Champions for Women Filmmakers!
You are our inspiration and motivation!
The Chimaera Project touched the lives of approximately 1,500 participants in 2021. We could not have done this without you!
As recently shared by one of our TO.GET.HER finishing fund participants: It’s about more than any one of us. It’s about raising the voices of women collectively, so that we really start to expand diversity in an industry that, for decades, has excluded women (as well as BIPOC and APPI filmmakers, LGBTQIA filmmakers and filmmakers with disabilities.
Our Mission: The Chimaera Project recognizes the collective voice as a catalyst for social change. We are dedicated to empowering women and non-binary filmmakers to fearlessly create, inspire and lead. Our goal is to create change by demonstrating an inclusive model.
Our Vision: Our vision is to support women filmmakers to see their project to fruition. We believe that by supporting creative visionaries who are telling the stories that will grow our hearts, open minds and ask questions, together we can lead a movement for positive change in the world.
Our Values: We believe all individuals have the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships and create. It is our belief that only when people from different life experiences and points of view are given a chance to express themselves can we really create change.
Origin Story: The seed was planted for our organization when three intergenerational women filmmakers, Shana Betz, America Young and Cheryl Bookout, joined forces to address gender bias in hiring practices within the film and media arts industries. Shana and America met when they were participants in the 2011 film project Girls! Girls! Girls!, that provided six women filmmakers with $1,000 each to show what feminine strength meant to them. The participants were required to have women as producer, writer, editor and DP on each of their individual projects. What a terrific idea and why was it so novel?! Cheryl came onto the scene in 2012 when she moved into an artist studio adjacent to Shana, where they made a deep connection, having many conversations on how art and film can change the world. The rest is herstory.
Racial Equity Statement
Since 2014 The Chimaera Project has provided programs for women filmmakers, addressing equity disparity in the media arts and film industries.
Research focused on the cultural biases and systemic racism in Los Angeles includes the recent USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity which shares: “Since 1990, poverty and working poverty rates in the region have been consistently higher than the national averages. Racial and gender wage gaps persist in the labor market. Closing racial gaps in economic opportunity and outcomes will be key to the region’s future. To build a more equitable Los Angeles, leaders in the private, public, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors must commit to putting all residents on the path to economic security through equity-focused strategies and policies to grow good jobs, build capabilities, remove barriers, and expand opportunities for the people and places being left behind.”
To address these inequities, we have begun an in-depth examination of the culture of our organization’s Board of Directors and renewed our commitment to address, serve, and uplift communities of color in our region and beyond. We believe that when our board members, staff, volunteers and all who shape the values and activities of our organization come from a wide array of backgrounds, they each bring unique perspectives that shape, blend, and influence the ways in which we advance our mission and solve problems in potentially more innovative ways. We realize we will need to refine this statement as new lessons are learned, keeping racial equity at the forefront of all actions taken.
How The Chimaera Project Got Its Name: Girls!Girls!Girls! was the beta project that inspired The Chimaera Project. It was a feature anthology of 6 short films all written, produced, edited, directed and shot by women. An anthology is the definition of our Chimaera: Many different seemingly unalike parts coming together as one to form something unique and strong.