Speaking at the Women in Entertainment Summit on Wednesday, Rees shared her journey to making her first films “Pariah” in 2011 to “Bessie” in 2015 to now, describing how along the way, she made sure to hire women and expand the pipeline of female and minority filmmakers.
“Pariah,” which began as a film-school thesis, screened as a short film in 2007 and later became a feature-length movie executive produced by Spike Lee. But the road from short film to feature was long and arduous.
“It was still a beast to get it financed,” Rees said. “Nobody wanted to do a lesbian coming-of-age back then.”
The film was semi-autobiographical, loosely based on Rees’ experience coming out as lesbian. The movie, which was received well critically, would be the springboard for her and her filmmaking team. “We