I really wish I wasn't writing this but over the last couple of days it has become clear to me that 2012 could be another depressing year for women directed films. I started feeling sad last week when I was leafing through page after page of the Rentrak list of films with release dates in 2012 and had a hard time finding any women directed films on the list. I know that list is always a work in progress, but still it was depressing.
Then I became almost despondent with these Indiewire and Playlist pieces on films being tipped for Cannes. There is only a SINGLE woman directed film on both lists — the same one — All You Need is Love, directed by Danish Oscar winner Susanne Bier.
I imagine my colleagues make up these lists from talking with producers, distributors and film watchers who are paying attention to the product coming down the pike that could be ready in time for Cannes. And the list includes many films that won't be ready but are trying to generate early buzz. For example Low Life directed by James Gray is listed as a longshot. That to me is optimistic since I saw it shooting in Prospect Park near my home just last month. Ready for Cannes? No way. But this does illustrate my bigger point. People are thinking about and anticipating the next James Gray movie.
Male directors names are on people's minds. Women…not so much. We need to change that. We need to figure out a way to get people to anticipate women's movies. One way that we can do that is to actually know what women directed films are being made. I have no real idea until I read about a film somewhere. I believe if we start talking about women directors with anticipation in the same way that male directors get talked about, that will at least be a beginning.
Last year Cannes had a record four women directed films that made it to the competition so there is still hope that a bunch of women directed films are on the radar screen of the programmers and haven't yet made it to the folks on the internet.
One can only hope.