This past weekend had the potential to be big news for Women in Filmmaking. The latest version of “Ghostbusters” had its opening weekend in the theaters with its all-female lead cast. Many will watch to see if the film does well at the box office, or poorly, as a tell-tale sign of whether or not an all-female lead cast comedy film can be a hit.
I think we should not base a filmmaking gender discussion on a single film. There are too many factors in producing a hit film than the gender of its actors. What we can talk about is how to get more women involved in the world of film production.
In the early years of my career I cannot think of anytime I thought the camera department was reserved only for men. It’s a ridiculous thought. Even in the late 1990s, the gear was not too heavy to completely restrict the work to a certain sex or physical-ness. The women I have worked around have taught me more than the men. They offered up different opinions and styles birthed from a different perspective.
As time progresses cameras and the weight of the gear definitely have become less and less of an obstacle for aspiring women filmmakers. So why are we still faced with far fewer women cinematographers and camerawomen? A C300 Mark II is a fraction of the weight of a Sony SP Beta Camera or Panasonic’s original ENG P2 camera. To me, if we have a population of 50/50 men and women then shouldn’t we have a 50/50 split in the world of production? Shouldn’t there be as many women cinematographers as men?
Last Fall, Sony launched its Community of Female Video Creators on Facebook and they’re calling it (FIG). This is a community of female video creators as well as a place for women to talk about and share their work experience with other women who work in production. It is a step in the right direction, and a great one, by a company who understands the value of women in its ranks.
When I attended FIG’s first, and so far only, event in Nashville I was met with far more creative and collaborative female filmmakers than I expected. Sony had also sent down many of their female executives, engineers, and designers. At the time, I had just wrapped up my review of the Sony FS5 so I talked camera tech with one of Sony’s engineers for part of the evening. I see this as evidence Sony, as well as other companies, values women to help make the gear we all use and love. If you are thinking camera tech is too “techy” for women to understand you may want to think about who designed your “high-tech” camera.
One of the women highlighted during Nashville’s Sony FIG meet-up was Alden Allen. Alden has been a collaborator with Contrast Visuals and Consulting as well as having a thriving freelance career working in the music industry in Nashville. Alden is a great example of women working in film and television. She is a jump in feet first kind of collaborator who will not hesitant to take charge to ensure each project has the best visuals. We need more young women video creators like Alden. As producers, we need to look for more diversity in our crews.
I think back to my time in film school and my experience on sets and I remember it being a very male dominated world. Maybe we should be asking how to change this instead of talking about the latest version of “Ghostbusters.”