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Headline of the Week: Where Are All the Women Directors?

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by Melissa Silverstein
August 2, 2013 1:00 PM
2 Comments
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A story from the UK Telegraph entitled Where are All the Women Directors by David Gritten has been making its way around the internet over the last couple of days.  On the surface the story doesn't really say anything new.  It begins with a quote from Jessica Lange saying that there are very few good parts for women actors.

But the reason why this is resonating is that Mr. Gritten, a guy, is standing up a saying this is a problem.  He is not saying things that women working and writing on this topic haven't been saying for years, but when a guy says it it seems to have some more significance.  Personally, I could care less if people listened to a cat, if they figured out how to deal with this problem.

Here are a couple of his good lines:

There's no shortage of talented actress to go round, but women screenwriters and directors are relatively thin on the ground. And that's the real root of the problem. It's not that you have to be a woman to write or direct great roles for actresses, though it certainly wouldn't hurt.

He goes on to point out the difficulties of women writers like Callie Khouri and Zoe Kazan and briefly touches on what happened to Brenda Chapman on Brave but it his overarching point at the end that has the most resonance.

But it does often seem Hollywood is one big boys' club, one that especially discourages the different ideas that talented women behind the cameras can bring. And this leads directly to Jessica Lange's gripe about a shortage of great roles for actresses. It needs to be addressed, and seriously, sooner rather than later - overlooking the input from half the world's population is no-one's idea of a decent business model, nor a worldview worthy of film's glorious history.

The story is worth a look.  He gets that it is the fact that women bring different perspectives to the work and that those perspectives are not valued and accepted and that needs to change. 

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2 Comments

  • Destri | August 2, 2013 2:26 PMReply

    My only problem with his article is that he makes that common mistake of asserting (in a round about way) that there aren't many women writers or directors (see: "women screenwriters and directors are relatively thin on the ground.") I worry that the average reader takes this as "there are not many woman who write or direct in general" when we all know that there are a LOT of women who write and/or direct (see: thedirector list.com for 675+ of them). These talented women just aren't getting hired by Hollywood to do what they do...

  • walgkm | August 2, 2013 2:17 PMReply

    Hollywood is simply an over rotted disease that everyone ignored. It's kind of strange that we suddenly noticed, out of nowhere seemingly, that a male dominated business culture would have mostly male directors working in it. It's said that people in Hollywood live outside of everyone else's world, which is probably true, and they're just so used to this man-director, woman-editor shit that they never thought anything was wrong. The women directors aren't in Hollywood but Hollywood has never been the saving grace of cinema, anyway. Even everything outside of Hollywood today seems geared to be accepted by Hollywood. So hopefully a real filmic revolution occurs that blasts away the bullshit of what we call contemporary cinema today. And hopefully more women come to the table with films that aren't relationship, sex romp, or coming of age sex relationship based because people are stupid and will continue to think that that's all women directors are capable of making if that's all they see even if history is loaded with films that disprove them completely.

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