers sage advice.

“We don’t have the luxury of easily flying in equipment, crew and talent. You have to be able to handle things from start to finish with your island team.” — Jennifer Marcil

“Take advantage of the great opportunities for youth on this island that are even better than those on the mainland,” she says. “Take on internship positions and learn your craft. Follow your dream and be ready to work hard for anything that you get in this industry.”

The Producers Immersive takes place June 17-21 at Kaua‘i Marriott Resort. Expect a Motion Picture Producers Panel Discussion from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. June 17, designed specifically for those interested in learning more about making motion picture content.

For more information on this event, email creativelab808@gmail.com or visit creativelab.hawaii.gov.

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