When Eamon O’Rourke filmed Asking for It, the progressive-thinking director says he wanted to break down barriers by making a movie about vigilante women seeking justice for those taken advantage of in marginalized communities. When his film snagged the ReFrame Stamp, he admits it was a special moment he will never forget.

Asking For it

Asking For it

“I would say it's one of the things that I'm the most proud of,” Eamon O’Rourke says of receiving the prestigious accolade awarded to film and TV projects demonstrating gender-balanced hiring. 

The ReFrame Stamp started in 2018 and is given to a selected group of films and TV shows. According to ReFrame director Andria Wilson Mirza, the ReFrame Stamp is a gauge of who is being hired in key roles within a production. It also sheds a spotlight on gender equality while promoting inclusive storytelling to reflect the experiences of historically overlooked people.

“We believe that inclusive representation can change the world by enabling us to better understand and connect with one another,” ReFrame co-founder Cathy Schulman said in a YouTube video.

On reframeproject.org, ReFrame co-founder Keri Putnam explains that tackling a systemic problem requires looking at it from all sides.

But it looks like strides are being made in the right direction. In addition to Asking for It, mainstream hits like House of Gucci, Black Widow, Nomadland, and Encanto are a few of the films that have received the ReFrame Stamp. Eamon O’Rourke says he’s always been committed to achieving broader diversity on set.

Eamon O’Rourke Says He Prioritizes Making His Set Safe and Comfortable

“I would say that something that's very important to me is being able to judge a piece of work off of the experiences that are had while making it, as opposed to just the work itself,” Eamon O’Rourke says. “Obviously the audience only has access to that, but I do think that it's really important to be able to feel proud of how you got to a certain place and how you made something as much as you are proud of the thing itself. The ReFrame Stamp is a great example of that, of being recognized, again, for trying to create an on-set environment in which people, everyone felt comfortable.”

The Brooklyn, New York-based writer and filmmaker is pleased to relate that everyone felt capable of communicating with one another on the set of Asking for It. “I would say that's a big thing that we were able to achieve, especially since we were in a small town in Oklahoma, which isn't the most diverse place,” Eamon O’Rourke says. “It's not like shooting in New York or LA where at the end of the day, everyone goes home and goes back to their lives. We were there together and I mean, don't get me wrong. The town we were in, Guthrie, was a wonderful place filled with lots of wonderful people, but we were definitely bringing the diversity to the town.”

Behind the scenes, Eamon O’Rourke says the cast and crew shared meals and even sang karaoke at a local watering hole between takes.

“There was a real sense of community on our set,” Eamon O’Rourke says. “That felt extremely important and [it] felt like it had a big effect on our ability to make the movie well. I think that the ReFrame Stamp is one of the things that I'm the most proud of because it is an indication of our commitment to prioritizing what the process was going to be. How are people going to feel making this movie? It doesn't matter if we make the best movie in the world, if everyone who works on it says, ‘Yeah, that was honestly one of the most unpleasant and just terrible experiences that I've ever been on.’"

While Asking for It was his directorial debut, Eamon O’Rourke says he has spent plenty of time on a variety of movie sets.

“I've worked on movies that are fantastic, incredible movies, and it's been horrible,” he says. “People treat each other terribly. There's just bad vibes all over the place. I mean, big, gigantic movies that, I'm not going to name them, but I've also worked on an opposite situation where there are these movies that I would say for the most part are not critically well-received movies or they're very small movies that don't get a lot of play or whatever. But the experience making it is one that I think back on, and feel fondly of, and learned something from, and gained people who are now a part of my life.”

Eamon O’Rourke admits he set out to prioritize a positive experience while filming Asking for It.

“I would rather the entire cast and crew say, ‘Wow, that was an amazing experience. I felt safe and respected and heard the entire time,’" he adds.

No Person on Set Is Expendable

Eamon O’Rourke, who has worked on dozens of film sets, says he realizes being on set can be stressful but he never takes anyone on set for granted and acknowledges that it takes everyone involved to make a solid film.

“It's easy to see a movie as, ‘OK. The director really matters and the actors really matter,’ but you can't get rid of the [production assistants], you can't get rid of the grips and electric, you can't get rid of the caterer. All of these people deserve to be treated [well],” Eamon O’Rourke explains.

O’Rourke says he wanted to be sure Asking for It celebrated diversity both on and off camera. “The main characters and most of the primary characters are all women of color,” he says.

The film also features LGBTQ+ and Indigenous people as well as actors from a wide variety of ethnicities.

“I'm absolutely thrilled about the ReFrame Stamp. I think what they're doing as an institution, in general, is a great thing,” Eamon O’Rourke says. “It's a very cool thing and I'm glad that people are responding to that. But I would say for me, it was an indication of arguably the most important thing about this entire process for me, which is creating an emotionally safe and emotionally fulfilling work experience while you have all of these incredible people who are amazing at all of these different things, all working together for one end. I think that we did that, and I think ReFrame recognized that, and that means a lot to me.”

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