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Empowered Overlordress: Women in Film's Jane Fleming

Jane Fleming has presided over Women in Film since 2006, she’s currently launching a new breed of production company, and she’s the tallest woman in town. And while she is tirelessly lending her multidimensional oomph to women in an industry town historically known for dumping on us, as well as to mentoring emerging talent and galvanizing creatives, her résumé is hardly what makes Fleming the coolest chick in L.A. With her, it’s less about the amazing things she does, and more about who she is.

Fleming is a straight-laced, East Coast Ivy League can-do Capricorn — smart and sassy and witchy, a wise medicine woman priestess with a giggly, girly-girl twinkling behind her sparkly green-blue, green-brown eyes. She’s just as comfortable in Max Mara and sequins on the red carpet as she is in denim and flip-flops at an Equinox breathe circle. She stands 6 feet tall, has Pilates-toned limbs, and she rocks ’em both equally well.

The youngest in a family of four brothers, Fleming says she’s “always been attracted to women’s causes.” In her third successful year as president of Women in Film, she continues to ground herself in the plight and path of the feminine.

“Women have a different set of parameters by which we live,” she says. “It’s not just about accolades and promotions but about balance, between work and family and friends and community.”

Since stepping into her post as president of Women in Film in 2006, Fleming has shifted the organization’s focus from empowering, educating and promoting female executives, who’ve made marked progress with the group’s efforts, to uplifting innumerable creatives and beefing up female-driven content.

“The statistics are still so grim for female creatives,” she admits over rice paper–wrapped, vinegar-dipped veggies at Gingergrass in Silver Lake. “There’s such a need for diversity of voice, because right now the people deciding the future of film and television are white men.”

Steeped in the importance of mentorship and community, Fleming shows up in service, fully and completely, even when she’s overworked and overwhelmed and mired in the epic, agonizing muck of her own big-soul lessons. “Mentorship for me is the most important thing,” she says, “especially when we’re living in such a fragmented society, where we’re told we have to do it all on our own.”

She’s been in my own little corner ever since those wild and wonky, hippie-trippy Topanga Rodeo Grounds days — guiding me with unwavering wisdom through dealings with men, mind and career, pushing me along my own path with a necessary kick in the ass or an encouraging word, often both; urging me to touch in on my projects every day, even when I’m crumpled and couch-bound, blinded by my mood, crushed by despair, floored by doubt, crooked by injury. As in:

Let go of being perfect.

Do it badly, if you have to, but keep doing it.

I’m proud of you.

On the romance front:

You’re full of shit.

You’re not crazy.

Do NOT send that e-mail.

And life in general:

Too bad. You’re a light worker.

You’re fucked.

Oh, and she’s starting a new production company, Amber Entertainment, with three equally cool people — an international, multimedia enterprise that promises to bring quality product to a sleepy populace starved for something, anything, more than a snarky catch phrase and a great rack set against a green screen. And she’s great at it.

She is hybrid, this Jane of mine: the girliest of girls, the strongest, fiercest of empowered empire overlordresses; she is nurturer, she is ass-kicker, she is cheerleader, she is the right word in the perfect moment, she is tapped in, turned on, in the game, leading the pack, revolutionizing the business, moving mountains, manifesting miracles and being the best Jane she could possibly be, in selfless service to the rest of us.

“What’s the point of being a better me if I can’t share it with the world?” she asks.

I heart Jane.

Jane Fleming will preside over Women in Film’s 2009 Crystal and Lucy Awards on Friday, June 12, at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel. This year’s honorees include actors Jennifer Aniston, Holly Hunter and Elizabeth Banks, writer/director Catherine Hardwicke and cinematographer Petra Korner. For ticket information, call (310) 201-5033.


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