She shares some very interesting thoughts about how she has become more politicized about the lack of women directors as she has gotten older and is making a conscious effort to mentor young women and to work with young women.
Here’s what she said:
I have to say, the older I get the more and more political I get about the fact [that there are so few women in film]. To the degree that, if I have a choice, I’m going to only work with women. I mean, of course that won’t happen. I was at Cannes a few weeks ago and of course there were no women directors in competition and the head of Cannes said something inane about that like, “Well, there were no good films directed by women this year.”
The filmmaking business is such a boys club. Of course, in documentary filmmaking it’s better than fiction, and I do think it’s because everything is closer to a female-style of working – smaller, more intimate, more relating to people. If I could tell you the number of panels I’ve been on where I’m the only bloody woman… If I could tell you the number of commissioning boards I’ve been on or I’ve seen where it’s all men… My reaction to that, as I get older, [is that] I am working more and more with women and only with women.
I do a lot of mentoring and film training and of course I’m interested in what men have to say, but I’m not as interested as I am in developing women filmmakers. And at Cannes we were talking about this new project I’m doing and I was talking to this female Swedish producer about who we want to bring on to the team. We were talking about it in a creative way as if we had a choice, which of course isn’t always true, but we were talking about it with agency. And I was naming a few people, and I wasn’t thinking gender very much, and she said “You know, Jennifer, let’s try to have all women producers because there’s just something about getting to the end of the line and standing up there on stage [at the premiere] with all women.” It matters. It matters.
And I was telling a friend of mine who’s not in the film business about this conversation and she was like, “You know, Jennifer, you’re not really going to choose your film producers because of gender.” And I was like, “You know something, you don’t get it. I am. I am and, if I can, I will.” I mean, I shoot my own film in documentary but if I’m going to work with a D.o.P. let it be a woman. Why not?
We do work differently, we do have different things to say, we do have a different point-of-view. And it does piss me off. And I have to say if you asked me that 20 years ago, I might have said something inane like, “I don’t see it.” But I do see it. I see it everywhere. Sorry, that’s my two cents.
POV @ 25: JENNIFER FOX AND CRISTINA IBARRA ON WOMEN IN FILM (Filmmaker Magazine)