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‘An Uncomfortable Woman’ Promotes Diversity in Austin’s Film Industry

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The dark comedy An Uncomfortable Woman has an all-female and diverse cast and crew.

By Shelby Woods, Drawing by Louisa Cannell  

First-time director Meghan Ross is tired of Lifetime movies depicting women in pain as a form of entertainment. When Ross and her co-writer, Sam Stepp, decided to parody these kinds of films, they knew they had to find a unique angle.

The result, An Uncomfortable Woman, is a dark-comedy short film that confronts female pain. Ross, the writer and director, hopes the film conveys that a woman’s discomfort is justified, regardless of whether it’s visible to others.

“I wanted to see more realistic depictions of women in pain,” Ross says. “I feel like there are characterized versions of women going through pain. … It’s not really from our perspective.”

In Ross’ experience with marketing and social media for television and films, she’s found white males often dominate sets. For her film, she hired an all-female and diverse cast and crew.

“I just wanted to see a more diverse production,” Ross says. “We’re so small scale, but I like to think of it as you can make an impact, no matter how big or small you are.”

Through her late-night comedy show, That Time of the Month, Ross was already connected to women throughout Austin and turned to her community for support. She set up an Indiegogo campaign on the crowdfunding site to help sponsor the production, and featured more than 45 prizes from artists and women-owned businesses in Austin.

“If it’s not incentive enough to support a diverse production, hopefully these kick-ass prizes will be incentive,” Ross says.

Comedy has always been Ross’ gateway to the issues women face in the entertainment industry. When she moved to Austin, she felt like she had to do more to combat the lack of gender equality she saw in entertainment. That Time of the Month served as a platform to welcome new perspectives to comedy.

“I feel like I can use my writing, my comedy…and my film projects to reflect the issues that are important to me,” Ross says. “I like the idea of all of my projects being cognizant of those issues.”

In the future, Ross plans to keep social issues as a theme in her work. For her next project, she says she wants to work with more Middle Eastern performers since she’s Middle Eastern. She also wants to create a web series set in Austin about the struggle to make friends in your early 30s, when you aren’t in college or searching for roommates on Craigslist. She says if she can address social issues through comedy for the rest of her career, she would feel like she’s successful.

The premiere date for An Uncomfortable Woman is still to be determined. Ross says she’ll screen it at Babes Fest in September 2019 and hopes to screen it at a variety of festivals. When the film is finally finished, Ross also plans to have a screening with an all-woman comedy lineup. For updates, follow the film’s Facebook page @AnUncomfortableWoman.

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