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Showing posts from 2012


Jane Campion's Top of The Lake This week I read Ava DuVernay’s script for Middle of Nowhere , the feature for which she won Best Director in the US Competition at the Sundance Film Festival last year. Middle of Nowhere hasn’t reached New Zealand yet, but the elegant, powerful script touched my heart. It has an intriguing woman protagonist, a diverse group of women characters and can be read – like Sally Potter’s The Gold Diggers – as an extended metaphor for significant elements in women’s filmmaking. It’s great to see Middle of Nowhere mentioned often as a contender for various categories at the Oscars. And now that Sundance has announced its 2013 US Dramatic Competition selection, and women directed eight of the sixteen films chosen – the highest ratio ever – it’s possible to imagine that next year they too will do well in awards. The Sundance announcement hit the headlines and delighted many women. Change at last. But the reality is that the change is limited to th

Kathleen Gallagher – Poet, Playwright, Filmmaker

Kathleen Gallagher & Mike Single on camera, filming the Hurunui River – one of the four principal rivers in North Canterbury – for Water Whisperers/ Tangaroa  Two things affected me last month. First, the proposal to increase irrigation in Canterbury, a New Zealand region with many major rivers which are depleted and degraded, probably best known outside New Zealand as the site of major earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. Second, Sandy-the-Frankenstorm that devastated Haiti – where there was also a major earthquake in 2010 – Jamaica and Cuba before it hit the United States. I felt deep sadness first, then a desire to help, so offered support where I could. And I thought it might also help to protest about the Canterbury irrigation, and about climate change, but wasn’t sure what was best to do. So I focused on what I had to do: an essay about New Zealand women directors, the garden. The next draft of Throat of These Hours , my play about poet and activist Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980,

Women Directors. Globally.

After I completed my survey of New Zealand feature directors by gender, I wanted to put the New Zealand statistics alongside those from other countries. It's impossible to do this globally. The figures are unavailable for Lebanon, for instance. Lebanon has about the same population as New Zealand,  but  a very different cinema history and no state funding. And it's impossible to make exact comparisons between countries;  the available figures often measure something different or differently.  In the United States, the volume of filmmaking of all kinds makes it impossible to establish a comprehensive picture. But here's some information which gives a general idea, for directors of narrative feature films only (Nicola Depuis' thesis on Irish women screenwriters offers related research on women in that country's industry). Australia (five years to mid 2011) 18% (theatrically released features only, probably most state-funded) via Screen Australia Canada (2010)

Amy Seimetz & Sun Don't Shine

Amy Seimetz This weekend, there's a group of five films being shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. A woman directed one, Amy Seimetz's Sun Don't Shine . The five films are nominated in the Best Film Not Playing a Theater Near You category at the Gotham Awards and were selected by the editors of Filmmaker magazine. None of the films have theatrical distribution and the winner will receive a one-week theatrical run next year. I looked at the trailer for Sun Don't Shine , and then tracked down a rich Anne Thompson two-part interview with Amy Seimetz. There's so much in these clips – a discussion of Amy Seimetz's move from acting (including Lena Dunham's Tiny Furniture and Megan Griffiths' The Off Hours ) to directing, of how she raised her funding, of why she doesn't engage with social media. (Incredibly, Sun Don't Shine hasn't even got a Facebook page or website I can find – has that affected its distribution chances?) Here&#

Gaming Behavior, Gender & Screen Entertainment

Anita Sarkeesian is best known for her Feminist Frequency video series and blog that explore gender representations, myths and messages in film and other media. If you’ve seen a clip about the Bechdel Test in film (to pass the Bechdel Test a film needs to have two women having a conversation with each other about something other than men), it was probably Anita’s. This year, Anita set up a Kickstarter campaign to fund her video game research. She attracted intense harassment as a result, as well as intense support and many more donations than she expected. That process exposed the anti-woman culture in gaming. Canada’s Global News has interviewed Anita about her experience and the wider epidemic of harassment women face in gaming spaces, with Grace from the website Fat, Ugly or Slutty which offers a space for people to share offensive online messages and laugh about them, Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch, founder of game studio Silicone Sisters Interactive and James Portnow from the gam

