How WrapWomen’s Power Women Summit Inspired One Filmmaker to Hire a 75% Female Crew

WrapWomen Blog: “After being an ambassador for WrapWomen’s inaugural Power Women Summit, I really wanted to do my part,” said “Cosmic Dawn” executive producer Luisa Law

Women on the set of "Cosmic Dawn" (courtesy of Luisa Law)

Luisa Law attended WrapWomen’s inaugural Power Women Summit in 2018. The theme of that year’s event, which brought together over 1,500 women from various sectors of media and entertainment, was “50/50 by 2020.” Through keynotes, panels, workshops, mentorship and live performances, the purpose of the conference was to encourage a 50% male/female ratio within the industry while providing women with the tools to feel empowered in their everyday life. After leaving the event and feeling inspired, Law decided to take on the pledge to hire an equal gender ratio.

When it came time to produce “Cosmic Dawn,” Law was ready to put her new goal to the test. While reaching for the suggested 50/50 hiring ratio, she successfully employed a 75% ratio overall, with key crew, including post. Women on “Cosmic Dawn” had positions as editor, production designer, costumes, sound, and hair and makeup. Women of color also played important roles as production designer, editor, production manager and production coordinators. Additionally, the leads Camille Rowe, Emmanuelle Chriqui and Antonia Zegers brought the cast to a 70% female ratio. 

WrapWomen recently caught up with Law who took us behind the scenes of the project, how her team was able to achieve 50/50 and how this impacted the making of the film, which premiered on Feb. 11 and is available for viewing on Apple, Amazon and VUDU. 

WrapWomen: Tell us about “Cosmic Dawn.

Luisa Law

Luisa Law: ‘Cosmic Dawn’ is a film about a young woman, Aurora (Camille Rowe), who has been searching for answers about her mother’s disappearance during an extraterrestrial encounter in her youth. This journey leads her to discover a group of UFU witnesses and their enigmatic leader, Elyse (Antonia Zegers), through Natalie (Emmanuelle Chriqui) and her husband Tom (Joshua Burge).

75% of the people involved in the film are women. How were you able to make this happen? Tell us about the process.

Our three leads [Rowe, Chriqui and Zegers] are fabulous and gifted women. They all gave such incredible performances! I was EP and while 75% of the key crew were women … the overall crew was more like 50/50. 

The production designer, editor, costume designer, hair and makeup and sound mixer were all women. Our UPM, production coordinator, caterer etc., were also women. 

After being an ambassador for WrapWomen’s inaugural Power Women Summit, I really wanted to do my part in shaping this very doable future outcome! It was ideal for ‘Cosmic Dawn’ because women’s voices are uncommon in the fantasy/SYFY world. 

How did having 75% women on the payroll influence the outcome/making of the film?

I’m not sure I can quantify that exactly, but I will say overall the crew was stellar! And it’s important to note … this film is just beautiful to watch. Even if women don’t routinely turn to sci-fi. I think that women have a genuine appreciation for beauty in their work and what they see. Gorgeous is what really shines in this gem. And if you need yet another reason to watch, put on your headphones and submerge yourself in the sublime while letting the MGMT soundtrack take you for a ride. We are available to watch on Apple, Amazon and VUDU.

What advice do you have for studios who are looking to be more inclusive in hiring?

Hire the most passionate people for your project and take note if a woman is that person. Allow women to make more decisions in the hiring process. If you only surround yourself and hire people who think like you, you are doing yourself a disservice.

What message do you hope ‘Cosmic Dawn’ sends to Hollywood/audiences around the world?

‘Cosmic Dawn’ shines a strong light on the many talented women working in film. It leaves us wondering about our personal beliefs and asks us what lengths we would go to find answers to those questions. 

About WrapWomen

WrapWomen is a power base of influential women from entertainment, media, technology and brands committed to changing the face of their industries. Through media and live events including the BE Mentorship Conference and flagship Power Women Summit, we provide a platform to accelerate the vision of women who are building towards a more equitable world. Our events attract a broad network and community of professional women who are decision-makers and mothers, leaders and wives, innovators and activists. 

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