Angeline Gragasin, a Brooklyn-based documentary producer, started calling herself a "woman of the future" as a joke. It was a fake title she came up with while casting about for gigs after finishing school.
The concept quickly became more meaningful as her career took shape, and she began applying it to other inspiring women she met along the way: "I would say, ‘She’s so in the future,'" Gragasin says.
Patterns emerged. Her ideal future woman was, oddly, a "renaissance" woman—intrepid, risk-taking, collaborative, and broadly curious. These are all skills that Gragasin believes will define the most innovative personalities of the next century.
Gragasin’s new web video series, Women Of The Future, is an ode to this brand of woman. In it, she documents her personal quest to "redefine female celebrity" in a culture oversaturated with female stars who are usually judged by more shallow or sexual criteria.
The concept came to Gragasin when she recognized her frustration with often being the only woman director or producer in the room at film events she attended while living in Los Angeles. Many of her female friends, in a diverse array of male-dominated fields from media to tech and architecture, had similar experiences. "I realized I had to go out and invent new role models," she says. The qualities she personally celebrated in women, she says, were "not the ones I saw being celebrated in women by the mainstream media."
The first episode of Women of the Future debuted online in October, and Gragasin will be releasing a new five-minute episode every month (the next one debuts November 30). The first installment features Eva Franch, a Catalan architect who directs Storefront for Art & Architecture, an exhibition space in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood dedicated to "the advancement of innovative positions in architecture and design."
Through Gragasin’s quirky interviews, driving soundtrack, and fast-paced editing, the episode is not your typical documentary format—full of facts and dry, explanatory narration. Rather, it leaves the viewer more in a frame of mind and a feeling of having gotten to know the subject through Gragasin’s admiring eye.
In a 30-second preview clip you can watch above, Franch shares with Gragasin her inspiring thoughts on creativity: "Culture is about expanding your horizon of expectations in relationship to what is possible. Curiosity is actually the only thing that allows you to go further, right? To find new horizons."
Gragasin is finding her next subjects through word-of-mouth and personal references, rather than seeking out people who already are already in the news. Future episodes will feature Niki Nakazawa, a singer who has started a pop-up restaurant in Mexico City that sources food from local organic farms (a feat that’s far less common in this sprawling metropolis than it is in San Francisco or New York) and Natalie Bartlett, a "wilderness woman of the future" from Southern California.
For now, the series is available on the Women of the Future website, and can be streamed for a $1 fee. Gragasin is aiming for a brand partner or donor to fund future work.