This is the panel entitled “New Faces of Indie Film” that the Film Society at Lincoln Center hosted this past Saturday to celebrate the opening of their new Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center.
If you look really closely there you can see the one woman — Lena Dunham — in a sea of 10 other guys plus Ted Hope as the moderator.
1 woman, 10 men. I sent a tweet to Ted Hope (who I don’t know, but greatly respect) the moment I read about the panel on June 8 and here was his response: “I think it has to do w what films are coming out theatrically, have NY directors, and Lincoln Ctr relationship. But u r right too!”
The fact that the folks at the Film Society at Lincoln Center — which is run by a woman Rose Kuo — did not even think that this could be a problem is very upsetting. Since the panel there has been an ongoing conversation on the FSLC’s Facebook page with one woman leading the charge (with others joining in.) Some of the responses from the folks at Lincoln Center have been quite defensive and border on the “oh why don’t you girls just shut up, we have done other things that support women. Look we had lots of women in our New Directors/New Film series and we also screened Valley Girls.”
Here’s the deal. FSLC has gravitas. When an institution like this makes women invisible is send a message to other institutions. That’s just the way it is. With your name and prominence comes responsibility and that responsibility includes making sure all your program are diverse by gender and race. Just because you include women in one event doesn’t give you a pass on another. Women (and people of color) should be included at all events as part of the normal way of doing business.
Here’s what Rose Kuo wrote in response to the Facebook comments:
Christine and Christine, you both illustrate valid points. Our staff made the same observations as the panel was being assembled and we were receiving confirmations, declines from panelists. Since there are many more new faces in indie film than we can assemble at any one time, we plan to continue the panel thread through a few more sessions so that we can include doc filmmakers, international filmmakers, etc. especially during this year’s NYFF. We welcome a list of female directors residing in NY. BTW, this year’s New Directors New Films had a strong selection of female directors – all first or second time filmmakers – with world class films.”
They welcome a list of female directors living in NY. What does that mean? Do they have a list of male directors living in NY and they need to supplement because they don’t know women directors? I really hope that they have a list of some women directors living in NY because if you don’t, you are not doing your job. You should care about having a list of women directors as much as you care about having a list of male directors. You should be able to find five female directors living in NYC without a problem. They are here. But just in case you need help in the future, I actually have a list of female directors living in the NY area.
To me, the biggest problem is that we are still having to fight this fight. If it’s this hard to get female visibility at the Film Society at Lincoln Center imagine how hard it is in Hollywood.