I'm delighted that Jane Campion's now Dame Jane. Here are my other local highlights from 2015. What have I missed?
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.
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)|
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 noticed was Jemaine, in support of the Australian Directors Guild's call for gender equity.
@devt I was tweeting about this *days* ago! ;-) @benfransham @AJemaineClement pic.twitter.com/iUX7IjlclK— Jonathan King (@MrJonathanKing) November 2, 2015
|On set: The Zookeeper's Wife|
But I was even more excited by Jessica Chastain's account of life on set with The Zookeeper's Wife, also directed by Niki, published in The Hollywood Reporter–
I'm in Prague filming a movie called The Zookeeper's Wife with director Niki Caro. I can't tell you — it's amazing. I've never been on a set with so many women. We're not even 50 percent of the crew — we're probably something like 20 percent women and 80 percent men — but it's way more than I've ever worked with on a film before. There are female producers (Diane Levin, Kim Zubick and Katie McNeill), a female screenwriter (Angela Workman), a female novelist (Diane Ackerman), a female protagonist and a female director. I've never seen a female camera operator like Rachael Levine on one of my films. And I've never, ever seen a female stunt coordinator like Antje "Angie" Rau.Niki Caro hasn't spoken up about gender equity in the allocation of taxpayer film funding and I so wish she – and others – would. But it's great to see her doing so well outside New Zealand and supporting women who work in film.
Programmes that embraced diversity & achieved high levels of participation and achievement by women
These programmes provided models for others. Take note, New Zealand Film Commission. Take note, 48Hours competition!
Inspiring Stories' Making a Difference (entries now open for 2016!)
Pot Luck – New Zealand's first lesbian webseries
It's great, written and directed by Ness Simons.
More women-directed films in cinemas
I think we're seeing more women-directed films in our cinemas and that's ace. It's felt almost-normal to be able to watch one woman-directed feature after another, down the road at the Paramount or elsewhere. Just before the holidays, it was Jocelyn Moorhouse's The Dressmaker, that I intended to follow with Leslye Headland's Sleeping With Other People. But I needed space to reflect on The Dressmaker, so I didn't. I still find distribution mysterious: why has Gina Prince-Bythewood's Beyond the Lights not reached New Zealand, for instance? And McFarland, USA?
Film Fatales arrives
Film Fatales 'is a global network of women filmmakers who meet regularly to mentor each other, share resources, collaborate on projects and build a supportive community in which to make their films'. Itwas founded in New York and now there's a Wellington chapter. A big thank you to Anita Ross for taking the initiative.
Alyx Duncan's The Tide Keeper
This short film has travelled all over and won many awards. But perhaps most significantly, it won coveted Lightbox Best Film Award at New Zealand's Show Me Shorts and this made Alyx eligible to enter The Tide Keeper into the 2017 Oscars®. Fingers crossed she'll do that.
Alison Maclean is back here, with The Rehearsal!
What a thrill that Alison came back to direct Eleanor Catton's first novel, The Rehearsal, after writing the screenplay with Emily Perkins, best known as a novelist.