About the Hosts – Ella Turenne & Martine Jean
LA based Ella Turenne and Martine Jean are the Haitian-American hosts of Fanm on Films. Ella was born and raised in New York while Martine was born in Cap-Haitian, Haiti.
In addition to being podcast hosts, Ella is a doctoral student at the University of California, Irvine, an artist and entrepreneur. While Martine is a Television Producer and in her words, “a recovering lawyer.”
Why did you decide to get started in podcasting?
Ella: I’m an avid audiobook listener as have been a narrator for some time. I’ve also done radio work so it felt natural for me to explore podcasting more. I love the intimacy of audio work and the way it allows you to tell stories.
Martine: Podcasting allows us to communicate directly with a new audience without gatekeepers. It’s a way to build a following, to expose an audience to something they’d otherwise not seek out. To me, it was a new way to connect with people and share some of the things I love about Haitian culture.
How does the team manage the partnership of being co-hosts?
We both have really busy and varied schedules, so we split the work based on what our time and capacity is but always consult each other on all decisions.
About the Show
Fanm on Films (pronounced “fum” which is the Haitian Kreyol word for woman) The show highlights the work of Haitian creatives in film and TV. We review work that was made by Haitians or has some connection to Haiti and we also conduct interviews with Haitian creatives.
The show is done in seasons and new episodes are available every Sunday when the show is in season.
Why did you choose this name?
The title translates to “women on films” which describes who we are and what we do at once. We wanted to include a word in Kreyol to have a clear link to Haiti.
Why did you choose this topic & format?
We wanted to highlight the films and TV projects that were perhaps not getting the recognition they deserved or included Haitians that people didn’t know about. We review the films so people can hear about the elements that make a film or TV show. In addition, we thought it would be important to get the persepctive of the filmmaker or actor as well and allow our listeners to get an insider’s view on the artist’s process.
How did you decide to become co-hosts?
Ella came up with the idea for the show. She knew Martine was a filmmaker and already had a blog about Haitian films and had written for Shadow and Act. She thought that their shared love for film and TV would be a great combination. And they have great on air chemistry!! They really just allow themselves to have authentic conversations and have fun when taping the show.
Now that you’ve launched your show what are you hoping to accomplish?
We hope to take the project to the next level by hosting live screenings of some of the films we review. We would love to be a resource and a platform where Haitian creatives can feel like they can help promote the work they do. Ultimately, we would like to bring more awareness to the public about the great work Haitian creatives are doing.
What’s one tip you wish you learned before you started podcasting that was really helpful?
Ella: Batch recording is your friend. It’s so much better when you have multiple shows in the can. It allows you to focus on marketing instead of producing the show.
Martine: Two tips I learned early on that have been invaluable. First, create seasons instead of dropping continuous weekly episodes. Our seasons are 7 episodes long then we take a break. Second, the type of microphone matters greatly. There is a big difference in sound quality between our very first couple of episodes and our last couple of seasons.
What’s one thing you knew before starting your podcast? Or one resource you wish you had before launching
Ella: I wish I had known about affiliate advertising! I didn’t find out about that until recently as a way to immediately make some revenue. We’re going to use it in our next season and I’m really excited about that.
Martine: The importance of show notes. It wasn’t until I started browsing through other podcasts that I realized how invaluable their show notes were to me. As we revamp our podcast for the upcoming season, show notes will play a much bigger role.
What’s one thing you’ve learned about yourself or your audience since you started?
Ella: I’ve learned our audience is ok with things being flexible. As long as we’re providing good content, they’re ok with us switiching things up.
Martine: I’ve learned that I’m at my best when I’ve done extensive research on the episode subject. Sometimes it becomes an obsession to try to watch as much of the interviewee’s work as possible, learn about their career trajectory, their artistic influences and sensibilities.
What has inspired you the most to start a podcast?