A New Zealand Problem, Or Two

The information in this post was updated in November 2014 and is further updated on the Writer & Director in Gender in NZ Feature Films page . Loren Taylor in Existence This week, to write what I've agreed to write, I’ve had to come back to New Zealand gender statistics, after eighteen months of learning from countries’ figures, most of them supplied by others – France, Sweden, the United States (including films by women from around the world shown at festivals there), Australia and Canada. New Zealand has such a small population that – with help – I’ve been able to identify most features made  and  written and/or directed by New Zealanders, 2003-2014. Co-productions funded by the taxpayer-funded New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) are also included, because I want to be able to track the NZFC's overall investment in women writers and directors. Most on the list have been released in cinemas or shown on television. But some have been offered taxpayer production

Question Time: Women & Screenplays

Nicholl Fellow (2012) Nikole Beckwith onstage at a talkback This week, I'm writing for someone else, about New Zealand women directors. It's a challenge to write 'academically' again and to ensure I'm up to date. Constantly, I find myself asking about details and I've returned to the statistics I developed a few years ago. If there are few women's features made, where in the process are women writers and directors choosing not to participate? What factors in the process hinder or support their participation? And what individuals or organisations are best placed to provide information about the essential details?  I've grown used to the New Zealand Film Commission's (NZFC) lack of gender statistics (in contrast to state funders in Sweden, Australia and, Canada). But  The Black List and the New Zealand Writers Guild (NZWG) provide the latest examples of organisations who could help with some details but at the moment do not. The Black List is

Celebrating Activism – Yay!

This year, with half the feature films funded by the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) directed by women, it's arguable that discrimination against women directors is in remission here. Though probably not far away. A bit like a herpes virus. Lurking forever within the body, grasping at opportunities to act. Globally, the good gender statistics now available from places like Australia, Sweden and the United States, show that for various reasons including discrimination, women direct far fewer feature films than men.  But the number of women directors of feature films is increasing, slowly. And more quickly in some places. Like the diverse Arab world and its diaspora. Two obvious examples are Nadine Labaki ( Caramel , Where Do We Go Now? ) and Saudi Arabian Haifaa Al Mansour whose Wadjda attracted a lot of attention at the Venice Film Festival, the first feature written and directed by a Saudi Arabian woman. But there are so many more. Just the other day, Ana Lily Amirpour p

Catch Up

Muriel Rukeyser I'm more of a writer than an activist at the moment. Last week I finished the first draft of my play about Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980), the poet and activist whose life, poems and other writings inspire me. It's set in a radio station in the present day and the two main characters are a radio host and her technician. Fellow poet Anne Sexton called Muriel Rukeyser 'beautiful Muriel, mother of everyone' and once I'd finished I could see the draft's connections to my long quest for a satisfying literary and artistic matrilineage. The draft's now with a reader and then there will be more drafts. I have a pile of other work to finish before year's end. And I haven't had time to organise my spring garden. So this post's a catchup of alphabetically-ordered info that I wish I could write full posts on. Kind of like a magazine, to dip into and out of! And for the next little while I'm likely to post less regularly and more about


Viscera is a visionary not-for-profit based in Los Angeles. Founded by Shannon Lark in 2007, its mission is to expand opportunities for female genre filmmakers and artists. Its range of activities is mind-boggling. I think it’s globally unique, and it provides an extraordinary model for other women to follow. There are the festivals: Viscera , which specialises in short horror films by women, Etheria , a fantasy and science fiction festival, and Full Throttle , for action films. And once Viscera selects a film for its own festivals, it works with partner festivals and events that film screened all over the world. It has teamed up with Hannah Forman to provide Women in Horror Recognition Month (every February). Viscera also offers educational programmes and critiques to people who submit films. And recently Viscera announced the Mistresses of Horror Alliance ( MOHA ), a membership-based service within which Viscera provides merchandise, networking, education, workshops, and an

