December 19, 2007

December 19, 2007

A Brief Chat with Debra Zimmerman, Executive Director of Women Make Movies
Had a chance to catch up with Debbie at the NY Women in Film and TV event last week. For the uninitiated, Women Make Movies, started in 1972, distributes films by and about women. More info: Women Make Movies

It's interesting and emblematic of the sorry state for women in film that Debbie started the conversation in talking about TV, about how Grey's Anatomy has roles that are not black or white; how some of the new cable shows are superficially misogynistic (like Rescue Me and Dexter) because they know they are misogynistic; and how cable shows like Weeds are great for women.

One of her most recent acquisitions at WMM is Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go the new film by Kim Longinotto which won the Grand Jury Prize at the recent International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam. This is the first film that WMM will be distributing that is not about women.

"We made a big exception because we distribute all of Kim's films. It's about juvenile delinquent boys and their teachers who deal with their problems by holding them instead of disciplining them."

"We've had so much success with this film and I have a feeling that it's because it's not about women. We're getting offers we haven't seen before. And it's really sad to me that women's issues are not seen as universal."

"I'm afraid if we take more films (by and about men) that we would do so well with those that it would dwarf our desire to be committed to women."
Please stick with the women- distribution is so hard for everyone, especially for film by and about women.

Shame on Us Weekly
It was awesome that Katherine Heigl spoke out in Vanity Fair that she thought Knocked Up was sexist. Cause even though you laughed like I did, bottom line is that the film is sexist. Us Weekly ran a poll in its recent issue: "Is She Ungrateful? Katherine Heigl Called Knocked Up sexist (and they put sexist in quotes, which I refuse to do) even though the comedy boosted her career." 60% of those polled said yes. Shame on all of us. No wonder women are afraid to speak out.

All the awards are getting quite boring and predictable.

African-American Film Critics Association
Best Director: Kasi Lemmons, 'Talk to Me'
Best Actress: Marion Cotillard, 'La Vie En Rose'
Best Supporting Actress: Ruby Dee, 'American Gangster'

Top Ten Films of the Year:
3. Talk To Me
7. Juno
9. Things We Lost in The Fire

San Diego Film Critics
BEST ACTRESS: Julie Christie, "Away From Her" Runner-up: Ellen Page, "Juno"
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Amy Ryan, "Gone Baby Gone" Runner-up: Cate Blanchett
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Runner-up: "The Orphanage"
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Runners-up (tie): "Persepolis"
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: Runner-up: Sarah Greenwood, "Atonement"

Austin Film Critics Association
Best Actress: Ellen Page, 'Juno'
Best Supporting Actress: Allison Janney, Juno (yeah for someone finally noticing how great she was)
Best Foreign Film: Black Book
Best Original Screenplay: Diablo Cody, 'Juno'

Palm Springs Int Film Festival will open and close with movies about women. The opener is Helen Hunt's directorial debut Then She Found Me. Closer is Audrey Tautou's Priceless.

Nancy Buirski has stepped down as head of Full Frame Documentary Film Festival after 10 years. She will be working on creating a fund to incubate and produce indies and docs.
Full Frame Boss Shifts Focus (Hollywood Reporter)

A more in-depth look at Juno and how it disarms both sides in the culture wars.
Juno and the Culture Wars (Slate)