Amanda Kriebel sat down with Sarah Moshman, Director/Producer of The Empowerment Project, a documentary film about a crew of female filmmakers driving across America to encourage, empower, and inspire the next generation of strong women to go after their career ambitions. Read on for the inspiring interview.
Spotlight Interview: Sarah Moshman, Director of ‘The Empowerment Project’
AMANDA KRIEBEL [KM]: What would you do if you weren’t afraid to fail? This is the theme of your documentary. Very empowering! Is this project- your documentary- what YOU would do if you weren’t afraid to fail?
SARAH MOSHMAN [SM]: I had heard that quote before, but I was ready to “hear” it when I read “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg. I put it on my mirror and read it everyday until I had the courage to say my dream out loud, which was to make this documentary where I could celebrate inspiring women and tell the stories that weren’t being told in the media. I wanted to make a project that mattered and celebrate the power of cinema by making a film that starts a conversation and truly creates change.
AK: Tell us about The Empowerment Project.
SM: The Empowerment Project is the extraordinary journey of five women that get in a minivan and drive across the United States from Los Angeles to New York within one month to interview inspirational women from all walks of life, from a congresswoman to a lawyer and an astronaut, to an athlete to TV producer and ballerina, and everything in between. It’s our way of shining a light on ordinary women doing extraordinary things whose stories aren’t being told in the media. Our mantra is: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid to fail?” And these women in the film represent being brave, strong and extraordinary and not letting fear or any other external forces get in the way of their success.
Since completing the film last year it has been a joy to share the journey with audiences all around the US by screening in schools, groups, organizations and corporations as audiences as small as 5 and as grand as 1000. We are up to 175 screenings and counting and each one is impactful in its own way. The ripple effect is really what’s at play with this model.
AK: What shifted deep down inside and lit a spark to explore and create this project?
SM: Directing a project has always been in my heart. I’ve been making films since I was a kid, and made my first documentary when I was 16. So this has been a natural progression for me, but it was about getting the courage to say: “YES, I’m ready!” Even if you’re really not ready, you have to think to yourself: “If not me, who? If not now, when?” There was some voice inside of me that pushed me forward, some kind of instinct that you feel, and you just start taking steps. And before you know it, you look back and you’ve gone really far. It’s pretty powerful when you listen to the little voice inside paired with the support of the people in your life.
AK: Do you have an “empowerment” practice to communicate with your little voice?
SM: Exercise is definitely a great release. I get really caught up in my head, and I get frustrated with all the ups and downs of making a film, it’s like starting a business! Exercise is great to peel off and forget about what you are working on. People inspire me, too- other female entrepreneurs, women going after their dreams. I want to be a part of that elite group of women who aren’t afraid, are pushing boundaries, and are creating content that matters. It serves me to step away and get out of my own head. Sometimes I’m a prisoner of my own mind. Filmmakers don’t get to “turn off.” We are “on” 24/7. I unplug to be better. I also watch other peoples’ art to get inspired.
AK: We want to see this film! Where can we view your documentary?
SM: What’s cool and unique about this film is that it is meant to start a conversation. It’s meant to be seen with a group. Being on Netflix or iTunes or an online platform is absolutely in our future. However, at this point we are passionate about bringing the film to communities of all sizes around the country and around the world to see the social impact. Anyone, anywhere, anytime can host a screening of The Empowerment Project in their community.
AK: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
SM: Whatever industry we are in, we all face similar struggles and triumphs and achievements and there is this universal conversation of women that exists. Our film proves that over and over again. Join our movement of empowerment!
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the film:
“Be bold and naïve.” – Architect Katherine Darnstadt, Chicago
“You don’t necessarily have to find passion in your work, you just have to find passion in your life, and if your passion is your work then it becomes your life.” – Chef Mary Ngyuen, Denver
“When you’re in a minority group in your occupation, you don’t have the luxury of being average.” – First Female Four-Star Admiral, Michelle J. Howard
Watch the trailer for the film here.
Now it’s YOUR turn. Tell us in the comments below, what would you do if you weren’t afraid?
Read more of our Spotlight Interviews here.
Affectionately described by many as a yoga scientist, Amanda Kriebel is an innovative Doctor of Physical Therapy and Yoga Teacher who humbly claims to be a student of life. She inspires her patients and students to find JOY through creative techniques to optimize their physique and health. She developed a clinical collection of short yoga routines called the Surf | E x p a n s i o n Yoga Series designed for all types of individuals and athletes curious to explore yoga. Amanda has assisted the sports medical team at World Surfing League events since 2011. She is an avid surfer/snowboarder/lover of the ocean and the mountains. As an adventurer herself she is dedicated to promoting health and longevity so that you dwell IN JOY. Learn more about her and her exclusive videos: www.awarenesspt.com | Facebook | Instagram @amanda.kriebel | YouTube Channel