Posts

Showing posts from November, 2012

Women Directors. Globally.

Image
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) 16% (all stat…

Amy Seimetz & Sun Don't Shine

Image
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's the Indiewire ass…

Gaming Behavior, Gender & Screen Entertainment

Image
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 gaming…

A New Zealand Problem, Or Two

Image
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.

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 funding and are somewhere in the process…

Question Time: Women & Screenplays

Image
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 a commercial enterprise so it has no obligations except to its shar…