Niam Itani (2) At Venice, & After

Niam in Venice Niam Itani was the only woman filmmaker among the finalists in YouTube's Your Film Festival competition, and joined the other finalists at this year's Venice Film Festival, to pitch the idea which could win her $500,000 to make a feature film. When I interviewed her before she went to Venice , she promised to write about her Venice experience, and she has: here you are. Niam didn't win, but she had a great time! And is now busy working on her feature. What kind of programme did the organisers arrange for you all? From the YouTube clip, it looked busy! The program was busy before pitching day, I’d say it was well balanced to make sure we don’t get exhausted but still enjoy each other’s company and have our own time. We went on a sightseeing tour of Venice, which was an excellent idea. We also had several group dinners and cocktail receptions. These were great for networking and bonding. Then there was the pitching day, where pitching was our only

European Women Directors: Two Records in One Week?

In Europe, it's a roller coaster year for women filmmakers. There were no women-directed features in competition at Cannes earlier in the year, but recently lots of women's films in every programme at Venice. And two announcements last week further illustrate the unpredictability of European responses to women-directed features. The state-funded Swedish Film Institute (SFI) announced its latest feature film funding decisions and four of the seven films have women directors. That's 57%, and maybe a world record? But in the second announcement, of forty-seven feature films recommended for a nomination in the   European Film Awards  2012, women's representation is very low: they directed only four, a tiny 8.5%. According to the awards website, "with 31 countries represented, from A(ustria) to U(nited Kingdom), the list once again illustrates the great diversity in European cinema." Can it do that, with so few women-directed films represented?  Is this minima

NZFC Fresh Shorts Announcement

Riwia Brown The New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) has just announced its 2012 funding decisions for its Fresh Shorts programme, with grants to 16 new short films. Its press release outlines the selection process and includes some panel comments highlighting the strengths of each film selected (in italics after each film). There are five projects with women directors. Warm congratulations to them and the others in their teams! Where I could easily find extra information about the directors whose projects are green lit, I've added it. Very happy to learn more about the others!

Start From Your Own Heart – The Wisdom of Dana Rotberg in 16 Elegant Tweets

Dana Rotberg I wanted to go to the Christchurch Writers Festival this weekend, where there's an extraordinary line-up. And I wanted to go to the Big Screen Symposium in Auckland, where there's also an extraordinary line-up. But no, spring's here and I'm focused on the garden and other projects. But imagine my delight when I saw filmmaker Amit Tripuraneni (@unkreative)'s tweets from writer/ director  Dana Rotberg 's session Getting to the Heart of the Story, at the Big Screen Symposium-- What an unexpected treat-- I can't remember when I've read a tweet stream that captures the essence of a talk so elegantly. And that essence is so beautiful-- Many thanks, Amit - I wanted to retweet all of these but putting them here seemed a better idea. And many thanks, Dana. I don't know either of you, but together you made my morning!

New Zealand Update 2: State Funding

I agreed to write 4000 words about New Zealand women directors, for a book. And I delayed researching the  New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC)   statistics, although I needed to know whether it practises gender equity in its investments. And I delayed comparing its investment in women writers and directors with New Zealand On Air's funding of women who write and direct feature-length television drama (there's some crossover). I knew I had to do the stats, to compare them with those I researched for my PhD (2009, link in sidebar), for  a report for Women in Film & Television (late 2010), and intermittently for some of these blog posts, like the one where I celebrated  gender balance in the NZFC's short film programme. But I'm a bit dysnumeric and counting's a chore, like hanging out the laundry. Now I've done some of the work. I didn't go in to the NZFC to search its files and analyse the genders of people attached to funding applications, as I used

