Chloe Feller On How To Empower Women In The Film Industry
Chloe Feller has an impressive list of accomplishments, including co-producing a film with Vice, and starting her own production company, Red Lighter Films, dedicated to making film that considers intersectional feminism and represents marginalized groups of women.
Galore caught up with Chloe to chat about ways to empower women inÂ the film industry. Here’s what she had to say:
What was the motivation or inspiration to start your productionÂ company, Red Lighter Films?
As an actress, I was really frustrated with the roles available to me.Â I felt a lot of the parts I was auditioning for or participating in were one-dimensional, misogynistic, and creatively unfulfilling. I also understood thatÂ Hollywood has a serious diversity problem, and a lot of people with variousÂ intersecting identities were, and are, actively being excluded fromÂ mainstream content. So, Red Lighter was created with all of this in mind. ItÂ serves as a platform for inclusion and to showcase my own personal work,Â as well as the work of various other marginalized individuals.
What are some of the inadequacies in regards to female acting roles in theÂ current film industry?
I notice that female characters often exist solely to propel maleÂ protagonists forward. Theyâ€™re under-developed and play into aÂ restrictive idea of womanhood that usually revolves around sex appeal orÂ physical beauty. I also think there arenâ€™t enough narratives that reflect theÂ experiences of queer women like myself, trans women, and women ofÂ color in a respectful way. I feel as though all women deserve to to seeÂ themselves reflected in film, to have films catered to their likes andÂ interests, and to be valued as audience members.
Can you talk a little bit about what it means to be an intersectionalÂ feminist?
From what Iâ€™ve learned, intersectional feminism is all aboutÂ acknowledging the layered identities that intersect with womanhood. It alsoÂ has a lot to do with recognizing privilege and realizing that womenÂ experience oppression differently, in varying degrees, depending on theirÂ identities, like race, class, sexual orientation. For example, IÂ experience oppression, as a white woman, in a completelyÂ different or incomparable way than black woman. I seek to be anÂ intersectional feminist because I view it as the most inclusive form ofÂ feminism. Shoutout to KimberlÃ© Crenshaw for coining the term in 1989!
Why do you think so many people stigmatize the word feminism? What isÂ the best way to de-stigmatize it?
I think fear is at the core of stigmatization. Feminism threatens theÂ status quo and champions for societal change â€“ two things that really freakÂ people out for some reason. Feminism kind of forces you to hold a mirror toÂ yourself and to confront the parts of yourself that are oppressive. ForÂ some, admitting youâ€™re a part of the problem is especially terrifying. To beÂ honest, Iâ€™m not sure I know the best way to de-stigmatize it, I just know thatÂ a facet of it has to do with acceptance and compassion. We have to acceptÂ that we need to evolve and change with the world, and have compassion forÂ those whose lives are rendered unlivable due to systemic oppression,Â even if you donâ€™t personally experience said oppression.
What makes you feel beautiful?
Iâ€™m pretty hard on myself and can be especially self-critical, but I do haveÂ days where I truly accept myself unconditionally and those are theÂ moments I feel most beautiful.
Who would be your dream co-star?
I think about this all the time! It fluctuates, but right now Iâ€™d love toÂ work with Amandla Stenberg or Brie Larson. Both are profoundly talented,Â and I think Amanda is doing such amazingly important things with herÂ platform.
What movie could you watch over and over without getting sick of?
I have a little ritual with myself where I watch Showgirls onceÂ a month â€“ it’s campy and fun but also wildly profound at parts. I definitelyÂ have plans to get a Showgirls tattoo in the near future
Where do you find your inspirations for creating art and film?
I draw inspiration from numerous places. Iâ€™m definitely motivated byÂ my own personal experiences. I feel like my work is a way for me toÂ grapple with, or rather, discuss my feelings on a particular subject thatâ€™sÂ really affecting me at different points in my life in a creative way. Iâ€™m alsoÂ inspired by theatrics and surrealism, sometimes to the point of kitsch. IÂ love blurring the lines between reality and unreality in a very Lars VonÂ Trier, David Lynch kind of way. Surrealism allows you toÂ take greater, conceptual and aesthetic risks and push the boundaries.
What is a day in the life of Chloe?
Well, right now my days have thankfully been really low-key. Iâ€™veÂ been taking a little break since I just wrapped two simultaneous productions aÂ few weeks ago, which were keeping me wildly busy for the last severalÂ months. But with this new free time, Iâ€™ve been catching up with old friends,Â doing shoots, working on various little projects with my girlfriend andÂ creative partner, Hobbes. My latest venture outside of film has beenÂ learning how to tattoo. It’sÂ been especially exciting, butÂ Iâ€™mÂ definitely not ready for any human subjects anytime soon!