Women in Spotlight: Rachael Counce

When it comes to visual story telling, much of what makes the story compelling is not necessarily the story itself with all of its extraneous details, but rather the capable hands of the one telling the story. As a film producer, videographer and editor, Rachael Counce has become an expert. The process of story telling begins with interviews, and Rachael finds the universal truths folded into the details. Her involvement in projects is an irreverent role, as proven by the positive reception of her work, as well as the Emmy award for the documentary Medora, for her role as Producer. With a formal education in Film and Media studies, her experience has expanded to platforms such as NPR and Nylon, and moved into the world and community of film and festivals like Slamdance. She is an easy woman to admire, with instinct for organic conversations and an invaluable way of speaking intimately that makes you feel heard. With her subdued demeanor and her acute recognition of detail, the ease in which she creates good work has taken her to places around the world.

 

What was the inspiration for pursuing a career in the world of film and documentary and how did you navigate the path that led you to where you are now? 

Growing up, my dad and I spent a lot of time watching movies and television together. He would ask me questions about what I'd seen and we would talk about why we liked or didn't like different stories. So, from a young age, I understood film as an important tool for expressing ideas and feelings. When I got to college I started making impressionistic short docs exploring various social and political issues that struck me and quickly realized I had a passion for non fiction storytelling. Along the way I’ve learned to always follow my instincts and to seek out stories that speak to me on a personal level. I think it’s also important to remain open about what form those projects take. I love documentary films and long form journalism, but it doesn't have to be a feature length film to be meaningful. There are so many incredible video journalists working in the digital space right now, which is really inspiring to me as I continue to navigate my own path.    

What is the process like for you when you are going into your day, or is everyday different? 

Right now I'm freelance so every day is different. I work as a producer, shooter and editor so it often depends on the project I'm working on and what stage of production we happen to be in.   

How would you describe the relationship you have with the artists or people you work with when you are filming documentaries? Is there a creative rapport or are you often directing each aspect of film projects?

The making of a documentary film or video is a highly collaborative process. My number one goal when entering into any project is to establish a sense of mutual respect and trust between myself, the crew, and the subject. I think it's important for there to be open communication and for everyone to be on the same page about the story that's being told. I'm also very much a team player and I feel like projects always turn out better when everyone involved has a personal investment in their work so, I try to always make room for a creative dialogue when working with others.

Who has been a positive female influence in your life that contributes to your own personal evolution? 

There have been so many strong talented women who have inspired and supported me throughout my career, but one that stands out is my college feminism and film studies professor at the University of Florida, Barbara Mennel. She has this astounding intellect and a profound ability to breakdown complex political and social issues from a multicultural perspective that completely opened my mind up and has had a huge impact on how I understand the world around me. She put so much faith in me and the work that I was doing back then and really made me feel like my voice mattered. Without that support, I think my life could have easily gone in a different direction.   

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She put so much faith in me and the work that I was doing back then and really made me feel like my voice mattered.

What has been your most fulfilling project to date?

Pretty early on in my career I was given the opportunity to produce, assistant direct and shoot my first feature length documentary, which was an incredible experience from start to finish. We shot on location in Medora, Indiana every day for about six months and really embedded ourselves into the community. Getting to know our subjects and getting to be a part of their lives on such an intimate level was so rewarding. It's an amazing feeling when another human opens up their life to you and trusts you to tell their story.

 

You can find Rachael and her amazing creative projects at RachaelCounce.com

If there's a creative woman in your life you admire and empowers other women and you want to see them featured for the series, email me at Hello@EricaBean.com