By Charmaine Gorman –
Down Under Berlin has the privilege to speak with award-winning journalist, filmmaker, and founder of the awesome and inspiring film-sharing platform We Are Moving Stories. As well as being an interesting subject for our next ’10 Questions with…’ series, Carmela Baranowska is also an all-round awesome chick, a huge supporter of film, and of women in film.
If you haven’t yet browsed We Are Moving Stories , you should head right over for a look. It is a feast for every film lover, and a kick arse film database for filmmakers to connect with other films and filmmakers, producers, buyers, and of course – audiences. The films are categorized into a comprehensible structure so you can find what you want. Whether that is searching by genre, nationality, animation, and documentary, LGBTQ or Indigenous, even by film festival: all these can be found by subject heading at the bottom of the main page.
There is a huge audience out there, and these people are hungry for film. What We Are Moving Stories does is make it easy to find what you might be searching for, whilst also keeping the element of surprise, because you never know what you might find in the end. They have interviews with filmmakers and film festivals, so we thought it only fitting to find out about them too. Carmela gives us more insight into her company and passion, the growing digital footprint, as well as what her favourite films of all time are.
1. What is your day job?
I am the founder of We Are Moving Stories. We embrace new voices in drama, documentary, animation, journalism, music video, and web series. We also connect films to audiences, producers, distributors, sales agents, buyers, film festival directors and media by publishing profiles of filmmakers. We proudly support and encourage 50%+ women’s participation on our platform.
2. What did you want to be when you grew up?
My strongest memory would have involved me wanting to live in a library – and even today waking up in the morning and reaching over for a book is my idea of heaven. And I still love librarians! But ultimately I just wanted to be a journalist.
3. When did you first begin work on We Are Moving Stories, and how long did it take you to grow to where you are now?
When I was finishing my PhD a couple of years ago I became very intrigued by online platforms. I’d set up and taught online media at university level and I wanted to translate the theory into practice. We Are Moving Stories was established in April 2016, less than six months ago!
4. Why did you feel the need to start a platform such as this?
To acknowledge and celebrate filmmakers, films, issues and concerns that would otherwise be ignored or forgotten. We’ve seen a proliferation of short films and web series in the last few years and We Are Moving Stories aims to embrace these forms, as well as many others.
I believe we are also the only (I hope I’m wrong!) platform that actively publishes more women than men as a practical way of promoting women’s participation. Consider the multi-talented Yolonda Ross who is both an actor in one of our published profiles (Shelly Lauman’s Woman Outside) and a director in her own right (Breaking Night) and you can now catch her as Ms Green in The Get Down on Netflix.
Director Dawn Jones Redstone also has a unique story to tell: she worked as a carpenter for many years before writing and directing her award-winning short film Sista in the Brotherhood about what it’s like for a woman of color to work in the male dominated construction industry.
5. Did you have a lot of support getting it off the ground?
I spoke to a wide variety of people over many months. Once the platform began I continued to have conversations with many filmmakers – over 500 at the last count – and I constantly receive feedback from them through the articles we publish. But on a more practical level, we are always looking for interns!
6. What are your favorite films of all time?
The Conformist – Bernardo Bertolucci
Shoah – Claude Lanzmann
Beirut: The Last Home Movie – Jennifer Fox
The Little Rascals – Penelope Spheeris
7. What are five words to describe yourself?
I love learning new things.
8. We Are Moving Stories celebrates collaboration, how important is that in an aspect to your life and well as your work?
I’m constantly fascinated by how forms of collaboration work in a hyper connected online world. Since we began we’ve received over 70,000 page views and our contributors have come from the US, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Cambodia, Israel, Italy, Spain, France, UK, Netherlands, Lebanon and Russia. Our aim is to leave a growing digital footprint around the world.
9. What does filmmaking mean to you?
On the platform I’ve never been fixated by discussions of a film’s budget – just the ideas behind it and how well the filmmaker believes they’ve executed them. While we’ve featured over 40 film festivals (including Cannes Short Film Corner, Dances With Films, Fantasia Film Festival and your own Down Under Berlin) I’m also interested in films and forms that have a life outside the film festival circuit – web series would be an excellent example.
The subject matter is endless including Shakespeare Republic (drama), Boondock Alley (sci-fi), Waiting on Sound (comedy), 6North (documentary), Fragments of Friday (comedy), Real Tinder Convos (comedy), Last Will and Testicle (comedy), Cathy in Real Life (comedy), My Single Married Friend (comedy), Doucheaholics (comedy), Not It (drama), To The next Girl (drama), Her Story (drama), The Ghost and the Negro (supernatural drama), Savance (drama), Chicos de Alquiler (comedy), Lonely Lil (comedy), Burning Bridges (Accidental Porn Star – comedy).
We’ve recently enlarged our focus to include profiles on films that are currently crowdfunding including Mary Janes: Women of Weed, Mortality of Dreams and Memory Box.
10. Do you plan to expand We Are Moving Stories in the future? In what ways?
Now that we have over 500 films on our platform we are actively working with filmmakers to discuss our next step. There are a lot of consultation and discussion going on behind the scenes and we’d love all our readers to stay in touch as we will be announcing some exciting new updates soon. I’d really like to thank Down Under Berlin for the opportunity to answer these questions and wish you all the best for future film festivals and remember: if you’re a filmmaker whose just finished a film we’d love to hear from you and if you know a filmmaker can you recommend us?
Charmaine Gorman is an Australian actress and writer living in Berlin with her family. As a content writer and editor, she works for many clients around the world, she also facilitates the Robert Marchand acting and directing workshops in Berlin.
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