Is there anything more fun to watch than women having fun, loving themselves, and showcasing their art? We doubt it. That’s why we’re so excited about Jon Manning’s new documentary, BURLESQUE HEART OF THE GLITTER TRIBE. This week, we spoke with Jon about being a man who’s a feminist, what he’s learned from the women in the film, and the advice all filmmakers need to hear.
Introduce yourself! Tell us who you are and what you do.
My name is Jon Manning and I am a lifelong filmmaker. I studied film at The American Film Institute and Brooks Institute and graduated with a degree in underwater cinematography and motion picture production. That was 37 years ago. Like most filmmakers I ended up making a career from producing TV commercials which I have produced all over the world for companies such as Nike, AT&T, Disney, US Navy and Bank of America. Throughout that time I have also produced 3 feature films and directed this most recent feature documentary BURLESQUE HEART OF THE GLITTER TRIBE. This film took seven years to produce and thankfully has already exceeded my expectations artistically and with worldwide distribution.
How do you define feminism and how does that play a part in what you do?
As a feminist man and commercial artist I believe it’s desperately important to show support of women’s rights in my day to day life as well as through my art. On a daily basis I make a strong effort to show equal respect to all people through choices of who I work with and how I work with them. Through this latest film we worked very hard to make sure that burlesque was discussed by women as well as men and people of color and that the question of being a feminist performer while dancing mostly naked was discussed openly. It seems to me that only by discussing these beliefs as well as showing respect to women in one’s art is the best way to perpetuate the tenet’s of feminism.
What’s one lesson you learned from hearing the performers’ stories?
I learned that everyone suffers. That performers who love the stage and have a show to put on are not objects – they are first human beings – and as humans we all have deep internal lives that include struggle and difficulty. And all of this is true no matter what you see on stage. Certainly this is also true on the stage of life no matter what work or art you perform.
If you could give one piece of advice to other filmmakers, what would it be?
Spend more time thinking about what you want to do before you actually go out and do it. Read, read, read and watch other similar films on the subject matter so you know what else has been done on the subject you are interested in. Then write a detailed outline and show that to a select group of people that will NOT tell you what you may want to hear but will really test you on how and why you are going to do what you think is a good idea. Search for the answer of “Why you?” are the best person to tell this aspect of this story. All of this MUST be done before you even decide if you are for sure going to do a documentary on a certain subject. Producing and directing any documentary will take a tremendous effort on your part – more than ever thought possible – and you must have this confidence in the preparation to know what you are about to embark upon. It’s a huge commitment of time and money that you will never get back. Even if in some rare circumstance you were able to actually make money on the film when it’s done you will never get the time back. Make sure it’s gonna be worth it.
How can our readers follow and support your work?
After premiering in 26 US cities our film will be available through Netflix in May of this year. It boggles my mind that through this Netflix deal our film will be instantly available to 100 million people in 190 countries.
To follow the story and performers of our feature film BURLESQUE HEART OF THE GLITTER TRIBE you can LIKE us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/glittertribethemovie or check out the .com for the film at www.glittertribethemovie.com