Cannes: Women Chart Their Own Courses With New Company Called We Do It Together

Women in Film Panel Cannes - H 2016
Amirah Parker

Members of the new nonprofit took part in an American Pavilion panel in which producer Carol Polakoff promised the new organization would be "revolutionary, paradigm-changing."

We Do It Together, the new nonprofit production company unveiled this week in Cannes, is out to prove that women filmmakers can be every bit as successful as men. 

Film and television producer Carol Polakoff on Monday touted the new organization, which is dedicated to female empowerment in film, TV and other forms of media.

"We have launched something that is revolutionary, paradigm-changing and will change the discussion" she said. Her comments came during a panel at Cannes focusing on women in the film business that was moderated by THR's Pamela McClintock.

Polakoff, who is on the Together board, was joined by panelists who included Together founder Chiara Tilesi; board member Sandra Lucchesi; a literary agent at Gersh; and advisory board member Avy Kaufman, a veteran casting director.

"One of the problems a filmmaker has, and moreso as a woman, is the loneliness. As a man, it's hard — as a woman, it's impossible," Tilesi commented. "We Do It Together is a movement, is a network to help each other. We have to produce our first feature and then little by little, we will address what can."

The women also talked about their personal experiences in Hollywood.

"The thing that always gets me is when a male counterpart calls me emotional," Lucchesi said. Added Tilesi: "The male opinion for some reason is [seen as] more valuable."

Kaufman focused on how flexible and stress-resistant women are, saying, "I think we can do 15 things at once."

Polakoff suggested a way to deal with doubters. "When they don't think women can handle a big tentpole, cite an example when somebody failed," she said.

We Do It Together announced its first film project, Together Now, earlier this week in Cannes. Robin Wright, Catherine Hardwicke, Freida Pinto and Juliette Binoche have all come aboard the project, which will consist of seven short films, each of which will pair a woman director with a prominent actress to tell what producers promise will be an inspiring story.

The directors who have signed on include Wright, Hardwicke, Katia Lund (All the Invisible Children), Patricia Riggen (The 33), Haifaa al Mansour (Wadjda), Malgorzata Szumowska (Elles) and Melina Matsoukas (Beyonce's Formation). Pinto and Binoche are among the actresses who will appear onscreen.

We Do It Together plans to work with male and female internationally acclaimed directors, actors and producers to develop a slate of gender-led films and help create opportunities for emerging voices within the industry.