Filmmaker Rolla Selbak talks “Grrl’s Guide to Filmmaking” and supporting female visionaries

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Filmmaker Rolla Selbak is the writer and creator of the incredibly popular Tello Films webseries, Kiss Her I’m Famous. Her new webseries, Grrl’s Guide to Filmmaking, focuses on the women behind your favorite films, television shows and webseries. GGTF guests include Transparent scribe Faith Soloway, actress/writer Guinevere Turner, and Entangled with You creator Caryn K. Haynes among other great creative minds. Selbak was kind enough to share her thoughts about her new series and the future of filmmaking with AfterEllen. ggtf_series_logo_16.9_new_eps AfterEllen: Kiss Her I’m Famous was incredibly popular and much adored by queer fans. The finale of season two was really satisfying, but it felt like a true ending.  Do you feel that Jen and Mandy’s story has been told, or do you hope to expand into additional seasons? I’m sure there are a lot of fans who would love to see it go on and on.  Rolla Selbak: You’re right that this particular part of their story does end as far as web series go, but there are exciting opportunities coming up for the project to manifest itself in fresh new ways. Feature film and TV series are the two main avenues I’m pursuing right now, and I’m always about the fans, as they know. So we’ll see. AE: Your new series Grrl’s Guide to Filmmaking turns the tables, showing viewers what actually goes into making the films, television and webseries they love. What inspired you to approach these women and turn it into a webseries?  RS: I wanted to celebrate the thriving female filmmaker geniuses out there, and in turn inspire others to pick up a pen, a camera, an editing system, and be a part of the women storytelling revolution. I wanted to create something to combat the abysmal statistics out there about women behind the camera. To show that there are indeed many fiercely talented women out there, and to spark creativity in others who are discouraged by the current landscape. The vision is to create something inherently more compelling than just two people in a chair. I feel audiences always appreciate a little voyeurism. If you have a dream, and want to follow others’ journeys in achieving theirs, this show is definitely for you. AE: Who would be your dream guest on a Grrl’s Guide RS: Aisha Tyler. If you’re reading this, Aisha, what does a Grrl have to do to get you on the show, darn it? Lol. RollaSelbak_2013_5 AE: Queer characters and story lines have really seemed to thrive in the webseries medium. Why do you think that is?  RS: Producing a web series and self distributing on-line is definitely more accessible than relentlessly working your butt off to break into a seemingly impenetrable system that’s not welcoming to you or your stories in the first place. It’s all about the bold need for expression. We’re thirsty for both telling our stories, and for watching them. And since mainstream media currently doesn’t satisfy our craving, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to create our own. It’s content created for the people, by the people, and it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing. AE: After Grrl’s Guide, do you have plans to work on another webseries in the near future? RS: Absolutely. I’m addicted to the cycle of creating and uploading at this point, it’s much more satisfying than waiting endlessly for someone else to produce and distribute your work. It’s the most personal and empowering act I can make as a filmmaker. RollaSelbak_2013_3 AE: In addition to your successful webseries, you wrote and directed the acclaimed film Three Veils. Lately, it’s becoming more and more challenging to get independent films made. What would you say to fans who want to support independent filmmakers and artists who want to tell more queer stories? Also, what would you say to aspiring artists who want to make them?  RS: For those aspiring artists I would say watch my show! No, but in all seriousness, I would say study and watch as much content as possible. Things you love, things you hate, guilty pleasure, things you would never ever consider watching. Watch them once for entertainment, then watch them again and really analyze why you connected or didn’t connect for you. Understand yourself as a viewer first, deeply understand your taste, and then set out to create something you yourself would be love to see on-screen, with no fear. Keep on creating. That’s the only way you’ll evolve and learn about yourself creatively. Classes can teach you technique, but no one can teach you taste. That comes from you, and you alone. For those who want to support indie filmmakers like myself, I would say the number one thing to keep in mind is the power you hold as a consumer, and where you’d like to spend your hard-earned money. If you like a piece of content, and want to support the filmmaker, donate, tip, support their crowdfunding campaign. Even if you don’t have a dollar, you always have your voice. A fist-bump on twitter or email will make a filmmaker’s day, no matter how successful. Connecting with our audience is why we do what we do. And we appreciate it more than we can say. New episodes of Grrl’s Guide to Filmmaking debut on Sundays on the Tello and One More Lesbian site. Follow Rolla on Twitter @RollaSelbak or visit www.rollaselbak.com.

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