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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Abroad: Where The Female Directors Are

In her Risky Business column for the Hollywood Reporter, Anne Thompson notes that twelve of the 61 directors in the foreign-language film category are female. “Check their resumes, and many of them are veterans who have been churning out films for years,” writes Thompson “Around the world, somehow, women find it a lot easier to make movies than they do here in the U.S. The feminist movement in this country has come and gone, leaving many women striving to make their way in the workplace, yet in Hollywood the state of support for women directors remains woeful. Even when someone brilliant comes along like Karen Moncrieff, who wrote and directed the 2002 Sundance hit BLUE CAR and this year’s just-released THE DEAD GIRL it’s hard to summon up much optimism for her future.”
It’s true, of course, that there are far fewer working female directors than their are male ones. And as Thompson writes, “Even the most talented women, who usually establish themselves with low-budget indie fare, somehow wind up directing movies for television, lame romantic comedies or studio family films that no self-respecting male would touch.”
What she doesn’t mention is that the foreign language submissions, many of them, benefit from arts subsidies, tax breaks and direct funding. And some foreign language entries are similar in scope, tone and story to U.S indie dramas.

Whatever happened to Martha Coolidge, Joan Micklin Silver or Penelope Spheeris?

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One Response to “Abroad: Where The Female Directors Are”

  1. Alfred Chubb says:

    Nathalie Wreyford of UK Film Council has set out to tackle this problem and to rectify it by investing in a fund to help develop female writers in UK.
    Good for her! Penelope Spheeris is due to start shooting the Janis Joplin project produced by Squid & Whale producers

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon