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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)

And The Bitch Pack, led by a screenwriter, is consistently active week after week. This week, it's reminded me of its Diversity List, with its rollcall of scripts that 'that feature a woman of color who is not a maid or a nail lady, etc'. It's also sent a feisty open letter to Warren Buffet, asking for his support. The letter refers to Matt Damon and Antonio Banderas' participation in the United Nations #HeForShe campaign, where Matt Damon (see clip below) talks about working with women to resolve problems of extreme poverty – 'they're the ones who will get it done'. And that made me think of the poverty around representations of women in film, and the poverty of resources available to women who want to change that. So now I too am looking at you, Matt Damon, to be an ally to women filmmakers.

The Bitch Pack on Twitter. There's almost always a fascinating conversation-in-progress. Take this one for instance–

Multihyphenate Rachel Lewis has started Pinterest boards for Women Writers in TV & Film and for Top Grossing Films by Women. (Twitter Writers Guild of America West Women Screenwriters)

Writer Danielle Winston wrote a fine piece called Let's Talk Film: Why Every Woman Should Direct. She concludes–
Even if you only try it once. Go ahead. Be brilliant.
I agree. Totally. (Danielle Winston on Twitter)

Illustration from 13 Proposals
And then there's director Maria Giese, who continues her rigorous inquiry into ways to make change for U.S. women directors. Her 13 Proposals For Women Directors is, as always, challenging and fascinating! Check out her Three Critical Efforts That Must Come First! (Twitter Maria Giese and Women Directors: Navigating the Hollywood Boys Club)

Finally a big YES! for writer Shaula Evans at The Black Board. Week after week she builds on the rich resources available on the site, like EverythingYou Ever Wanted To Know About The Representation of Women on Film and TV and Women in TV & Screenwriting Roundup. She's also an ever-generous host, who provides a very safe space for debate and manages to elicit wonderful info from visitors. And she tweets like crazy, often in support of other women. (Shaula on Twitter)

What have I missed?


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