Because women don't go to the movies and lead boring lives male viewers couldn't possibly find value in.
But a blow has been struck in the mighty northwest metropolis of progressive Seattle...
The Seattle International Film Festival has awarded the Jury Prize to a female director (Barbara Schroeder's Talhotblond) & top director awards to 3 more:
Best Director Golden Space Needle Award
Kathryn Bigelow, for The Hurt Locker (USA, 2008)
First runner up: Lynn Shelton, for Humpday (USA, 2009)
Second runner up: Kari Skogland for Fifty Dead Men Walking (UK/Canada, 2008)
And there were several more large prizes awarded to women.
Has this EVER happened in any other contest??
Congrats to women filmmakers, and to ALL of us!! Humans benefit when half of the population is valued.
Seattle International Film Festival's awards are a huge leap forward in what is the modern ghettoization of female stories.
Just to give you perspective, most screenwriting contests award less than a 1/5 of their prizes to women, and even at the truly independent and barrier-breaking Dances With Films festival there was only one female winner of the 13 awards given, and she was a co-director/writer/producer sharing the award with a male partner.
Maybe I'm just grasping at any little hope with the Seattle Film Festival's fantastic awards after this horrifying news out of Hollywood last week:
The Huffington Post
Thursday June 8, 2009
Women Don't Go to Movies
by Nia Vardalos
A little-known fact: some studios recently decided to no longer make female-lead movies.
Lately, I've been in meetings regarding a new script idea I have. A studio executive asked me to change the female lead to a male, because... "women don't go to movies."
When I pointed out the box office successes of Sex and The City, Mamma Mia, and Obsessed, he called them "flukes." He said "don't quote me on this." So, I'm telling everybody.
Thanks to The Huffington Post for following up on this topic, especially after Ellen Snortland's article profiling me and Heidi as producers of THE COMMUNE with this slant just three days before.
I've personally been turned down by female managers who claim I'll never get funding for Pistoleras because "no one wants to see a female western."
Which means fellow women didn't even read page one of the screenplay that has won two big industry awards.
Here's one more interesting tidbit along the same subject, this time from respected online journal Cinematical. My favorite line from This article is "Women aren't flukes." My least favorite part is that there continue to be bone-headed comments to this brilliantly executed piece. If you replaced "female" with "black", your comments would seem unacceptable even to you, sir.
Girls on Film: A Desire for Varied Female Protagonists is Not a Political Agenda
by Monika Bartyzel (ed. note: Wonder what the comments would have been like if it were Mark Bartyzel)
By now you've probably caught fellow Cinematical writer Dawn Taylor's posts about desiring female Pixar leads and wanting some Bechdel rule-abiding women in Star Trek. Both posts got their share of positive comments, but they also got a slew of knee-jerk reactions and vitriol. I don't want to rehash what Dawn already expressed well, nor get into another argument about specific female characterizations. Instead, I want to look into this neverending trend where any desire for a strong female character leads to complaints and accusations of a political agenda.
Ask for a certain type of female protagonist, discuss inequalities, gripe about the proliferation of poorly developed female characters, and in a flash, comments will pour in with a myriad of political catchwords like: feminist agenda, feminist rants, equality of the sexes, affirmative action, sexist conspiracy, and political correctness. These will be joined by painfully inaccurate sentiments that equate a desire for female success with wanting "every unfulfilled desire," Hollywood bending to charity and catering to specific audiences, wanting to exclude men from film, a lack of acceptance at the equality already reached, and of course, that including strong female protagonists is somehow sacrificing or tainting good work. (All of the reactions mentioned in this paragraph can be found in the comments on Dawn's two posts.)
The fact of the matter is: Wanting interesting and diverse female protagonists is not a political agenda. It's a widespread human trait found in both sexes: the desire to find camaraderie and others who are relatable and recognizable...
Please continue reading this fabulous article over at Cinematical.
Here's one more great recent mention on the topic. Unfortunately I can't seem to figure out who wrote it over at The Tracking Board. If it was a single straight man, sir, may I take you out to dinner? I'll even dress like Ripley.
"...One very interesting sidenote to this film, isn’t necessarily regarding this film directly, but the slow change Hollywood, and independent films are taking towards their choice in protagonists. Just in the past month alone, the amount of scripts we’ve seen sell, and new films we’ve seen cast, as well projects going in to production, it seems audiences are beginning to seek out the strong female lead.
“Today’s audience wants to see more and more strong women in film. Finally, film is getting exciting again.” director Alexandre Aja said in regards to his curious choice of Riley Steele in his new Piranha 3-D remake. (Aja also cast one of our favorite female leads to date with Cécile De France in his French release HAUTE TENSION.)
I know I’ve always had an eagerness and excitement to see the strong female lead return. Bring us back to the Ripley days of old. I think audiences are eager, and waiting."
I agree that audiences are eager and waiting. Now how do we convince the Gatekeepers funding the production of movies?
UPDATE: The comments section just became a Must-Read, as multi-talented, award-winning filmmaker Eric Escobar has shared his brilliant thoughts on race and gender casting in Hollywood, and whether they should and can be fought within the system (if you read his blog you know that's a NO).