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 in the film industry. Here’s what she had to say:
What was the motivation or inspiration to start your production company, Red Lighter Films?
As an actress, I was really frustrated with the roles available to me. I felt a lot of the parts I was auditioning for or participating in were one-dimensional, misogynistic, and creatively unfulfilling. I also understood that Hollywood has a serious diversity problem, and a lot of people with various intersecting identities were, and are, actively being excluded from mainstream content. So, Red Lighter was created with all of this in mind. It serves as a platform for inclusion and to showcase my own personal work, as well as the work of various other marginalized individuals.
What are some of the inadequacies in regards to female acting roles in the current film industry?
I notice that female characters often exist solely to propel male protagonists forward. They’re under-developed and play into a restrictive idea of womanhood that usually revolves around sex appeal or physical beauty. I also think there aren’t enough narratives that reflect the experiences of queer women like myself, trans women, and women of color in a respectful way. I feel as though all women deserve to to see themselves reflected in film, to have films catered to their likes and interests, and to be valued as audience members.
Can you talk a little bit about what it means to be an intersectional feminist?
From what I’ve learned, intersectional feminism is all about acknowledging the layered identities that intersect with womanhood. It also has a lot to do with recognizing privilege and realizing that women experience oppression differently, in varying degrees, depending on their identities, like race, class, sexual orientation. For example, I experience oppression, as a white woman, in a completely different or incomparable way than black woman. I seek to be an intersectional feminist because I view it as the most inclusive form of feminism. Shoutout to Kimberlé Crenshaw for coining the term in 1989!
Why do you think so many people stigmatize the word feminism? What is the best way to de-stigmatize it?
I think fear is at the core of stigmatization. Feminism threatens the status quo and champions for societal change – two things that really freak people out for some reason. Feminism kind of forces you to hold a mirror to yourself and to confront the parts of yourself that are oppressive. For some, admitting you’re a part of the problem is especially terrifying. To be honest, I’m not sure I know the best way to de-stigmatize it, I just know that a facet of it has to do with acceptance and compassion. We have to accept that we need to evolve and change with the world, and have compassion for those whose lives are rendered unlivable due to systemic oppression, even if you don’t personally experience said oppression.
What makes you feel beautiful?
I’m pretty hard on myself and can be especially self-critical, but I do have days where I truly accept myself unconditionally and those are the moments I feel most beautiful.
Who would be your dream co-star?
I think about this all the time! It fluctuates, but right now I’d love to work with Amandla Stenberg or Brie Larson. Both are profoundly talented, and I think Amanda is doing such amazingly important things with her platform.
What movie could you watch over and over without getting sick of?
I have a little ritual with myself where I watch Showgirls once a month – it’s campy and fun but also wildly profound at parts. I definitely 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. I’m definitely motivated by my own personal experiences. I feel like my work is a way for me to grapple with, or rather, discuss my feelings on a particular subject that’s really affecting me at different points in my life in a creative way. I’m also inspired by theatrics and surrealism, sometimes to the point of kitsch. I love blurring the lines between reality and unreality in a very Lars Von Trier, David Lynch kind of way. Surrealism allows you to 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. I’ve been taking a little break since I just wrapped two simultaneous productions a few weeks ago, which were keeping me wildly busy for the last several months. But with this new free time, I’ve been catching up with old friends, doing shoots, working on various little projects with my girlfriend and creative partner, Hobbes. My latest venture outside of film has been learning how to tattoo. It’s been especially exciting, but I’m definitely not ready for any human subjects anytime soon!