Pink Among Men production company founder and Belle En Argent Muse, Amy DePaola, wants you to know that she’s going to continue working hard, staying weird and making strides to staff her films up with more women on the team. A savvy industry veteran, Amy does it all from producing and directing to writing to acting in front of the camera. She loves telling stories and her passion for uplifting others through the creativity process shines through her work. Her production company also has a podcast, “Pink Among Men,” that addresses gender in creativity and the workplace.
Based in NYC with roots in Jersey and Boston, Amy has dove into commercial projects with mainstream power players like Jeep and Progressive, while taking calculated risks with projects like, “AMYDEE” - a movie about reclaiming personal power after an unexpected attack. Amy describes the film industry and related pursuits as always part of her from her formative years on, just as her “hands and heart are.” Amy’s pro-female approach has us rooting for her and her characters on- and off-set, and we can’t wait to see what’s next!
We played Two Truths and a Lie with Amy! .....You probably know the rules, but here is a quick refresher--Below, Amy gave us two true fun facts, as well as one that's made up. See if you can guess which one is the lie! View the answer at the bottom of her interview.
I've fought in an amateur boxing match
I studied theater in Moscow
I own pet snakes
List your favorite social media handles to follow
@allyschmaling - photographer
@an_erin - designer
@cyndiramirez ; founder of ChillHouse
@oneouncegold - Sahra V. Nguyen, a filmmaker who also has great taste in food
@overthrowboxing and @boxingnapoleon - Alycia Napolean, boxer and owner of Overthrow.
My roots come from a small town in Jersey but I am planted, heart and soul, in NYC. I have a few branches from Boston, as well.
I'm a film, commercial and branded entertainment producer, director, writer and actress. I do it all really, I edit some of my own work too! I love telling stories.
When did you know this is what you wanted to do?
I'm asked this question all the time, and I have to admit. It is difficult for one for me to answer. I was a child actor, so I suppose it started way back then. Looking back creating feels like it has always just been a part of me just as my hands and heart are. I’ve been creating and performing since I was 4 years-old; painting classes, dance classes, piano classes and drama clubs. Owning a video camera turned into writing groups, workshops, parts in staged plays, auditions and eventually my own film sets. As I’ve gotten older and given more thought to why I am driven to what I do, I believe at lot of it is personal – it’s just who I am – but I also believe creating is important because it helps to create a more empathetic society. Creation for me is an outlet to provide audiences with a different perspective and to show how others view the world.
What projects are you working on now?
I'm lucky and fortunate that I get paid to produce and direct. In addition to my narrative and documentary work that I spearhead, I work on commercials and branded content as a director and producer. I just finished up a rewarding branded piece about trade with a major philanthropic institution and am currently in post-production for my first digital pilot about woman reclaiming her power of choice from her addiction to her dating device in a future driven by genetic matching. I'm producing a documentary about a transgender political candidate called HER NEXT MISSION. Additionally, I will be directing a narrative series later this fall that is a female centric crime story ala "The Sopranos." There's a lot of other projects in the works that I am developing. You can also check out my podcast where I discuss gender in creativity and the workplace at @pinkamongmen.
What is your dream project? Or dream collaboration?
It is hard to say what is a dream or not because I tend to make my dreams reality. I also tend to think of so many things to do and change with the tides. Lately though, I think if I could do something super big picture it would be to flip an established narrative on its head. For example, I really want to re-tell the story of "The Shining" from Wendy Torrance's point of view and to go a bit deeper with it. I mean, that's the real horror of that film - not the hotel. I think her perspective could be much more fascinating and horrifying than what Kubrik showed us. Who would I ideally collaborate with on that? I'll make any excuse to work with Jenny Slate, yea.
List three (3) accomplishments you are most proud of
- I fought in an amateur boxing match, that simultaneously raised funds for cancer research, which was featured in my film AMYDEE. I decided to fight to tell a narrative about how boxing saved my life and I reclaimed my power after I was attacked. I am very proud of this film.
- I taught undergraduate film students producing and production management at Emerson College. I'm proud of this because at the time, it was early in my career and I was always worried my students wouldn't take me seriously. I still receive notes from students, now, years later, about how much my encouragement still means to them. It doesn't take a whole lot to empower others and help them believe in themselves.
- I'm proud of my relationship with my handsome partner, Daniel. It is certainly not easy maintaining a work/life balance in this field, but he and I have a good understanding of each other's needs and goals and make it work.
Who is your favorite character from a movie?
Sue Ellen "Swell" Crandle from "Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead." Played by Christina Applegate and killing it with style the entire film.
Who is your favorite filmmaker/writer/director/producer/editor, etc?
Ava Berkofsky, the Director of Photography for HBO's "Insecure" is really inspiring my color palettes these days. I want to have all my meals with Jenni Konner and know everything she does.
Who do you admire and why? (this can be someone you know or a public figure)
It's so hard to pinpoint one person when I feel like I am constantly evolving and shifting my perspective on who to admire for what and why. I really admire the women I put around me in my day to day life. I'll give a shout out to a few of them, also NYC based filmmakers, Ashley George (@ash_monique), Misha Calvert (@mishacalvert), Heather Taylor (@heathertaylor) and my friend Mike Tyler (@mike.r.tyler), four people who are seriously themselves and seriously going after what they want, unabashedly.
What do you feel is the biggest hurdle for women and POC in the film industry?
This is a huge, nuanced conversation. Aside from the hurdles that women have to get over in society, in general, women in film are elbowed out of technical education and opportunities (camera op, AC, Grip, Gaffing, Audio), leaving us super far behind. When people in positions of power are hiring they make snap judgements and 9 times out of 10 the names are all men. Therefore, we get left out of even being considered for gigs and can't amass the reels and resumés that men do. I'm super aware of my privilege as well. I work fairly hard when I staff to bring women onto the team.
Did you know in 2016 women made up only 7% of all directors working on the 250 top grossing films?
Oh do I ever! The statistics haven't changed that much since 1996. It makes me feel hopeless some days. However, I also tend to tell myself to focus on the work and that fills me with hope.
Do you know women who aspire to be film directors?
Myself and many of the women I surround myself with! Ashley George, Misha Calvert, Heather Taylor, Hannah Engelson, Sofia Cataneo, Eden Martinez - these are my people!
What is one thing you wish you could tell your younger self? What is one wish you have for your future self?
Younger Self: Work hard and stay weird. Who cares what those other people think!
Future Self: I wish to continue to work hard and stay weird, and care less about what other people think.
What's your favorite makeup item?
Lipstick and lengthening mascara is my signature!
Anything we forgot to ask about that you want to share?
I love what Belle En Argent is doing! I tell stories about women and other humans who are discovering their power. I know how well a good lipstick helps that too!