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Reel Grrls Leader To Resign

Derek Wang

It's the end of an era for Reel Grrls, the Seattle nonprofit that teaches young women about filmmaking. The group's executive director, Malory Graham, says she plans to step down at the end of the year after founding the group a decade ago.


Reel Grrls made national news earlier this year when it sent out a tweet critical of the FCC and Comcast. The tweet raised concerns about the fact that Comcast had hired a former FCC member who had voted in favor of Comcast's merger with NBC Universal, raising concerns about a possible conflict of interest. Comcast responded by saying it would pull its funding for the group's summer program.

That led to this video response from Reel Grrls.

Video: "Next thing I know, you email me to tell me you're cutting off the funding for my summer program at Reel Grrls. What the heck Comcast, I thought we were friends? I thought you wanted me to speak my mind? What would I do this summer if this program isn't funded?"

After the tweets and national media attention, Comcast eventually apologized and said it would restore the funding.

The executive director of Reel Grrls, Malory Graham, says the situation led to a lot questions.

Graham: "We had a lot of young women watching us as staff for how were we going to respond: Were we going to back down, were we going to change our policies so that we would no longer upset a corporate funder?"

Ultimately the group decided not to take the money.

Graham: "I think it was so important for our constituents and the young women that we serve to see us stand up to that. To see, kind of the David and Goliath moment. And to see a young teeny organization like Reel Grrls really can have an impact by sticking by their values."

And for Graham that same notion of sticking to one's values is one of the main reasons why she's stepping down. She wants to devote more time to her own work as a filmmaker. Graham says she remains proud of what the organization has accomplished, including getting work into the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, but —

Graham: "Here I have been advocating for girls and my girls have gotten into Sundance but my own projects haven't. You know, and I love that, that I champion their work. But I'm like, OK, maybe it's time that I started making my own work that got into Sundance."

Graham officially steps down at the end of the year. Meanwhile, the effort to raise money continues. A fundraiser celebrating the 10–year anniversary of the group is scheduled this fall at the Space Needle.

I'm Derek Wang, KUOW News.

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