Monday, July 16, 2018
  • Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017
Empress Studios Opens With All-Female Directorial Roster
EP Micki Poklar (photo by Ariel Fisher)
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Executive producer Micki Poklar has launched Empress Studios, a production company that exclusively represents female directors. The new venture opens with a roster consisting of directors Alissa Torvinen, Charlotte Rabate, Montana Mann and Tabitha Denholm.

“I feel passionately about being able to champion female directors, to get them more opportunities and the recognition that they are just as talented and capable as their male counterparts,” said Poklar. “When I’ve talked to people at agencies, it’s not that they don’t want to hire female directors--they just seem unclear about where to find them. I decided to create Empress to address this issue and to empower female directors as they helm a wide range of projects within the industry.”

Poklar has spent the past 15 years as a freelance producer, working with top-drawer production houses, directors and talent on jobs that have taken her all over the world. With the recent gender-equality movement in advertising--and the growth of empowering initiatives such as The 3% Conference and Free the Bid--Poklar was inspired to take a further step by launching Empress. 

Directorial lineup
Raised in northern Minnesota, Torvinen grew up on nature, music, pasta and cars. She attended Montana State University for film production in Bozeman, MT, where she took to the mountains with cameras, friends and whatever gear was in season. After school, she followed her childhood dreams to Hollywood and began working in film. As a director, her start in music videos eventually led to her work in commercial, narrative and documentary fields. Among her credits are Johnson & Johnson’s “Babysitter” and the music videos “Yesterday” for Black Eyed Peas as well as “Hold My Heart” for Lindsey Stirling, which tied into a promotion for HP Sprocket Photo Printers.

Rabate’s directing career started when she convinced her friend Lola to let her drop a condom filled with water on her head and shoot it. This Durex ad quickly went viral with over one million views and later won numerous awards, including the an AICP Show honor and Porsche Award, and was nominated for a Young Director Award at Cannes Lions. A French writer/director based in NY, Rabate holds a BSc from the London School of Economics and an MFA in filmmaking from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She attended the Sundance Rawi’s Screenwriters Lab in 2016 with her first feature film, Tourne Cheri, a coming-of-age story that takes place in Syria and Lebanon in the 1960s. Rabate’s spot credits include not only Durex’s “Playtime” but also Wonderbras “The Mermaid,” work for Doppelstandard and Isabel de Pedro’s “Gråvatten,” 

Writer/director Mann graduated with a BFA in film from Art Center College of Design. Mann earned a slot in SHOOT’s 2014 New Directors Showcase back when she was at Seed Media Arts. She also landed a Young Director Award nomination at Cannes. Her commercialmaking endeavors include AT&T and Calvin Klein. Recently she signed a TV development deal with Universal Studios.

Denholm is a VMA-nominated music video and documentary director known for her extensive work with Florence & The Machine as creative director and director on her past three albums, Haim and Jennifer Hudson, among others. Denholm is a frequent contributor to the likes of Dazed, Ch4, I-D and Nowness, and has directed branded content for clients including Audi, Louis Vuitton, and Tory Burch. Denholm originated Women Under The Influence, a multi-dimensional community and content provider committed to amplifying the work of female directors. She is handled for music videos by Happy Street Entertainment.

Empress is represented by Devine Reps’ Sara Barnthouse and Steven Cook on the West Coast.