Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sophie Hyde on '52 Tuesdays' & a whole lot more...


Australian women directors did brilliantly at Sundance. Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook, a horror about a single mother losing her grip on reality, enjoyed rave reviews and will be distributed in the United States and Latin America. Ashlee Page won a prestigious Sundance Institute | Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award (given in recognition and support of emerging independent filmmakers from around the world), for her single character feature Archive. And Sophie Hyde won the Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic for 52 Tuesdays (for which she co-wrote the story with the screenwriter, Matthew Cormack). 52 Tuesdays then won a Crystal Bear, for the Best Youth Film, at the Berlinale.

Sophie Hyde & her Silver Bear
52 Tuesdays' logline is '16-year-old Billie’s reluctant path to independence is accelerated when her mother reveals plans for gender transition and their time together becomes limited to Tuesday afternoons'. And although it’s a drama, not a documentary, it was shot chronologically every Tuesday for a year: the filmmakers set themselves a rule, that they could only shoot on Tuesdays up until midnight and only consecutively, so whatever filmed on that day is what happens in the story on that day. All the actors are non-professionals. Before 52 Tuesdays, Sophie directed three narrative shorts and a short documentary and co-directed Life in Movement, a feature documentary about choreographer Tanja Liedtke. She’s also a writer and producer.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Making Noise, Hearing Noise, by Pip Adam


Lake Bell’s In A World… is a film about voice. Which, if you stop to think about it for even a second, is a pretty odd thing. We watch movies, we go to see them. Film is a ‘visual’ medium. This strange transplant of an audial mode in a visually-dominated domain made me think about the noises we make and how these are heard.

In A World...’s protagonist Carole Solomon (Lake Bell) is a voice coach and daughter of the successful voice artist, Sam Sotto (Fred Melamed). The film begins with the death of the real Don LaFontaine voice of over 5,000 movie trailers and inseparable from the phrase ‘In a world…’. With the appearance of LaFontaine, movie trailers are positioned as the pinnacle of voice acting work. Which makes you think, When was the last time I heard a woman voicing a movie trailer?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Lauzen-Silverstein Test

One of Walt Hickey's tables

Yesterday, a man called Walt Hickey published his excellent analysis of The Dollar-And-Cents Case Against Hollywood’s Exclusion of Women. Sure, in stating that 'Movies that are female-driven do not travel...maybe with the exception of Sandra Bullock' and that 'recently, Hollywood has been able to boast about the success of female-dominated films in the marketplace', he and his informants seem to have forgotten, for example, that Meryl Streep films travel superbly well. And have been doing so for years. And, as Alice Lytton points out in her lovely response, the money's just part of the story.

But the article does show that using the Bechdel Test as a default measure for how women are represented in films doesn't work. I treasure films that – consciously or unconsciously – embrace the Bechdel Test and run with it and am always happy when even a short sequence in a film passes the test. But all the Bechdel Test can do is measure whether two women in the film talk to each other about something other than men. Cherishing women's conversations about something other than men is important. I hope that the Swedish A-Rating idea becomes embedded in cinema-going round the world to remind us of this. However, it's necessary to find other ways to measure how women are represented on screen.

Melissa Silverstein, with a hat-tip to Martha Lauzen, has just suggested a new form of measurement, with these criteria–
1) Does the film have a female lead or leads?

2) Does the woman/women have agency in her/their life, i.e., is she a real and meaningful character?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

News From The Front LIne

Haifaa al-Mansour on set
There's been some amazing reading this week, from women who are both practitioners (screenwriters, actors, directors) and activists. Courageous inventive women, whose tweets I follow avidly. They're all problem solvers. They analyse the problems that face diverse women who want to participate in filmmaking, as the storytellers. They experiment with ways to address those problems. They inspire me. I love them!

First, Kate Kaminski's remarkable Rocking the Boat: A Call for Solidarity. Kate makes films and is co-director of The Bluestocking series, the only Bechdel Test film fest I know of. Her call isn't new. Almost exactly five years ago, for example, Women & Hollywood published A Young Voice From The Trenches that also questioned how women in film undermine other women. But Kate also provides suggestions about how we can make a difference. This week, Kate started a new Pinterest board, Action! Women Directing, Women Shooting!, too. (Twitter Kate, Bluestocking Films)

Then Anatomy: The Making of Wadjda, by Haifaa al-Mansour. It has a hidden treasure, an embedded pdf that details problems and solutions from making her marvellous Wadjda. (Twitter)



Sunday, March 23, 2014

Women Directors of Feature Films in New Zealand


Dana Rotberg shooting White Lies|Tuakiri Huna

Last week, two lovely people questioned me about my work. I don't look back at it often, but returned to my PhD thesis and various statistics-oriented posts I'd almost forgotten, like this one and this one. And then remembered a survey that I wrote for Geoff Lealand, the New Zealand editor of the second edition of the Directory of World Cinema: Australia and New Zealand. When I looked at it again, I realised that even in the year since I wrote it lots has changed. (I think you can also tell that I don't enjoy writing 'academic', am much happier in real-time immediate responses). 

So here it is while some of it's still relevant and to accompany Matthew Hammett Knott's interview with me, for his Heroines of Cinema series (blush). 

If I were writing a survey today, I'd include all the short films New Zealand actresses write and direct and their potential as multihyphenates. I'd include Marama Killen's self-funded feature, Kaikahu Road. I'd add more about webseries. And more--

And I'd love to know what you question, or think is missing. That would help me as I research and write a New Zealand chapter for a book about women screenwriters around the world. Have at it, please, in the comments, emails, tweets, on Facebook, on the phone, in the supermarket.

Whenever women directors are grouped together in an international context, New Zealand’s Jane Campion is always among the first mentioned. Niki Caro, Christine Jeffs and Alison Maclean are often included too. This global reputation is remarkable when New Zealand’s population is only 4.4 million. Within New Zealand, Gaylene Preston is prominent as well, with a career that outstrips that of any director of her generation. These women’s collective presence is so strong that until very recently it was generally believed that New Zealand had no woman director ‘problem’. But the low numbers of feature films directed by – and about – women are similar to those in many other countries. In the ten years to December 2012, women wrote and directed 12 per cent of feature films made in New Zealand by New Zealanders, men wrote and directed 72 per cent and the balance had mixed gender writer/director teams. Five per cent of feature films had women as writers and directors and a female central protagonist and a further 5 per cent that men wrote and directed also told stories about women.

