We had the good fortune of connecting with Elisabeth White and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Elisabeth, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
Films and media content, especially now during COVID, is an essential part of almost every person’s life. It’s an art, and art is crucial to the survival of humankind. Everyone depends on creativity to thrive and express themselves in their personal lives. From the scientists and the doctors and the technicians to the artists themselves, films are something everyone can enjoy and depend on for comfort. It’s a universal experience. People need art like film to live just as they need other resources. Beyond that, films also bring light to important topics. Stories have long acted as metaphors and tools of communication for crucial issues of the modern world. Filmmaking allows us as artists to talk about these issues in a widely marketable way, educating viewers, spreading awareness, and making topics trend. Films have a lot of influence in daily life, much more than one might initially think. The increase in demand for film content during COVID is just an example of how much people crave entertaining art.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Please tell us more about your art.
I’m a film director and producer. I fell in love with directing and was determined to tell stories in a way that could impact others like I was impacted by many stories. Films are magical in that they offer an escape, a jump into another world, another life. I wanted to create those worlds. Film has an eternal beauty with both visuals and music. One takes words and ideas and bring them to life, from the visions in your mind to the screen. You build an entire world around you. Not to mention the wonderful sensation when you work with like-minded people! It takes a whole village to create a film, and the feeling you get from collaborating with others of similar passions is uniquely amazing. In many ways, creating film is like creating music. The industries go hand in hand and they both tell stories and invoke emotions in the audience. But that’s what creativity is: it helps you feel less alone. This is especially true during the covid-era, when everyone needs films to cope with how even more stressful reality has become.
Film, to me, has such a power in our modern world. I’m a storyteller at heart, and I love to create unique, captivating and cinematic worlds with every project. After all, we make films because we want to connect with our audiences through telling stories.
You need to be a dreamer to be a filmmaker. You need to feel excited to wake up in the morning and get to work, even after a 12 hour day and watching dailies after wrap. You need passion, you need to hunger for this job. You need perseverance. You need a vision and your dreams to fulfill it.
We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others.
I came to Los Angeles nine years ago to follow my dream, and restarted my career from the ground up. Since then, through endless hard work, I have raised a lot of money to fund my projects, and I have my own production company (RooandKanga Productions) as well. I’m not sure if this sets me apart from others. Is that question even applicable to us as filmmakers? Every one of us has to work our butts off to make it. There’s really no rest when you work in film, and we all undergo unique experiences in that process. I pride myself in being an independent filmmaker. That’s what’s important.
What you are most proud of or excited about?
I’m very proud of the current projects I’m working on. Right now I’m developing three feature films: one horror, one comedy, and one drama. I’m excited to see where they go from here! Most of all, though, I’m proud of myself and the people I work with. It’s taken a lot of work and perseverance to get where I am today.
How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges?
It’s never easy. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. There’s always a lot of time, a lot of hard work, and a lot of effort that goes into this profession. You’re constantly networking and juggling contact politics, all while trying to find your next gig. There’s a lot of late nights and a lot of coffee. What I’ve learned? Never, ever give up. Even if you’re rejected a thousand times, all it takes is for that one chance, that one golden opportunity to present itself to you, and suddenly you have your foot in the door. You just have to keep working towards that career goal. And when you reach it, you work towards your next one. I’m not certain who said it, but most people know a quote I feel best wraps up this question: “Every successful person was once an unknown person who refused to give up on their dream.”
What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I focus on women-driven stories to inspire female audiences, and bring change in how gender is represented on screen. There’s a lot of misogyny in how women are represented on screen, and not enough women on screen in general. Furthermore, women’s stories are most often unfortunately told by men, something far too normalized. Men have male privilege; they can’t understand what it’s like to grow up as a woman and face the sexism we do. More women need to tell women’s stories. Because there aren’t enough women characters, or women-led stories, or women directors. It always seems like there’s “directors” and then “female directors.” I look forward to the day I can just call myself a director without my gender having to be a core aspect of my job.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’d love to say film festivals, but unfortunately everything is online right now. I love Ventura Boulevard. There’s a lot of bars and restaurants and random, unique stores. Pre-covid, it was always full of life. I also love 3rd Street for similar reasons. Little Tokyo is lovely to walk around with company. And of course, I can’t talk about Southern California without mentioning its beaches.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I honestly have many people to thank; as I mentioned before, it takes a village to make a film. But first and foremost, I would like to dedicate my shout out to my family. They have always been here for me in the good and the bad. They are my rock and my world. I would also like to give a shout out to one of my dearest friends, Valerie McCaffrey. She is an amazing casting director and a beautiful friend. She’s a person I can trust and rely on, both professionally and personally, and that is a bond I cherish. Last but not least, I’d like to give a shout out to Women In Film, an organization I’m a member of that helps uplift women working in the film industry. They’ve done great work promoting diversity and women’s voices, and advocating against sexual harassment in the industry, which is a serious issue faced by women filmmakers.
Peter Lugo and Eric Fischer