Skip to main content

Feminist Film Resolutions for 2017 (& Beyond!)

by Corrina Antrobus


Corrina is the founder and director of the Bechdel Test Fest, ‘an ongoing celebration of films that pass the Bechdel Test’.


Plenty of stats will remind you that women are not quite out of the woods in the search for better rep in film. But hey, new year, new hope and here’s to new ways of thinking that, actually, you can help chip away at the patriarchy. Here’s just five resolutions you can apply immediately in the plight for a more female friendy cinema.
1. Go to see a female-led movie on its opening weekend

nothing but death
Opening weekend counts. Cinemas will keep a movie on their screens as long as people are turning up and putting their bums on seats. It’s a supply and demand system like any other business. If you want more female-led movies in the cinema, don’t just talk about it – buy a ticket and prove you want them there. Here at BTF we announce the female-led movie releases on our Facebook page and Twitter every Friday, so don’t say we didn’t tell you.
2. Read female film criticism

simpsons
Female critics do exist but surprise, surprise the byline bias tilts towards the male writer. There are hundreds of us (promise), hiding in plain sight – you just need to look in fresher alternative spaces such as zines, indie publications and blogs as the mainstream press continues to peddle the predominantly white male fog horn. For more context, Kiva Reardon – founding editor of the fantastic @cleojournal, writes with class and insightful investigation on the necessity of and challenges for female film critics over on TIFF.com. Kiva’s drawn up an empowering to-do list we can all take into 2017 and beyond: dismantle the film canon, examine the media landscape, and question the authority. 
3: Take a man to a feminist film event

SHIA
We love our male audience members; we’ve got a hefty bunch of die hard BTF fans  because they simply love cinema, discussing film and let’s face it – we pick great films. However, we understand when some men say (and they do say) ‘are men allowed?’ and express an anxiety about ‘sitting in a room full of feminists’. The answers? Obviously yes – men and male identifying individuals are most welcome at our events, and while they’re at it, it’s OK if they want to call themselves feminists too. We need more feminist men – which means listening, not interrupting and contributing respectfully to the conversations that arise in feminist spaces. 
4: Champion the great female-led films you see

phone
Saw a great film that happened to have a female director or a deliciously dynamic female lead? Tell everyone. Put it on your Facebook, Snapchat, MySpace, whatever. If you put it on Twitter why not @ us so we can RT it? Point is, word of mouth is more valuable than a paid ad spot. Your good word is the best endorsement to your movie going mates. When was the last time you avoided/attended a film because {insert BFF’s name here} said it was awesome? Exactly. 
5: Just ask 

question
If you happen to know a filmmaker, production company, or studio head and they happen to be riffing on their latest project, some simple questions can work as gentle yet powerful activism. ‘How many women are hired on your production crew?’, ‘How many female-directed films are in your programme?’ and ‘Does your film pass the Bechdel Test?’ are direct questions that get to the root of the problem. It’s not meant to be antagonising, but the bubble of unconscious bias can be popped with these simple inquiries that may help heads think.  

Corrina Antrobus

The Bechdel Test Fest launched in 2014 and is now an award-nominated film festival that’s been celebrated by The Guardian, The Independent, Little White Lies and the late-but-great The Dissolve. Since embarking on Bechdel Test Fest, Corrina has written for publications including The F Word, Total Film and Sight & Sound magazine and has appeared on BBC Worldwide, BBC Radio 4’s The Film Programme and London Live.

Twitter 
@corrinacorrina

Originally published at bechdeltestfest.com. Thank you, Corrina!


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

NZ Update #12: Everything's Gonna Be All Right?

Look at these two! Our Prime Minister and our distinguished filmmaker and global advocate for women filmmakers meet, at last week's SPADA (Screen Production and Development Association) conference. Look at their pleasure in each other. Their body language. Their close attention.




For me, this meeting is a significant turning point in the movement to gender equity in the allocation of public money for screen storytelling. The first one was at 2015's Big Screen Symposium, when Chelsea Cohen – with support from other Māori women – spoke out  about the need to allocate New Zealand Film Commission funding equally to women and men. Our first woman writer/director/producer to do this publicly. Her courage made it safer for others to follow her example.

So: what might this Jacinda-And-Jane meeting mean?

The new government has already announced its commitment to pay equity and I think we can now be confident that gender equity will infuse screen production. I think we can also be confid…

Pause. Reflect. Cherish.

Chantal Akerman's Death
I tried to write about why I felt so deeply sad about Chantal Akerman's death, then read a post from poet Ana Božičević, who got it just right for me–
No one knows for sure why a woman takes her life but that Chantal A might have done so in part because her No Home Movie – about her mother Natalia an Auschwitz survivor, which was grueling to make – was booed...really breaks my heart this morning. I wonder always, who cares, as in provides care, for the women artists who go to deep dark uncommercial places? Which intimate understands the skill, of craft and emotion, necessary for the work that they do? I wrote in some napkin or tweet once 'they only love the Sylvias after they are dead'. Give care to the woman artist in your life even and especially when she does the hard depth work that challenges the mind and body, yours and hers. And if you are that woman, thank you today & every day. Thank you, Ana. And many thanks for letting me reprint …

NZ Update #17.1 Safety Revisited

(This is easier to read over on Medium)

Back in October, just before the #directedbywomen screenings in Auckland, I tumbled down a steep flight of wooden steps in Auckland's Ayr Street Reserve. Cracked one ankle and broke the fibula in my other leg. Missed spring gardening. Missed all of Wanuri Kahiu's visit (but not some beautiful responses from the many people she inspired and revitalised).

Couldn't transcribe or edit my #directedbywomen Skype interview with Isabel Coixet. Couldn't edit and publish other almost-ready interviews I cherished. Couldn't organise more screenings that filmmakers had requested, with the films' directors beamed in to Te Auaha's small treasure of a cinema for Q & As, also via Skype.

After two months almost entirely at home, half-way down a pedestrian-access steep zigzag, I'm fully mobile again. With thanks to the Accident Compensation Corporation's (ACC, our universal no-fault accidental injury scheme) fine services; to…