Photo by Trina DeMattei
We are the make-up girls, the wardrobe department and script supervisors. We are the rarely seen grip and often over-looked director. We write and produce and design and dress.
I had no idea that when I began my career as a filmmaker five years ago, how little my sex made up the industry population. According to the latest Celluloid Ceiling report, woman fare better in numbers on independent documentary projects then in narrative film. In 2011-2012, women accounted for 31% behind the scenes crew working on documentaries compared to only 23% on narrative projects. Documentaries by their very nature are independent projects. They require very minimal crew, often times only a person and a camera. While narrative film encompasses the world of network television, feature films and studio productions.
What does this all mean? Film is a man’s world.
But my fellow female filmmakers and I are trying to change things. One note may be that female filmmakers may be drawn to more personal and intimate projects (I know I am) and in that way we may shy away from more of the bigger, more formulaic projects. The projects that we helm tend to involve character driven stories, tales of personal relationships and social commentary. These types of films often are not big box office draws.
I am a producer and director. For those of you that do not know, a film producer is usually the originator of any given project. We are there at the beginning when an idea is first suggested; we put the project together building it up from nothing. We are there during the shoot and through the final edit. Producing, by its very nature is full of nurture.
Sometimes I find myself fighting against my nature. I tell myself that I need to learn how to be more aggressive and less caring. I tell myself that if I just “toughen up” the reality of this over-worked lifestyle will get easier. Yet, I am now realizing that I may have been wrong. I now believe it is time for female filmmakers to embrace the aspects of our nature that bring out the strengths as filmmakers.
I am nurturing. I am compassionate. I am passionate and creative. When I am on a project I care fully for not only the story but for the crew as well. I am in love with the collaborative nature of film. I love that we all have to learn how to work together. The tide is changing and it will continue to change as long as women take to the camera. As a woman in film, I understand that I may spend many years of my career fighting to be recognized and struggling to get my ideas heard.
I am OK with the struggle because I am very proud to be part of the 23%. I am in great company.