Sarah Moshman: The Hero Within Her

She found her message, then traveled the country.  One fierce woman at a time, she dared to have their voices heard.

In a burgundy jacket, jeans and grey boots, a non-assuming and charismatic speaker stood in front of an audience. She smiled and focused. In the audience, the people eagerly waited to hear her voice. She was slightly nervous, slightly excited but very determined. Nothing else accompanied her on stage other than a microphone and her message. The crowd slowly fell into a deep silence with full attention on her. She adjusted her hair, stood up straight, and said, “Hello, the Gina Davis Institute on Gender and Media did a study across all the popular films in 11 countries around the world and what that study found is that only 31% of those films had women with speaking roles and only 23% had a female protagonist,” said Sarah Moshman standing on the TEDx stage.

Woman is Another Word for Hero

Before that TEDx event, five women hopped into a minivan and drove across the United States. They traveled from Los Angeles to New York in a month’s time. That is how The Empowerment Project was born, looking for the answer to her TEDx stage’s question, “Where are all the female heroes?” The Empowerment Project: Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things was about these extraordinary women, who set out to interview other women from every type of niche and community, with inspirational stories and tales of strength.

Moshman inspires with stories, using the power of cinema to create change. Her mission and message are for women to gain the courage and bravado to step out of their comfort zones and have the gumption to tell their real stories. The impact it can have worldwide can last for generations. Her message is that we all have the power to change our media landscape – with our dollar, with our remote, we are more powerful than we could ever know.

Her film crew gave a voice to all kinds of women, from a lawyer to a ballerina. Then from an astronaut to an athlete and more. It’s her way of giving deserved attention to everyday women who do awesome things and have something to say but no one is listening. The main question, the crux, and the flagship query: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid to fail?” These powerful, hardworking, intelligent, and brave women expose a bias in society that cannot be ignored.

The first interview was Sandra Clifford, a pilot. Her hair danced in the wind. She was personable yet confident. Moshman put Sandra’s story of true passion and perseverance in the spotlight, highlighting the trials and tribulations of succeeding in a male dominated industry. Then there was Mary, an investment banker… then another… These women had flourished in a world stacked against them. And Moshman would not let their message go unheard.


 It’s About Changing Reality

Moshman grew up in Evanston, Illinois, with encouraging parents who allowed her to follow her dreams. They were practical, but they were dreamers too. Her mom is a chemical engineer turned lawyer and her father is a 26-time Emmy award-winning filmmaker. They purchased a camera for her and she was hooked, making documentaries during her high school years.

She then started working in reality TV as a story assistant on Dancing with the Stars season 7. Logging tapes and assisting producers in the field for ten seasons, she worked her way up to associate producer and then up to field producer. She worked for shows like MTV’s MADE, NBC’s Minute to Win It, Food Network’s Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook Off, and Bravo’s Top Chef Masters and others.

After completing her first feature documentary, her journey with audiences all around the world opened a door few could walk through. She wielded the power of information. There were screenings in groups, schools, corporations, and organizations with viewers of all ages. Hundreds of screenings have helped cause the ripple effect to promote change in a broken system.

Empowerment is Only the Beginning

Previous to The Empowerment Project: Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things, she perfected her craft by directing two shorter documentaries about female empowerment. They were called Girls Rock! Chicago in 2010, and Growing up Strong: Girls on the Run in 2012. Subsequently, this experience fortified her passion and morals. They helped her gain the wherewithal to create The Empowerment Project, which stirs up conversations about gender equality. The distributor was Indieflix. Sponsored by major brands like Nordstrom, American Girl, and others, the goal was to get the message to the people.

Moshman’s passion continues to be the power of cinema and the lasting effect of memorable stories. Losing Sight of Shore is her second feature-length documentary project about four women who set out to row the Pacific Ocean. It’s a perfect project to follow her first feature with true tales and wonderful feats of human fortitude empowering women. The silenced have found a true ambassador that is driven to spread equality and its message.

This Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker leaves us with this empowering thought, “You are all extraordinary. You have a story to share and a voice and the power to take action. How you spend your dollar determines what is shown. Demand inspiring content that is respectful of women.” Click here for our interview with Sarah Moshman.

Visit Sarah Moshman’s website to learn more about her amazing work and inspiring message at www.sarahmoshman.com.