Apparently Columbia University's film school doesn't think so. They are holding a panel at their 25th anniversary film festival on May 9 entitled: What Glass Ceiling? The Remarkable Success of Columbia’s Women Filmmakers.
Now granted the women on the panel, Lisa Cholodenko (“The Kids Are All Right”) Nicole Holofcener (“Please Give”), Larysa Kondracki (“The Whistleblower”) and Kimberly Peirce (“Boys Don’t Cry”) are very well known and award winning directors, but that does not mean there is no glass ceiling. Just look at the statistics. 5% of the top grossing films in 2011 were directed by women.
And you know what all those women included in the panel have all struggled to get their films made especially if those films are about women. Kim Peirce got $25 million for Stop-Loss and that was because it was about war and not about women. All the rest made their latest films on very little budgets. The Kids Are All Right was made for $4 million and Please Give was made for $3 million. I don't have the figure for The Whistleblower but it was not a big budget flick. My next question is what have been the budgets of the latest films of some of the male directors who graduated from Columbia?
And let's also remember Lisa Cholodenko did not get nominated for best director for The Kids Are All Right though the film was nominated for best picture and for screenplay. And The Whistleblower which was a great film couldn't even get into the awards discussion even with another brilliant performance from Rachel Weisz.
I'm all for trying to change the conversation and have more upbeat discussions, but to say there is no glass ceiling is just bullshit. That is like saying that it is the women's faults for not being successful, but we all know there is systemic sexism built into the system.
Maybe they entitled the panel to attract female directing students. To tell them that there is no sexism and no glass ceiling. But by lying to them you ar enot preparing them for what they will have to go through. I don't want women directors to give up. They just need to have all the ammunition for the battle.
The event, is free and public, will be held Wednesday, May 9th at 7pm at the Film Society of Lincoln Center: Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center and will also be streamed live. More info here.