About the Film

Pioneers in Skirts is a multi-award-winning feature documentary about the issues that affect pioneering ambition and the ongoing effort to achieve gender parity in our culture. 

Film Synopsis

Pioneers in Skirts is an engaging examination of gender parity in our culture from the perspective of a female filmmaker who was frustrated with her own problems in the film industry.

Not finding many answers within her profession, she decides to expand her search to include other industries and society in general.

In an inspiring portrait of perseverance and determination, director Ashley Maria not only shares her own story, but she follows the journey of 3 robotic girls and their fathers as well as a young mother – all while traveling the U.S. to investigate solutions, speaking to fellow pioneering women and interviewing topic experts.

By the end of her quest, Ashley finds out how we ALL can address the stereotyping and sexism that can chip away at a woman, hurt her potential, and make her feel like she must re-think her dreams.

Pioneers in Skirts Movie Poster with Credits

Movie Poster

Right click on the poster image to download.

Release Date

Festival release October 26, 2019
Theatrical release scheduled for late 2020/2021 at IMAX

Screening Format

Secure online streaming link, Blu-ray disc, DCP
English | 60-min runtime
Closed captioning: English, Spanish

Press Kit

Information about the film and access photos & marketing materials you can use: pioneersinskirts.com/press-kit.

What’s A Pioneer?

A Pioneer — at her core, is a woman who owns her professional success by confronting the barriers she encounters along her career path. – more

Movie Trailer

Download link: vimeo.com/386090624

Who We Are

Pioneers in Skirts is a film from a daughter-mother team dedicated to fast-tracking the cultural change we need in order to achieve a gender equal world.

No stranger to bias, Lea-Ann entered her career at a time where she had to fight for many of her career achievements. Like many women, she assumed her struggles made it easier for younger women entering the workforce. But during a heart-felt conversation on a drive to the beach, her daughter Ashley revealed bias was alive and well, and eroding Ashley’s ambition.

This revelation led them both on a journey to get answers around what Ashley and her colleagues were experiencing. After seeing the data around current stereotyping and sexism, Ashley and Lea-Ann decided to pause their careers, pick up a camera and produce their documentary.

BIOGRAPHIES

Below are short and long biographies for Ashley and Lea-Ann. If you would like further information please contact us.

Ashely Maria Holding "I'm a Pioneer" Sticker

Ashley Maria

DIRECTOR, PRODUCER, CO-WRITER

Short Bio:

Pioneers in Skirts Director, Ashley Maria, is a filmmaker located in Los Angeles, CA. Ashley received her MFA from the USC School of Cinematic Arts and is known for her work on many feature & short films, new media, and television commercials. When not on set, Ashley is a directing instructor at UCLA’s Film School and a sound instructor at the American Film Institute’s Young Women in Film program. 

She is the recipient of the prestigious Directors Guild of America award, and most recently, she was recognized as the “Best New Director” at the DTLA Film Festival. 

Lea-Ann W. Berst Headshot

Lea-Ann W. Berst

PRODUCER, ACTIVATION, CO-WRITER

Short Bio:

Pioneers in Skirts Producer, Lea-Ann W. Berst, is a filmmaker and global activation professional located in Raleigh, NC. Her career spans from Technology to Olympic Brand Activation, and now Film. Lea-Ann is known for her work on impact documentaries and building partnerships and tactics designed to deepen and advance the positive impact a film can have on our culture.

She is the recipient of various leadership and business awards, including the prestigious IBM Award of Excellence and Triangle Women in Business in North Carolina.

Long Bio: Ashley Maria is the director of Pioneers in Skirts. She is a filmmaker known for her work as a writer and director and location sound mixer for feature & short films, new media, and television commercials.
 
A winner of the prestigious Directors Guild of America (DGA) award, she has also been recognized by the DGA Women’s Steering Committee as representing The Future of Women in Film.

When not on set, Ashley is a directing instructor at UCLA’s Film School and a sound instructor at the American Film Institute’s Young Women in Film program.Ashley is also a North American delegate to the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women – the principal global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and the advancement of women.Prior to transitioning to a freelance career,
 
Ashley earned over 10 years of studio production experience with Sony Pictures Television, Mark Burnett Productions, and ESPN.
 
Word Count: 150

Find out more about Ashley by visiting her IMDb page and Ashley-Maria.com website.

Long Bio: Lea-Ann W. Berst is the producer of Pioneers in Skirts. She is a filmmaker known for her work as a writer and producer of documentaries focused on cultural change. 

Drawing from her experience and the lessons she learned during her over 25 year in the corporate and consultative career, Lea-Ann works on impact documentaries and building partnerships and tactics designed to deepen and advance the positive impact a film can have on our culture.

Lea-Ann has worked with several industry leaders, like: IBM, Memorex Telex, Kyocera, and Lenovo. When not in a conference room (or on set), Lea-Ann contributes to non-profit boards, guest lectures on the topic of marketing practice, and volunteers as the Website Chair for the Business and Professional Women / USA organization. 

She is a winner of several technical and leadership awards – including the prestigious IBM Award of Excellence, the NC Triangle Women in Business award, and several Society for Technical Communication awards.

Word Count: 156
Find out more about Lea-Ann by visiting her IMDb page and Sleddogg.com website.

Credits

Directed by Ashley Maria

Produced by Lea-Ann W. Berst, Ashley Maria

Sound Edit by Amy Reynolds Reed

Composed by Jordan Balagot

Sound Editing & Design by Devon Kelley at Skywalker Sound

Sound Mix by Vicki Lemar at Technicolor Post-Production Sound

Edited by Tiffany Hope, Ashley Maria, Crystal Lentz

Production Sound by Rebecca Chan

Cinematography by Liz Yarwood

Written by Lea-Ann W. Berst, Ashley Maria

Graphic Design by Tom Bloczynski

Movie Theme Song “Freeway” by Mia Yara