Skip to main content

Nearly over--

I’m going to stop posting here. I’ll abandon a few part-written posts, finish one more–which may take a while–and tidy-up the sidebar. Keep the Development project FAQs page updated now and then. And that’s it.

Lately I’ve struggled to manage everything I love and everything I need to do. I’ve been making too many errors during simple processes, making foolish assumptions, asking unnecessary and inappropriate questions. (Once, I believed that no question was unnecessary or inappropriate, but I've changed.) My dysnumeracy bites in winter, too. Tax return. This year, the necessary analysis for Grow Wellington’s wonderful Activate course, almost done. AND the New Zealand International Film Festival (#nzff) gender stats. And GUESS WHAT? This year, the #nzff Wellington catalogue has a Genre Guide which includes a Women Make Features sections, so I could cross-check my counting. (Women wrote and directed 12.5% of the features selected, down from 13% last year.) I’ve noticed that the #nzff films I most want to see are written and directed by men: Michelangelo Frammartino’s Le Quattro Volte, Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol’s A Cat in Paris, Nuri Bilge Cylan’s Once Upon a Time in Anatolia. That tells me something about where I’m at. And I’m tutoring on a women in film course, where I have to read unfamiliar and challenging material. That uses up a high proportion of my limited left-brain capacity.

Most of all I’m desperate to write scripts and work with a camera again, inspired by some of the film course reading. Desperate to give the right side of my brain a work-out.

Still there on the Development FB page and as devt on Twitter. Micro-blogging, which I sometimes use as a kind of book/film/idea-marking, will do, for a while at least.

There’s just two things left to include. First, a useful reminder from producer Ted Hope, in a post entitled It’s NOT About Art: The Film Industry Is About People Keeping Their Jobs. He asks:
Can we change our thinking to aspire towards great work above all else, even at the risk of losing our precious job? ...What can we do to help both the creators and the audience demand originality and ambition from the entertainment industry? It’s both a macro and a micro issue, political and personal: I know I have a problem meeting people that are considerably different than me, yet still hold common interests and principles. How do we break out of our small social & professional circles? Isn’t that what the promise of the internet was, and still is? It can be done. I need to work harder. Do you? 
I'm not in the film industry Ted Hope describes but I like his challenge, because it is partly about embracing difference and the rich potential of the internet.

And finally, Erica Jong. I fell over her Fear of Fifty: A Midlife Memoir at the library a while back. Her definition of feminism made me think, and her exploration of an issue that connects to Ted Hope's ideas–why women hurt other women–made me think (and feel), too. I was saving these for a post about women working together. First, the feminism definition:
I define a feminist as a self-empowering woman who wishes the same for her sisters. I do not think the term implies a certain sexual orientation, a certain style of dress, or membership in a certain political party. A feminist is merely a woman who refuses to accept the notion that women’s power must come through men.
And here's her view on women’s ill-will towards other women, which I’ve experienced as both donor and receiver:
Why are women so ungenerous to other women? Is it because we have been tokens for so long? Or is there a deeper animosity we owe it to ourselves to explore? ...Women have been abused for centuries, so it should surprise no one that we are good at abusing each other. Until we learn to stop doing that, we cannot make our revolution stick. Many women are damaged in childhood, unprotected, unrespected, and treated with dishonesty. Is it any wonder that we build up vast defences against other women, since the perpetrators of childhood abuse have been so often women? Is it any wonder that we return intimidation with intimidation, or that we reserve our greatest fury for others who remind us of our own weaknesses–namely other women?
This is a grim note at the end of the 200,000 or so words I’ve written here during the last two years and eight months, but it describes one aspect of what I want to explore now, elsewhere. Which I couldn’t and wouldn’t have considered writing about without the generosity of all of you who’ve shared information with me in interviews and other ways, and who've read bits of what I’ve written and been in touch about them–in the comments, by email, on the phone, in person. Thank you. Very much.


  1. Wow Marian, sorry to see this blog go - your acute and intelligent commentary has been one of the best things on the net. Understand the call of other demands, but hope your voice continues to sound in this fucked up industry. Many thanks for all you've contributed.

  2. Thank you Mike, for such a kind response. I know I've benefited hugely from the brotherly presence of your Insatiable Moon blog, a model for how to be both benign & sharp, and envied a little how you manage to be very succinct & elegant, as well. Thanks a million for being there.

  3. enjoy the change, your blog remains a VAST resource of statistics, opinion, discussion, links, resources and connections to women making movies all over the globe, well done! ( :

  4. Many thanks Meg. I'm glad you find it useful! Am going to update the sidebar soon, and will continue to do that now and then, as well as updating the Development FAQs.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

'Water Protectors', by Leana Hosea

Leana Hosea's Water Protectors isabout ordinary women in Flint, at Standing Rock and on the Navajo reservation who have had their water poisoned and are at the forefront in the movement for clean water.

Water is a big issue in Aotearoa New Zealand, too– the degradation of our waterways; drinking water contamination; the offshore sale of our pure water; the debate about Maori sovereignty over water, under Te Tiriti o Waitangi/ the Treaty of Waitangi, signed in 1840.  Partly because this has raised my awareness about the significance of access to water, my heart is absolutely with the women in Leana's work. And with Leana, editing through the night as I write this.

Leana is a reporter/producer for BBC's World Service Radio and has held many other roles within the BBC. As a highly experienced multimedia journalist she's originated ideas, fixed stories, written scripts, filmed and edited them.

She was a shoot/edit/reporter/producer for the BBC in Egypt during the revoluti…

Safety in Paradise?

Children play in safety on the beach beyond my window. Some aren't safe at home, but they do not die in rocket attacks. Along our promenade, this year’s most sustained sirens wailed from motorbike cavalcades, as they escorted royalty to and from the airport. At school, our children may arrive hungry. But they're safe from abduction. The closest I’ve ever been to a war is my parents' silence about 'their' war, refuge women's stories about men returned from wars and Bruce Cunningham’s stories, after I met him selling Anzac poppies. (He was a Lancaster pilot in World War II and then a prisoner-of-war and I’m making a short doco about him.)

Yes, in many ways Wellington, New Zealand is paradise and I’m blessed to live here and to benefit from love and generosity from women and men, my beautiful sons now among those men. But in an interview with Matthew Hammett Knott earlier this year, I found myself saying–
We have to deal with serial violation, direct and subtle, on…

The NZ International Film Festival – 1. New Zealand Women

The Context
This week, the United Nations women's agency, UN Women, joined forces with activist and Academy Award-winning actor Geena Davis, to support the first global study of how women and girls are portrayed in family films. The study will examine the top-grossing international movies in Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain and the United Kingdom. According to Geena Davis, the current dearth of female characters of substance in family films means that children are being taught that girls and women 'don't take up half of the space in the world'. And for Lakshimi Puri, acting head of UN Women:
Gender representation in film influences the perception of women and girls, their self-esteem and the relationships between the sexes... We cannot let the negative depiction of women and girls erode the hard gains that have been made on gender equality and women's empowerment.Also this week, in a  report for CNN, Melissa Silverstein of Women &…