A BRIGHTER LENS is a podcast, hosted by Jennifer Zahlit and Larkin Bell, that aims to spotlight women, trans, and non-binary folx in film at different stages in their careers through thoughtful discussion. By holding a space for underrepresented creators to share their knowledge, experience, and creative inspiration, we hope to make the process of filmmaking more accessible and cultivate a community dedicated to collaboration and support in the film industry.
HILLARY SPERA - The Craft: Legacy & Run
Hillary Spera is a cinematographer based in Brooklyn, NY. We’ve coinicidentally watched a handful of Hillary’s films during the pandemic, so we were delighted to chat with her about a couple of her most recent ones! We specifically talked with her about her work on the Blumhouse/Sony Pictures reboot of THE CRAFT, directed by Zoe Lister Jones, as well as the Lionsgate feature RUN, directed by Aneesh Chaganty.
Hillary’s credits include Zoe Lister-Jones’ BAND AID, Miguel Arteta’s DUCK BUTTER, Craig Johnson’s ALEX STRANGELOVE, and THE PACKAGE, directed by Jake Szymanski, executive produced by Ben Stiller. Her narrative television work includes the pilot for P-VALLEY for Starz, THE LOST BOYS for Warner Brothers/CW and currently she is working on Warner Brothers’ THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT.
KELLY WALKER & My Fiona
Kelly Walker is an Australian multi-hyphenate award winning filmmaker. She's had multiple short films in the festival circuit, most notably The Brownlist, directed and edited by Walker, which received the Jury Award for Best Short Film at Bentonville Film Festival. We chatted with Kelly about her debut feature, My Fiona. She was invited to participate in Australian's In Film's Writers Lab for her script and completed shooting the film in the summer 2019. My Fiona was set to world premiere at BFI Flare in London in March 2020, but due to Covid-19 the premiere was cancelled.
ANNA KERRIGAN & Cowboys
Anna Kerrigan is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker with a background in independent film, digital storytelling and theater. HOT SEAT, which she wrote and directed, premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. She also directed THE CHANCES, a digital series written by and starring two deaf actors, which also premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. We specifically chatted with her about her film Cowboys, which was a 2020 Tribeca selection, in addition to Outfest, Frameline, Nashville, Newfest, and Leiden. Anna won the award for Best Screenplay at Tribeca and the film won the Audience Award for Best Feature at Nashville Film Festival. And since we chatted, Cowboys got picked up by Samuel Goldwyn and will be released early next year!
KYRA JONES & The Right Swipe
Kyra Jones is a Black queer screenwriter, actor, and filmmaker based in Chicago. She holds a degree in Theatre and Gender Studies from Northwestern University. In 2019, Kyra co-wrote, executive produced, and starred in the award-winning web series,The Right Swipe (OTV), which was an official selection at Austin Film Festival, Urban World Film Festival, and several others. Her half-hour comedy pilot script, Good Vibes Only, has placed in several competitions, including the Sundance Episodic Lab, Diverse Voices, and the Nashville Film Festival. She's currently in pre-production for her first feature, Go to the Body, a boxing film that explores sexual violence in the Black community. Her extensive work as a sex educator and survivor advocate lends itself to her artistic endeavors, inspiring scripts that focus on Black women's experiences with relationships, sex, and intimacy.
Since we chatted, Kyra’s script Good Vibes Only won Best Half Hour pilot at the Nashville Film Fest and Kyra’s feature Go To The Body won The Pitch at the Chicago International Film Festival. Kyra also just wrapped production on the proof of concept for Go To The Body.
JESSIE KAHNWEILER & He's The One
This week, we chat with Jessie Kahnweiler about her short film He’s The One. Jessie first became known for writing, directing and starring in a short film called ‘Meet My Rapist’ that imagines Jessie bumping into her rapist at the farmer’s market, and then dating him. Jessie then wrote, directed, and starred in ‘The Skinny’, a dark comedic series based on her 10-year relationship with bulimia. ‘The Skinny’ was produced by Jill Soloway, Paul Young, and Refinery29, and premiered at Sundance. Jessie also developed ‘Viagra Diaries’ for CW, ‘Bump’ for ABC Digital, and staffed on ‘Skam AUSTIN’ for Facebook Watch. Jessie’s short film, ‘He’s The One,’ premiered at Sundance this year. She is currently writing a series for Sharon Horgan at the new streaming service, Topic, based on that short. Check out Jessie’s latest horror short, RETREAT, that she directed for Hulu.
KIM TRAN & Zoe and Hanh
This week, we chat with Kim Tran, a first-gen Vietnamese writer, director and comedian who once rode her bike from Texas to Alaska. Her films have been official selections of SXSW, Palm Springs ShortFest and Short of the Week. Her film Zoe and Hanh recently earned a Vimeo Staff Pick. She received the Michener Fellowship to pursue her MFA in Screenwriting and Playwriting at the University of Texas at Austin. As a writer, she has written for Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, was a semifinalist for the Humanitas, NBC and Disney writing programs and a finalist for the HBO Pitch Competition at the Women in Comedy Festival. In her work, she explores messy Asian American women trying to find their way in the world.
Since we chatted with Kim, some exciting updates have come up! Kim was awarded a development grant from the Austin Film Society to develop Zoe and Hanh into a feature film. The short played at Palm Springs Shortfest and will be playing at Hollyshorts.
Customer ReviewsSee All
These gals are so smart, well spoken, open, honest, and curious. I love the format of their episodes. They get to the point, bring in news, keept their interviews moving and ask poignant interesting and thought provoking questions. I'm continually surprised and impressed by these ladies and their thoughtful work! THIS PODCAST IS A MUST LISTEN PEOPLE!
Two fantastic hosts with incredible chemistry that genuinely care about progressing the narrative that is women in film. Can’t say enough good things about these two ladies and their projects! This is an excellent podcast and completely worth listening to every week! Five stars!
A Refreshing Perspective
You can see from the rest of the reviews here why people find this pod useful. If you listen to other film-related pods, you might find this one refreshing due to how down-to-earth the interviews are. It's not about pushing one movie or any specific product, but instead focuses on the culture surrounding the industry and how different women have managed to navigate through it. Jennifer and Larkin have a way of making the conversations feel casual (not preachy), and pull a lot of useful information out of each guest. I'm looking forward to season 2.