Arts

Her Agenda: Shaina Feinberg

The New York-based filmmaker on how feminism and friendship inform her work.

By Angela Ledgerwood

Arts

The New York-based filmmaker on how feminism and friendship inform her work.

By Angela Ledgerwood

Shaina Feinberg grew up identifying mostly with men in movies (with the exception of Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice). The men appeared masters of their own destinies in ways the women by their sides weren’t. Plus, they had all the complicated conundrums to solve. Since becoming a filmmaker, Feinberg’s tried to flip theses roles, portraying the women in her work as the cool, smart, funny, real, annoying, and anxious – aka complex – humans they are. Her most recent show Dinette, a series of comic vignettes about a group of women and nonbinary friends, which premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, is a stellar example of Feinberg’s mission accomplished. A slew of high profile fans, including The New Yorker’s TV critic Emily Nussbaum, think so too. According to Nussbaum, Dinette is “a sleepy gem” and a “funny shaggy little Brooklyn webseries, [with] lotsa lesbians”. Feinberg’s definitely on a roll. She’s currently finishing up her third feature, Blunderpuss, her second feature, Senior Escort Service, is set to premiere at festivals in the spring, and she’s about to wrap an audio series for Audible called Aliens of Extraordinary Ability which she wrote with comedian and writer Maeve Higgins. Obviously, Feinberg has found a way to seriously get s**t done. Here, she shares why her daily routine, feminism and friendship are so pivotal in her work.

What is your morning routine? I have an insane morning routine when I’m not filming. It’s very specific. I am an anxious person and I also struggle with depression. So to stay on track, I do the following: I meditate (hopefully before my kid and husband get up) and then I journal (just like a page, but it helps me to get my thoughts out on paper real quick) and then I do these focus wheels which is something I learned on the internet. It’s this practice that helps you incrementally change your thoughts from negative to positive. Then I usually have to help my kid get out the door and I walk my dog. Some mornings I run, others I just shower and get to work. I like to get to work by 10AM. I find if I can get a chunk of writing done early on, I just feel better!

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