A few weeks ago, filmmaker Erin Laing sent me an e-mail about the lack of attention female directors have been getting by mainstream bloggers. What pissed her off, specifically, was Filmshowing’s list Why 2008 Will be an Awesome Year for Movies. Fifty-four films, and not a one made by a woman. (You can read Erin’s own blog about the list here).
Other most-anticipated lists are not very different. Slash Film’s list of 55 must-see films does include one woman: Mira Nair’s film Shantaram, set for release this fall. At least The Times’ list of 50 biggest movies of 2008 includes a whopping three pictures: Persepolis, 27 Dresses and Mamma Mia!)
Clearly, the criteria used to make these lists are, well, pretty subjective. (I know I can’t wait until the April release of Repo! The Genetic Opera!, a paranoid apocalypic musical starring Paris Hilton [no, not really].)
But it’s not just a matter of exposure. According to the site moviesbywomen.com, only 5% of Hollywood movies are made by women, and the majority of women-directed films are small productions. Where are the women diectors? This is not the first time this question has been asked about film. In 2002, Salon ran an in-depth piece on the topic, and three years later, The Guardian asked filmmakers themselves to answer the question.
There are some bright moments: just this past week, films directed by women took half of the top prizes at Sundance. Women also won half of the directing prizes, and are well represented among the jury, too.
Makes me yearn for some good old Guerrilla Girls-style campaigns. Imagine how happy I was to find out that they are already on the case.