Posts

Showing posts from 2017

NZ Update #9: Louise Hutt on Her 'Online Heroines'

Image
I've been reflecting on webseries in Aotearoa New Zealand, because I believe they're central to our development of a diverse and sophisticated female protagonism. I'll write about some of them soon; having Louise Hutt's extraordinary and pioneering Online Heroines as a reference point will make a big difference. Ngā mihi nui, Louise.


by Louise Hutt

In New Zealand, we like to think of our film industry as pioneering. We’ve got Weta Workshop, Peter Jackson, Taika Waititi, Andrew Adamson—who made Shrek and Narnia—and Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords. But it also has a dark underside that we don’t like to talk about. When people play devil’s advocate and ask if gender discrimination is even a problem in our industry, I ask if they can name a woman director from New Zealand. On a good day, they’ve heard of Jane Campion. However, I’m still yet to find anyone who can name a second.

If you’re a woman who wants to make films, why is it so hard? Diane Twiss, the firs…

NZ Update #8: More Local #DirectedByWomen Features at #NZIFF

Image
NB All these #NZIFF 2017 posts are joined together and looking beautiful over on Medium


Every year, Women & Hollywood counts the #DirectedByWomen features at Cannes, in the various categories. This year, the site noted a slight increase, to 29 percent overall.

To compare, for the first time since 2014, I've just counted the New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) features listed in its Wellington catalogue. I included docos, but excluded the animation and short film programmes.

I used to feel that I was the only person concerned about the NZIFF stats. That's no longer so. Many more people now want there to be gender equity behind the camera and to explore ways to make this happen. Many more people are also concerned about representation in front of the camera, about how we're all affected by seeing the world primarily through the white male gaze. Actor Jessica Chastain is one of these.  This is what she said at the final press conference, after she sat on the…

NZ Update #7: NZ Women-Directed Docos at the #NZIFF

Image
I'm waiting (always) for more feature documentaries by *and* about women from Aotearoa New Zealand. Coming soon I hope.

And some of you will read this and wonder about docos by and about Māori women and by and about indigenous women of other parts of the Pacific; and by and about women from our immigrant communities. 'Where are they?' you might ask. I wonder, too. Most years.

And now, when I wonder, I reflect on a recent and brilliant essay, Poutokomanawa – The Heartpost, by award-winning fiction writer, essayist and teacher Tina Makereti. There, she writes about her writing students–

In a class of young middle class+ Pākehā students (e.g. the majority university classes) there are many clever, witty, talented, politically astute and very pleasant people. Some of them are beautiful writers. Educationally, they have always been surrounded by writers, theorists and educationalists with the same socio-cultural capital as them. Few of them have stories to tell. Yet.

In a class …

NZ Update #6: Short Films by NZ Women at the #NZIFF

Image
Here, in alphabetical order by director, are the New Zealand women-directed short films selected for three sections of the New Zealand International Film Festival. Because a successful short film is seen as an element of the pipeline to taxpayer funding for a feature film, selection of these films really matters.

Some of these come from this year’s New Zealand’s Best Short Film competition (BSF), where half of those elected are #DirectedByWomen. NZIFF programmers Bill Gosden and Michael McDonnell made a shortlist of 12 films from 83 submissions and veteran filmmaker Gaylene Preston selected six finalists. And the winners of the associated awards do well! A jury of three will select the winner of the $5,000 Madman Entertainment Jury Prize, and the Wallace Foundation and Wallace Media Ltd will award a $3,000 Wallace Friends of the Civic Award to the film or contributor to a film they deem to merit special recognition. The winner of the audience vote takes away the Audience Choice Award…

Kate Kaminski & Bluestocking

Image
Women's film activism now has real depth. And the networking that goes on gives it real strength. Women's film festivals are a vital part of all this (and, yes, I know I haven't finished the update of the film fest page here, but intend to as soon as I've finished my tax return!)


One of my favourite women's festivals is Bluestocking, directed by Kate Kaminski, also one of my faves, as a human being. She began Bluestocking as an experiment that asked the question: 'if I brought female-centered, female-directed films to Maine, would the audience show up?' 
When it began in 2011, Bluestocking was the first of its kind: an all-narrative short film festival that requires films to feature a female protagonist and to pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test (at least two female characters who talk to each other for more than a few seconds about something other than a man, men, or boys). It celebrates complex female protagonists and filmmakers who place them front and center, a…

'Water Protectors', by Leana Hosea

Image
Leana Hosea's Water Protectors isabout ordinary women in Flint, at Standing Rock and on the Navajo reservation who have had their water poisoned and are at the forefront in the movement for clean water.

Water is a big issue in Aotearoa New Zealand, too– the degradation of our waterways; drinking water contamination; the offshore sale of our pure water; the debate about Maori sovereignty over water, under Te Tiriti o Waitangi/ the Treaty of Waitangi, signed in 1840.  Partly because this has raised my awareness about the significance of access to water, my heart is absolutely with the women in Leana's work. And with Leana, editing through the night as I write this.

Leana is a reporter/producer for BBC's World Service Radio and has held many other roles within the BBC. As a highly experienced multimedia journalist she's originated ideas, fixed stories, written scripts, filmed and edited them.

She was a shoot/edit/reporter/producer for the BBC in Egypt during the revoluti…