Ella: I don’t think there was a particular person for me…I just know how I feel when I hear a good podcast and I wanted to create that for other people.
Martine: Well, Ella started Fanm on Films so I’ll let her answer that one more directly. I will say that I’ve been inspired to do start new projects by the ladies of Two Dope Queens. Their transition to television is a source of inspiration as well.
What’s the first podcast you ever listened to?
Ella: I downloaded the NPR app and was listening to the NPR Politics Podcast first. Then I transitioned to others that were more story based.
Martine: John August’s Scriptnotes. It’s essential listening for filmmakers and creatives in general.
Other than your show what are some of your favorite podcasts?
Martine: One of my favorite podcasts is The Read with Crissle West and Kid Fury. Blank Check with Griffin and David is another movie podcast where the hosts deep dive into various filmmakers’ background and their work. Finally, I listen to many shows on NPR (Hello “Wait, Wait, Don’t tell me!”) and NPR’s Code Switch is high on my list of “must listen to” podcasts.
Ella: The NPR Politics Podcast is still one of my favorites. In addition I love: Reveal, Criminal, Snap Judgement, Femmefluence, Cite Black Women, The Treatment, RBG Fitclub, All the President’s Lawyers, 1619, Wolverine: The Lost Trail and Hear to Slay among others. Although I love NPR – Wait, Wait, Don’t tell me! is my least favorite. Yes, sometimes we disagree ☺ NPRs Code Switch, though is DOPE…we’re all in on that one!
What do you enjoy most about podcasting?
Ella: The collaboration with Martine. Having someone I can nerd out with about the entertainment industry is a blast. I think we feel like we are doing something really important for Haiti through a medium we both love. Being able to showcase Haiti in this way is a joy and an honor for me.
Martine: Ella and I have a blast. We really enjoy just having casual conversations with each other and with our guests. Sometimes, in preparation for a show, we start discussing points to bring up and have to remind ourselves to save some of it for the recording session.
What do enjoy least about podcasting?
Ella: Editing. But it must be done.
Martine: Editing. I leave that to Ella who is brilliant.
What are looking forward to/hope to see in the podcasting space?
Ella: I would really like to broaden our audience. I love when I tell people about a show they know and then say – that person on it is Haitian. It blows their minds! The other piece is I would really love us to serve up and coming creatives more. Serve as a resource for them. Finally, to be able to do more live coverage at film festivals would be great. In general, I’d like to see the audiences for Caribbean podcasts expand in general. I’m really excited that more women of color are doing it and look forward to building more connections with them.
Martine: More sponsorships, more opportunities to promote our show to a broader audience. For our show specifically, we want to travel to more film festivals, especially in Haiti and interview more filmmakers in Haiti. We have plans to start providing workshops and resources to Haitian filmmakers. We have big dreams and big plans. Here’s hoping we make inroads in the upcoming year.
What is the 1 thing from your Haitian/Caribbean culture that you cannot do without?
Ella: Music. When I’m having a bad day, a good konpa song makes everything feel great!!!
Martine: An ornate wooden “pilon” (pestle). Don’t even ask me why. I’ve had one for over 10 years. I use it to blend my spices. I could easily do this in a blender or any kind of food processor but nope, I prefer peeling everything by hand then smashing it in a “pilon” with tears streaming down my face because it usually has habanero peppers. That’s part of my self-care.
Share a fun fact about the team
We’re both water signs! And we both wear natural hairstyles.
Where do you see yourself in the next 6 months to a year?
Ella: We’ll be rebranding in the next year so I’m excited about that. Also aiming for us to be more present at podcast festivals as well as making appearances on other podcasts. I would really love us to make some guest appearances on some of the mainstream film/tv podcasts. My dream is for us to be on The Treatment with Elvis Mitchell!!
Martine: We’re hoping to attend a festival or two in Haiti next year. We’re also hoping to broaden our show topics and reach to include more people interested in Haitian and Caribbean cinema.