Female directors – we want you!
There has been much conversation around the subject of female directors and why there aren’t as many in the industry as men. According to Variety, only 7% of 2016 highest grossing films were directed by females, so even though we are actively debating the equality agenda it appears that the industry needs a little less talk and a little more action.
But aren’t Patty Jenkins, Kathryn Bigelow, Mary Harron, Sofia Coppola, Andrea Arnold, and Nora Ephron (I could go on!) evidence enough that women can do it too? Aren’t they evidence enough that women can create thought-provoking, hard-hitting, comedic masterpieces?
We attended London’s Media Production Show this week and one of the seminars hosted at the keynote theatre was: “Celebrating successful women in film and television”. One of the speakers, Nicola Daley, an accredited Cinematographer, spoke of her experience in the industry and how sexism played a part in the challenges she faced.
“Women can’t carry cameras” she was told during her early career operating cameras after film school. And when she worked in a camera hire shop, customers would often look mistrustful and check with her male counterpart (only to be told exactly the same information).
Nicola also noted the attrition of women in the industry after leaving film school, and those that didn’t go to film school, is high in the early stages of their careers and that is why there aren’t more women at the top and less in the field.
Claire Poyser, MD of Lime Pictures, agreed with Nicola – although she’d never experienced sexism in her early career working the studio floor at the BBC – and suggested that the change needs to come at the beginning of careers. The time to make a difference, to encourage women to continue with their career in the industry, is at the entry level, these jobs need to be more gender neutral and equal. That way, careers, from conception, are a fair playing field.
MD of Pulse Films, Emma Cooper, noted that she thinks the scarcity of female directors in factual film has nothing to do with opportunity, she thinks it’s down to confidence and women not naturally taking a chance or ‘bigging themselves up’. The film and television world is like any industry, and in all industries most women have lower confidence levels than the men around them in the same jobs.
So, let’s look at Foxtrot Papa. We work with predominantly car brands, traditionally a male dominated sector, and we currently don’t have any female directors on our books. We have worked with female photographers, and of course would jump at the chance to work with a female director; it just, unfortunately, has not been the case – so far! Perhaps this is because of the sector that our clients sit in; but why should that be the case?
We want the best; the freshest thinkers on our projects. We want to be diverse. And we can only be these things if we have vision and talent from both sides of the gender spectrum. So, this is a call to action: we want female directors to get in touch with us. Send us your show reel, your website, and a little bit about you.
And who knows, you could be the next Patty Jenkins…