On Female Filmmakers

Recently, Diane Tucker interviewed me for an article she was writing about the National Film Registry ignoring female filmmakers. The article has been published here (and you can vote to nominate the work of Frances Marion, Mary Ellen Bute, Julia Reichert, Jessie Maple, and Penny Marshall—information on whom Tucker has provided at the link—to the National Film Registry here until November 20).
The movie business "is absolutely consistently more difficult for women from beginning to the end," said Debra Zimmerman, executive director of the nonprofit organization Women Make Movies.

How difficult? Did you know that a woman has never won the Oscar for best directing? Maybe more to the point, only three have ever been nominated: Lena Wertmuller for 1975's Seven Beauties, Jane Campion for 1993's The Piano, and Sofia Coppola for 2003's Lost in Translation.

"It always comes back to male being treated as the default state of humanity, and female a deviation therefrom. This creates a culture in which men's stories are considered human stories to which everyone is expected to relate, while women's stories are considered an inferior subset," said cultural anthropologist Melissa McEwan, who writes about the political marginalization of gender-based groups on the Web site Shakesville.

Each time a woman's story is dismissed as "less than," it makes women "others" and makes them seem mysterious and incomprehensible to men, explained McEwan. "This underwrites the justification for ignoring women's stories on the ground they are inaccessible and uninteresting to men."

...It's a self-reinforcing cycle that results in women-centered films being branded genre films, McEwan told The Huffington Post. "Nora Ephron makes 'chick flicks', but Michael Bay doesn't make 'dick flicks'; he just makes movies."

Even Ephron, the writer-director whose hit movies include Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail, finds it difficult to get studios to greenlight her scripts and scoffed, "I always think every movie should begin with a logo that says, for example, Warner Bros. did everything in its power to keep from making this movie."
Read the whole thing here. And don't forget to support women's nominations. (You, too, Shaker men!)

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