OWNED is a global coalition of women-owned creator companies operating in the advertising production industry working together to help women thrive. We are an initiative of global inclusion, supporting, championing and mentoring women in commercial production. A platform where owners can come together to support, share, collaborate and promote each other, leading the way for the next generation of women owners.
We want a body of WOMEN who OWN a piece of this world to join our initiative.
In this interview series, we showcase companies in our coalition.
We feel it's important to get to know the community you're in. OWNED is a global organisation and inherently we embody diversity on multiple levels - ethnically, culturally, age-wise. We know that diversity is key / paramount for growth and innovation, but we also learn through sharing our very different life experiences.
Meet Esther Thuran and Viki Trepper! They are the dynamic duo and founders of Moviebar Productions https://www.movie-bar.net/ in Hungary. Time being a hot commodity, we thank them for responding so beautifully and openly to our LBB questions. Take a moment to read a bit about their journey. Perhaps some of it resonates with you?
As a creator company in our industry, what is the value of a female-owned perspective?
Esther> When we established our film-production company, Moviebar Productions, in the mid-2000s in Budapest, Hungary, it was quite rare for a woman to start a business. Not just in the film industry but in any industry. In Central-Eastern Europe, historically, self-esteem and self-confidence are very low compared to other parts of the world. In addition, Hungarian society is very patriarchal, which makes it even harder for women to show authority and to manage projects. Looking back, after many very successful years, I believe we set a powerful example for women and made them see that it is not “mission impossible”, and it is not only guys who can make it in business. Hopefully with other successful women from our country we proved that Central-Eastern European women rock!
Viki> I’ve always believed in woman power and our strength in multi-tasking, which I believe our gender can do better. I think we are driven as female leaders, with a stamina for focus and determination, an inner power, to prove that we can make it better. Our perspective can be more empathetic, we examine the given project from different sides and are also open to others’ opinions.
Part of OWNED's role is to shape a more equitable and balanced industry, how would you like to see this happening?
Esther> Artistically, I would love to see more collaboration between women to bring to life the unique voice of female power. Many times, the story is told from the men’s perspective, and we forget that the amazing stories of humanity are shared by both sexes.
For example, stories about the brave women of Iran who ceaselessly fight against radical men oppressing them in every possible way, those who deny women basic human rights, should have an expression on the screen. Stories of the heroic Ukrainian mothers who fled with their kids leaving everything behind, having moved to different countries, not knowing when they will see their country again, while their husbands fight in the front lines also deserve attention.
Many times, only the male perspective is being told and that has a lot to do with who tells the story.
Viki> I feel there has been huge progress and our industry is more balanced than it was 10 years ago. More production companies are owned by women than before, however there is still a shortfall in the creative side of our industry. It would be great to introduce more female directors, DoPs or even female scriptwriters to the world especially from this part of Europe.
Are there learnings from your own journey that have bettered your leadership?
Esther> I have learnt to be more patient compared to my ‘20s, when I felt more insecure because I felt I needed to prove that I was a professional filmmaker, as well as a strong and tough leader. Today I know who I am and what my worth is, so feel less the need to prove myself.
Viki> Leadership is a skill that needs to be improved upon all the time. You have to monitor yourself constantly, to see how you can do and be better. We are in a business where great teamwork is essential and I’ve learned over the years to value the importance of collaboration and building trust within our team. I believe it’s also critical to delegate tasks to the right people which makes the whole workflow smoother and more efficient.
What obstacles have you experienced that inhibit your company's opportunities and visibility in the industry?
Esther> You can look at obstacles in two ways: hurdle or opportunity. Nothing is given to you, you have to take it. Woman or man, it doesn’t matter. Excuses won’t take you far. When life presents you with a lemon, make a lemonade out of it. When we experienced people around us not taking us seriously – we worked harder to prove we were (are) better. There is no one formula that will make you successful, but all successful people have one thing in common: perseverance, that ability to continue grinding until you make it happen.
Viki> What comes to mind are situations where there’s a natural assumption that I’m not the owner or business partner because I’m a woman. However nowadays, I tend to see obstacles more in relation to people not paying attention to each other, which is not a gender issue.
Do you have any landmark moments as a female business owner that you'd like to share?
Esther> Creating our first original content was a pivotal moment for me. I was telling my message for the first time to the whole world. I also co-created the ‘BP Underground’ documentary series with my director partner Anna Koltay; the story of the Hungarian musical subcultures in the ‘90s and ‘00s – cultural movements that were predominantly led by men. These movements obviously influenced both men and women, but now the story was being told and documented by two female directors. I feel we contributed to preserving these subcultures and hopefully set the ground for new trends.
Viki> There are tons of moments like this, I’ve said to Esther that we should write a book about Moviebar’s history. The production of our very first TV commercial directed by an award-winning Scandinavian director was one of those moments. We’ve produced several award-winning spots which is a great validation of our hard work. 10 years ago, we also produced our first American feature film – a huge accomplishment. Since then we’ve proudly continued producing TV commercials and creating feature films/television projects side by side at Moviebar.
Last but not least, I also have to mention that the greatest achievement in our lives is to be a mother and to have a family alongside leading a female owned company. We are doing it @MOVIEBAR!