Story by Rachel Schwartzmann – Learn more about Dream, Girl – Photos by Bridget Badore for The Style Line
Earlier this month we watched a dream unfold.
More specifically, that dream belonged to filmmakers Erin Bagwell and Komal Minhas of the highly anticipated documentary Dream, Girl. Since the film’s inception, coupled with their genuine passion for empowering women to follow their own dreams, both Erin and Komal have ignited a spark on a global scale. Their confidence, courage, and passion for storytelling caught our attention when we were first introduced to Dream, Girl’s initial story. Still, it has taken years for the resilient and thoughtful duo to get to this point. When we met with Erin and Komal on the evening of the premiere, within an instant it was clear to see how surreal it felt for them to be getting ready for what would perhaps be one of the most defining moments of their lives. Luckily for us, that didn’t stop them from welcoming us with warm smiles and a sincere excitement to tell more of their story. In fact, as Erin put it in our interview below, “Through Dream, Girl we hope to inspire and encourage them to listen to that little voice inside of their heart that’s telling them to dream big and pursue what’s most meaningful to them.”
Though if there was ever any doubt of that little voice inside, based on our experience, we can tell you (with confidence) that spending time with both Erin and Komal is sure to re-instill a sense of hope when it comes to finding success both personally and professionally. In a flutter of activity and nervous laughter we were honored to have a chance to shadow the leading ladies as they prepared for their premiere. In the moments leading up to the film’s debut, Erin and Komal’s story reminded us how important it is to cherish the little things and celebrate the small victories – after all what good is achieving a dream, if you haven’t learned to enjoy the journey? Without giving too much away, we’re thrilled to share our afternoon with the inspiring filmmakers who shared more on their relationship to film along with their thoughts on how they hope to see the Dream, Girl community evolve. Enjoy the full conversation below which features moments from our sit-down captured exclusively by Bridget Badore for The Style Line.
I’m Komal Minhas. I’m the producer and co-founder –
and co-founder of Dream, Girl and the president of KoMedia. I have a passion for storytelling and am dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls globally. I value my friends and family, the core of my support and inspiration.
I’m Erin Bagwell. I’m the director and co-founder –
of Dream, Girl and founder of Feminist Wednesday, a storytelling blog that serves as a way to share empowering and inspiring stories about and among women. I value spending time with my husband Sal and my cat Lucy.
Talk to us about your relationship to film – when did you first discover your passion for this medium and how has this passion/your relationship to it evolved as a result of working on Dream, Girl?
Erin: I first started making movies when I was in high school with my friends but it was when I was in university that I took it more seriously as a profession. I made a 34 min documentary about studying abroad in Spain, and have been hooked on making movies ever since. I love the process of seeing and idea come to life.
Komal: I first discovered this passion in my 10th grade computer class when we started learning about film editing. The first slideshow I made was for my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary and when I put it on the timeline I was hooked! I got my first Panasonic HMC-150 in fourth year university and traveled to Palestine where I made my first short documentary.
We love the empowered mission behind Dream, Girl but we’re also curious to know your thoughts on Dream, Girl’s role in helping women find their dream in their off-duty time? What did you learn about your own sense of work/life balance as a result of meeting the women in the film and hearing their stories?
Erin: If you want to be the best you have to work really hard and in the beginning, there isn’t much space for a work/life balance. The idea of having a balance is similar to the idea of having it all and I think that’s very difficult, if not impossible to attain.
Komal: It’s ever-evolving and that’s how it will be forever! The circumstances each day will continue to refine what it means to make the right decisions for that day and define that balance.
“Through Dream, Girl we hope to inspire and encourage them to listen to that little voice inside of their heart that’s telling them to dream big…”
Who is the Dream, Girl viewer? How do you hope to see her evolve as a result of watching the film/engaging with its themes?
The Dream, Girl viewer is any girl or woman who wants to step into her power and pursue her dreams. We made this film hoping to speak to girls in elementary school who are just starting to notice gender differences and how they impact access to opportunity as well as women who have been working in the corporate world and are struggling to feel seen or heard. Through Dream, Girl we hope to inspire and encourage them to listen to that little voice inside of their heart that’s telling them to dream big and pursue what’s most meaningful to them.
Has working on the documentary inspired any new dreams? If so, what are they and how do you plan to get started?
Erin: I want to make a million dollars, and I also want to produce and director lots of other films. There is so much work to be done and so many stories still untold.
Komal: We’re already started. It’s definitely inspired many new dreams, films, books, products – there is so much to come!
How do you Dream, Girl inspires men to engage with this conversation? In your mind, what actionable steps can they take to help support women’s dreams, and in turn, make them a reality?
Erin: I think that women are so used to seeing content that’s not for them and engaging with it anyway that Dream, Girl gives men the ability to build in some empathy to be able to relate and enjoy stories that don’t have them in it. The best way for a man to support a female entrepreneur is to invest in them, whether that’s through mentorship and connections or financially, then they should step up to the table and do so. Some of our biggest supports through the process of making this film have been men and I’d love to see that become the reality for other women starting companies.
The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration and transit. With this in mind, if what is your “the style line” in your wardrobe?
Erin: Komal and I love to express our femininity and feel powerful when we get dressed up. But with being in New York City, so much of our style is influenced by where we live. I spend most of my time in Brooklyn and it definitely is central to my style inspiration.
Komal: What I’m most comfortable in and most flattering for me. You have to be aware of what looks good on your body shape and just rock it.
Whether it’s life, style, work and everything in between who is your dream girl?
Komal: And our moms. My mom is my stylist but also my daily inspiration.
Erin: Absolutely, we wouldn’t be here without feeling the affects of having such powerful role models in our lives.
What is one question you hope people ask more often after watching the documentary?
Erin: I hope people ask how they can get involved and invested in female entrepreneurs and I hope that they go out of their way to support companies with their dollar that are led by women.
Komal: I wish people would ask ‘what your greatest dream in life is’ more in everyday conversations. I hope after they watch the film they ask that question more even of themselves.
What role do you think creativity plays in some of the world’s bigger conversations and how do you think Dream, Girl is contributing to this shift in thinking?
Erin: I think creativity is one of the best ways to engage with an audience because you ignite them on a spiritual level and creating creative content is super powerful. We’re already seeing this happen in the mainstream and I hope Dream, Girl is adding to the dialogue and giving women permission to talk about issues that are difficult to discuss, like sexual harassment. I hope they also find comfort in the media and feel seen and heard in these conversations.