Women in Film. A Study.

Film One of my current minor addictions is watching full length recordings of film related Q&A type events from film festivals and the like. Some of the best are from tiff, or the Toronto International Film Festival and their YouTube channel has hundreds. The above hour and a half is a series of lectures then Q&A are about women's film festivals and their place in the feminist movement asking the question, somewhat rhetorically it has to be said because the answer is obvious, exactly why women's contribution to film isn't more prominent.

At the risk of offering some spoilers, two interesting points are raised:

(a)  How are we supposed to respect a collective history when we treat it so badly?  Essentially the problem one has if one wants to track the history of women in film and particularly in relation to the contribution of film festivals is that the sheer ephemeral nature of the things means that the granular detail in the form of fliers and administrative material is unavailable.  Plus even when stuff does exist, there simply isn't the funding available to pay for archivists and librarians to work through and catalogue the material and cross reference it in a meaningful way.

(b)  People who should be promoting women in film are as bad as everyone else.  The Criterion Collection, which sets itself up as a kind of museum for film contains less than ten films directed by women and that's a percentage reflected across boutique publishers.  You could argue that it's also a reflection of the percentage of film released by women and that in Criterion's case at least it includes Varda, Denis, Anders and Dunham (but no Coppola or Polley), oh and that women's voices don't stop and start at direction, but it's disappointing how easily the status quo is reinforced.

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