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Guest Post: Collaboration, Not Competition

Women and Hollywood By Laura Goode | Women and Hollywood May 1, 2012 at 11:20AM

I’ve always been a woman who liked to think herself in control of her own destiny.  What I found, though, was that in order to collaborate with destiny, I had to collaborate with other women.
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Every artist has a responsibility to illustrate her flawed, complex, subjective, and unique vision of the world, and the way Meera and I inherit that responsibility with Farah Goes Bang is undeniably distinct from many other examples of female-led projects.  Because of our own unique experiences, we feel a responsibility to portray complex, whole characters of color.  We feel a responsibility to interrogate the boundaries of what “mainstream” images are.  “Make it new,” I’ve muttered to myself again and again in the midst of creation, channeling the poet Ezra Pound.  Meera and I are declaring our own vantage point on the world, one that privileges our own points of view and sacrifices some others.  Collaboration doesn’t mean always having to agree, and I think many of the disagreements Meera and I have had about our film and our business have been incredibly productive.  I always say that conflict reminds us that we’re separate people, and Meera’s and my separateness, as well as our unity, is one of our strengths: it’s what allows us the credibility to make a truly multicultural film, in fact.

As I’ve been writing this, I received a Facebook comment about FGB that feels strikingly appropriate.  “I've lamented for years that women characters are so often "the love interest" rather than the three-dimensional protagonist with a quest,” a friend from my childhood spelling bee days writes, “and have hypothesized that there would be less violence against women if men consumed more female-centric fiction and thereby learned to empathize with us as being no less complex than themselves. Well, here comes Farah Goes Bang to demonstrate once more that narrative fiction can change the culture and save lives.”

In this way--because women’s lives are most authentically represented in the hands of women themselves, and because truthful media forces all of us to enter an experience outside our own--the female collaboration that emboldens fair representation really is a matter of life and death.  It’s why I get out of bed every morning, it’s why I write books, and it’s why I make movies.  Meera and I wrote a story about women traveling their own American odyssey, and every member of our team will be living that story when we shoot this summer: an American odyssey in a female voice.  

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Laura Goode is a filmmaker, novelist, essayist, and poet.  Her first novel, Sister Mischief, was released by Candlewick Press in 2011, and her first feature film, Farah Goes Bang, which she co-wrote with Meera Menon and will produce, is currently in pre-production. 
 


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