Zanah Thirus Profile picture
Sep 15, 2020 13 tweets 7 min read
I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that this has been my most successful and decorated year as an indie filmmaker and I’ve been in my living room this whole time.

A THREAD.
January 2020 I was named one of the Top 10 Filmmakers of the Decade by @diversencannes, a movement promoting diversity at the Cannes Film Festival. Image
February 2020 I got accepted to @Kartemquin’s Diverse Voices in Docs Fellowship Program. Image
That same month, I made the @reelchi_reel360 Black list

reelchicago.com/article/zanah-…
April 2020- in honor of sexual assault awareness month, I released the trailer for my most vulnerable documentary film to date, ‘Unlearning Sex’.

This doc followed my six month journey through sexual trauma therapy and recovery.

vimeo.com/385888457
May 2020 I dropped @_microbudgetpod on #spotify and #applepodcasts. A three season podcast dedicated to microbudget indie film production

anchor.fm/zanah-thirus
In June 2020 I curated a lineup of films by Black filmmakers for Juneteenth with @UtahFilmCenter. My first time curating and the lineup was INCREDIBLE.

utahfilmcenter.org/virtual-video-…
In July 2020 @shortyawards welcomed me to their academy 🤗 Image
August and September have been CRAZY with festivals @CsiffOfficial & @bfsfilmfest selected my short film ‘MeMaw’ for their lineup this year 🥺

We’re 5 festivals and two nominations in!

vimeo.com/344470530
My documentary ‘Unlearning Sex’ also started getting selected to a number of festivals in August & September 2020.

@imagineprods
@SocJustFilmFest
@chisocialchange
@filmsforthepeop

Four official selections and counting!

vimeo.com/385888457
August - September 2020 I was also a part of the 2020 @ADCOLOR futures class.

adcolor.org/futures/
Lastly, I finished writing my next comedy short film about a Black feminist planning a wedding free of patriarchal traditions.

September 2020 I got a $5K production grant to produce it. That’s the whole budget. We’re in production.

www-thewrap-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.thewra…
I can’t even imagine what October-December are up to but IM READY.

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More from @Zanah__

Nov 10, 2020
A lot of people ask me how I balance working full time as a commercial producer and being an indie filmmaker, so I figured I’d make a thread about it.
1) understand that it’s possible to have a day job and a passion. Many people will tell you that it’s not possible. It is. It’s just about time management and setting realistic goals for yourself.
2) time management is everything. I usually wake up around 6am-7am.

The first few hours of my morning I spend focusing on outlining my tasks for the day. I have two lists, one for my job, the other for film. Knowing what’s ahead of me keeps me from feeling overwhelmed.
Read 13 tweets
Sep 22, 2020
My first advice to documentary filmmakers :

1) find out if you want to follow a topic or a story.

2) find out which documentary genre you want to execute your film- (poetic, observational, participatory, etc)

3) create a deck that outlines...(cont)
• longline & synopsis
• themes & genre
• story elements (b roll list, archival footage, interviews, etc)
• tentative production timing
• your target audience
• your targeted distribution plan
• mood board
• doc examples of other films similar to yours for reference
This is GOING to change throughout the course of production. But the worst advice I keep hearing is “just pick up a camera and start filming” when it comes to documentaries.

It is okay to have a flexible structure that keeps your project moving. THAT IS OKAY.
Read 6 tweets
Sep 10, 2020
I have a full time job as an ad agency content producer. outside of that I make indie films. Most people have no idea about my 9-5. I only promote my film work. My day job doesn’t define me. It’s the primary investor in my films, and the reason I’m able to create consistently.
You can teach and make films.
You can be an office coordinator and make films.
You can drive Uber and make films.
You can produce commercial content for brands and make films.

There are so many sustainable ways to be a filmmaker that don’t involve struggling.
Hollywood is a soul crushing gatekeeping cesspool of soullessness and greed. No matter how many ways it’s painted as “just the industry”, we need to offer filmmakers more avenues of success and sustainability.

There are so many ways to work in film while being a filmmaker.
Read 7 tweets
Sep 8, 2020
All of my documentary films follow a similar format/style. Activism centered, interview based, coupled with animation, typography, archival footage, and b roll.

Why? Because the producer + Virgo in me will not allow me to agree to a project without a definitive end date 😩
Exhibit A: Black Feminist.

52 mins. Highly educational. Distributed by @womenmakemovies. Schools LOVE this. It’s fun, upbeat, poignant, and informational.

Shot this in 2 locations with a 3 person crew of all Black women in Less than a year.

vimeo.com/306607294
Exhibit B: Unlearning Sex

Round table interviews (3 shoot days). Therapy sessions were recorded from my phone. Also being distributed by @womenmakemovies. Screening at @imagineprods, @filmsforthepeop, and @chisocialchange this month.

1 year production
vimeo.com/385888457
Read 5 tweets
Aug 19, 2020
Every single time a celebrity is called out for sexual misconduct, the responses to it show me that we as a society STILL know little to nothing about sexual assault, trauma, and consent. It’s exhausting.
The problem is that so many men are conditioned to believe that sexual aggression and coercion are how you engage in sexual activity. Enthusiastic consent is demonized because men are taught they should “chase” and “pursue”. Sex is looked at as something to obtain from women.
we give girls absolute hell and shame them for being sexual beings, but throw sex in boy’s faces because their sexual desires are what “makes them a man”.
Read 6 tweets
Aug 1, 2020
I started filmmaking in 2015. The first five years of this journey has been

- getting my masters degree in cinema producing
- producing 15 films, directing 8
- focusing on festivals & content distribution
- networking my ass off to build a film tribe

zanahthirus.com/awards
The next five years my focus is

- getting into academy award qualifying festivals consistently.
- learning how to shoot on a basic DSLR so I can film my own docs
- writing bigger scripts with larger casts and crews.
- more international distribution

zanahthirus.com/distribution
My brand as a filmmaker has changed over the years but two things are consistent-

1) microbudget independent filmmaking is always going to be my passion

2) creating activism centered work is always going to be my passion

evolution is unavoidable, but consistency is key.
Read 4 tweets

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