French feminist group La Barbe set out to cause a media storm when it drew attention to the lack of women directorsin competition at this year Cannes Film Festival. In the US,Women In Film took up the baton with a Change petition that gained more than 2000 signatures from powerful film and media women such as Gloria Steinem, Eve Ensler and Gillian Armstrong.
I’ve been forwarding the media message and presscoverage from film publications like IndieWire to social networks where the tone of conversation has been a tad expected with remarks about “stop whining,” quite astonishing and ignorant comments about how women just aren’t good enough to direct and that there’s absolutely no sexism involved in this male-centric business of moving pictures. All comments from men, naturally.
But I did receive one beacon of hope; a clear headed intelligent response from Hunter Todd of Houston’s World Fest, the longest running indie film fest in the world. Here’s what he had to say:
WorldFest has always had a special place for Femme Directors, and we always include them every year, from all over the world. This year, 35 female directors out of 155 films! Take that Cannes! Interestingly enough, we have no agenda about women directors, we only select our films because they are good! “Excellence is our only agenda” and 35 female directors were selected for screening and for Remi Awards. I does make one wonder about the selection process in other festivals if they cannot find one female director and we picked 35!”
The 46th WorldFest is 04/12-21, 2013
And that’s the message that every woman in film is advocating but seems to fall on deaf male ears – we don’t want to be special, we want a fair crack at the system.