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Breaking Through The Lens at Cannes Film Festival 2022

Virginia Mazzanti, Marina Coelho, Raffaella Rossiello at the Cannes Film Festival 2022
Virginia Mazzanti, Marina Coelho, Raffaella Rossiello at the Cannes Film Festival 2022

Reported by: Taylor Lynn

The event took place on May 24th at the Campari Lounge, at the Palais des Festivals where Breaking Through The Lens announced their ten Finalist Projects. The Breaking Through The Lens’s founders welcomed their guests coming from various segments of the cinema industry - producers, financiers, investors, publicists and international press. Among the illustrious guests, Kathryn M. Moseley from One Two Twenty Entertainment, one the main supporters of this initiative, Chiara Latella Global Communications Manager from the Campari, jury member Lee Broda who announced the selected finalists, and co-founder Daphne Schmon made heartfelt speeches, only strengthening the idea that this initiative is all about building a community of strong and supportive women. Daphne said: “The idea for this initiative came from our own struggle to turn our projects into a reality and we wanted to create a platform that would help women and non-binary directors find their financial support. Throughout ourjourney, we have seen projects go from an idea on paper to a reality on film, such as Clara Sola which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2021 and Sirens which premiered at Sundance in 2022. These success stories definitely strengthen our resolve”.


This was the initiative’s first live event in three years. Through a scrutinizing process of submissions, qualified filmmakers from over 50 countries submitted their feature-film project requiring funding. Ten of these films had the opportunity and platform to pitch their project to film investors, distributors, and sales agents.

This year, the event was supported by the internationally renowned brand, Campari and was hosted at the CampariLounge located in the Palais des Festivals. Campari partnered with Breaking Through The Lens for its event to propel this cause forward and support the organization.


Now in its 5th edition, Breaking Through the Lens (BTTL) is a pioneering non-profit initiative liaising female and non-binary directors to finance at top tier film markets such as the Cannes and Toronto International Film Festivals. With this venture, founders, movie director Daphne Schmon, screenwriter Emily Carlton and actress Elpida Stathatou, seek to become a practical solution for underserved filmmakers, one that is multicultural, intersectional and result driven. BTTL is a grassroots effort focused on measurable actions to overcome the greatest barrier to women and non-binary directors: access to finance.

Founders: Daphne Schmon, Emily Carlton and actress Elpida Stathatou
Founders: Daphne Schmon, Emily Carlton and actress Elpida Stathatou

Despite the pandemic, Breaking Through The Lens has seen tremendous growth since its initiation in 2018, expandinginto an annual structure where the program’s ‘Call for Submissions’ are launched at Sundance, the official ‘Announcement of the Finalists’ takes place at Cannes, with the projects later pitched to industry at Toronto.


Each year, BTTL chooses top industry professionals to take part in a Jury panel, who are responsible for selecting the final projects. Decisions are based on a variety of criteria which include strength of story, artistic vision, teamexperience, industry recognition, commercial potential, and diversity. The Jury members also act as mentors for the selected film makers and members of the BTTL community. The selected projects are presented to financiers during events taking place during the most important Cinema Festivals, such as the Cannes Film Festival and TIFF.

This year’s Official Jury which included Georgina Gonzalez-Rodriguez, Director of International Originals at HBO Max; Deana A. Nassar, Manager of Grow Creative MENA at Netflix; and Julia Stuart, Director of Sky Original Films; Lee Broda, Financier and Founder of LB entertainment; Romola Garai, BAFTA and Golden-Globe nominated actress;Tamara Barton-Campbell, British Screen Forum ‘Future Leader’ 2021 and Founder of Renaissance Studios; Pip Ngo,SVP Sales and Acquisitions for XYZ Films; Katharyn Howe, VP Global Acquisitions at Screen Media Ventures.


MAMA BEARS (BTTL 2020) Documentary, USA

MAMABEARS_Director Daresha Kyi
MAMABEARS_Director Daresha Kyi

● Directed by Daresha Kyi

● Follows a support group for conservative mothers of LGBTQ children

● BTTL made an introduction to Kathryn Moseley of One Two Twenty Entertainment who

financed the finishing stages of post-production, and helped them complete the film

● MAMA BEARS premiered at SXSW 2022 to critical acclaim: Hollywood Reporter Article

● Daresha Kyi, Director of Mamma Bears, says: "My experience with BTTL was absolutely invaluable. Not only did I connect with two incredible women who would go on to close the last gap on my film, Mama Bears, thereby becoming Executive Producers, they've continued to support my career. One even introduced me to my new manager! Daphne and the incredible team who work with her truly care about advancing women in the industry!"

MAMABEARS_Director Daresha Kyi
MAMABEARS_Director Daresha Kyi

CLARA SOLA (BTTL 2019) Magical Realism, Sweden/Costa Rica

CLARASOLA_Director Nathalie Alvarez Mesen
CLARASOLA_Director Nathalie Alvarez Mesen

● Directed by Nathalie Álvarez Mesén

● Tells the mesmerizing story of a Costa Rican woman who must break free of social and religious convention to become the master of her sexuality.

● BTTL launched the project to the industry, they gain significant interest

● CLARA SOLA premiered in the 2021 Cannes Official Selection under their Director’s Fortnight program

● CLARA SOLA became part of Hollywood Reporter Critics Pick of "20 Cannes Film Festival Favorites"

● Nominated for 9 Swedish Film Institute Awards

● Nathalie Álvarez Mesén says: “BTTL was a very welcoming and caring program. It gave our project visibility as well as the space to meet collaborators.”

SIRENS (BTTL 2019) Documentary, Lebanon/USA

SIRENS_Director Rita Baghdadi and Producer Camilla Hall at BTTL event
SIRENS_Director Rita Baghdadi and Producer Camilla Hall at BTTL event

● Directed by Rita Baghdadi

● Follows the only all-female thrash metal band in Lebanon

● BTTL launched the project to the industry, they gain significant interest

● SIRENS premiered at Sundance Film Festival 2022 to critical acclaim in Indiewire and Hollywood Reporter


LILLY_Director Rachel Feldman
LILLY_Director Rachel Feldman

LILLY (BTTL’s 2020) Drama, USA

● Directed by Rachel Feldman

● Tells the true story of Fair Pay Pioneer Lilly Ledbetter

● Raised $10M following the event and cast Oscar-nominated and Golden-globe winning actress Patricia Clarkson in the titular role.

● The team has built a powerful impact campaign, partnering with the National Women’s Law Center, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, and Equal Rights Advocates. Production set to start Autumn 2022.

● Rachel Feldman says: “Every single company came at us with wild enthusiasm, and it was exciting and gratifying to know that the project is resounding,”

To learn more about Breaking through the Lens, visit

Instagram: @breakingthroughthelens

Twitter: @breakinglens


For more Press and Public Relations information, please contact: Marina Coelho, MediaRelations –

Raffaella Rossiello, Communications Director - Photos: Supplied


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