Toronto & Women Directors

Margarethe von Trotta I'm an optimist and I'm easily enthused. Show me good news about women who make movies and I'm there. So when I saw that women directed six of the twenty features in the prestigious Gala Presentations  ( Galas ) at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF, or #TIFF12 on Twitter) I thought "YAY". I was delighted that Sally Potter's Ginger and Rosa, Margarethe von Trotta's Hannah Arendt and Susanne Bier's Love is All You Need were selected for the Special Presentations programme. And I was thrilled that Ava DuVernay's Middle of Nowhere , Yuki Tanada's The Cowards Who Looked to the Sky and Aida Bejic's Children of Sarajevo were included in Contemporary World Cinema programme. In the past–because I don't go to TIFF–I'd have moved on feeling happy.  But after I signed the petitions associated with this year's protests about the  Cannes Film Festival , where there were no women-directed films

A Golden Age for Women Who Make Movies? (4)

1. I'm a writer. When I get excited my default activity is to write. And I'm a social media girl. So unless something's confidential, I rejoice in my freedom to speak out and to share what I write. And sometimes that's a mistake. A Golden Age for Women Who Make Movies (3) will return in due course. 2. In other news, the sun came out this morning. And stayed out. After all that rain, the sun's steamed a powerful scent from our violets. The second load of washing is drying. The winter-thin bees are busy in the borage. 3. And the best news: I have a buddy writer. It's ace. It makes it so easy to start. I email her. Yesterday: "Hard to get up. Am going blind. Have a pimply thing on right leg that looks like melanoma. Yes, I *don't* want to do this. But a quick squiz through FB etc and some breakfast and then GO." And then I went for it. Into a conflict I was scared I couldn't write. Today: "I'm here with the washing out

A Golden Age for Women Who Make Movies? (3) A New International Women's Film Festival Network (IWFFN)

Discussion at the  Internationales Frauen Film Festival, 2012  August 3 2013:  I wrote this a year ago and was asked to take it down until the IWFFN was ready for publicity. I re-found it today, as I prepare a new post about You Cannot Be Serious , an international meeting about women's film-making, held at the Berlinale earlier this year. I'm still excited about the potential of the IWFFN! Wonderful news! There is now an  International Women's Film Festival Network  (IWFFN), conceived this year at Germany's Internationales Frauen Film Festival (in Dortmund and Koln alternate years) and housed at the Athena Film Festival in New York. Another sign of a golden age for women who make movies? I hope so! There's already the Network of Asian Women's Film Festivals . And European women's film festivals have networked for years (I remember taking part in their meetings at Festival de Femmes in Creteil in 2004 and they'd been established long before t

Niam Itani (1) - Before the Venice Film Festival

Niam Itani Niam Itani (also Etany) is the only woman director among the ten finalists in YouTube’s short film competition,  Your Film Festival , with her Super.Full . I followed her Your Film Festival campaign for votes, admired its focus and intensity and was delighted when she reached the final. I’m always curious when just one woman filmmaker is successful within a group of successful men, so I wondered what factors affected  Niam's  achievement, asked her for an interview, and was thrilled when she said yes.  And then, like  Super.Full ., Niam's generous responses to my questions made me think. And touched my heart.

A Golden Age for Women Who Make Movies? (2)

Niam Itani , the only woman finalist in YouTube's Your Festival   competition at the Venice Film Festival In A Golden Age for Women Who Make Movies (1)   I included an article where Kurt Andersen claimed that thanks to "commercial and critical breakthroughs among independent films, a shift seems to be happening"  for women filmmakers. Thanks to this new model, which I call the 'quilting bee' model, there may be a revolution-in-progress in the United States that will result in lots more films by and about women. A golden age. Is the golden age well-established? What role do festival curators have? What role for all-women teams? Does where we live make a difference and what can we offer and learn through making cross-border connections? Does 'film' matter so much now we have multiple platforms?

