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Emerging Women Filmmakers Network

Thanks to Lucy Holyoake and Lorraine Hughes, Wellington has a new and shiny Emerging Women Filmmaker’s Network. It began with a meet-up late last month, attended by about 50 women.

Lucy majored in Film at Victoria, where she did the practical courses, directed her first short documentary and fell in love with writing and directing. She’s now completing her Graduate Diploma in Media Studies where she’s researched and written about gender in film and media and she was happy to answer a few questions.


What inspired your initiative? How did you establish the parameters of who the group is for?

The idea of this group combines my passions for film and gender studies. Initially we opened it up to all woman of any skill level, but we quickly realised the gap we wanted to fill was for young or emerging women lacking experience. Being recent graduates ourselves, we both found it very hard to know what to do next and how to actually get work in the film industry. And this is something a lot of t…

NZ Update #16: Celebrations & Problems

In Aotearoa New Zealand we're keen on movies with women protagonists, in a variety of genres. At the box office last time I looked, seven out of the top ten had women at their centre. But women wrote and directed only two of them. Just two more had women as co-writers–

*1. Ocean’s 8 $746,780 (dir Gary Ross, wr *Olivia Milch, Gary Ross; distr Roadshow)
2. Solo: A Star Wars Story $220,207 (dir Ron Howard, wr Jon Kasdan, Lawrence Kasdan; distr Walt Disney)
3. Deadpool 2 $207,067 (dir David Leitch, wr Drew Goddard, Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick; distr Fox)
*4. Hereditary $130,750 (dir/wr Ari Aster; distr Studiocanal)
*5. Tea With The Dames $106,154 (dir Roger Michell; distr Transmission)
6. Avengers: Infinity War $75,320 (dir Anthony Russo, Joe Russo, wr Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeeley; distr Walt Disney)
*7. The Bookshop $62,748 (wr/dir *Isabel Coixet from novel by Penelope Mortimer; distr Transmission)
*8. Veere Di Wedding $47,967 (dir Shashanka Ghosh wr *Nidhi Mehra, Mehul Suri; …

Agnès Varda & Cate Blanchett Speak at Cannes2018, Among 82 Amazing Women

Look at them! The five women on the Palme d'Or jury lead the way: Kristen Stewart, Léa Seydoux, Khadja Nin, Ava DuVernay and Cate Blanchett, with Agnès Varda and others.


In the clip below (from 9:02: the red carpet is also for Eva Husson's new film, Girls of the Sun, 'a suspenseful all-women war movie'; could there have been a better choice for this protest?), there are too many amazing #womeninfilm to identify.

The list of the 82 women on the steps, from Paris Match , includes Jane Fonda, though I can't see her. But I did see Claudia Cardinale. I may have seen Patti Jenkins. I couldn't find Iris Brey, from Le Deuxième Regard, the activist organisation that instigated the 5050 by 2020 initiative which resulted in this protest.

Women & Hollywood's Women & Hollywood's Melissa Silverstein was there. It must have been a grand moment for her; she's protested about Cannes since at least 2010. But you get just a glimpse of her enthusiasm now and th…

Wanuri Kahiu's RAFIKI: Accepted for #Cannes2018 & Banned At Home

The Kenyan Classification Board has banned RAFIKI ('Friend' in Swahili), the first Kenyan feature to be accepted for Cannes. It is a love story between two young women, directed by Wanuri Kahiu and co-written with Jenna Cato Bass.



Wanuri tried to have the film classified for viewers 18 and above. But in Kenya, gay sex faces up to 14 years in prison and according to the Hollywood Reporter, President Uhuru Kenyatta told CNN in an interview earlier this month that 'gay rights are not of any major importance' in Kenya. The Classification Board accused RAFIKI of being made with 'clear intent to promote lesbianism in Kenya, contrary to the law'.

The Kenyan Film Commission is obviously very proud of RAFIKI.
Another major #handshake in the film industry.We're proud to support @wanuri for being invited to screen first ever Kenyan film at @Festival_Cannes@amulwa2@ckfoot@RashidEchesa@KenyanMusik@EzekielMutua@Izhow@moscakenya@NikiMags#FilmKenyaCaptureAfricapic.twitter…

#directedbywomen in Aotearoa's cinemas this week

It's a big week here in Aotearoa New Zealand! A rare event, release of a brand new local and #directedbywomen narrative feature, The Breakerupperers. Written and directed byMadeline Sami and Jackie Van Beek, it premiered to enthusiastic audiences at SXSW and has had lots of equally enthusiastic press in the run up to opening here on Thursday. Like this: I expect to be enchanted.

But that's not all. Thanks to the excellent flicks.co.nz, I've found 14 features #directedby women among the 82 listed in total, 17% –  within that magic 16-20 percentage that's associated with gender all over the place.

Two of the films, Kobi and WARU, are directed by local women. Go to the flicks.co.nz site for reviews and to find out what's screening at cinemas near you. A whole lot I didn't know about.

As well as on Netflix (etc) in all its glory, there there are also women-directed features on the telly: the other week, I caught up with Deniz Gamze Ergüven's extraordinary Must…

#directedbywomen #aotearoa

It's #Suffrage125 in Aotearoa New Zealand this year, 125 years since women got the vote.

To celebrate #Suffrage125 in Aotearoa New Zealand this year — 125 years since women got the vote — I’m creating a pop-up series of events that will celebrate and learn from women who direct for cinema, television and web series and commercials — local and international. With lots of lovely help. Old and new work, from Aotearoa and from overseas, with Q&As, debates and panels to learn more about women directors and the ways they approach screen story telling.

#directedbywomen #aotearoa is inspired by Barbara Ann O'Leary's beautiful and global project #DirectedbyWomen, an annual all-September party, now in its fourth year.

The first #directedbywomen pop-up is at Mokopōpaki's shop window cinema in Auckland, until Saturday at 4pm. It's been warmly welcomed, with the tiny space (perfect for two!) sometimes overflowing with viewers.


Is there anything you'd really like to see…

A Lost Archive?

Auckland Women’s Community Video (AWCV, 1976-about 1986) has become a kind of ghost in the herstorical archive, far too soon. I hate it, that their work has almost disappeared.

Take Slipping Away (1985) for instance, a video about The Freudian Slips, a feminist band Jenny Renalls formed in 1981. It’s possible that Slipping Away, or the raw footage it was made from, is this item in Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision. But I'm not sure. So I’m asking around, hoping to learn more. Also in Ngā Taonga, Deviance, a Freudian Slips short.

The Freudian Slips’ membership varied, including between five and nine women and sometimes all-lesbian and sometimes a mixture of lesbian and straight women. The band released two EP records,  On the Line in 1983 and Are You Laughing in 1985, covering topics that included periods, women and Catholicism, how super-heroes are always men, the right of women not to have orgasms, and police harassment. And yes, there are some entries in the National Library catalogu…

Belinde Ruth Stieve & NEROPA

You’re probably familiar with the questions that screenwriters often ask themselves when they revise their work: Do I start this scene as late as possible and end it in the right place? Who gets the last word in this this scene/sequence? Can I combine a couple of these characters?
And you'll know that there are often more questions, starting at the very first draft and persisting right through a film’s release, about the genders of storytellers, whether there’s a female protagonist, how the women and girls are described, what they talk about to each other, how they act. There’s much more attention paid to how many women and girls appear onscreen and how often they speak. There are endless studies that you’re probably familiar with, too, from places like the Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film, San Diego State University, from the Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative (MD&SC) at the University of Southern California — associated with the Geena Davi…