Patricia Rozema’s post-apocalyptic drama “Into the Forest,” starring Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood as survivalist sisters, enjoyed its world premiere at TIFF 2015. In a new interview, Rozema expressed frustration at some of the gender-related questions she’s being asked at the festival — questions resulting from the institutional sexism in the industry.
“No one ever sits in a Q&A and says, ‘So how did it feel to be a male filmmaker? And having two male leads, was that difficult, was that interesting to you? Why did you have two male leads?'” she told Indiewire. “I would love to get to the point where that sounds as absurd as it does when you flip it.”
To help reach that point, the Canadian filmmaker said, “I’ve actually made a decision to do films with female leads now for the rest of my life. The history of cinema is so horrifically unbalanced, that the little that I can do to rebalance it — I love seeing women be interested and complicated and strong. If the men are doing male characters and I am doing male characters, then who is going to do the female characters? So it makes sense.”
Rozema was also cautiously optimistic about how things are changing for women in cinema. “There’s definitely more female filmmakers than there were,” she said. “It used to be a weird novelty act. Now, I go to a party and there’s Rebecca Miller there, there’s this panel with Catherine Hardwicke. A good 45% of the short films at this festival are female authors. So it’s changing slowly.”
Rozema previously directed “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl,” “Mansfield Park,” “When Night Is Falling,” “White Room” and “I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing.”