On Creating for Young Audiences: Kate Tolo and Connie Saltzman, of Project: Girl (Part 1)

Last year, at #BABESFESTNYC, we met Kate Tolo: designer, techie extraordinaire, all around Boss Babe. Together with director Connie Saltzman, this dream team created Project: Girl, a new film series about girlhood and identity. And this year, on June 1st, they will be hosting an all-female showcase of storytellers, followed by a screening of their first two films.

June Chee (#bossbabesATX committee member) interviewed Kate and Connie on creation, medium, and inspiration. Read Part 1 below!

1. How did you come up with the idea for Project: Girl?

Connie: I thought of the idea after the election. I was really shaken not just by the results but by the enormous gap in understanding and relatedness between people in our country. The only way I’ve ever known how to bridge that gap is through personal stories. 

At first, I just knew I wanted to make a film series about small moments girls experience growing up, as a way to illuminate the complexities of girlhood. Then, as my friends and I began sharing our own stories and collecting stories from other women, it became clear this was also about dispelling shame and judgment on ourselves and on others, and creating a community to openly express ourselves and connect.

Kate: When Connie shared all of that with me I was immediately on board! I think most women hear the concept and love the idea of creating a female-focused community and story-telling platform.

2. What is the appeal to you of film as a medium of narrative? Why did you choose film for Project: Girl?

Kate: The appeal to me is 1. It’s a time where video is a really accessible media type (idk about you but I spend hours getting lost on YouTube), and 2. It’s the most relatable  as it is the closest to real life… a big part of what we are trying to do is be as authentic to reality as possible.
Connie: I’ve been making and acting in films for a while. I love how you can explore a character in a nuanced, personal way that is different from any other media. Also, as Kate said, it’s easily consumable! People like watching videos!

3. How do y'all see yourselves in relation to these narratives? In other words, where does your creative vision come into play?

Kate: Something I love about Project:Girl is that my creative vision doesn’t interfere with the films/stories at all. We want the content we produce to be natural and unfiltered. I think my creative vision comes into play through solving the day-to-day problems and coming up with ideas on how we can distinguish the brand.  
Connie: In directing these films, my creative vision for it is to make it feel as natural as possible - like we are just observing a moment in a girl’s life, without judgment or added drama. That’s really important, because we want to show these stories for what they are, not make anybody right or wrong, just depict an experience as complicated and unfiltered as it feels when it happens.

4. Lastly, it looks like you've got the first in-person premiere of Project: Girl coming up. Can you tell us a little bit about the event you are hosting on June 1? What can people expect to see, and what do you hope they will take from it?

Kate: If you’re in NYC, come and hear real experiences of women at our storytelling event. We’ll have comedians, storytellers and spoken word artists, along with the screening of the first two Project:Girl episodes!!!! 😍😍 I am hoping it gives everyone serious sleepover nostalgia!
Connie: Yes!!! You will leave feeling inspired, connected, and proud. 


For more info on the June 1 event and to RSVP, visit: projectgirlseries.eventbrite.com

Stay up to date with Project: Girl on their website, Instagram and Facebook.

Kate Tolo, creator and co-producer of  Project: Girl

Kate Tolo, creator and co-producer of Project: Girl

Connie Saltzman, actress and director of  Project: Girl

Connie Saltzman, actress and director of Project: Girl

Jane Claire Hervey