The New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC), the state funding body, has no gender equity policy and, unlike Screen Australia, it does not generate gender data. Recent research, however, shows that it consistently invests far less in women-directed narrative feature films than in men’s. It also invests much less in women’s projects on the pathways to feature film-making (short films, feature development funding and talent investment programmes). The research also shows that women directors tend to be represented in NZFC investments in the proportion that they (or their producers) apply to the various programmes, with occasional exceptions. For example, although women were attached as directors to 27 percent of the successful NZFC Fresh Shorts programme in 2012 and this roughly reflected their representation in applications, in 2011 when the applications were at the same level, half the successful projects had women directors attached. Outside NZFC-funded projects, women directors tend to be better represented in telemovies funded by NZ On Air (NZOA) than in NZFC-funded features. Many women direct documentaries, some of them with a global perspective, but there are no documentary-specific statistics. (In 2013 the NZFC and NZOA established new documentary funds so it will soon be possible to track those.)

New Zealand women directors are also profoundly under-represented in ‘self-funded’ feature film-making, undertaken with an un(der)paid cast and crew and dependent on in-kind support of equipment and other resources from individuals, institutions and crowd-funding. In a recent list of New Zealand feature films made over the past decade, of all the features written and directed by women, just one was self-funded, Athina Tsoulis’s Jinx Sister (2008), 6 per cent, while of the films written and directed by men the proportion was 36 per cent. Two more, Astrid Glitter’s John (2005), and Rosemary Riddell’s The Insatiable Moon (2010) were written by men. Andrea Bosshard co-directed two, Taking the Waewae Express (2007) and Hook, Line & Sinker (2011). Alyx Duncan’s The Red House won the Sorta Unofficial New Zealand Film Awards (the MOAs) Best Self-Funded Film Award in 2012, but was partially funded under the Screen Innovation Production Fund – a now defunct Creative New Zealand programme – by Asia New Zealand and by the NZFC for post-production. There is to date only one New Zealand webseries written or directed by a woman, Roseanne Liang’s Flat3 (2012). Women directors are a tiny minority in the local 48 Hours competition; and in a recent major Make My Movie competition organized by people also involved in 48 Hours, women directors’ representation in the twelve finalists was limited to one co-director.

It is not possible to identify definitively the factors that affect women’s participation as feature film directors in New Zealand. The starting point is always that a film director’s life is very demanding for anyone, woman or man. Gaylene Preston has speculated that there are few women directors in the 48 Hours competition because women participate strongly in ‘director’ roles alongside men right up to the moment that shooting starts, but at that point they tend to take one step back and the men take one step forward. She suggests that this stepping forward/stepping back could be negotiated so that more women get directing experience and take responsibility for what appears in the frame. If this ‘stepping back’ exists in 48 Hours, perhaps its presence supports the view that it is pervasive on all the pathways to feature film-making, because many women are less ‘competitive’ and less ‘obsessive’ than men. It may also help explain why many more women are producers than directors and why many women prefer to produce projects by and about men.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

An Autumn Multi-Tweet & Two-Question Day

my garden 
It's harvest time. I'm also pruning fruit trees, sanding window frames, sewing clothes. And fulfilling some obligations. Overwhelmed. So overwhelmed that I gave away my tickets to Alison Bechdel's events at Writers Week. (Knowing that she provides some wonderful online clips helped me make the decision.) Need to stay very quiet for a bit.

But today was special. Surprises. Too many awesome moments to tweet.

And when I wrote the day in tweet-size I found I had to add two questions that are not tweet-size.

1. EARLY. Woke from extraordinary dream. Ate a big breakfast in bed, read the paper and went back to sleep.

2. 10.30 Up, quick shower & to desk to start to assess stranger's script. Forgot what fun it can be. What Will Happen Next? followed me to

3. Happy Lunch With Beloved Family. They delight me. Filled with gratitude for their generosity. Then quick walk up Cuba Street to

4. Rendez-Vous with Visiting Beloved Director at Cuba Lighthouse. Rich heart-&-mind experience, with ticket in hand for Stories We Tell.

5. It too has all the brilliance, warmth & courage I could hope for. I love the space & the respect Sarah Polley gives to the participants & to the narrative.

6. Home via Moore Wilson's (turbot) and Commonsense Organics (brown rice). In Tory Street I see a kind-of-familiar couple.

7. Alison Bechdel's head-down. Her gorgeous girl friend & I exchange warm smiles & little waves. Lose last regret that I gave away my tix. #ttrtpt

8. As I walk past the monastery, the sound of the sea, the late sun and the rich smell of dak reinforce my feeling that it's a party day.

Lorde & Taylor Swift
9. After dinner, I read what Lorde says in answer to questions about her relationship with Taylor Swift. Feel much love & respect for her, another stranger.

10. Think about the other woman writer for whom I feel similar love and respect: Patricia Grace.

11. See that the New Zealand Film Commission has announced a new initiative–
He Ara (Māori and Pasifika film pathways).

He Ara is aimed at assisting established New Zealand writers, producers and directors of Māori and/or Pasifika heritage to express authentic Māori and Pasifika film perspectives in creating distinctive feature film drama or documentary projects, shaped through their chosen development framework.
And the combination of a beautiful, satisfying day and these experiences encourages me to ask these questions.

Q1. How did Patricia Grace's major essay Inherited responsibilities; On matters of national significance – He kōrero end up in the second, free online, eBook-only volume of the literary journal Pacific Highways 43?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Get Your Hopes Up


Get Your Hopes Up (Ballance St Wellington) photo: Phantom Billstickers
I'm at the bus-stop. Feeling gloomy. Ages ago I agreed to write about New Zealand women screenwriters, for an international guide. And now the deadline's looming and I've lost interest.

In the eight years of my Development project, nothing has changed in New Zealand.  Creative New Zealand and the New Zealand Film Commission, the organisations that distribute public funds to filmmakers and other artists, have no gender policy. They don't record gender statistics consistently. And they never publish them. Nor does New Zealand On Air, which funds some movies for television, and is required to consider women as an audience.The film guilds – publicly funded – don't make diversity statements or produce diversity reports.

