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Showing posts from 2015


I'm delighted that Jane Campion's now Dame Jane . Here are my other local highlights from 2015. What have I missed? Those who spoke out in support of gender equity in allocation of film funding Karin Williams, Briar Grace-Smith, Libby Hakaraia, Chelsea Winstanley at the Big Screen Symposium (photo: @multinesia on tumblr) This is undoubtedly the highlight of my ten years' thinking and writing about this issue, as well as of 2015. First, at the annual Big Screen Symposium, producer/director    Chelsea Winstanley made  unequivocal statements  about the need for gender equity in  New Zealand Film Commission's allocation of taxpayer funding. Huge respect to Chelsea, the first high-flying New Zealand woman director/ producer to speak up publicly and staunchly on this issue, except for Dame Jane. May others join her in 2016. Then two men directors spoke out, writer/director Jonathan King and actor/writer/director Jemaine Clement . The first I not

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/The Irish Film Board's Gender Equality Plan

Annie  Equality for Women, Acting Chair of Bord Scannán na hÉireann/The Irish Film Board It seems to have happened so quickly. In early November, Dr Susan Liddy sent a letter to The Irish Times– Women and the Irish Film Industry Sir, – I write in response to Una Mullally’s article (' A century on, Abbey [Theatre] still gives women a bit part ', Opinion & Analysis, November 2nd) which highlights the woeful under-representation of female playwrights in the Abbey’s centenary programme. Unfortunately, this dismal picture of exclusion is not the exclusive preserve of the theatre. It is also echoed in the Irish Film Industry, which is overwhelmingly male-dominated and lacking a strong female voice and vision. My own research suggests a mere 13 per cent of produced screenplays in the period 1993 to 2013 were written by Irish women.  When women are missing behind the camera there is often a knock-on effect in front of the camera. So only 24 per cent of all produced films f

Dame Jane Campion – A Celebration

Warmest congratulations to Dame Jane Campion. At last. A beautiful moment. This is a special addition to her other New Zealand honours, like her honorary Doctorate of Literature from Victoria University, back in 1999. The announcement I read didn't say much. So here are some of the things I celebrate about Dame Jane Campion. I celebrate her global reach as a teller of powerful onscreen stories, of course. From her first short film  Peel (1982), which won the Short Film Palme d'Or at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival. To Sweetie , one of my all-time faves. To The Piano, which won many awards, including – the only woman winner to date – the Palme d’Or in 1994 and the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, one of only seven ever won by women. Dame Jane – doesn't it sound perfect (partly because adding 'dame' in this context carries a teeny Raymond Chandler-type suggestion?) – was also nominated for an Academy Award as Best Director for The Piano , the se

Shashat: Palestinian Women Make Images

This interview is a cross-post from African Women in Cinema 's Special Dossier on Women in Cinema in the Arab World. It's here through the kindness of interviewer Patricia Caillé (of the Université de Strasbourg) and of Beti Ellerson of African Women in Cinema, whose ongoing hard work, published in French and in English, ensures that there's a rich archive of information about women filmmakers whose lives and work are locally and globally oriented, but often created outside European or Hollywood systems. That's essential information, for all of us.  Although there are many reasons to appreciate this interview, for me it's especially illuminating because of its accounts of  Shashat  ['screens', in Arabic]  Women Cinema's  active research into the best practices for advancing the work of women filmmakers. I'm inspired by  Shashat Women Cinema's  ideas and its implementation and evaluation of programmes that work in highly testing circumstance

Japanese #womeninfilm & Cathy Munroe Hotes

Cathy Munroe Hotes I've wanted to know more about Japanese women filmmakers and women's film festivals, for ages. Like Korean women filmmakers and  women's festivals , they're just across the Pacific/ Te Moana Nui a Kiwa. So I was delighted to find Cathy Munroe Hotes'  Japanese Women Behind the Scenes wiki.  This rich, fascinating resource  offers information about Japanese women writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, art directors, continuity editors, animators, editors, experimental filmmakers and more.  I was even more delighted when Cathy agreed to  answer some questions. Where I can, I've linked each woman she mentions to her page on Cathy's website. For the few who don't have a page there, I've linked to their website or another online resource. How did your study of Japanese women directors begin?  I have always had an interest in women directors.  In my native Canada, I was drawn to directors like Patricia Rozema

K' Road Stories (with a Pot Luck bonus!)

