Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Seeing women directing film

Okay, I graduated from MCAD and sadly some of what I experienced there felt like a direct reflection of the outside production world. Film is a male-dominated industry.
And that is not to say men are making all the choices, there are many women making choices in the industry and in some ways that makes it harder for me to accept.
Still, like with everything, it is about who you know. It is developed in a manner that is supportive of men, and really difficult for women.

Women in the production world are encouraged to be producers not directors or cinematographers. And if they go into these roles they are presented with many challenges; a crew who questions their direction and voice as well as criticism, much like we see with the current election and words regarding Hillary Clinton. Her hair, her clothes, a tear???
Is it that the people making the choices to hire/elect a woman in any role (director, president, board, instructor...) are so accustomed to the male perspective
that they can’t relate to something else? I’m not sure. But I am not willing to accept it.

I know it is difficult but I also know, thankfully, that there are hundreds of women out there doing it.
I think we should spend more time acknowledging and celebrating the work of women who are creating and trudging through. In the process of doing this we create positive role models.

As we all know, media is a very important form of storytelling and has become a way to connect in our culture . How can this connection be an authentic one if it is not represented by both genders as well as all races? It is critical that the number of women directors, presidents, board members, etc. are heard as well as recognized.

I remember reading an article once about Martha Coolidge, president of the Directors Guild of America. She talked about how discouragement starts in film school. She went to NYU’s film school in the 70’s and when she applied she was told she couldn’t be a director because she was a woman. Of course she was accepted and has since directed at least 40 works!

Maybe you are thinking, this was 30 years ago. But we are still seeing/hearing it happen. No, I do not know the protocol or selection process for the 13 directors selected for the class at MCAD. But I also don’t think it matters. We need to see a representation of both genders as well as all races. We each have a different story to share and in different ways. Not all women directors make “women” films and not all men make films about shooting and sex. I am tired of hearing about all the male prodigies, Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson... So let’s start celebrating female directors... And in honor of the MCAD class and the time frame or 1980 to present, I will reply to this post with some women directors from 1980 – 1995, many who continue their work today!


Pick a director from the list and find a work sample and a bit of information on her to post on the blog for discussion. Share the knowledge.

Compose a letter to MCAD... Maybe Amalia, as a current student, could help with the deeper exploration on this. Think about a piece you might make to explore these issues.

Take action, take action, take action!!
There are a lot of discussions happening but what are actions you can take???


rebecca said...

Chantal Akerman 1980 - 1990
Alison Anders 1990 - 1995
Annette Apon 1980 - 1990
Gillian Armstrong 1980 - 1995
Martina Attilw 1980 - 1990
Beth B 1980 - 1990
Kathyrn Bigelow 1980 - 1995
Maureen Blackwood 1980 - 1995
Jane Campion 1980 - 1995
Dominigue Cardona 1990 - 1995
Gurinder Chadha 1990 - 1995
Ayoka Chenzira 1980 - 1990
Christine Choy 1980 - 1990
Stacey Cochran 1990 - 1995
Laurie Colbert 1990 - 1995
Janis Cole 1980 - 1990
Martha Coolidge 1980 - 1990
Julie Dah 1980 - 1990
Holly Dale 1980 - 1990
Julie Dash 1990 - 1995
Tamra Davis 1990 - 1995
Zeinabu Irene Davis 1990 - 1995
Claire Denis 1980 - 1990
Doris Dorrie 1980 - 1990
Nora Ephron 1990 - 1995
Holly Fisher 1990 - 1995
Jodie Foster 1990 - 1995
Su Friedrich 1980 - 1990
Jill Godmilow 1980 - 1990
Bette Gordon 1980 - 1990
Marleen Gorris 1980 - 1990
Maggie Greenwald 1990 - 1995
Barbara Hammer 1990 - 1995
Leslie Harris 1990 - 1995
Amy Heckerling 1990 - 1995
Agnieszka Holland 1990 - 1995
Ann Hui 1990 - 1995
Claire Hunt 1980 - 1990
Prema Karanth 1980 - 1990
Beeban Kidron 1990 - 1995
Barbara Kopple 1980 - 1990
Diane Kurys 1980 - 1990
Alile Sharon Larkin 1980 - 1990
Jennie Livingston 1990 - 1995
Kim Longinotto 1980 - 1990
Alison Maclean 1990 - 1995
Mira Mair 1980 - 1990
Penny Marshall 1990 - 1995
Darnell Martin 1990 - 1995
Sheila McLaughlin 1980 - 1990
Merata Mita 1980 - 1990
Jocelyn Moorehouse 1990 - 1995
Pat Murphy 1980 - 1990
Mira Nair 1990 - 1995
Maria Novaro 1980 - 1990
Alanis Obomsawin 1980 - 1990
Ngozi Onwurah 1990 - 1995
Ulrike Ottinger 1980 - 1990
Euzhan Palcy 1980 - 1990
Pratibha Parmar 1990 - 1995
Christine Pascal 1980 - 1990
Sally Potter 1990 - 1995
Yvonne Rainer 1980 - 1990
Helke Sander 1980 - 1990
Valeria Sarmiento 1980 - 1990
Nancy Savoca 1990 - 1995
Aparna Sen 1980 - 1990
Coline Serreau 1980 - 1990
Susan Siedelman 1980 - 1990
Joan Micklin Silver 1980 - 1990
Penelope Spheeris 1990 - 1995
Barbra Streisand 1990 - 1995
Loretta Todd 1990 - 1995
Monika Treut 1980 - 1995
Trinh T. Minh-ha 1980 - 1990
Agnes Varda 1980 - 1990
Margarethe Von Trotta 1980 - 1990
Anne Wheeler 1980 - 1990
Zhang Nuanxin 1980 - 1990

HaNNaH said...

i don't know many of these women, but I'll pick.... Christine Choy... I'm excited to learn more about her. I'll have to start the project in a week though, because right now I'm on overload with the AP test coming up!EEKS!!!

Anonymous said...

In a way think it would be more interesting to research women who are long-time assistants and stuff who have never made the leap themselves and try to find out why not.

BTW - The Music Man - all 4 performances of it - is over. My best friend rocked as Marion. I had been a finalist for Mrs. Puroo but lost to one other girl so... I had 2 parts but they were pretty minor. A generic middle aged towns woman and the old lady in the American Gothic painting tableau. So... I got to sing a duet for 2 seconds. But, it was a lot of fun. Now I just have to catch up on homework and thank you notes for all my conformation gifts!!! Next year I have to do another History Day video for school. So... my friend Kathleen and I are going to work together and do it and we thought we'd film it this summer to save time during the school year. And, if we get it done in time, we can enter it into the last Moving Pictures film festival. Next year's History Day theme is Individuals in History. And, there is this guy I know who is of the right generaltion - he fought in WWII and stuff. Anyway... he Lives in Excelsior and is one of only 7 people in the world who holds a license to captain any ship in the world. And the thing is - he still does. In his mid 80's, he captains these ships which are floating hospitals called Mercy Ships. He anchors them off the coast of third world countries and thay spend months repairing cleft palates and club feet and stuff for people who have no access to medical care. Anyway... Hope you are all well.

Urgh!!! Sometimes this computer is so annoying. I always have trouble with the password on it. I think one of the keyboard letters doesn't work all the time or something. Anyway... this is from Casey

barbara said...

I'll research Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust) and Sally Potter (Yes).

We can put them into our newsletter and maybe do a link on our website to all the research we find on women directors.

I bet we could even contact them and tell them about TVbyGIRLS.

how exciting.