And change is slow everywhere. Callie Khouri knows what she's talking about, from a career that stretches from Thelma and Louise to Nashville. She said the other day, in response to a question about conditions in Hollywood in general and for women who write feminist content–
Clearly there’s much more awareness about it. …I’d love to be able to point to one thing that says it’s better, I’d love to be able to. It’s really beginning to be the world’s most boring conversation, you know? I think everybody’s sick of talking about it, I just wish it would change.
In New Zealand, but differently, I feel the same. Yep! I'm bored with the conversations about women screenwriters – and women directors. As well as gloomy.

And then, across the road from the bus stop, I see this poster, from poet Lucy Orbell's The High Point project, where she takes the 'don't' from negative clichés. Here she asks 'What's the worst thing that can happen if you do get your hopes up?'.

So what's the worst thing that can happen if I abandon boredom and gloom and get my hopes up (again) on Oscar day, here in a culture infused with screen offerings from the United States and Europe, living a bike ride along the shoreline from Hollywood-in-New Zealand, Peter Jackson's base, where other men who direct and produce come and go with their own projects, like James Cameron, now living an hour away, 'over the hill' in the Wairarapa? (Peter Jackson writes and produces with women. He’s directed interesting films about young women and girls. He employs many women. He engaged Amy J Berg to direct West of Memphis. He’s very generous in providing access to his resources to many New Zealand filmmakers, women and men. But as far as I know no woman, except possibly Fran Walsh, has directed a second unit on his big projects.) Disappointment’s the worst thing that can happen if I get my hopes up? I reckon. Worth a try.

Get Your Hopes Up (Cuba Street Wellington) photo: Phantom Billstickers

Friday, February 7, 2014

Francine Raveney & the European Women's Audiovisual Network


In the last few years, legislative, public film funds and activist initiatives have begun to transform conditions for European women who write and direct feature films.

Sweden’s the frontrunner. The Swedish Film Institute’s gender initiatives are backed by the Swedish 2013 Film Agreement, which requires the institute to allocate its total funds equally to women and men in each of the three professional categories – director, screenwriter and producer, by the end of 2015. It took a while for the institute’s initiatives to develop and to take effect, but the latest nominations for the institute's annual Guldbagge film awards are rich with the names of women writers and directors. There are many other film initiatives by Swedish groups and individuals, who seem mutually supportive: the Doris Film network, founded in 1999, Wanda Bendjelloul who watches only films that women direct, the cross-sector groups that generated the A-Rating system and the strong Swedish Women in Film & Television network.  The Stockholm International Film Festival’s provides a (globally unique?) Feature Film Award, to fund a Swedish woman director's second feature. And this collective environment nourishes women from outside Sweden too. Women-directed work won Best Film at the Stockholm International Film Festival six times in the last decade: Lucile Hadžihalilović's Innocence; Laurie Collyer's Sherrybaby; Courtney Hunt's Frozen River; Debra Granik's Winter's Bone; Cate Shortland's Lore; Clio Barnard's The Selfish Giant.

Johan Fröberg (Swedish Film Institute), Emily Mann (Skillset, UK), 
Tomas Tengmark & Git Scheynius (director Stockholm International Film Festival)
Brainstorming meeting Cannes 2013
Other European states and public funding bodies and activists are also moving forward. France now has its unique Charte d’Egalité, an innovative, activist-led, collaboration between the state, the industry and activists. Eurimages, the pan-European film funding body, provides excellent data about the genders of applicants for its funding and about the successful applicants and will shortly announce new measures to promote equality.

There are also many and varied studies, conversations and alliances, often generated via women's film festivals  like Elles Tournent in Brussels, Films de Femmes in Creteil, The Flying Broom in Ankara, and the International Dortmund| Cologne Film Festival,  which founded the International Women's Film Festival Network in association with the Athena Film Festival in New York. In some countries, these initiatives are supported by the local Women in Film & Television chapter.

There are new networks in Romania and a range of existing networks are growing stronger all the time, like Austria's FC Gloria  and Women in Film and TV UK and MICA, the professional network for Ibero-American women in the film and audiovisual industry (in Spain and Portugal as well as Latin America).

One of the most exciting developments is the European Women’s Audiovisual Network (EWA). EWA came out of the work of the Spanish Association of Women Filmmakers and Audiovisual Media Professionals (CIMA), founded by women directors almost a decade ago. CIMA called a pan-European meeting in 2010, where participants created the Compostela Declaration. This led to the establishment of EWA later that year. At the end of 2012 EWA obtained an independent legal association status.

Early last year, EWA established its base in Strasbourg, France, to be close to key partner European institutions including the European Audiovisual Observatory, the European Parliament, Eurimages and the Council of Europe, the Franco-German broadcaster ARTE, the région d’Alsace and the Communauté Urbaine de Strasbourg, the local city authority, which is normally very supportive of pan-European initiatives – although EWA is also wondering about having an office in Brussels. Francine Hetherington Raveney was appointed as Director at the same time as the new statutes were drafted in January 2013.

EWA is now an independent pan-European non-profit organisation spanning 47 European countries, with a complex, super-informative website. It has its own executive body, headed by Isabel de Ocampo, with Zeynep Ozbatur (Head of the Turkish Producer’s Association) and the Spanish director Paula Ortiz as Vice-Presidents and Isabel Castro, Deputy Executive Director of Eurimages, as its new treasurer, an advisory board of pan-European industry experts, a growing number of country ambassadors and a dedicated executive team. It is backed by the Swedish Film Institute, the Norwegian Film Institute and the Dutch Film Fund and has been supported by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre and the Hungarian Cultural Centre of Berlin. It is also working closely with many other state film funds, in Germany, Austria and Switzerland among others.

How did it manage all this in a comparatively short time? Francine Raveney agreed to answer some questions, just before an exciting EWA programme at the Berlinale.

Francine Raveney

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Isabel Coixet

Isabel Coixet (photo: Mauricio Retiz)

Spanish women directors are amazing. I love them. They make lots of films that we don't see enough of outside Spain (see women nominated in Spain's Goya Awards 2014 here, for some of the most recent). And – I believe – they're collectively the most activist group of directors in the world. Spanish women directors founded CIMA (Asociacion de Mujeres Cineastas y de Medios Audiovisuales), and then EWA, the European Women's Audiovisual Network, which is going from strength to strength – an interview with EWA's director Francine Hetherington Raveney, coming soon.

