Through interviews with five extraordinary women, Gabrielle Mariella explores diversity, or the lack of it, on and off stage on Broadway. Her film ENOUGH was made through a Sony Alpha Female+ grant.
ENOUGH project by Alpha Female Grant Winner Gabrielle Mariella
Sony Alpha 7S III, Alpha 7 III and Alpha 6400 ENOUGH project by Alpha Female Grant Winner Gabrielle Mariella
Twi McCallum in the ENOUGH project by Alpha Female Grant Winner Gabrielle Mariella
Sammi Cannold in the ENOUGH project by Alpha Female Grant Winner Gabrielle Mariella
Macy Schmidt in the ENOUGH project by Alpha Female Grant Winner Gabrielle Mariella
Valerie Lau-Kee in the ENOUGH project by Alpha Female Grant Winner Gabrielle Mariella
Jessica Paz in the ENOUGH project by Alpha Female Grant Winner Gabrielle Mariella
For her grant-winning Alpha Female+ project, filmmaker Gabrielle Mariella (@gabriellemariella) set out to make a documentary about women on Broadway and more specifically, why there isn't more diversity in creative teams on Broadway. This issue isn’t talent or skill or capability. There’s a barrier that Mariella is working to bring down. “This project turned into something a lot larger than I intended,” she says. “It started out as an untitled short film, which quickly got its title, ENOUGH, from a song called 'Best Kept Secret.' The word 'enough' is repeated throughout the song. How many women on a creative team is enough? Enough is enough. We are enough. When will we be enough?” The title is, at the same time, a statement a question and a call to action.
Gabrielle Mariella's Alpha Female+ Grant project focuses on recognition of women within the creative industry and especially within Broadway.
Like a lot of documentary-type projects, things didn’t go exactly as planned. Setting out to make a short mini-doc of sorts, Mariella found herself changing course almost from the very beginning. “I originally imagined this video to be relatively short and set to music,” she says, “but after the first interview with Jessica Paz, I immediately realized that I had a much larger project on my hands. There were so many great stories these women shared, their fears, their triumphs, their hopes- that I couldn’t possibly cut it down to the initial planned length. The film is still technically a ‘short,’ but it’s quite a bit longer than initially intended. And that’s OK. I feel that what these women have to say is important, and I hope that in its longer form it can have more impact.”
Filming The Interviews
For the film itself, Mariella used a Sony Alpha 7S III, Alpha 7 III and Alpha 6400 cameras and a few select lenses. “Most of the content was interview style,” she explains, “so I used a Sony 24-105mm f/4 G lens for the wide shots and profiles, and a Sony 55mm f/1.8 lens for the main shot. I used a Sony Alpha 6400 for b-roll, with a 35mm lens on it.”
She continues, “For the main shots with the 55mm lens, I kept the depth of field very shallow to really highlight the women, and I let the profile shot with the 24-105mm f/4 at 35mm show a bit more of the set-up. I wanted the wide shot to look much less polished, a bit of a behind the scenes look as opposed to the main shot which I wanted to look as flattering and cinematic as possible.”
Overall, Mariella wanted to keep the lighting soft and natural. She was working in different spaces and instead of creating a one-size fits all lighting setup she decided to let the space influence how she lit. “My favorite lighting was for Sammi Cannold’s interview. We shot that in a black box theater with one key light and two lights behind her shining on the background to add some depth. I loved how dark and theatrical that looked while still keeping the light on her face really soft.”
Inspiration For The Future
Among the interviews for the film, Mariella was particularly inspired by Valerie Lau-Kee. Lau-Kee has been working on Broadway for almost 30 years as a performer, stage manager and she’s now the producing director for the Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS non-profit. “Valerie has such a way with words,” Mariella says, “and a unique insight on this business and how we go about making change within it, from a storytelling standpoint, a business standpoint, and a human one. I could listen to her all day and I hope young women are able to pull some wisdom from what made it into the final cut.”
In the end, ENOUGH is more than just a documentary for Mariella. She’s a producer, a filmmaker and a performer herself. In fact, the song, “Best Kept Secret” with its “enough” refrains, was written by Angela Sclafani with arrangement & orchestrations by Macy Schmidt, played by all female instrumentalists from Broadway Sinfonietta, and with vocals by Mariella and Adee David. The most personal projects, seem to have the most universal themes.
See the full film at enoughfilm.org.
See more of Gabrielle Mariella's work on her Alpha Universe Profile and on Instagram @gabriellemariella.