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Jill Soloway Says “There Is an All Out-Attack” on Female Filmmakers

Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers

Over the weekend, Jill Soloway brought her articulation and film smarts to the Cinefamily to promote Wifey.tv, a new digital platform for marginalized voices in media-making she co-founded in 2013 with Rebecca Odes. The video website is “a place where you can always go to watch something that’s actually compelling. Complicated. Real. Funny. Sexy. Alive. Like you. Welcome,” according to Soloway’s “Womanfesto.” (More on that here.)

They partnered with bi-coastal female filmmaking collective Film Fatales to present six short films including Shaz Bennett’s “Alaska is a Drag,” Brooke Sebold’s “The Last Cigarette,” Sarah Gertrude Shapiro’s “Sequin Raze,” Sian Heder’s “Mother,” Maggie Kiley’s “Some Boys Don’t Leave” and Jennifer Phang’s “Advantageous,” which became a Sundance-winning feature now streaming on Netflix.

READ MORE: Female Directors Pick Their Favorite Films Made By Women

Soloway kicked off with a moving cry to action for female filmmakers, which you can read in full below. (Courtesy of The Moveable Fest.)

I recently have woken up to the state of emergency when it comes to the female voice that we’re currently in. I think maybe two or three years ago I would’ve potentially said, “Men, it’s not really their fault [that] they have all the directing jobs. They’re not doing it on purpose. They have less to do than women, so they have more time on their hands.”


Then I really started thinking about how the male gaze is a privilege perpetuator. In the Roger Ebert documentary [“Life Itself”], he talks about films being an empathy machine, so whoever the protagonist is, they’re going to have empathy and when men are making movies about men, they’re creating more empathy for the male gaze. So the male gaze, because the men are subjects, necessarily divides us, divides women into either/or —the madonna or the whore, the slut or the good girl or the many, many ways in which women are divided to be seen as objects when the male character is the subject. That divide is kind of a wound that’s really harming our entire planet right now. The divided feminine is the issue. The wounded masculine divides us to feel power and when we reclaim that, we repair the divided feminine by speaking and having voices and by picking up the camera.


Obviously, besides trying to bring other women into your work, when you pick up the camera and share your voice, it heals the world. It’s not funny anymore what’s going on with us. It’s immoral, the way that we are kept from our voices. It’s not just a matter of our numbers. There is a real all-out attack on us having subjectivity, so I just beg everybody to be relentless in their pursuit of their voice, and also to be aware that even with all of the success I have where you’d feel I’m confident and I could do anything, I’m still constantly ashamed of myself. That speech I gave at Women in Film? Two days before, I asked them not to film it because I was scared. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking, “Don’t do what you’re doing. Don’t write that thing.” I feel this way all the time. So I just want all the female creators to keep an eye out for that thing that says don’t do it, it’s not good enough, it’s not ready and you’re not right, and know that that’s the uninvited guest that’s always going to be there in your unconsciousness. That’s a product of growing up other, of growing up as not the subject. You think there’s something wrong with your voice all the time.


And we are ashamed for having desire in our culture. Women are shamed for having desire for anything – for food, for sex, for anything. We’re asked to only be the object for other people’s desire. There’s nothing that directing is about more than desire. It’s like, “I want to see this. I want to see it with this person. I want to change it. I want to change it again.” It’s like directing is female desire over and over again, and film is the capturing of human emotions and somehow men were able to swindle us into believing that that is their specialty. All they told us our whole life is we’re too emotional to do any real jobs, yet they’ve taken the most emotional job, which is art making about human emotions and said we’re not capable of it. I just want to make sure you know I’m always plagued by insecurities. The insecurities are always going to be there. Notice them when you’re there writing, when you’re trying to get your thing out there, when you’re setting up your night where you’re showing your films. It’s always going to be there. The world, the matriarchal revolution, is dependent on female voices and speaking out loud. Please keep making things.

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Comments

TRACY LYNCH BRITTON

JILL – YOU SO ROCK! thank you for your strong, beautiful and brave voice and for paving the way for more of us female writer/directors!

Suzanne Benton

Support your sisters! Including in politics if you want change, true change.

Suzanne Benton

I’m a day-one feminist of the Second Wave and applaud Jill Soloway for speaking clearly and powerfully about the situation that has yet to be transformed so that WOMEN WORLDWIDE can truly be free!

thom

Im a moron, hit post too soon. Its the same in every industry; decades upon decades of sexism means women havent had the same life experiences as men. Now they do, and yes, its slow, but women are dominating in universities. The next gen of females will run the world. Not being number 1 in everythong, so close to equality acceptance will not, and should not show positive results over night. Took men hundreds of years, women are too smart to take ages.

tHom

I love you, i love your work. I cheer for you often. I just get war weary, i have heard the same complaints over and over and over; its tiring. Your point is absolutely correct;give cited examples. Theres thousands. The talking points ad nauseum is tiring. For everyone.