Isabel Coixet is one of the visionary directors involved with CIMA, EWA's current president and director of seven features and many shorts, docos and commercials. She was a member of the Camera d’Or jury at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and her latest film, Panda Eyes, is due for release shortly. This is what Isabel says on the EWA site–
Every time I teach in a film school I face the same challenge: How to teach girls to believe that they really can be film directors, that they will be able to reach their goals and their dreams, when I know very well it`s going to be much more difficult for them than for the boys? I always use a very graphic example: the film industry is like a rocky mountain; boys climb the mountain with boots and sticks, girls must climb naked except for a pair of really high heels and a suitcase full of stones.

For a man, directing a movie is a fierce challenge, for a woman it is like winning the lottery. There`s also something very upsetting, something we must fight every single day: the cultural dismissal of women is so ingrained that the public, including some women, don`t seem to perceive a problem.

What do we need? What we really need is to change our cultural attitude towards women 180 degrees. We need Female super heroes. We need Big budgets. We need the right to be bitchy if we feel like it. We need to stop apologising for being bitchy. We need to alert the audience, if they are not watching films directed by women, they are missing the point of view of the other half of mankind (did I say 'mankind’?)

EWA can't change the mountain, but we will try to make women much better prepared for the climbing. At least the suitcase will be lighter and we'll be able to wear our Louboutins when we get to the top.
Irresistible! So of course I asked EWA if I could cross-post this interview between Isabel and Francine Raveney. Warm thanks to you, Isabel and Francine!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Moving Forward?

Meryl Streep & Emma Thompson have fun
This year feels like a turning point. Many countries with state film funding are now recording gender data about their funding and making it public. This data verifies whether women writers and directors are attached to projects that apply for public funds for filmmaking (and encourages questions if they are not); and whether taxpayer funds are allocated equally to projects directed by women. And the data so far confirms that except in Sweden the allocation of funds is inequitable. In some of the countries that keep data, notably Sweden and France, institutions and activists are experimenting with multiple strategies for increasing the numbers of women-written and -directed feature films (see below). In Sweden, where gender equity policies are most developed, the list of nominees for the Swedish Film Institute's 19-category 2014 Guldbagge Awards is full of women's names, so it seems that those strategies are beginning to work.

In the United States, where there is no contestable state film funding, various academics and organisations now present data and analysis about American women screenwriters and directors. Many individuals and organisations also experiment with strategies for making change. In 2013 I was particularly impressed with the Academy Nicholl Fellowship's data-keeping and concern for diversity and with the The Black List and its Black Board community diversity debates, led by Shaula Evans.

And, even though there are few women-directed features coming out this year in the United States, the issues are being discussed more widely there. And by men, in unexpected places. Matthew Hamett Knott's Heroines of Cinema series in Indiewire culminated in  Heroines of Cinema: An A to Z of Women in Film in 2013 and continued this week with a feminist discussion of co-director credits in Heroines of Cinema: Kátia Lund, the Oscar-Nominated Director Who Never Was. Ramin Setoodeh wrote Hollywood Sexist? Female Directors Still Missing in Action in Variety recently. And the other day Bennett Marcus of Vanity Fair was the only writer to report verbatim Meryl Streep's and Emma Thompson's wonderful speeches at the National Board of Review gala, under the headline: Meryl Streep Slams Walt Disney, Celebrates Emma Thompson as a 'Rabid, Man-Eating Feminist'.

New Zealand, alas, is way behind all this – almost six years after the then-CEO of the New Zealand Film Commission acknowledged that it has a gender problem, nothing has changed there. And when I look back on my posts in 2013 I notice a shift of emphasis that reflects my feelings with this dispiriting situation and the reality that 95% of Wellywood Woman readers come from outside Australasia.

I've posted more often on Pinterest, here and here. I've interviewed more practitioners and activists outside New Zealand, written more in-depth posts about my own shifts in thinking, often linked to my Muriel Rukeyser project, Throat of These Hours. I've begun to include guest posts, and what a pleasure they've been! And it's been wonderful to have exceptional access to direct and generous advice about how to work, from Ava DuVernay in an inspiring video and Jane Campion in a group of equally inspiring workshops. So here's a wee roundup. A big thank you to everyone who contributed in 2013. The posts with asterisks are among the top ten most-read posts ever (I'm always surprised when one post becomes more popular than others).

Interviews with Practitioners  (in alphabetical order)
Would like to do lots more. There's a wonderful diversity out there and all kinds of innovative ways of working.

Annie Collins: NZ editor extraordinaire, on doco Gardening With Soul and the principles that drive her work
CampbellX and her Stud Life feature
*Dana Rotberg, director of Tuakiri Huna/ White Lies
Dragging Our Heads Back– Throat of These Hours composer Christine White
Laura Thies – An Inspiring German Director
Min Young Yoo and Cho De|Invitation at Venice
Nathalie Boltt, Clare Burgess & The Silk
Robin Lung and her Finding Kukan doco

Interviews with Activists
I've tried to elicit information that will help others who seek models that work for women. More coming.

The A-Rating for Activists – interview with Swedish activist Ellen Tejle
The Bitch Pack and the Bitch List – interview with activist Thuc Nguyen
*French Feminists Make History – interview with activist Bérénice Vincent of the French activist group Le Deuxième Regard
The London Feminist Film Festival and its Director Anna Read

Guest Posts
Ace-and-awesome.

Director and activist Maria Giese on 13 Myths Hollywood Uses to Discriminate Against Women Directors and Women Directors Can Sue Everyone
Actress and activist Belinde Ruth Stieve and Women Behind the Camera in Germany
Actress Jennifer Ehle on Kathryn Bigelow

Masterclasses
Beautiful.

Ava DuVernay

Jane Campion's Workshops #1 - Starting Out
Jane Campion's Workshops #2 – Negative Capability, by Sophie Mayer
Jane Campion's Workshops #3 – My Notes
Jane Campion's Workshops #4 – Participants Speak

My Own Work
In 2012, after a Teju Cole workshop at the International Institute of Modern Letters, I published a long piece called 'The Singer May Be Innocent; Never The Song', about subtle influences that may undermine women writers and directors, even in environments that otherwise welcome them. In 2013 I explored similar themes in a series of posts, in this blog and elsewhere. Here's a chronological list, in case you have similar obsessions.

