A film by women about women is rarity enough, but in “Equity” director Meera Menon and producer/actresses Alysia Reiner and Sarah Megan Thomas have contrived to make one that not only focuses on the glass ceiling still operative in the world of finance, but offers caustic observations about how the race for success among women there can shred any notion of sisterly support among the competitors. The three recently came to Dallas to discuss the film, about the machinations involved at a large New York investment bank trying to mount a successful IPO for a Silicon Valley start-up.

Reiner said, “From the moment we started talking about this, the idea of being a female-driven film, not just in content but in terms of creators, was integral to the process, and our mission.”

And Thomas added, “And when you watch the movie, hopefully you watch it and enjoy it, and it’s a non-issue. And then after, you notice there were a lot of women involved in making this, because it really shouldn’t be an issue anymore.”

But of course there were men in the cast and crew as well, and Reiner observed, “The men that were involved—like our cinematographer, our first assistant director, many of the actors—they really understood the conversation that we were setting out to have with this movie. They were wired to be quite feminist. I found it a common trait among many of the men involved with the film that they had very strong wives or sisters or mothers in their lives that they’d often talk about {as] reasons they connected with the material.”

But the project was not an easy one. Thomas said, “Making an indie film is really challenging. Even though we did this really fast—script to screen in under two years—that’s still two years of your life, and you can’t take other projects. You can’t do other things, so you have to make sure that whatever the story is you’re telling, you feel incredibly passionate about.”

Asked about why she was passionate about this story, Thomas continued, “I don’t know this particular world on Wall Street at all—the investment banking world. But I have a few girlfriends who worked in finance, and so I thought this would be a great idea for a movie, because we’ve never seen it before. And the people I know living in New York City who work in finance aren’t people from Wall Street. Even though I love that movie, they’re not spending ten thousand dollars on dinner, at least not in 2015, post financial crisis. And I thought this would be an interesting story to tell about these women.”

Reiner added, “When Sarah came to me with this idea about a woman on Wall Street, I was deeply fascinated when I started hearing these women’s stories. But additionally, as Sarah said, we haven’t seen Wall Street post-2008. We haven’t seen what happened since the crash. For example, a friend of mine whose husband was in mortgages, they lost everything, and the way their life changed was extraordinary. And he’s a really good man—he’s not greedy. He wasn’t a character we usually see in these films. It’s a very interesting thing showing a different side of Wall Street—we’re not just interested in the female angle, but showing other sides of Wall Street you haven’t seen in a film before.”

Thomas added, “One of the great things about this movie is that what we wanted to explore is people and ambition, and how far people will go to get what they want in life. You can explore the gray lines about what’s legal and what’s not.”

And yet the focus on women distinguishes “Equity” from men-centered films about Wall Street. In speaking of her character (an assistant VP aiming at a promotion), for example, Thomas said, “The character is coming from a place of business and professionalism, not coming from a place of greed. And I think actually that’s the point. We think about sex much more than about how much money we make. We don’t ask for the raises, we don’t ask for money, and we need to—we need to value ourselves more. And I think that’s where she comes from, which is actually a good place and a right place, not just ‘money, money, money.’” Reiner added, “It’s more about worth and value, valuing themselves, than greed. And I think that’s a distinction we were interested in making.”

And yet the film portrays the very real competition that occurs among women in this hothouse environment, even turning on one another. “It’s this idea that there are so few spots at the top, so when you create an environment like that, and when you throw women, who are already marginalized in this environment, into that situation where there are so few opportunities to be rewarded, this kind of behavior is likely to come out,” Menon said. “I think it’s true to that world and true to any competitive industry—I feel that it’s kind of happening in the film industry as well. Everyone is jockeying for that same positions, because there are so few of them.”

Menon recalled, “I came on board about six months after Alysia and Sarah had begun developing the screenplay with [writer] Amy Fox, specifically looking for a female director. If more producers took it upon themselves to do that, it could change the conversation about there not being enough women behind the camera.

“I was really excited by the material; Amy’s writing has a kind of elegance, sophistication and intelligence that was really provoking, and I [appreciated] the bottom line they had of pushing the needle forward on the kind of movies we saw women spearheading.”

Menon’s addition to the project naturally had its own effect. “I think I brought some reference points to people in terms of other filmmakers, like David Fincher and Michael Mann, and some visual ideas about the use of color through the course of the film, some musical ideas…just the things you start to do when you start to lift the movie onto the screen from the words on the page. It was very much a conversation all the way through, because this is a movie that they had been developing and thinking about for a very long time, and I felt that my job was to service the tone and ideas that they had put forth.”

Reiner interjected, “One of the great things about Meera as a director is that she really listens to how you want to play the character. She helps facilitate that, and in addition she takes it one step further. On an indie you have four or five takes, not ninety-nine. You’ve got to make sure you have something in the can, but then Meera would say, ‘Okay, we have that. Now, what if your character sits down, or whatever, and that really allowed in the editing room the flexibility to mold these characters in ways that we wouldn’t have been able to do if Meera’s direction wasn’t so great.”

And the conversation initiated by “Equity” will continue: Reiner and Thomas revealed that the film has been optioned for a TV series by TriStar. “So we’ll be developing that,” Reiner said. “So it is now no longer our baby—we’re sharing it,” Thomas added. “Hopefully it will be on the air next year.”