A Golden Age For Women Who Make Movies? (1)

This is based on  a study done by the USC Annenberg School for Communications & Journalism  and comes from Equality Myth This wonderful infographic illustrates some of the complex problems that face those of us who want to enhance our lives with more films by and about women. It's a call to action. But sometimes it's difficult to unpick the problem and find spaces where it's possible to make change. So I was delighted when I fell over Kurt Andersen's A Golden Age For Women in Hollywood? podcast and text summary at Studio 360, with extended interviews with Sarah Polley and Lynn Shelton. Collectively the post is a fine update on the current state-of-the-play for women filmmakers. But it also provides a possible vision for the future. I've never cross-posted before, but Studio 360 kindly gave me permission, and here it is below.

New Zealand Update 1: Women Directors

Pietra Brettkelly Oasis image I'm a sucker for What Happened Next . Everyone I interview or write about interests and excites me, and this John Psathas tweet inspired me to gather together updates about New Zealand women directors, which I've been collecting for a wee while. Here they are, under links to the earlier posts. Some directors have nothing they want to share at the mo.

Men's docos about women at NZ International Film Festival

Edith Collier Counting the Catch St Ives ca 1918-1921 (Ta Papa Tongarewa image) Here's the final instalment of films by and about women in the New Zealand International Film Festival: men's documentary films about women.

Women-directed docos about men at NZ International Film Festival

Still Maori Boy Genius Following on from yesterday's Documentary films by & about women -- More details and bookings through the New Zealand International Film Festival site . 1. Pietra Brettkelly's Maori Boy Genius is a coming of age film about   Ngaa Rauuira Pumanawawhiti, an astonishing 16 year old. It debuted at the Berlinale earlier this year. It is a must-see, the followup to Pietra's highly successful  The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins, and has just had two sold-out screenings at the Sydney Film Festival. (NB This is  not  the same film as the one you may have seen on television.) Maori Boy Genius is edited by Molly Stensgaard , known as Lars Von Trier's favorite editor.

Documentary films by & about women at NZ International Film Festival

Still from The Red House Last night's 7 earthquake was unsettling. And misogyny is in the air. Aaron Sorkin's woman problem for instance. And the distressing online abuse of women in the gaming world. I've been following the current battles there because gaming's an ever-growing and powerful segment of the storytelling world. As well, it's an excellent source of information about the likely beliefs which underlie the misogyny that exists in all other story-telling systems, where it tends to be expressed more subtly and less publicly. Today I felt very tired by it all. And for a moment there I forgot about the good things.

Women-directed features at NZ International Film Festival (2, features)

When people ask me why films by women writers and directors matter, I find it quickest and easiest to respond with Jane Campion's classic question: "Women may be 50% of the population but they gave birth to the whole world. Why wouldn't we want to know what they think and feel?" And this year, I've decided that because I so much want to know what women think and feel I'm going to watch only movies that women have directed, for twelve months. I do believe that men can write women and direct women just as women can write and direct men but I want to challenge myself to commit to films women write and direct to see how I'm entertained, educated, stimulated and nourished (or not). This is difficult. I love some men's films and learn a lot from them. I'm envious of a mate's New Zealand International Film Festival (NZFF) list, filled with movies men directed which I'd like to see. I'm going to cheat a bit, watch a couple of films men d

Women-directed films at NZIFF (part1); & Cannes Film Festival (part4)

Helen Mirren at the Karlovy Vary Festival Distinguished actors advocate for 'women's' films in a variety of ways and I love their activism. There's Geena Davis, with her Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media . There's Judi Dench with Daniel Craig in Sam Taylor-Wood's celebrated We Are Equals clip (below), which – like Geena Davis' work – links 'women's' story-telling on film to wider gender issues. At least once a year, Meryl Streep reminds the world that there's a big audience for 'women's films', as she did the other day , referring to the $1.6 billion paid to see five 'little' women's films in the last five years (three of them starring her) and to the "shocking underrepresentation of women in our business". And now, at the Czech Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Helen Mirren . Accepting a lifetime achievement award last week, she said: "I don’t know how many female directors are

Desiree Gezentsvey, Yael Gezenstvey & 'Nuclear Family' (podcast)