*They Might Have Completely Forgotten Us
*Zero Dark Thirty: The Director As Backing Singer?
*Under-Representation In Screenwriting (again)
The Audience, Media Convergence & Audiences (probably the post closest to my heart because it's about problem-solving)
Throat of These Hours: The Verifiable and the Unverifiable
*Beyond 'Career'
Running on the Spot
*Sharing The Love

Looking forward, 2014 feels like a year for finishing things – Throat of These Hours, a novella. And maybe closing off the Development Project. But it's been such a rich and transformative experience that it's hard to let go. I may just take some elements forward in a different way.

New Zealand, summer 2014. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Saving Mr. Disney: A Lesbian Perspective By Carolyn Gage

To stay focused when I'm writing intensively, I go to the movies in the afternoons. It's a kind of meditation that includes the walk down the hill to the cinema and back up again afterwards. And a few weeks ago, I saw three women-directed movies in three days: Rama Burshtein's Fill The Void, Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette's Inch'Allah and Nicole Holofcener's Enough Said. Maybe things have changed, I thought to myself, ever optimistic. But I also noticed that men wrote and directed Catching Fire, from a novel by a woman, about a young woman and produced by a woman. And then I read Vocativ's analysis of 2013's 50 top-grossing US releases. This shows that almost half were Bechdel Test-passing films and that they did better at the US box office than those that weren't. BUT except for Frozen, which Jennifer Lee co-directed (and wrote) men directed all 50. And then at the weekend, all three of the new releases reviewed in our local paper (with enthusiasm) told stories that centred on women– August: Osage County; Philomena; Gloria. And men wrote and directed all of those too. And today Monica Bartyzel published a fine piece about films to be released in the United States in 2014. Of 149 films, there are only six that women directed (I'm thrilled that one of them is a new Niki Caro: McFarland). It's great that at last investors recognise the power of women as audiences and are backing films about women. But yet again, it looks like women writers and directors are missing out.

And there are other ongoing issues too, as Carolyn Gage shows here. I hesitated to to ask Carolyn if I could cross-post this because women wrote
Saving Mr Banks (directed by a man). But I love her analysis and as a woman writer I'm interested in what we do when we work in an environment dominated by men, where women and our stories are often misrepresented, if represented at all. Many thanks to you, Carolyn!





Saturday, December 21, 2013

'Women Directors Can Sue Everyone!' A Short Play by Maria Giese

It's summer solstice here and the long summer break has begun. It's been a busy year for women's film activists around the world. And sometimes a hopeful year. So much research and discussion and interconnection. But not yet enough films, though there are occasional exceptions. For instance, last week the Dubai International Film Festival programmers announced that women directed 40% of the films they selected for their Arab programme segments. 

'Women Directors Can Sue Everyone!' is, I believe, an important piece about the potential for legal action by women directors and about the role of the null hypothesis, from director and activist Maria Giese – more about her below. It seems a good way to end the year, pointing to a possible direction for the year(s) to come, although what 'suing' means may be very different outside the United States legal system.  The DGA is the Directors Guild of America, the guild that represents the interests of film and television directors in the United States. Many thanks, Maria. 

Warm thanks to all of you who've read Wellywood Woman and commented, tweeted, phoned, Skyped and emailed me this year. And a special thank you to each of you who have guest posted or taken part in an interview: you've been delights! Every good wish for 2014. – Marian


'Next thing you know, they'll be wanting to direct'

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Women Behind the Camera in Germany, by Belinde Ruth Stieve


Germany has a huge and influential film industry, but till very recently there has been very little information available about women's participation in it, as storytellers. The state funders – as in New Zealand – appear not to record gender statistics and certainly do not make them public. The European Women's Audiovisual Network (EWA) is aware of the lack of data in Germany and is working with the relevant authorities to change this situation. But in the meantime, Belinde Ruth Stieve has published a series of articles in her blog SchspIN, about women's participation in the industry, in German and in English. 

Here's an edited version of two of Belinde's posts about women behind the camera and about the need for a German version of France's Charte d'Egalité (links below). Many thanks to her. 


For weeks I've been planning it and now finally it’s done. Here are some statistics on female filmmakers behind the camera in commercially successful and award-nominated German movies and television films.

I've evaluated four groups of German fictional films from 2012: top-grossing films in German cinemas, nominations for the German Film Awards, top audience TV productions and nominations for the Grimme TV Award. And I've recorded the participation of women in 11 departments: direction, script, production, cinematography, sound, production design, costume design, make up, editing, casting and music. To do this, I've used the websites of Deutscher Filmpreis/German Film Award, Grimme TV Award, ARD-Tatorte (these are the most successful TV productions every year, a crime investigation series), Crew United, IMDB, the websites of individual films and Wikipedia. From these sources alone it was not possible to discover all the participants, but all gaps were closed after mail or telephone inquiries, except for one position: that of the set production of one TV film.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Celebrating the 'NEXTS' at Sundance and in New Zealand

Last year, I wrote a series of posts about a possible golden age for women's filmmaking (links below). I felt optimistic because accessibility to filmmaking has never been easier, because activists are linking up globally and because women are exploring new ways of working together that include a 'quiltmaking' model. This year, there were disappointments.  For instance, the Catching Fire producer, a woman – Nina Jacobson – shoulder-tapped men to write and direct the story adapted from Suzanne Collins' work. And there's Gravity, protagonist Ryan Stone's (Sandra Bullock) film, also written and directed by a man. Why aren't there more blockbuster films with women protagonists that are written and directed by women? As films about women become more common, will films by women also become more common? I hope so, but am not confident.

But it's great to see some evidence in the Sundance selections for 2014 that there's a new generation of women storytellers who are fluent with  technology (and crowdfunding), especially in NEXT <=>. And some evidence here in New Zealand that there's a new generation of women who create highly successful short projects outside the 48 Hours competition, where women are still profoundly under-represented, as they are in almost all local film contexts. So, today, celebrating the NEXTS, at Sundance and here.

