I read an article by Colin Brown in Slate which focused on the financing of film – Fighting Gender Bias with Data. Opening with a reference to Cannes and Jane Campion (the only woman director to get the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival and the first woman director to serve as the festival’s Jury President) – the picture is quickly painted that women do not get to play the game the same way that men do:
“You’d have to say there’s some inherent sexism in the industry,” she lamented at Wednesday’s news conference on the Croisette. “Excuse me, gentlemen,” Campion then added, looking across at some of her fellow jurors sitting alongside her, “but the guys are eating all the cake.”
The interesting element of this article is not the reiterating of the, now, common lament “where are all of the female filmmakers?,” but, rather, the focus on financial possibilities to change the game. Brown quotes Executive Producer Dan Cogan:
“You can’t name a situation where a major franchise has been given to a filmmaker who did a film for under $5 million who is a woman – and yet you can name half a dozen who are men,” he observed. “The bottom line is very simple: people don’t trust women to make money. And this is as true of women running film studios as it is of the men in charge. They don’t trust women directors to make commercial movies. The numbers are astonishing and shocking. You are more likely to be a woman nuclear engineer then you are a woman film director. You are also more likely to be a woman running a Fortune 500 company. It’s shameful.”
Then Brown goes on to point out that Cogan is joining forces with Wendy Ettinger, Geralyn Dreyfous and Julie Parker Benello to finance female directed narratives with Game Changer Films. Financing female filmmakers really is a game changer! And as Brown concludes could be beneficial for all genders:
Leaving aside issues of human equality and social justice, there are financial benefits that come with a more objective, less discriminatory marketplace. Numerous studies have shown that a more diverse workforce is more productive, innovative and contributes to increased market share, profitability and lower employee turnover.
– Jennifer Dean