January 2, 2008

January 2, 2008

Happy New Year. Here's to a better year for women in film and to a quick settling of the writer's strike. (I know that won't happen, but wishing doesn't hurt anything.)

Opportunities for Women Directors in Indie Films
The Christian Science Monitor looks at the opportunities for women directors in the indie film world. There is no doubt that women do contribute strong films in the indie world, women still can't get in the door at the studios. While this lack of opportunities and blatant sexism sucks, if I was a female director I wouldn't want to direct the crap the studios release anyway.

Some quotes:

"This question of how far women have come is one I've been asked for the last 20 years," says Jeanine Basinger, film historian at Wesleyan University in Middleton, Conn. "We creep slowly forward," she says, adding that women have made the most progress outside the studios. "Indies offer more opportunities for women."
They're more comfortable handing the reins of a multimillion-dollar, multiple-year investment to other men, agrees Michelle Byrd, executive director of the Independent Feature Project (IFP), in a phone call from New York. "That's the biggest reason change is so slow in coming," she adds.
[Robin Swicord director of the under-appreciated Jane Austen Book Club] "I tell them, don't even try to get into the big studios anymore," she says. "Just get a friend and a crew together, make your film, and get it up on the Internet. That's the future."
New distribution avenues have also made it easier for small or unusual films to find an audience. Women audiences tend to shy away from heavy action and more toward "stories from the heart," says Irish filmmaker Kirsten Sheridan, whose independent film, "August Rush," made a splash this past month. But, adds the daughter of filmmaker Jim Sheridan ("In America"), her experience and increased confidence has made her eager to branch out into areas more typically associated with men, such as politics and social issues.
New distribution avenues are not the solution for women unless people are referring to other distribution locations other than theatres. There is too much product and not enough venues.

Kristen- what are you talking about? Politics and social issues are the types of film most commonly associated with women. if you want to play with the boys and be a director and not a woman director (which seems to be a common obsession with women directors in Hollywood) do an action flick. I really wish that women directors would get over being labeled as "women" and focus on the films -- it's not like you're being called a feminist (ha ha)
In Hollywood, the Glass Ceiling Cracks- A Little (Christian Science Monitor)

Laura Linney on Women's Roles in Hollywood

Coming from the theatre, how does she feel about the general quality of female roles in movies? Linney's 'fake wife' opposite Jim Carrey in The Truman Show was, ironically, more textured and 'real' than a lot of the wives/girlfriend roles Hollywood throws up. Linney is silent for a long beat. 'It is a little empty,' she says eventually. 'Not to mention a waste of a great resource.'

Linney feels that Hollywood has always been hard on women. 'And it will continue to be hard on women. How much they choose to participate is a whole other issue.' Linney's talking about appearance, image? 'All of it. There is an enormous amount of pressure.' ...

'The subtext seems to be: "You're 40. Be afraid!"' Many high-profile actresses complain that they get to a certain age and there are no roles. 'There's some truth to that,' she says. 'But I don't think the answer is to be afraid, give up, surrender to it. I mean, go do a play, do a radio play. You're not going to be an ingenue forever.'

Linney pauses, checks herself: 'It's hard for me to say because I'm in such a privileged position. There are so many women out there who don't get to work, who put in just as much effort and have such a rough time. It's really about being realistic. No one is going to be an A-list movie star and make millions of dollars forever; you're just not. But,' she adds, 'it's also about the fact that I think we're lucky we got to be 40. There are so many people out there who die way too young, so all of this, "Boo hoo, we're getting older!"' Linney shakes her head, wonderingly. 'I'm like, "Well, there is an alternative."'

What Lies Beneath (The Guardian)

Like most people who follow Hollywood, I am obssessed with Nikki Finke's website, Deadline Hollywood. The NY Observer named her its Media Mench of the Year. Go Nikki!

Tamara Jenkins on the Treatment with Elvis Mitchell

Gloria Reuben Makes a Return to ER tomorrow night. (LA Times)