Zillah Glory

My heart. Jesus. Thank you. (and I don’t mean ‘thank you, Jesus…" just Thank YOU)

John F. Sullivan

It’s a long time coming that women get their fare share of the media space, no doubt. I would also have to point to how hard it is for anyone to get their movie made, anyone to get their voice out there, get funded, express themselves, make something great and connect with a single individual and hopefully the widest audience possible. Like that skit from SNL, it’s not like white men walk into the bank and are handed money, we struggle too… I am a white male. I applaud any artists effort to make their work. To paraphrase Orson Welles, "Most art is made by an individual, filmmaking requires an army." So, it’s tough all over, it really is… I remember sitting in a Q&A with Robert Duvall where he said it took him over a decade to get "The Apostle" made. Making a film is a miracle every time it happens. Artists do not need to be divided, they need to be united. I’m here for women filmmakers, but please be here for us men too. Support each other.

Jane

I hardly think Jill is being attacked. She just won Emmys for her series Transparent. She’s pretty known in the industry. Her life is not a living hell, although she acts like it. She really seems to enjoy acting like a victim when she is anything but.

Steve McQueen

oh stop the male gaze nonsense. Most women directors are absolutely horrible. You can be all righteous about this stuff all you want but it mostly stinks. Aside from a small handful that this bunch on here I’m sure wouldn’t even know. Btw: American women directors have this sordid, ridiculous fascination with female bodies on camera, and obsess over "RELATIONSHIPS." It’s crap guys. Burn your bras all you want, go bare chested I don’t care (I don’t mind looking at some of your titties.)But your FEMALE GAZE is just awful.

Rachel Feldman

Jill Solway says “there’s an all out attack on female filmmakers in Hollywood” and we know this is true. But how do we share the experiences that confirm this statement without totally screwing ourselves? Jill is amazing. Jill is fearless. She says she’s not actually fearless, but she looks pretty heroic to me. And she’s got a hit show that articulates the zeitgeist of now and the zeitgeist of now is truth-telling. Way before you knew her name she wrote on other people’s TV shows, as well as beautifully crafted, hilarious short stories, and then indie movies. This work, this art is her armor and shield, powerful weapons against the attackers because her voice is precisely the commodity the attackers need. And what does she do with the limelight? She illuminates the truth for the rest of us. Brava my friend. This what a feminist looks like.

Alexis Krasilovsky

Some of us were saying these things about voicelessness and the need for women filmmakers in the early 1970’s. It’ll be awesome if folks finally listen! Thank you, Jill Soloway, for speaking out this time.

The Other Brian

Y’know, I don’t hear Kathryn Bigelow or Shira Piven complaining about "the male gaze" or the "all-out attack" on women filmmakers. They just get out there and make films.

Brian

That insecurity she’s speaking about isn’t uniquely feminine. Every screenwriter, male or female, wakes up in the middle of the night plagued by inadequacy.

Brian

That insecurity she’s speaking about isn’t uniquely feminine. Every screenwriter, male or female, wakes up in the middle of the night plagued by inadequacy.

Carol Everett Adams

I’m a poet, but this spoke to me, too. Exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you so much.

Joanna Bowers

Thrilled to have you speaking up and sharing your exposure to help the rest of us – thank you so much!

TRACY LYNCH BRITTON

WOW! This was a powerful call to arms Jill. I am pitching and writing series and movies I passionately want to see and direct and you are such an inspiration! I will NEVER EVER QUIT! We are more than 50% of the audience for God’s Sake! Let them hear our voices!!!! Thank you for speaking out for all of us!

Rachel Feldman

Oh Jill, yes – these things MUST be said. Finally. Thank you.

Helene Galek

I met you at the SAG screening of Transparent and loved your energy and passion! Thank you for taking a stand and continuing the march….

Suzanne O'Keeffe

THANK YOU JILL! I’m not alone, then. I completely agree with you … have felt this way for years.

Hieronymous von Pillory

She doesn’t even know what the frakking "male gaze" means. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

Marci Winters

Yes, Jill Soloway, you are now one of my heroes! Silence is consent! Bless you sister!

Sinda Nichols

Thank you for speaking – this is strong fuel for my desire to create more authentic roles for women over 40 in theatre. Your voice is vital.

Patricia Hull

I am in tears reading this. Tears of anger and sorrow for attributing years of stifled creativity to the wrong cause. Tears of joy for the truth being spoken. Thank you, Jill Soloway!

Marian

Jill Soloway you are ace and awesome and completely wonderful. Thank you.

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