Category Archives: pop / culture

Artless PSA by BC Filmmaker

It’s happening across north america, the tendency to let arts funding go (in schools, in our cities) when in an economic crunch because it isn’t deemed vital to society. Here in BC the government has been steadily making ridiculous cuts to arts funding and will continue to do so over the next few years.

This is so short-sighted on so many levels. Not even taking into consideration how art enriches our lives, the arts and cultural sectors and B.C.’s creative industries generate $5.2 billion each year and employ 78,000 people. I’m one of them. And so are most of my friends.

What kind of mixed-message is BC sending when in its bid for the 2010 Olympics, our government boasted about our province’s vibrant arts and culture scene?

A friend of mine, director Kryshan Randel, created this beautiful piece to demonstrate, visually, what an artless life would be like:

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When Life Gives You Bad Reviews… Make Lemonade.

A writer friend of mine shared this with me today.

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Where are the Women directors?

A few years ago I participated in the launch of a campaign called Please Adjust Your Set. It was a study of the labour issues surrounding women in the BC film and television industry. This type of initiative has been repeated in other cities with similar results.

The studies all demonstrate what was “previously understood only anecdotally; women are underrepresented and under-remunerated in many occupations and facets of the industry.”

As the results of our “record and report” strategy came in, it inspired a lot of discussion around why this is the case. When almost half of film school students are female, how come they are so glaringly underrepresented? In what stage does the drop off happen?

There are a lot of theories, from self-esteem issues to the old boys’ network to simple non-consideration for big budget genres (action adventure / thriller / etc). “Follow the money,” some committee members kept saying. “Pay attention to who gives and gets the funding.”

I think it’s a combination of issues, actually, and I think much of the time it’s not even conscious. But I’ve decided to make bring it into consciousness, especially since I recently had a conversation with someone on set who literally couldn’t think of one female director.

senatebdsky8in72Copyright © 2003 by Guerrilla Girls, Inc.

Whenever I’m working on a commercial film set or watching a movie, I always make a mental note of the % of women to men in the “above the line” rolls, which are the roles that have what we call “creative control.”

This includes the writer/s, director, director of photography, producers, and editor. These are the people who make all the decisions and it is not uncommon for ALL of these roles to be filled by men. The lead role/s on 10 of the 12 film productions I’ve worked for have also been male. (Stats say % of women producers has grown over last 20 years, but % of directors has shrunk)

Once when I looked around the studio counting 80 males and 3 females (scripty, hair, and make-up), I wondered why this didn’t strike anyone as odd and if it would were it reversed?

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No female has ever won an academy award for directing (and only 3 have been nominated) and only one woman has ever won the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or.

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