By Ellie King
It’s no secret that women have always held a presence in the world of film and are crucial to the art form, yet have not always earned the recognition, respect nor representation they deserve.
However, women in film have fought hard to showcase the shameful inequality within Hollywood and make changes to have more opportunities, preventing harassment within the industry through the #MeToo Movement and having more female leads in films.
Vaughan International Film Festival (VFF) has made diversity and inclusivity a priority, not only with the selection of films screened but also by hosting an Industry Seminar on Women In Film for students to attend and learn more about Hollywood from three female panelists in the industry.
The interactive discussion led by actress and voice actor Fatima Ptacek best known for the voice of Dora the Explorer, stunt woman & actress Tally Rodin and vocalist & composer Tori Letzler.
Fatima, who started acting at the age of five with the help of her parents, Tally, who grew up as an acrobatic dancer before going head first into being a stunt performer and Tori, a vocalist who interned with Hans Zimmer as a vocalist tell the stories of the challenges, rewards and work they put in for their job.
When asked about the biggest challenge or hurdle they faced getting into your career, this is what the three had to say:
Tory: It’s a hard world to break into, you have to be kind of introduced into it by someone because there’s no auditions for what I do or job postings. It’s a lot of word of mouth, so I interned at Hans Zimmer studio for three years and really worked my way up as you saw me in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. When I was out of college, I was working in the studio, 20 years old wrapping mic cables at 2 in the morning, it was a process and I had to earn my stripes.
Tally: Learning the ins and outs of the industry, as you can be talented and still not get work. Learning how to treat your body, how to make your body work and also starting from the bottom not knowing anyone, you don’t have all the castings always and learning how to get your name out there.
Fatima: As a young actor, a lot of the time you don’t get taken seriously, but as I’ve gotten older and made more connections it becomes a lot more about respect. A director who knows you will ask you for a job and I think that’s when you’ve made it as a young person and start getting taken seriously. I think also, and I think we can all say this, as a woman in this industry that’s a hurdle in itself. As a young woman for me growing up in this industry it’s definitely scary and I’m lucky I’ve had my parents on set with me at all times and I was lucky to have a support system because not every young lady has that on set.
When Tally was asked how she’d prepare for her roles as a stunt double, Tally said: “There isn’t always time to prepare for the role given, as you may know weeks in advance or the night before. For the series Arrow I had to take archery lessons, I’ve also learned how to hold my breath underwater for different roles as well as different acrobatics to have in my toolbox.
While discussing her source of inspiration when coming up with vocals for a score, Tori says: “It comes from all different places. For Captain Marvel, I was doing synth programming and vocals with my husband in the studio and was able to choose the moment and scene for the vocals to be placed and I chose an emotional scene. In Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice I received a call from Hans Zimmer to sing on the main titles with a mic and melody over graphics in a room of 15 people I had to fit on the spot.”
The panelists emphasized on the importance of supporting organizations that support and encourage women in all aspects. Tori, in previous years, showcased a concert titled “The Future Is Female” with a full orchestra and discussion on what men do not have to face that women do as composers. Tori says that only “3% of film composers are female” and with her event and alliance for women in film composers, female composers have been able to find more work.
Fatima is also an activist for the UN’s #HeForShe campaign for gender equality and encourages others to join and set up a curriculum for their schools. Tally encourages women with an interest in becoming a stunt performer to follow the journey of others, find cross training gyms and practice!
“Speaking Spanish Opens Up More Doors and Opportunities”-Fatima Ptacek
An incredibly informative and powerful seminar put on by VFF just ahead of the International Block 2 of the VFF screenings set the tone for VFF’s emphasis on diversity, inclusivity and creativity!
*Editor’s Note: VIBE105 is the official media partner of Vaughan International Film Festival 2019