Sundance
The full list of Sundance 2014 projects that women-directed is at Women & Hollywood. Some sections are disappointing for those of us who look for films by and about women. But NEXT <=> has five films directed by women, five by men and one by a man and a woman. Kristin Gore co-wrote a seventh film, War Story. NEXT <=> films are described as–
...sure, bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling... Digital technology paired with unfettered creativity promises that the films in this section will shape a 'greater' next wave in American cinema.
I'm thrilled that women are strongly represented in this section because of its orientation to the future. I'm thrilled at the diversity of the writers/directors. I'm thrilled that there's a strong group making films about sexuality. And thrilled to recognise some work from their crowdfunding campaigns.

Desiree Akhavan 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Jane Campion's Workshops # 4 – Participants Speak

Jane Campion, Circa Theatre 4 November 2013

My capacity to report my perceptions of Jane Campion's workshops was limited. So I asked some mates about their responses (plus Steve Barr because I enjoyed his tweet, below). I sent three questions–
Why did you go to the Jane Campion masterclass (this was before I understood why Jane Campion called these workshops)? Which session(s) did you choose? What did you get from it (them)?
And yes, the last one is a typical eight year old's birthday question: 'Whaddya get?' Embarrassing.

I was interested that those who responded to my call for help are those I think of primarily as writers and/or theatre workers, not those I think of primarily as filmmakers.

Many thanks to these kind people, here in alphabetical order, linked to their Twitter accounts if they have them. And thanks to the person who missed the No Cameras message and took the photo of Jane Campion onstage at Circa. I was at first ambivalent about including it. But it's already out there on the net and it gives you an idea of what the stage looks like; and of Jane's engagement with us, her seriousness within her play and her laughter.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Jane Campion's Workshops #3 – My Notes


WARNING. As you know if you read Jane Campion's Workshops #1, I went to her workshop day at Wellington's Circa Theatre as an eager, attentive eight year old, as a terrible note-taker with an unreliable memory and as a writer who sometimes directs and produces films. I was there to learn and I learned heaps. But this is NOT an authoritative account of the day. Nor of Jane Campion's views on anything. It's a chat over a cuppa, with you other practitioners who visit here regularly, in case there's something useful for you. An extended tweet feed that partially covers three sessions of about ninety minutes each: Starting Out; Writing & Directing Film; Performance. If you perceive a gap in what follows, just insert (Laughter) or (Thought).  Because there was lots of laughter, lots of thoughtful moments. And when I laugh or think or feel I don't take notes. Tomorrow, with much gratitude, I'll post comments from others who were there, whose perceptions were different and possibly more coherent. Then, in a while, maybe a final post about my question and Jane's response. Many thanks to Melissa Dopp who read a draft, suggested some changes and supplied some info from her own notes (but the awkwardness etc is entirely mine – this was much harder than I expected it would be).

So.

Jane asked us each to bring a question to the first two sessions and to learn a poem by heart for the third. I had them ready. But it took me so long to find some out-in-the-world clothes that I missed breakfast. Put an apple and banana in my wonderful new bag (thank you, Cushla P!). Added my Moleskine diary and Clever Kiwi Company Activity Book. Pencils. Etcetera. The questions and a copy of my poem (to revise at lunchtime, that memory again...).

Strode around the waterfront to Circa Theatre, met Melissa Dopp (who'd come all the way from America!), joined the queue to get in, met a mate who likes to sit near the aisle, waved to other mates. And settled in, sharing my question with my neighbour and reading hers.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

New Zealand Film Awards (The Moas)


The New Zealand Film Awards, the Moas, have announced this year's nominations.

To some extent, the list's a celebration of New Zealand women's writing and directing talent and of stories about women. Four of the five nominees for Best Documentary Director are women and two of their stories are about women, Gardening With Soul and Finding Mercy. Three of the five nominees for Best Short Film Screenplay are women and two of the nominees for Best Short Film. And two of the nominees for Best (Feature) Screenplay are women.

But there's no woman-directed film in the Best (Feature) Film category. No woman director nominated as Best Director.

The New Zealand Film Commission’s (NZFC) gender policy failure means that Dana Rotberg’s White Lies is – I think – the only 2013-released New Zealand feature film about women which has a woman writer and director. And now, although it has eleven nominations in other categories – more nominations than two of the Best Picture/Best Director nominees and the same number as a third one – White Lies is excluded from both the Best Picture and Best Director lists. How did Whirimako Black, nominated as Best Actress for her first film role, and Antonia Prebble, nominated as Best Supporting Actress, do their work so well, if not directed by Dana Rotberg? How did the cinematographer, editor and composer – each nominated in his category – do so well, if not for their collaboration with the director?

Like all behaviours – private or public – that help silence women's voices, New Zealand’s ongoing failure to treasure feature films (and other art works) by and about women is, I believe, a significant – and usually unacknowledged – issue for discussion within the #rapeculture debate. #rapeculture doesn't value the integrity of women’s bodies, minds and spirits. And nor does the culture that fails to attract, fund, support and celebrate diverse feature films that women write and direct, alongside those that men write and direct.

With that out of the way, warm congratulations–

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The A-rating for Activists: Interview with Ellen Tejle

Ellen Tejle & an A-certificate

Last week in Sweden, four independent cinemas launched an A-rating system. It's for films that pass the Bechdel Test: they include at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than men. The ‘A’ stands for ‘Approved’ as well as for ‘Alison’ [Bechdel], who created the test, sometimes called the Mo Movie Measure, in her Dykes to Watch Out For comic strip, in 1985. (See below for Anita Sarkeesian’s classic discussion of the Bechdel Test and a collection of responses to the announcement. Please feel free to add yours in the comments.)

I’m not surprised that this is a Swedish initiative. Sweden probably leads the world in its film gender equity programmes. Sweden’s National Film Agreement contains an equality directive for the Swedish Film Institute, which funds four-fifths of Swedish films: its funding “shall be divided equally between women and men" in the key positions of director, screenwriter and producer (it used to be that the proportion of women and men in key positions be at least 40 percent). The Swedish Film Institute has produced an excellent Towards Gender Equality in the Film Industry flier, aimed at other countries. Sweden has a ‘feminist film fast’ movement, too, led by journalist Wanda Bendjelloul who made the first public attempt to stop watching films made by men.

