Be the Change: Taylor Re Lynn on the Importance of Female Leadership in the Film Industry
The film industry used to be led by a mysterious inner sanctum. Hollywood executives would smoke cigars, pick out the next big star, and greenlight projects — all from the comfort of their dimly lit offices. These were offices that by-and-large only wealthy white men were invited into, and these were the guys making every major decision. That made it a hardscrabble fight to get into the movie business at any level — especially if you didn’t suit the tastes of a few millionaires.
But among today’s generation of filmmakers, some people are trying to change all of that. They want to create a place where artistic merit is the only coin of the realm. Some of these people are using their own success to open doors for new voices and talent.
Taylor Re Lynn is just such a filmmaker. From New York, she is both an actress and film producer. Her producing work includes the critically-acclaimed “Love, Gilda” — a documentary that looks back at the incredible life and career of Gilda Radner by other comedy greats, which premiered at the opening night of the Tribeca Film Festival — and the Golden Globe-nominated “The Fencer”.
Her string of successes has given her the kind of knowledge, respect, and pull in the industry that few ever attain. But while it is an age-old tradition to forget about others once you’ve made it to the top, Lynn is fighting to help independent filmmakers and artists from diverse backgrounds who have never been given a real shot before.
Lynn is particularly dedicated to supporting women and amplifying their vision by producing their film projects. That includes guiding newcomers through the range of issues and struggles any film faces before the first day of shooting, as well as all the vagaries that continue for months after the final edit. It’s like a Hollywood diversity movement, making a difference one person at a time.
To this end, she is constantly working. Her current projects include the short “Il Moro” — which follows the story of Alessandro de Medici, the first Duke of Florence from Africa. Directed by Daphne Di Cinto, the film has won multiple accolades, including Best Italian Short Film at the Fabrique du Cinema Awards, Best Short Film at the 2022 Integrazione Film Festival, Best Short Film at the Italian Black Movie Awards, and co-winner of the Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival for Best Short Narrative – Oscar Qualifying.
She is also the producer on “Hunting Trophies”, a crime mystery thriller from Hungarian filmmaker László Illés, who Lynn has worked with before on The Shephard.
“We must be the change that we want to see. Reaching back to give a helping hand to others and mentor those entering the industry is critically important,” said Lynn.
If changing the film industry from the inside wasn’t enough, she also pursues her mission through Cultured Focus Magazine, which she serves as Editor-in-Chief.
The magazine promotes independent creators and artists from around the world, celebrating the diversity of a truly global culture.
The magazine also works as a kind of launch pad for even more projects, going well beyond the written word. They hold special events, like the Cultured Focus Magazine Awards and Diversity in Film Symposium which promoted new ideas to improve the industry during the 79th Venice Film Festival. They also hire many talented women journalists and sponsor scholarships for young women to pursue their studies and develop their careers.
Through her thoughtful cultivation of diverse voices in cinema to her advocacy for diversity in the publishing world, Lynn is taking on the old boys’ club that has dominated the world of film and art for far too long.
Lynn’s ability to merge her career with her values, her artistic passion with her belief in equity, shows us how a new generation of creatives are turning the world upside-down. Rather than being overly protective of her success, she uses her position to raise up others — and her example is leading a quiet yet seismic shift in the way the industry works.