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Cracking the Glass Ceiling at Toronto Film Festival

We were celebrating her 11th birthday. On top of her cake was a make-shift movie camera that emanated her dreams of becoming a movie director. As young girls with creative ambitions and dreams, we’d spend countless hours conjuring new show ideas or songs like “Hey Little Kitty” or “Spud of the Year” to perform later for my brothers and sister. Dancing to an Up With People soundtrack in front of our 5th grade class seemed completely normal. Nobody told us that our chances of working in the entertainment industry as a female producer or editor was unlikely or that less than 10% of movie directors are women. Perhaps that why Michelle Botticelli persevered… no one told her she couldn’t do it.

Growing up in a single-parent household in a small town in Southern Oregon, Michelle worked harder than anyone I knew. While attending film school at NYU she often worked two, sometimes even three jobs to cover her expenses. She made connections with influential female filmmakers and editors who served as mentors and supported her vision. And she worked in numerous films to gain the experience and skills she now possesses. Most recently, Michelle produced and edited the film Falling for Grace with Fay Ann Lee and is now a respected editor in her field.

Having spent years watching Michelle endure this challenging industry and serve as a soundboard for both the hard times and the good, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to cheer her on and join her for the Toronto Film Festival where two of the films she edited were premiering. The first film being, Leaves of Grass directed by Tim Blake Nelson and starring Edward Norton, Kerri Russell, Susan Sarandon, Josh Pais and Tim. The second film, Tanner Hall directed and written by Francesca Gregorini and Tatiana Von Furstenberg.

Seeing her name on the big screen, getting VIP treatment and attending incredible movie premiere parties I couldn’t help but pinch myself and think that we are the same girls who almost 30 years ago fantasized our careers and plotted our future with big dreams. While the journey to this point was sometimes unexpected, Michelle’s accomplishments prove that anything is possible.

The See Jane Do team looks forward to working with Michelle and capturing the stories of other everyday women doing extraordinary things for the planet?

What were your dreams when you were eleven years old and where have they taken you now?

Share with us at SeeJaneDo@kvmr.org

About Mark Burgess

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