A group developed the A-rating – people at the four cinemas, all part of the Folkets Hus och Parker/National Association of Peoples Parks and Community Centres;
 WIFT Sweden; Rättviseförmedlingen/ The Agency Equalisters. As with the recent French Charte D’Egalité, as an activist I wanted to know how this initiative happened, why it worked in a specific culture, at a particular time. Could this A-rating work outside Sweden? Ellen Tejle, from one of the cinemas, kindly agreed to answer my questions.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Jane Campion's Workshops #2 - Negative Capability

The idea of negative capability ran through the Jane Campion workshops and I've thought a lot about it since, linked to her suggestion that we learn a poem a week.

I had an almost-memory of negative capability in relation to Bright Star and later found this interview, where Jane Campion refers to it. I imagine that there are more Jane Campion statements about negative capability out there and I believe that a better understanding of it will enhance my appreciation of her work and help my own work. (The interview also states that–
On the set of Bright Star, she told Whishaw that for her poetry means 'openness to the divine'; her films open us all to that possibility that such a realm might exist.
Before the workshops, I might have skipped reading what Jane said about poetry. But I won't do that again.)

This post is for those like me who lack basic info about negative capability.

And it started on Facebook.



Now that the world's celebrating Lorde's writing, music and performance and Eleanor Catton's Man Booker Prize it'll be no surprise to you to see LOTS of interesting poems (and prose) by women, in the latest edition of New Zealand's 4th Floor Journal edited by poet + +  Hinemoana Baker, about to spend a year as Writer-in-Residence at the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington.

And as I thought about Jane Campion's weekly poem-off-by-heart idea I was intrigued, as you can see, by 'Raining From Everywhere' by Sian Torrington, who 'until recently described herself as an artist who writes but is currently coming out of the closet as a writer'.

And I tagged Sophie Mayer, because like Sian Torrington she too is a poet and a queer (who writes for Chroma), as well as an academic, author of The Cinema of Sally Potter: A Politics of Love and co-editor (with Corinn Columpar) of There She Goes: Feminist Filmmaking and Beyond. And then we had a little chat that included reference to negative capability and my ignorance of it, which ended just before a friend came over and also explained negative capability.



So, a warm welcome to Sophie Mayer.

OK! Negative capability. Weirdly, it's one of those terms where I always have to look it up to remind myself, and then I go 'Oh, of course.'

It's Keats' formulation in a letter dated 22 Dec 1818 (I'm sure you've found this out or know it already, but it's good to have a run-up). It's how he describes what sets apart literary genius. And it's not easy to define, because he then lists a whole bunch of things.

What connects the qualities that Keats identifies as part of negative capability are their contrast to Enlightenment rationality and positivism, particularly to the idea of the world as stable and knowable that persists in our scientistic discourse today. Keats suggests that writers such as his primary example William Shakespeare were 'capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.' He doesn't say that art should be mystificatory or portentous, but that it is at its richest when it entertains productive ambiguities and multiplicities. He says that makes such writers capable also of exploring a wide range of characters, situations, feelings and ideas for their variety and fluidity. For the poet or artist, the act of creation has primacy, not moral lessons: 'What shocks the virtuous philosopher delights the camelion [sic] Poet.'

This in turn – via the range of formal devices demanded to create and maintain such a dwelling in possibility – creates or draws readers/viewers who are 'camelion,' willing to enter into sympathetic communion with characters, narratives and meditations. Rather than being directive or didactic, for Keats the best art creates a space in which 'uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts' are present, soliciting the audience's 'negative capability' to engage with them aesthetically and ethically. In the 60s, American artists after John Cage turned to Zen Buddhism and the koan for similar reasons.

The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa, a Buddhist university in Colorado, uses Negative Capability as its slogan for exactly that reason -- but also because while seeming to mean something close to Bart Simpson's resistance to education and achievement (i.e.: I'm capable of nothing) it means the opposite. Being capable of holding a negative space of both imaginative sympathy and a comfort in paradox, rather than reaching for positivism's dual myths of progress/forward motion and perfectibility/closure, is still not either valorised or common in mainstream culture.

(worn by Sophie while writing this)

Interestingly, Dziga Vertov suggests something similar about film in his concept of the interval, where he argues that the viewer's experience of the film (and thus its meaning) is actually constructed in the interval, i.e.: the black leader between celluloid frames, the gap between the images that provides the illusion of movement and offers a space for contemplation and interpretation.

Not sure I have a poem that exemplifies negative capability specifically, but I'm attaching a part of a serial poem written in response to Top of the Lake that is certainly about the reader's imagination working in the gap and being capable of uncertainty! Should be quite easy to learn by heart as well.



(My enquiries continue. As I try to wrap my head and heart around negative capability and relate it to what I know – especially my 'irritable reaching after fact and reason' –  I'm very grateful to Sophie; and to my mate.

Next up, next week, after a couple of other things, some substance of the workshop enquiries, the responses of some participants and my own question.)

Sharing The Love (the workshop announcement)
Jane Campion's Workshops #1 - Starting Out

Jane Campion's Workshops #1 – Starting Out

Jane Campion

Last Monday was a special day in Wellington, celebrating Richard Campion (1923-2013). As distinguished actor and co-founder of Wellington’s Circa Theatre Ray Henwood wrote–
Richard was the leading figure of New Zealand theatre during the latter part of the 20th Century and we are privileged to remember him as an important part of our history and the first man of New Zealand professional theatre as we know it today.
At the Paramount Theatre at 4pm there was ‘a celebration of Richard Campion’s work and the life force of theatre’ and before then one of Richard Campion’s daughters, Jane Campion, ‘shared the love’ at Circa, where he had often been in the audience. This is how she announced the workshop programme–
My father, Richard Campion, was passionate about theatre, about performance, about creativity, about people having a go. He was a wondrously generous man who breathed warmth and belief into my fledgling hopes of making film and television. In his memory and honour, I am offering three free workshops at Circa.
The three workshops were intended for different audiences, but lots of us crossed over. They've been referred to as a masterclass, and I've referred to them that way, too. But because Jane describes them as workshops and they were profoundly about work, I'm sticking with 'workshop' here.

