I remember a few years back when I was on the festival circuit with my first and second feature films, and it sometimes felt like I was swimming in a vast sea of guys. I was often asked to be on panels where I'd be grilled about what it "felt like" to be a female filmmaker and I would respond that I didn't have anything to compare it to, since I had no idea what it "felt like" to be a male filmmaker, nor could I ever. At any rate, what parity in the Sundance lineup this year means to me, is finally being able to look forward to the prospect of not being treated like an oddity anymore. Perhaps, at last, our work as filmmakers can speak on its own terms, without any regard for what's in our pants.
Audrey Ewell - Director/Producer of 99% - The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film (Documentary Competition)
It's much harder for women to find financing and to have their films greenlit, and very few films get into prestigious festivals where they then receive a lot attention, and this all adds up to a systemic breakdown in gender parity. So the fact that there were so many films by women that were of the caliber to get into Sundance this year, this is exciting to me in a bigger way. I'm not just excited to see the visions of so many other women on screen, I'm excited about what this might mean about the larger difficulty in getting our films financed and distributed. I'm hopeful that this will lead toward our films being recognized as viable in the marketplace, as well as aesthetically, culturally and artistically, and that we'll have greater opportunities to hone our skills and make our next films. It's very exciting to be part of that.
Francesca Gregorini - Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes
Film is one of the most, if not the most, powerful mediums we have at our disposal. In many ways, film is the legacy we leave behind and if males are the only ones telling the tales, then we leave behind a very skewed history of what it is to be a human in our time. My hat is off to Sundance for leading the way in this charge. I believe it to be of vital importance, for actually both men and women, to see life reflected back to them through the lens of a woman.
Jill Soloway - Afternoon Delight
It feels so amazing that it's really 8/16. I feel the female gaze so rarely in movies. When I do see it I really stand up and take notice. It's something I can feel. Not just a female main character or a female protagonist but a female filmmaker asking to be seen and heard via her protagonists. Andrea Arnold does it so beautifully, she's such an inspiration. Imagining being in Park City and getting to see so many of these kinds of movies makes me feel like.... well I imagine it might make me feel the way men must feel every day!
Stacie Passon - Concussion
I think it means that more women are making films, and I read today that John Cooper said it was because more women are rising in the ranks. There is definitely representation at IFP, TFI, Sundance Institute and Film Independent and film schools getting out there and cultivating talent. There were four women in my lab this year at IFP. All of them with completely unique voices. There was this amazing woman in the lab called Visra Vichit-Vadakan. She works in Bangkok and makes these hybrid narrative/documentary features and new media pieces. She's totally pushing it to another level.
Even though Sundance will be full of women (as it always is) women directors are still sadly an anomaly. Women directors know that it is a bit harder for them. But they also know that their voices and visions are just as vital.