Desiree and Yael When Her Film 's Kyna Morgan visits Wellington next month, we're going to a very special opening night, for Desiree Gezentsvey's play Nuclear Family , 'a comedic drama set in green New Zealand on the eve of the Chernobyl disaster, following a colourful bunch of Venezuelan and Soviet Jewish immigrants as they are forced to question whether freedom and control over one’s destiny are only illusions'. Desiree, based in Wellington, wrote the play for her daughter Yael, who will play all twelve parts. Nuclear Family premiered at the Adelaide Fringe Festival, went on to London and to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and has had excellent reviews. It also won Desiree the Best Stageplay Award (Script) at the 2011 Moondance International Film Festival Competition. And now it's coming home.

Cannes & Women Directors (3) - Zia Mandviwalla

Zia Mandviwalla at work Four thousand five hundred short films were submitted to the Short Film Competition at Cannes this year. Ten were selected. Women wrote and directed three, and New Zealander Zia Mandviwalla’s Night Shift was one of these. Zia was born in Mumbai. She's a Zoroastrian–a small religious and ethnic group who went to India to escape the Islamic invasion of Persia several hundred years ago–and came to New Zealand in 1996, at the age of 18, via Dubai. She went to university here, and then reached filmmaking following a scriptwriting course. Night Shift is Zia’s fourth short film, following Eating Sausage (2004), Clean Linen (2006) and Amadi (2010). Zia’s represented New Zealand at the Berlinale Talent Campus and at the prestigious Accelerator program at the Melbourne International Film Festival. And in 2008, she spent four months in India working alongside Nandita Das on her directorial debut, the award-winning, multi-lingual feature film Firaaq . Zia has

Cannes & Women Directors (2) – Destri Martino (podcast)

Ever wondered what the Cannes Film Festival is like for the women directors who get there? Destri Martino, based in Los Angeles, was one of them this year, when her animation The Director screened at the American Pavilion. I love her UNGLAM CANNES blog, which she calls ‘A place to track my growing list of neuroses as I prepare to attend the 2012 Cannes Film Festival’ and where she’s still adding useful info from her experience. Destri’s typical of many very hardworking and serious women filmmakers in the second decade of the 21st century. She’s highly educated (USC, UCLA, London School of Economics) and highly experienced—in commercial, music video and film production teams in a variety of roles, from p.a. to production manager. She’s been exposed to an array of directing styles and aesthetics from the likes of the late Phil Joanou, Mika Kaurismaki, Mike Nichols and Michael Bay and has also worked for the prolific John Wells Productions, makers of programmes like ER and West W

Side by Side: To Siberia, With Love

Solidarity with Russian LGBTI seeking human rights, Berlin , in February It's a beautiful day here in Wellington, New Zealand. Yesterday I saw Madeline Olnek's Co-Dependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same at the Out Takes Film Festival, before the launch of Lawrence Patchett's wonderful I Got His Blood On Me at Unity Books. At lunch time, I'll be back at the Paramount to see Erin Greenwell's My Best Day . And then I'll spend the afternoon in the Teju Cole masterclass at the International Institute of Modern Letters (yep! *huge* privilege). As Jill Livestre said last week, in her podcast on Out Takes : 'We're everywhere and we go everywhere'. Discrimination against women storytellers and against single mothers inspires most of my activism, and I tend to take my comfortable place on the LGBTI spectrum for granted. But this morning's emails brought a disturbing press release from Manny de Guerre at the Side by Side LGBT Film Festival ,

OUT TAKES 2012 & Jill Livestre

Still from Mosquita Y Mari Each year I receive great emails from Jill Livestre, about the films I might enjoy at Out Takes , New Zealand's Reel Queer Film Festival, on in Auckland right now and opening tomorrow in Wellington. Many of the films in the festival will otherwise never reach a big screen here. (And because we're such a small country any 'niche' festival is challenging to organise sustainably. So I imagine that there are gaps because some films are unaffordable.) I treasure Out Takes , partly because it's the closest New Zealand has to a women's film festival: our last women's festival was Mahi Ata Mahi Atua: Women's Work in Film in 2003. Last year I was disappointed that Out Takes included few films directed by women and that the directors and actors were overwhelmingly white. But the gender mix this year is amazing and wonderful. Here are the stats, with last year's in brackets. Narrative films (long): twelve (22). Woman-directe

