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TIFF Preview: Women Directors to Watch

Women and Hollywood By Melissa Silverstein and Kerensa Cadenas | Women and Hollywood September 5, 2012 at 2:00PM

The Toronto Film Festival launches tomorrow and there are women directors all over the lineup. We reached out to a couple of directors whose careers are on the way up (we will have some of our masters for you tomorrow) and asked them to answer a couple of questions as the Festival kicks off. I will try and see as many films as possible over the 8 days in Toronto. Please follow me on twitter @melsil and/or follow Women and Hollywood on Facebook for updates throughout the day.
Free Angela

Shola Lynch previously worked as visual researcher and associate producer for Ken Burns and Florentine Films. Her first feature documentary was Chisholm '72--Unbought & Unbossed.

Lynch: Free Angela and All Political Prisoners is a documentary movie that asks how a bookish 26-year-old philosophy professor ends up on the FBI's Most Wanted List and an international political icon in the early 1970s.

Lynch: Free Angela is a true 1970's style film. The story is a political crime drama with a love story in the middle and many questions that can't be answered.

I also ventured into recreations for the first time. They add enormously to the doc's visual range. I loved working with Director of Photography Bradford Young and actress Eisa Davis, who is Angela's niece and embodied her aunt, to bring the images to life.

Lynch: Angela Davis' story doesn't seem possible but it is true. The mystery around the story and the fact I knew very little about Angela Davis the person drew me. My focus became finding the real woman behind the icon.

Lynch: First question, how many directors are in double digits with features? It is hard for anyone to make movies.

Second, I don't think the difficulty is about creativity. I think it is about business. Movie making is a business. The director is like the CEO of a project, who administers the budget, oversees the crew, and shapes the vision. We don't see a ton of women directors for the same reason we don't see a ton of women CEOs. There is a lack of confidence from investors in women to lead and get the job done in a male dominated field. Although the grey area is that individuals believe in women as leaders -- and directors --  it just doesn't necessarily follow in business practice.

The best way to change the preconception is to be just as creative with the business as the filmmaking -- to find and continually search for pockets where you can gain traction. At least this is what I think at the moment. Talk to me again when I've cracked the nut. Free Angela is feature doc number 2.

This article is related to: Toronto Film Festival, Women Directors, Women Writers, Shola Lynch, Gauri Shinde , Nina Davenport, Catriona McKenzie, Treva Wurmfeld, Ramaa Mosley

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