Contributed by Dr. Victoria Schmidt -
Kathryn Bigelow is now the first female director to win an academy award! AND she is almost 60 years old AND she won for directing a war film… Was I dreaming? Oh how long women in film have been waiting for such a day but does this really mean anything? Have women come far in the industry?
First off ‘yes’ this does mean something, it means a ceiling was shattered. It means women do have stories to tell, stories that the masses will like. Women no longer have to tell ‘women’s stories’ they can work outside of their gender, in any genre and have it accepted, have it make $$$.
On the flip side it is still tough to pitch a script with a female lead. While attending film school we were told not to write female leads if we wanted to be successful in the industry. Which was strange because at the time Thelma and Louise had already done quite well much to the surprise of the industry suits. So while women are coming far behind the camera - women’s expression, their ways of telling a story, has a long way to go.
In fact isn’t it interesting that James Cameron’s film Avatar did not win? This film is very much a ‘holistic’ story, with what many consider to be female centered themes. This film was Cameron’s baby for a very long time so why are they not considered ‘men’s themes’? Perhaps men’s expression, their ways of telling a story, has a long way to go too.
Personally I love that both of these directors transcended their gender and made films close to their heart. Men as well as women should rejoice in this academy award event as if a pressure valve has been released. Let’s all allow our creative selves to shine and not worry about gender, box office, or ‘shoulds’. Ah, ignorance is bliss :) Any thoughts?
Here’s a link to an interview with one of my instructors at UCLA: http://ow.ly/1g7Bu