This feature documentary 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 girls on a robotic team, their fathers, as well as a young mother – all while traveling the U.S., speaking to fellow pioneering women and topic experts who had solutions to share.
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.
The design goal for our movie poster was to express a feeling of optimism. We were mindful to weave in brighter shading from the Pioneer green spectrum into the background so you felt the hope the film brings. The poster design also reflects the movie’s message: You Are Not Alone.
Official release date: August 2020…yeah, during the pandemic :)
Theatrical release: in a post-pandemic world :)
Secure online streaming link, Blu-ray disc, DCP
English | 60-min runtime
Closed captioning: English
Subtitles: Spanish, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, French, German, Russian, Arabic
More information about the film and access to photos & promotional materials can be found here: pioneersinskirts.com/press-kit.
A Pioneer — at its core, is a person who confronts and overcomes the barriers she encounters along her career path. – more –
We’re extremely proud of the recognition we received when we screened in the festival circuit. Thank you to the many people and organizations who have been supporting us along our journey to achieve positive change for women & girls around the world!
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.
We’re very pleased to have the filmmakers join us today, too! Ashley Maria is the director of Pioneers in Skirts and winner of the coveted Director’s Guild of America Award. She has been working in film & television for 10 years, is based in Los Angeles, and grew up here in Raleigh, NC! She received her undergrad from UNC-Chapel Hill and her Masters in Cinematic Arts from USC (in Los Angeles).
Lea-Ann Berst is the producer of Pioneers in Skirts. Lea-Ann started her career working for Marvel Comics in NYC, moved into the technology industry when “computer chips” were a term most people were unfamiliar with, and left her 15-year career in tech to be a filmmaker and an outsourced activation marketer.
Lea-Ann lives in Raleigh, NC, but grew up all over the world because she’s the child of an Army officer.
Fun fact, Lea-Ann also happens to be Ashley’s Mom!
Below are short and long biographies for Ashley and Lea-Ann. Please contact us for more information.
DIRECTOR, PRODUCER, CO-WRITER
Pioneers in Skirts Director, Ashley Maria, is a DGA award-winning filmmaker located in Los Angeles, CA. She is known for her work on many feature & short films, new media, and television commercials. Ashley received her MFA from the USC School of Cinematic Arts and her undergrad from UNC-Chapel Hill. When not on set, Ashley is a directing instructor at UCLA’s Film School.
PRODUCER, ACTIVATION, CO-WRITER
Pioneers in Skirts Producer, Lea-Ann W. Berst, is an award-winning global activation professional located in Raleigh, NC. Her career has spanned 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.
Directed by Ashley Maria
Produced by Lea-Ann W. Berst, Ashley Maria
Sound Edit by Amy Reynolds Reed
Composed by Alana Balagot
Production Sound by Rebecca Chan
Cinematography by Elizabeth Yarwood
Written by Lea-Ann W. Berst, Ashley Maria
Graphic Design by Tom Bloczynski
Movie Theme Song “Freeway” by Mia Yara