Recently I was lucky enough to get to ask some questions to the incredible Kimberly Hoyos, the creator of The Light Leaks , a website created to give a voice to women, minorities, and gender non-conforming people in film. In the span of about a half a year since it’s launch date, The Light Leaks already has a rapidly growing following, and has been written about in Bust Magazine and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls. Kim is a strong and passionate voice for people who are ready to leave their mark in the film industry. Her enthusiasm and drive for what she does is infectious and inspiring, and Hoyos is a shining beacon of hope for what’s to come in the future of film and online activism.
W&M: Can you tell us a bit about what the light leaks is?
Kim: It’s a site created for the empowerment, education, and support of female and gender non conforming filmmakers. Monthly, we publish think pieces pitched by creators in our community, interviews with folks in the industry, and spotlights on short films!
W&M: What first inspired you to create the light leaks?
Kim: I had never really had a place to be a woman in film. I noticed a lot of the professional organizations I found online were focused more on filmmakers who already had IMDB pages together, various years in the industry, and also some level of money. I wanted an accessible place for young creators to be able to learn about each other, understand more about the industry, and highlight their work online. The idea started to formally develop in August 2016 but the passions had always been there.
W&M: When did you first realize that you wanted to work in film?
Kim: I was 16/17 when I got my first real camera! It was so exciting for me to capture moments visually and let them help me explain how I felt and what my life was like. I had learned how to edit when I was 15 so it all came together when I started to combine these interests. I realized that I had found a place where I could plan, yet still be creative. And be in control, yet still let things just…happen. It’s been the biggest and best decision I’ve ever made.
W&M: Who are you biggest inspirations in film?
Kim: Inspiration is hard to describe for me. A lot of the things that inspire me to make films aren’t people but objects or ideas. I’m inspired a lot by relationships- romantic, platonic, and every tangle in between. I feel more inspired by regular non famous or non artist people than maybe I should be for an artist. I just find myself inspired by the way people interact with each other.
In a more traditional sense, I’m inspired by the work of Wes Anderson, Lorde, Petra Collins, Jack Antonoff, Lena Dunham, Tim Burton, Sofia Coppola, Lin Manuel Miranda, Gina Rodriguez, and more!
W&M: Do you have any further plans for The Light Leaks?
Kim: I’m mostly seeing how things develop from month to month with TLL. I’d love to one day have my own production company so maybe TLL will one day become that. But I’m mostly trying to keep it something fun and dynamic in my life that both nourishes my soul and helps others. If I put any concrete expectations or timelines on the site, it’d ruin the enjoyment and purity of it.
W&M: What has it been like to see all of your hard work blossom into this beautiful creation?
Kim: It’s been so surreal to have people actively pitch me ideas, send their press releases, and interview me! It’s so unexpected. I had no way of gauging if people would believe in the site or understand its’ message but I’m happy to say that a lot of young filmmakers have been able to find the site and support each other through it.
Kim: It’s because most white people don’t care. Straight, white, males run Hollywood and with that comes a lack of formal or even informal education on experiences outside their own. There isn’t a way to create stories of experiences you haven’t had unless you research all that surrounds it. SO, the alternative would be hiring non white, non male, non straight identities- but that’s something that’s seen as a fad, risk, or unimportant.
Kim: Misrepresentation allows for skewed ideologies to form. Media influences the way we act. Of course, we learn how to act from personal experience but we also draw knowledge from the media we consume. Because of this, representation is important because it’s the way that groups and individuals are recognized and the way in which we subconsciously learn about each other.
W&M: And finally, what do you have to say to women and minorities who hope to, or already work in the film industry?
Kim: Questions like this are difficult because there’s no way to address every race/sexual orientation/economic class/ability/etc of women out there- or minority out there. To say “a message to all minorities” is to group all minorities in one mega group, erasing our identities in the process. I can only speak to my experience and the things that have been able to work for me. For myself, I’ve found it beneficial to try to creators whose stories resonate with me, support work that reflects a more diverse and accepting society, and create the work that I truly want to create. I think authenticity is something that’s really helped me move forward. I don’t have to keep up appearances online/in person/in my art because it’s all the same- it’s me. With following what only you can do, you’re doing yourself a favor and what you’re working towards means more.
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