The first was Starting Out
Writing and directing for film and television for people who are starting out (not yet made three short films). During these 90 minutes Jane Campion will answer your questions and discuss how best to build strength and vision as a film maker. Please come with a question personal to your own struggle, written on a piece of paper.
The second was Writing and Directing Film
An in-depth inquiry into writing and directing film and mini series, aimed at people who have directed or written one or more feature films or equivalent e.g. directed theatre or made short film works. This is an exploratory and sharing session where you and I will address issues arising from your work. Please come with one or two questions or topics that interest or confound you written on a piece of paper.
The third was Performance
When acting is not enough; when realism is not enough. An enquiry into performance for film and television. This workshop is suitable for everyone. Please memorise a poem you love, or a part of a poem.
I was excited to learn about the workshops: enquiry, inquiry, strength, struggle, vision, sharing, questions that confound, poems, performance. Delighted that I qualified for all three sessions. Tapped 'Join' on Facebook. Wrote about my delight and excitement. Was further delighted to read this from The Casting Company, an alert, sturdy and warm presence throughout the workshops–
In an age where everything is recorded Jane would like these sessions to be live and would like those taking part not be constrained by delivering for camera. These sessions will not be recorded and we ask everyone attending to be respectful of that. Thank you all.
And then, in response to suggestions, particularly one from the inspiring Shaula Evans (no relation) I emailed the Casting Company to ask if I could write about the workshops. And Jane said 'yes: just no recording devices in the room except YOU'. (I'll call her 'Jane' here although I don't know her except as someone who's been generous to me).

But now I’m nervous. Because the day's shared inquiry was a beautiful and transformative gift, I want to share it here as well as I can.  But I may get it all wrong.

One reason for my nervousness is that I’m in the same cranky space today as I was a week ago, with two scripts that are troubling me. Because of that crankiness, although I prepared for the workshops – my question, my memorised poem – on the evening beforehand I was undecided about whether to go, or to stay at home for another solitary day at the keyboard. Because of that crankiness I'm wasn't too sharp on the day and I'm not too sharp now.

The other reason for my nervousness is that I took my eight year old self to the workshops. On Monday morning, I woke up and knew I was going. And I tweeted:
And at the end of the day I tweeted again:
— Marian Evans (@devt) November 4, 2013 

Eight year olds love to play. Love laughter. And that day there was plenty of playfulness and laughter. But my eight year old self is also a particularly unreliable narrator; she's the precursor of the person who cannot simultaneously listen, engage, and take notes (which is why I didn't at first want to write about the workshops at all).

So to compensate for my crankiness and my eight year old presence,  I've asked for help, from a poet mate and from others at the workshops and am going to divide this post into several parts, starting with this.

Next up will be an extension of this intro. Written by poet Sophie Mayer, it's about negative capability, a concept explored by the poet John Keats (1795-1821) and referred to by Jane in the workshops. I would have found it helpful to be familiar with this idea before the workshops, and feel particularly blessed by Jane's references to it.

Then I'll share what I remember of the workshops, using my uncertain memory and inadequate notes. Next will be a post with the diverse responses of others, which I think are wonderful. Many thanks to all those who contributed and if you went to the workshops and are reading this and have something you'd like to share, please feel free to add your bit, in an email so I can post it, or in the comments. The last post will be about Jane's response to my question. 

In the workshops, Jane talked about a practice she likes – and learned about from Mark Ruffalo – memorising a poem a week. I love this idea, as a life- and work-enhancing discipline. Jane told us that learning a poem a week helps us to attune to a sense of the poetic, to distillation, to looking for essence of things. A poem is a vehicle for mystery, she said (back to, on to, negative capability). A poem seduces, with rhythm, rhymes, images, she added. So each post about the workshops will include a poem or part of a poem. And because the scripts that make me cranky are inspired by American poet Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980), and because Jane appeared to be 'listening with the whole body' at the workshops, here's an excerpt from Muriel Rukeyser's The Speed of Darkness, to start. It was first published around 1968.


I

Whoever despises the clitoris despises the penis
Whoever despises the penis despises the cunt
Whoever despises the cunt despises the life of the child.

Resurrection music,         silence,         and surf.

II

No longer speaking
Listening with the whole body
And with every drop of blood
Overtaken by silence

But this same silence is become speech
With the speed of darkness.


III

Stillness during war, the lake.
The unmoving spruces.
Glints over the water.
Faces, voices.         You are far away.
A tree that trembles.

I am the tree that trembles and trembles.


IV

After the lifting of the mist
after the lift of the heavy rains
the sky stands clear
and the cries of the city risen in day
I remember the buildings are space
walled, to let space be used for living
I mind this room is space
this drinking glass is space
whose boundary of glass
lets me give you drink and space to drink
your hand, my hand being space
containing skies and constellations
your face
carries the reaches of air
I know I am space
my words are air.


(Jane Campion's Workshops #2 – Negative Capability with Sophie Mayer)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Kathryn Bigelow, by Jennifer Ehle


Jennifer Ehle, Ralph Fiennes, Kathryn Bigelow

Jennifer Ehle gave this illuminating speech last night, when Kathryn Bigelow received the John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Excellence in Directing, at the Britannia Awards in Los Angeles. It's a beautiful tribute from an actor to her director and she's kindly allowed me to share it here.

I so admire Kathryn. Kathryn is a dear friend of mine. But I know almost nothing about her. I know that she brings her umbrella to share with you in the rain – as she did the first time we met; my taxi pulling into her driveway.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Ava DuVernay's Masterclass

Ava DuVernay and her Independent Spirit Award

I'm a huge Ava DuVernay fan. A feature film and television director, writer, producer and distributor, founder of the African American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM), she also makes branded entertainment. She won the Best Director Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival for her second feature film Middle of Nowhere, and was honoured with the 2013 John Cassavetes Independent Spirit Award and the Tribeca Film Institute 2013 Affinity Award.

I think of Ava DuVernay as a visionary, from whom all filmmakers can learn. Take AFFRM for example, a distribution collective of black arts organizations dedicated to quality black independent films. Is this a model that could work for women's independent films, too? And what about her smart approach to branded entertainment? If we're concerned with the way women are represented, and the compromises of 'commercial' work, what can we learn from her work for Miu Miu and Fashion Fair?

In this Film Independent Forum keynote address, Ava DuVernay shares the principles that inform her rich, diverse and highly successful practice, principles we all can use. It's a masterclass, including a Q & A. Don't miss it! (I feel very lucky because it's my second masterclass of the week – on Monday I attended Jane Campion's masterclass here in Wellington – a wonderful day. More coming about it soon.)

If you're not familiar with Ava DuVernay's work – as far as I know her features have not yet reached cinemas outside the States – some trailers and the complete Miu Miu and Fashion Fair works are below.