CherryPicks Offers Movie Lovers ‘a View from the Female Perspective’

Miranda Bailey, a prolific indie movie actor, director, and producer noticed a void in film criticism and stepped up to fill it with TheCherryPicks.com, her cutting-edge new website.

Bailey describes the website as a “new media platform bringing you unique and nuanced perspectives on film with reviews, ratings, and high-quality original content, all through a female lens.”

More than a film review site, Bailey calls TheCherryPicks.com a new kind of film-loving community. Along with high-quality reviews and rankings, visitors will find personal and cultural takes on movies on the site and social feeds.

This platform, she developed with Gurl.com Co-founder Rebecca Odes, is also being used to “push for gender equity” all over the industry, and most recently honored a first-time female film-making team with an award at SXSW 2019.

Her passion for the site comes after bringing compelling, well-crafted stories to the screen during her distinguished 15-year film-making career.

To her credit, Bailey has produced more than 20 films, among them the Oscar-nominated The Squid and the Whale and the Spirit Award-winning The Diary of a Teenage GirlSuper, Swiss Army Man, and Norman.

Bailey’s directorial narrative feature debut Being Frank, now playing at theaters, is an offbeat familiar dramatic-comedy that premiered in the Spotlight Section at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival. The movie stars Jim Gaffigan, Anna Gunn, Samantha Mathis, and rising star Logan Miller.

In light of the fact that reviewers for most media outlets “have been overwhelmingly male, we think that the people who review films should be as diverse as the people who watch them,” Bailey exclusively told PCM.

“That’s why we bring you reviews, opinions, and stories exclusively from female, femme, and non-binary reviews, making it easy for us to hear from people like you as you make your movie-watching decisions,” she added. “I want TheCherryPicks.com to be the place where women go and also the place for anyone who cares about what women think about entertainment.”

[Miranda Bailey, actor, director, producer and founder of  a new female-driven film website and film-loving community]

It sounds like a major undertaking. How difficult was it to get CherryPicks started?

It was pretty easy to get it started; but maintaining it is difficult. I compare it to making a whole movie. I want it to be accessible for people to take what we have to their own accounts, find out about movies and buy tickets. I love the design. It took co-founder Rebecca Odes and me a long time to get there. So, it was never easy; but it’s been a great deal of fun.

Why do you think you were able to pull this off?

[Laughed] I still don’t know that I can pull it off. I was a bit naïve.

How does your site fit with #metoomovement?

The idea for the site was pre-Harvey Weinstein, Times Up and #meToo. The idea came to me in 2017 when I produced Lake Bell’s second film, I do…Until I Don’t, which came out around the same time as The Zookeeper’s Wife. The way the men wrote about these films was so different from the way women wrote about them. Rotten Tomatoes just didn’t have scores just for women critics, so I thought, rather naively, that I would make one. I announced it last year and we spent six months on the current design.

Please talk about success when it comes to this and your film endeavors.

For every success that I’ve had, there have been 10 failures; that’s the way it goes. At the end of the day, I’m not sure how I got on this path. Never thought about pulling it off. I knew it would be a lot of work. I had the ideas and the capital and I could find the people who would have the time to produce an added product in the marketplace that would speed up the possibility of us getting more women behind the camera.

What is the overall mission?

We’ve been shouting to get more women behind the camera. I’ve been a director, actress, producer, and distributor. I’m not going to make a film that a distributor isn’t going to buy. It is very scary for [Hollywood] to have a woman behind the camera. We’re not being sexist, they just say there isn’t an audience in an International marketplace. So who is talking to the audience? When we decided to create CherryPicks some 78 percent of the critics on RottenTomatoes.com were men.

What does that mean in the long run?

It means that all the people telling us what to spend their money on are in the same group. If I can show the industry that there are women out there who want options for what they see, maybe more women will get hired as journalists, and behind the scenes. I thought maybe it could help. So I am trying to do just that.

What is your latest movie?

Producing wise my next film to be released is The Amazing Johnathon, a documentary I took to the Sundance Film Festival that will be streamed on Hulu in August.

What other recent movies are you proud of?

I’m proud of all my films regardless of their critical or financial success. Most recently I directed Being Frank, which is in theaters now. The movie is about a family that is turned upside down when the eldest son (Logan Miller) discovers that his dad, Frank, (Jim Gaffigan), has a secret other family.

Tell me about how CherryPicks works.

I want it to be the place to go to find out about entertainment from the female perspective. The goal is to move into music and video games next, which are way under-represented when it comes to women. Eventually, we will include television and virtual reality. If you’re a girl and want to make simple decisions about what movie to see or stream, or what video game to play The CherryPicks.com is the place to see what other girls and women like. We are not vapid creatures.

So you hope more women and girls who become informed by your site will go to the movies made by women?

That is one goal for sure. But we enjoy all kinds of movies made by all sexes and races. The hard part is changing the narrative to reflect real audiences. I think it’s hard to get people to go to the movies. If I understand the formula or genre, I think the world is so upside down right now that everyone is demanding their art be right side up. If it doesn’t have a statement it shouldn’t veer off course. This means a lot of customers are not going to see the movie before they judge it.

What do you want people to get out of the website? Why should they stop by the site?

First off it’s an easy place to go and see what women are thinking about a film. It’s a great place to stream and buy tickets. We are looking at themes and fun collections of movies like a Loveable Liars Theme, or movies when someone hands you their child for a week like About a Boy. I get to think about and remember movies that are out there on Hulu, Netflix or Amazon or at the movies, whatever your TV or phone is connected to. Just as long as those who come to the site are nice and kind, that’s all I care about.

As the mother of a seven-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son how important is it to you that there are positive role models in movies, TV and video games?

What’s great is that the time my daughter is growing up in. She saw me watching a woman running for president on TV and she asked me who that woman was. So she is growing up knowing that she can be president if she wants to. We live in L.A. which is very conscious right now of women’s success and empowerment, so she has had none of the experiences growing up and being teased for being a girl.

What is it like when you hear positive feedback about CherryPicks?

When I hear that the site is changing things for girls and women it feels awesome. There have been a lot of people who reached out on Twitter who have been extremely grateful. Our readers can get to know all of the women writers and critics that are out there right now, start looking for them on the site and start following them. I am really excited about that part. It is an opportunity for female writers to promote themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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