Interview with CODE Documentary Filmmaker Robin Hauser Reynolds

June 14, 2015 Updated: April 23, 2016

Robin Hauser Reynolds (RHR) is an Award-winning producer and director. At age seven, she began pursuing her passion for the arts and film as a professional photographer. She is an MBA graduate from Thunderbird School of Global Management. In 2013, Reynolds first documentary feature Running For Jim received numerous awards including Best Documentary at SOHO International Film Festival and Best Feature Film at Los Angeles Independent Film Festival. Reynolds latest documentary CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap  premiered at the 14th Tribeca Film Festival 2015 (TFF 2015) in New York. I had the distinct honor and privilege of interviewing Award-winning producer and director Robin Hauser Reynolds during TFF 2015 on Sunday, April 26, 5:00 P.M.

ME: What inspired the making of the documentary CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap?

RHR: My inspiration was my 19 year old daughter, a college sophomore studying Computer Science. My daughter felt she didn’t fit in when she found herself being one of two women in a class of 35.

ME: Briefly describe the film?

RHR: CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap is the history of women in computer science engineering. We explore why more women aren’t going into the field. We examine the stereotypes, conscious biases, and clogs in the educational pipeline. We interviewed expert psychologists and women leaders in technology.

We start with women pioneers such as English mathematician Ada Lovelace. In 1836, Ada wrote the first algorithm and became the first computer programmer. In 1944, American computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral Grace Hopper invented the first compiler program (transforms source code written in a programming language into machine language). Grace worked on the Harvard Mark 1 computer and coined the term “debugging.” Her team found a moth in the Harvard Mark 1 and when they removed the moth, the computer began working again.

ME: What is the mission of She’s Coding Organization?

RHR: She’s Coding is the film’s call to action campaign. We created a resource portal for the audience that are interested in code, from a girl interested in learning to code to finding a mentor to mentoring programs to different coding organizations to teaching code.

ME: How long did it take to make the film CODE?

RHR: In January 2014, we began making the film and it took approximately 14 months.

ME: What were the challenges in the making of CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap?

RHR: The most challenging part was knowing when to stop filming. We ended up having to choose what our story structure was and who we were going to include in the film. We had so many women that wanted to share their story and organizations that wanted to be included in a film that’s 1:20 minutes.

ME: What has been the audience reaction at the 14th Tribeca Film Festival?

RHR: The audience reaction at Tribeca’s World Premiere has been fabulous!

ME: Where will CODE screen next?

RHR: In May 2015, at Gina Davis’ Inaugural Bentonville Film Festival.

ME: Any interest from film distributors?

RHR: Yes, we have options for distribution and plan to make a decision soon.

ME: At what point in your life you became interested in the film industry?

RHR: At age seven, I began as a photographer with a passion for the arts and film. In 2013, Running For Jim my first feature documentary landed in my lap and I was very delighted for the opportunity.

ME: What awards have you been honored?

RHR: Running For Jim received 14 awards, at 20 film festival circuits. CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap is Tribeca Film Festival 2015 Official Selection.

ME: What goals have you yet to accomplish?

RHR: My hope is this film will inspire change. Change in the way our school system values computer science education, change in the way girls and people of color see themselves in the tech space, and change in start-up culture.

Thank you, Robin.

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