In one year, nonprofit Made In Her Image has empowered over 100 girls of color in Phoenix and Los Angeles to tell their stories. The grassroots organization is partnering with the industry mentors for The Catalyst Summit, a one-day incubator on Saturday, July 27 at Phoenix Art Museum. We spoke with director Shanice Malakai, who was recently selected by screenwriter and producer Lena Waithe for the AT&T Hello Lab Mentorship Program, about this labor of love.
What will attendees learn at the camp?
The girls come in not knowing much about filmmaking and leave learning the basics. For this upcoming incubator, the girls will come out with a 30-second PSA to their future selves, and we’ll give them the tools and empowerment to complete them.
Why the PSAs?
I’ve noticed that I’m going into the room with success, but I still have a lack of confidence because I’m not used to being seen. I want to make sure that our program isn’t just about filmmaking but the girls seeing themselves as valuable. Our theme for this incubator is “Message to My Future Self.” The girls will write a PSA to themselves and record it. I think that’s important because this generation will be the one to change things. In 10 years, they can look at them and see how far they have come.
You’re a filmmaker yourself. What lit the spark in you?
I’ve always wanted to tell stories. I came from a creative family, so I’ve always wanted to create and build things. But I didn’t have the courage to start directing until five years ago. I never thought I was good enough. That’s why I want Made In Her Image to be here because if I had a hub of women creatives, I would’ve felt more empowered and included.