I’ve been creating images for a documentary called Half The Picture on female directors (and convos on women in the biz) and it got me thinking that my journey in the world of movie making has been a very different journey than what a lot of females experience. My first project was a wonderful pilot called “Wake Up America.” It had a female producing team, female director and two female leads! My 2nd project was written by a woman who also was the producer. And then my 3rd experience was staffed ENTIRELY by women! The production company 6 With Heels states in their mission statement that every project they work on will be filled by at least 50% women! They went 100% with their first project, Chickadee in which every position, like every single one, was manned by a female. From the director to the grips to the camera to the art to the sound, to the actors every single position was rocked by a lady. The only male on set was a neighbor who kept wandering into frame to watch every once in a while. Considering the usual ration of men to women on sets, this is RARE start to my Unit Stills photography career. Not saying that the fella’s don’t do a rocking job, they do and I love working with the fellas and there are a lot who are very supportive of females on set. BUT the amount of women usually filling roles on sets is very low. Especially when you look towards the directors chair, where around a whopping 9% find women sitting in that chair.
If only 9% of films that shape our culture are told by women that means 91% of what influences our society is told from a (mostly white) male point of view. This is problematic. We need stories championed by female voices (and more from minority voices too, while we are at it.) Movies shape the way people see the world and how they act towards each other. They direct our culture. All people’s voices should have a say in what is seen as normal or okay, the views that influence society. When everyone has a voice in telling their stories there will be a more even look at what is normal and thus a healthier point of view shaping the world. What is seen influences what is liked, so the more points of view that people are exposed to leads to a wider world experience.
“We are notes in this beautiful concert of existence.” – Mozart in the Jungle. I look forward to hearing more voices in the mix!
“Directing isn’t the only dark spot for women, either. The report shows that women represented just 11% of writers in 2015, 20% of executive producers, 26% of producers, 22% of editors, and 6% of cinematographers. Women fared slightly better across each category than they did in 2014 — which may be the source of an intra-industry butterfly effect. It turns out that when women are in key positions on film sets, the representation of women is better overall than if men are leading the show.” – Refinery 29 (check out the full article)
I heard about a documentary that was exploring these issues and the EEOC’s investigation into unfair hiring practices at the beginning of this year and I leapt at the chance to participate. Half the Picture is a documentary directed by Amy Adrion. Amy is diving deep into these issues and what it means to be a female director with her interviews of some of the top players in the industry including Mary Harron, Kimberly Peirce, Maria Burton. Karyn Kusama, Caroline Libresco, Daisy von Scherler Mayer, Tina Mabry, Emily Best, and Destri Martino (and lots more, they had already been filming for 3 months when I joined the team and many more interviews still to come!)
The conversations that I have gotten to be privy to at these interviews is simultaneously heartening and devastating, inspiring and terrifying and 100% empowering. The hurtles and uphill battles these women have had face to be able to create their award winning films is mind boggling. A woman can direct a film that wins the lead an oscar but then can’t get another project for a decade while their male counterpart puts out a flop and has a new film gift wrapped and handed to them. It just makes no sense. I’m looking forward to the EEOC’s findings and meanwhile I am having a great time with Amy and her crew; Yamit Shimonowitz, Ona Isart, David Harris, Delrissa Machain, Jenn Gittings, Karla Mendoza, Laura Peyer, Jeanne Tyson, Bella Sosis, Soraya Selene, Eve Cohen, and Evan Menak
Interviews are ongoing, we have our next one in a few weeks.
Cuddles with mom after another successful shoot.
How many male directors are asked how they balance their career with their families? Every female director is………