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Fire Her Up

By: Amanda West

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For any female to succeed in the male dominated world of motorsports is applaudable.
 
I’m Amanda Ivy West, a film director, photographer and cinematographer of motorsports movies. Many have tried again and again, to oppress a woman succeeding in the motorsports industry but this only fuels my inner fire and has lead to me carving out a career and today being one of the most respected and sought-after movie directors and producers in motorsports. Working with the biggest brands and superstar professional athletes from all around the world, it has been a long, challenging road.
 I’m extremely passionate and motivated in highlighting and elevating inspiring top tier female athletes in the motorsports industry and minorities in my film productions, with inclusion being so important to me across gender, cultures, age and race. I’m all about inclusion, because I know myself what it is like to be oppressed.

I soon discovered after I picked up one of my husband’s photography cameras, who was a motorcycle photographer and journalist at the time, that I naturally had talent for high speed action sports photography. 

I was never “offered” filming assignments in the motorsports industry, so being the incredibly self motivated, proactive individual I am, I took the intiative and produced my first motorsports movie.

I was told by my male peers many times, that I was very ambitious and it was highly unlikely that I would bring my first movie to fruition. 

I consistently face gender prejudice around every corner. 

Magazines and media would knowingly falsely credited my husband for my work. In one instance, a magazine even stopped the press when they discovered a female had taken the cover image on their motorcycle magazine. And this was after the mock front cover which had been given the editor’s approved sign off, was emailed to my husband, saying that it was going to print tomorrow and they would send him a copy. The editor even mentioning in the email how he was so excited about the knock out photo. My husband replied saying it was not taken by him, as it was my shot. The next day They emailed saying they had decided to go in another direction and placed a basic static, stock image of a bike on the cover.

Moments like this blatant gender discrimination towards women is damn frustrating, but it truly fires me up. 

I realised that no matter what quality work I produced, I would never be accepted in their motorsports “boys club” and my work not be acknowledged to the same level as my male counterparts. I developed the skills needed to emotionally and mentally disconnect from this oppressive stress.

I knew that the only way to succeed was to be my own boss and take away their power, so I could help other women and minorities also. 

So I said to my husband, “I have great, genuine relationships with so many of the top motorcycle riders, race teams, major motorcycle manufacturers and industry brands and I want to make a motorsports films. 

One of the many times, I was subjected to outright physically abusive oppression just for being a woman, was while I photographing as the official photographer role for a major World Motorcycle racing Championship in Germany. I was physically attacked by a fellow male photographer when he voiced loudly his disapproval of my senior officiating role, pulling me to the ground from behind and slapping me so hard across my face it made me spin around. I responded as a natural reflex by knocking him down. He yelled at the police that his excuse was, I was a woman and should not be the official photographer.  The event police simply asked him to say sorry to me. 

Then I heard from Red Bull Media House, a giant in the motorsports industry and they were wanting to partner with my production company to co-produce our next movie. Not hesitating at this opportunity, we packed up and selling everything we owned, with a fresh movie contract in tow, we moved to the United Kingdom.

Filming in cinematic locations in England, Spain, Morocco, Netherlands, Austria, France, Italy, USA and Australia. The film featured an unprecedented long star-studded cast and  for the first time in motorcycle movie history, a dedicated major segment of top female athletes from across the globe. The Ride United movie was released with the credentials never seen before in a motorsports documentary: a female director, cinematographer and producer.

I’ve just wrapped up directing my fifth motorsports movie, released in December 2020, The Dirty Dozen, presented by Rockstar Energy, partnered with Husqvarna Motorcycles. With several exciting movie projects in production for 2021.   

You can tell me that “its not possible” or that I’m “too ambitious” if you want, but one thing history has shown, is that a strong woman, an aware and hard working woman, won’t just prove you wrong, they’ll set a whole new, badass standard. 

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