|This is the year for the female mavericks to get the same treatment as their brothers*|
In New Zealand there’s a new competition for feature films, called Make My Movie. The winner receives $100,000 and makes a movie. As a first step, participants submitted posters for their movies online, with a synopsis, and filled in a few more details, some in relation to the participants’ track records, from memory. One detail requested was ‘age’, which I questioned. The competition needed to know that entrants were over 18, but because of the potential for age discrimination it seemed more appropriate to ask entrants to state that they were over 18.** Twelve finalists were selected, from around 750.
Anyway, I became interested when I saw that the project's writer's name was the only personal name that appeared online with each submission. Aha, I thought, what a great way to find out more about the range of New Zealand women screenwriters. How many are there? So I started at the very beginning, alphabetically, and went to the 43rd entry. Enough to tell me that the numbers of women weren’t great and that there was a relatively high proportion of entrants using initials and/or pseudonyms. So I stopped counting and went on to other things.
Then, this week, someone forwarded me this email, from a woman I did not know:
Hi, just wondering if there have been any comments regarding the final selection in the Make My Movie competition? All but one of the final movie pitches are written by men for men. A simple scan of the many submissions will prove that there are many, many great ideas from men and women so I can't imagine that there could be a 'the women just didn't have the best ideas' argument. I'd love to know if there were any women on judging panel. If this were just a bunch of privately funded guys choosing movies that guys might want to see, then, fine. But this is a competition sponsored by NZFC, NZ on Air and the NZ Herald. One would think that the selection would be more representative of the country's talent as a whole, not just the writers but the protagonists in the stories.