Please introduce yourself, what you do, why you do it, and what you want people to know about you.
I’m KT Curran, the Founder and Director of Wingspan Productions (wingspanproductions.org), a nonprofit film company that creates powerful films of grit, truth, and resilience, films that encourage people to connect across differences and forge new ways of listening and understanding. We focus on telling real stories that refuse to sugarcoat the reality of life in the 21st Century.
Currently, we’re working on a new fictional film called Dragonfly about mental health coming out of the worst global pandemic of our lifetime. Dragonfly tells the story of a young mental health worker grappling with her own grief and self-destruction, who fights to save people in serious mental health crisis in her job as head of a mobile crisis response team. Embedded with law enforcement, she’s struggling with the police who don’t want her there, the clients who fight her tooth and nail, and her own wounded psyche. She wants to save the world, but the life she saves might be her own.
In addition to my work as Director and Founder of Wingspan Productions, I am an award-winning filmmaker and educator with internationally published films and plays that have inspired millions across the world. I am most interested in creating work that celebrates the courage and power of finding your own voice and authenticity – particularly focusing on stories about women, young adults, and other disenfranchised populations finding their true power and self-efficacy.
I am the writer/director of the new feature film, Surviving Lunch (survivinglunch.com), an internationally acclaimed film about bullying and gun violence that is streaming on Amazon Prime. Before coming to Amazon Prime, Surviving Lunch has been featured and winning awards in film festivals across the US, Canada, France, and Russia.
What qualities makes you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
The qualities that make me different and unique from everyone else in the industry is that I am not only a female filmmaker in a male dominated field – I also am the head of a 501c3, nonprofit film company that writes, creates, and distributes fictional films. It’s not that this hasn’t been done before, but no one I know personally has ever done it this way.
In a sense, I am drawing the roadmap as I go along, inventing how to make it work as if I am a character in one of my screenplays. It’s fun and exciting, thrilling, and terrifying all at the same time.
Describe THAT moment when you realized you wanted to do what you do now. Who did you tell first? What has it been like since that moment?
I was in LA, working on a new theatre play, and happened to see a friend’s premiere in Hollywood of her new web series. As I watched the web series, I knew immediately that I could do this – that it was a form and structure that I understood and resonated with. I decided to take a month off and make a web series.
That month stretched into three years and a total fascination, and I continued from there into making two feature films, three shorts, starting a film company, and currently working on my third feature. It’s been the hardest I’ve ever worked in my life and endlessly frustrating, but also continually fascinating and wildly creative.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to face and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I’ve had to face is that there is always more to learn, more to discover and as soon as you master one aspect of this crazy medium, you find yourself wanting to go twice as far with some new part of it. Funding is always a challenge –every moment fundraising takes you away from the work of doing it, and yet it is the engine that makes the work possible. And of course, being a female filmmaker doesn’t offer you a lot of peers or mentors who are doing the same work.
Fortunately, I am a member of Film Fatales, an inclusive community of women feature film and television directors who meet regularly to share resources, collaborate on projects and build an environment in which to make their films. I have also received a lot of support from Lady Filmmaker’s Festival – a fabulous LA based film festival that is amazingly supportive of female filmmakers from all over the world.
If you had to pick the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could take your career (or business) to the next level…who would those 3 people be?
It would definitely be Shonda Rhimes – I’d love to shadow Shonda on a show from start to finish and just breathe in her genius; Phoebe Waller-Bridge – I find Phoebe fearless and devastatingly funny and also so vulnerable, raw, and NEW. I am deeply inspired by her work because it is so original; and also – Greta Gerwig – her writing and directing and acting are incandescent- honest, beautiful, powerful, timeless and modern at the same time.
As a professional actress, I love how Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Greta Gerwig have managed to act, write, AND direct. I have always wondered why CAN’T we do it all? Why must one have to choose?
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Featured photo credit: Barbara Banks Photography