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Showing posts from April, 2017

NZ Update #5: Little Lovely Things

The Aotearoa New Zealand film and television world is being transformed by awareness of, and increasing commitment to, gender equity. Here are some lovely little things I’ve cherished since my last update. Michelle Latimer 1 The Māoriland Film Festival in Ōtaki (a beautiful small-town-by-the sea, north of Wellington)  has announced its first three awards and released its stats. The awards are all People’s Choice awards and films directed by women won two of them. Michelle Latimer’s RISE: Standing Rock was Best Documentary feature, from a docuseries that investigates the ongoing environmental rights struggles that continue to be faced by Native American and indigenous citizens. The episodes played at Māoriland, Sacred Water and Red Power , are situated at Standing Rock. Amie Batalibasi won Best Short for Blackbird , which tells the story of Solomon Islander siblings, Rosa and Kiko, who were kidnapped from their island home to work on a sugar cane plantation in Queens

Reel Inequality: Hollywood Actors and Racism, an interview with Nancy Wang Yuen

by  Kyna Morgan  of the Her Film Project ​ Dr. Nancy Wang Yuen's new book,  Reel Inequality: Hollywood Actors and Racism,  represents a major breakthrough in research into barriers faced by actors of color in Hollywood. Informed by over 100 interviews and enlightening data-based research, her book provides an in-depth examination of racism within this creative industry as well as ways in which it may be opposed and the industry made to be more inclusive. Dr. Yuen's book is published by Rutgers University Press. ​ HFP  Your book might be the first ever to present in-depth sociological research into issues of racism in the Hollywood film industry. One issue that's being discussed with more and more frequency is the issue of 'whitewashing.' In chapter 1 ('Hollywood's Whitest') of your new book, you state that 'Hollywood creates a double standard by funneling actors of color into race-specific roles while casting white actors in every role rega

Sue Clayton: Filmmaker Among the Vulnerable Young Refugees of Calais & Dunkerque

Child in Calais This updates an earlier post about film activist Sue Clayton’s work with, and film about, unaccompanied children and young people who are refugees on the coast of France, trying to get to Britain. The film is partly for use as evidence in upcoming court cases and an inquiry. Daniel, a 9-year old orphan from Eritrea, had the right to be in Britain, because he had close family there. But he was sleeping in a damp and dangerous lean-to in the Calais Jungle, regularly subject to tear-gas attacks and violence from the CRS (Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité, the general reserve of the French national police force). And his his voice was not being heard. Then, filmmaker Sue Clayton and her colleagues provided legal representation to protect his immediate future. Daniel is now safely with his older brother in Britain, in care. But many others weren't so lucky. Sue's film began with her exploration of whether the children of Calais had a legal case t

Tema Staig, Women in Media & the #WiMCrewList: 'Feminism is Good for Everyone'!

Tema Staig Photo:  Reggie Burrows Hodges  for the  Bluestocking Series Tema Staig is the producer, production designer and visionary activist who founded and runs Women in Media ( WiM ), a networking group for above and below the line women and the men who love making movies with them. Women in Media hosts regular networking events and supports women-focused screenings and film festivals, like Seeking Our Story , Etheria Film Night , and Bluestocking Film Festival . It also created the annual #AltOscarParty which invites everyone who believes more women should be included by the Academy to skip the ceremony, have a nice dinner with drinks, and watch movies directed and created by women. And, with Seeking Our Story , Women in Media encourages women to review women-directed films on Rotten Tomatoes and offers to amplify their reviews. Most recently, Tema created the Women In Media Crew List (#WiMCrewList), as a resource for all those who want women in their crew. Any woman, w

#cannes17: Still Too Few Women Directors!

Cannes doesn’t change much! Just three films by women out of the 18 films In Competition when Cannes opens on 17 May. (The record, in 2011, is four.) Here they are– Joaquin Phoenix and Lynne Ramsay (photo):   The Playlist Lynne Ramsay’s  You Were Never Really Here , about a damaged war veteran, played by Joaquin Phoenix, who rescues women involved in sex trafficking. Naomi Kawase’s  Hikari  ( Radiance ). And Sophia Coppola's The Beguiled . And  Visages, Villages , co-directed by Agnès Varda and JR has been selected Out of Competition . It’s a little better in Un Certain Regard , five out of sixteen– La Novia del Desierto , the debut of Cecilia Atan and Valeria Pivato, two Argentinian women. Aala Kaf Ifrit  ( La Belle et la Meute ), by the Tunisian Kaouther Ben Hania. Western , by Valeska Grisebach (produced by Maren Ade). Jeune Femme , first film by Léonor Séraille from France. Après la Guerre  by Annarita Zambrano from Italy. AND t

Loren Taylor – Loving What She Has

Loren Taylor on set of Apis  (photo: Glen Maw) Loren Taylor inspires me. Based in Wellington, and an actor for film, television and theatre since she was 17, she's also a writer, director and sought-after casting director, a beloved and versatile and influential dynamo, who has received New Zealand Film Commission funding to make her short,  APIS , and to develop a yet-to-be-titled feature. I long to see both films. Loren worked with Taika Waititi on their award-winning screenplay for  Eagle vs Shark –  picked up by Miramax and released world wide – and won Best Actress at the Newport International Film Festival and the St Tropez Festival de Antipodes for her critically acclaimed role as  Eagle vs Shark' s   Lily. She also wrote and directed the Phoenix Foundation video for Give Up Your Dreams – a homage to the work of Soviet film-maker Andrei Tarkovsky – starring Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords. And  she writes and directs commercials for international and loc