Leonie Reynolds & Jo Randerson: 'Disappear in Light'

Leonie Reynolds Leonie Reynolds is a scriptwriter and documentary filmmaker. Her documentaries and a short comedy have played on New Zealand television and in festivals both in New Zealand and overseas and her first documentary, Hard Words , won the Rangatahi Award at the New Zealand Media Peace Awards.

Leonie’s worked as a storyliner and dialogue scriptwriter for South Pacific Pictures’ Shortland Street and as a journalist, Leonie has written on theatre and film for many publications. Leonie’s Disappear in Light has just had its premiere at New Zealand’s Documentary Edge Festival. It’s an observational documentary about writer, performer and producer Jo Randerson and her largest scale theatre work to date:   Good Night - The End ,  a black comedy about death, and about what it means to engage with life. A woman filmmaker’s film about a woman writer is a rare event and I’ve been celebrating. Why did you want to make a film about Jo? I’ve been an admirer of Jo’s wr

No blood, little sleep, & a new Bechdel Test film

We get Crime at 48 Hours. (Whew. We could have got Inspirational...) Deep gratitude for protagonist and other preparation, generous gift of remarkable poem. *And* we don't need to make blood. Input from three others on core team, in person and on Skype. First draft to them around 10.30 pm. Rewrite done by 2.20 am, via email, phone, and in person with core team neighbour. Sleep interrupted by new lines of dialogue and small structural change. All to Radio Access Wellington in the morning. The delights of a familiar, warm, and well-serviced indoor single location, fantastic crew, wonderful cast. Hang purple-painted canvas . Steady schedule to around 1.45 am. Final image: a sterling crew member vaccuuming the studio. Core team home. Listen to music files from fourth core team member, who's been working hard at home up the coast. Import, watch and annotate two hours and eight minutes of tapes. Regrets that we have too much footage to be sure that we'll always select

Will There Be Blood?

In thirty-six hours, I'll write a 48 Hours script. A short. Scary. I was an assistant writer for five minutes last year, but I've never written a short before, though I've practised a bit over the last few weeks, working with the team to create a protagonist who can move across genres. And usually I write in the morning, edit in the arvo, so my body clock isn't oriented to Friday night writing! This morning I'm preoccupied with BLOOD. Just in case we get a bloody genre (twelve genres, assigned at random). I have a recipe with corn syrup. A recipe with golden syrup. Another one with chocolate syrup. But I need blue and red dye. Or blue and red paint. I have only alizarin crimson oil paint. Will have to go out. Sigh. Also want to paint the old canvas that Bridie Lonie made into a beautiful painting after we performed on it. Purple on its back, to cut out the white in one location. Just in case. Here we are performing. And GULP, I may be performing again (

Cannes & Women Directors

The art work for the card that Destri Martino is taking to Cannes It's the first day of the Cannes Film Festival 2012 and I'm thrilled that New Zealand film reviewer Sarah Watt is there and blogging . So is Destri Martino, whose short film The Director is screening in the Emerging Directors programme at the American pavilion and in the Short Film Corner. Destri's  UNGLAM CANNES  blog is wonderful, totally endearing for any woman who makes films and would like to go to Cannes, a real insiders guide. There are no women in competition for the Palme d'Or this year again, after a better year last year , and the protests are rising. From French women , for the first time that I'm aware of, and two of the authors, Virginie Despentes and Coline Serreau are directors, another lovely example of European women directors' activism to add to what I know of the Spanish women directors at CIMA . (The third author, Fanny Cottençon, is a comedienne).* As in Spain, these c