A couple of days ago I made a startling discovery: the camera brand Canon had co-opted the slogan I use all the time for my projects — “This is what a filmmaker looks like” — and used it as a cover image for a corporate video about female cinematographers.
I would not have said anything about this, except: when I watched the video I found it to be filled with toxic stereotypes about women in film. As a female director and cinematographer, and an advocate for representation, this didn’t sit well with me.
The video featured only TWO white female…
My creative process typically goes as follows:
- I find an issue that frustrates me
- I turn it into an art project, with a positive twist
Last week I started a new initiative that addresses head-on one of my biggest frustrations: my discomfort with celebrity culture and the superficial side of social media.
I’ve got a challenge for you:
- 3 female CEOs
- 3 women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)
- 3 female artists
Was it hard?
And now, name 3 female members of the Kardashian-Jenner family clan.
If you struggled with the first part…
I often think about what it must have been like to be Greg Grant. At 5'7", the former professional basketball player was one of the shortest men playing in the NBA. There’s a famous photo of Grant in front of Manute Bol, towering over him at 7'7". I wonder if Grant, when he introduced himself to people that didn’t know him, was ever met with skeptical looks when he said he was a professional basketball player. Did people dismiss him because of his stature? Did anybody ever laugh in his face, thinking he was joking?
A few days ago I was doing a digital version of the Marie Kondo method, re-organizing and tidying up hundreds of notes I had saved to Evernote. That’s when I stumbled upon an entry titled: “5 year anniversary THE ILLUSIONISTS.” It referred to my feature-length documentary The Illusionists, but I found the title odd, since the film hasn’t had its first anniversary yet. Curious, I began reading, and I immediately realized that I had written a diary-style note on the 5th anniversary of the day I resolved to make a documentary about the globalization of beauty. …
The late film producer Laura Ziskin once said:
Men have built the cities, made and defined the culture, interpreted the world. At no time in recorded history have women been culture-makers. Movies are arguably the most influential, important medium in the world. Because women are now making movies, then women’s ideas, philosophy, point of view will seep into that culture. And that’s never happened in history. We can’t even see the impact of that yet.
There has never been a better time to be a female film director. And to help women and girls. And minorities. And oppressed groups. The…
Last week I made a startling discovery: when I Googled “film director” (using the French version of the search engine), the first photo of a “female” director that came up was “Barbie Film Director”… and it was buried a bit in the results, after many, many rows of photos showing famous male directors, and after stock photos and illustrations of pretend male filmmakers.
There’s this game that I play when I have trouble falling asleep: I start listing female film directors. I usually doze off when reaching number 20–25; if my insomnia is particularly bad, I can go up to 60.
Month after month, I am reminded of the importance of this seemingly trivial little game: that’s because even the most prominent actors and directors working in Hollywood have a hard time naming more than one female film director — as evidenced in this recent report by The Cut. I shouldn’t have been all that surprised: as a female director under 40, I…
Paris, France — December 15, 2015
I’m in my film editing suite, with my two laptops sitting side-by-side. As it has been the case over the past two weeks, one screen is permanently set on NASA TV. In less than an hour, British astronaut Tim Peake will start his journey on board the Soyuz rocket towards the International Space Station. My heart is beating fast. I’m thinking of a girl in Canada, of a doll waiting for Tim Peake on the ISS, and of kids and parents all around the world… Tim’s mission has the potential to inspire so many…
I have a confession to make: 6 years into the making of my documentary feature The Illusionists — and about 3 months into the editing of it — I had a startling epiphany, which profoundly changed the way I approach filmmaking. I call it a confession, because it’s an obvious observation that should have occurred to me months, if not years before; I felt silly thinking about it that late in the process. …
Filmmaker, producer & diversity advocate, on a mission to create empowering media. Director of @illusionists + videos for Lottie Dolls