I was excited when I heard about  K'Road Stories . I love the road these short films are set in, Karangahape Road in central Auckland, where I once spent a lot of time. I was even more excited when I saw that – funded by New Zealand On Air  – HALF of  K'Road Stories  have women writers/directors. This year's best Australasian example of gender equity in state screen funding? This is what the website says– K' Rd Stories cracks open the surface of life on Karangahape Road, revealing diverse cultures and unique voices.  Set on New Zealand’s most iconic street this collection of short films - by some of New Zealand’s most creative filmmakers - explores the uncommon, the contrasting, and the crazy.  The films premiered along an innovative screening trail on Karangahape Road in conjunction with First Thursdays on December 3rd, 2015. K Rd Stories sneaks a peek at the people and places that make this neighbourhood so infamous – and so beloved. Facebook T

A Glimpse of The Future, With Inspiring Stories

Sehar, Michelle & Inspiring Stories ' Guy Ryan I love Inspiring Stories and its Making a Difference film competition. Making a Difference challenges aspiring Kiwi filmmakers to tell the story of a young person who’s doing something extraordinary.  It embraces difference of many kinds. (2016 entries open NOW!) Inspiring Stories on Facebook  &  on Twitter This year's Making a Difference winners have just been announced and just look! It's obvious that the competition engages young women and they do well. A lesson for competitions-in-general and for film organisations, as is that other young people's competition, The Outlook For Someday .  (Their results coming soon!) Warm congratulations to all the winners. The future's here, right now. And it's looking good! Overall Winner and Most Inspiring Story Best Cinematography Award Making A Difference Award Sehar’s Story Michelle Vergel de Dios (Auckland) Social Justice Award Open Cate

#gendermatters at Screen Australia?

Update and clarity here , July 2016 A couple of days after I finished this post, I received this further information, about the Screen Australia Gender Matters paper. You might like to start by reading it, here , because, who knows, with only the press release to go on I could have got it all wrong. I liked Deb Verhoeven's response to the press release, with the link in here– We need to focus on the values as well as the numbers: How to improve diversity in the screen industries — deb verhoeven (@bestqualitycrab) December 9, 2015 And then her tweet after she read the Gender Matters paper (so I may not have 'got it all wrong'!)– @devt @ScreenAustralia I read the paper. It doesn't change the fact that these are not open ended commitments to diversity. — deb verhoeven (@bestqualitycrab) December 9, 2015 Filmmaker Briony Kidd (and director of the legendary Stranger With My Face International Film Festival – entries open NOW!)

Maria Giese & Her Inspiring Work To End Discrimination Against Women Directors

Maria Giese Maria Giese, a director and a member of the powerful Directors Guild of America (DGA), spoke out about discrimination against women directors in Hollywood long before the those interviewed by Maureen Dowd for a major  New York Times article , published a couple of weeks ago – in interviews, through articles on her blog and in other social media. Like Lexi Alexander , Maria is a hero. She began challenging the DGA back in 2011and in 2013 moved on to ask the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California to investigate discrimination against women directors. The ACLU set up a webpage,  Tell Us Your Story , where it issued a warm invitation– If you are a director who has been discriminated against, excluded from directing jobs in television or get less TV work than your male peers, we’d love to hear your story to learn more about the experiences of women in the directing industry. Please tell us your story below. Women could respond by email or tel

Aidee Walker; & The Good Kuntz at 48Hours

Aidee Walker I've wanted to interview Aidee Walker ever since  Friday Tigers/ Ngā Taika o Rāmere, which she wrote and directed, won both major prizes in the New Zealand International Film Festival's Best Short Film competition in 2013 – Best New Zealand Short Film and the Audience Award.  Aidee's one of those inspiring, hard-working and super-versatile women we do so well here.  A writer/director of short films, now transitioning to features.  An in-demand actor for highly rating television shows (Mercy Peak; Outrageous Fortune; Shortland Street; and Step Dave,  for which she also wrote an episode this year ) theatre   and short films, including her own . A director of music videos, for Anna Coddington. She's most recently been shadowing actor and director Michael Hurst through a two-episode block of SPP's  Westside under the Director & Editors Guild of New Zealand's TV Drama Director Attachment Scheme.  As well, this year Aidee was part of Th