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Here's Why Female-Driven Films Are Important Right Now

By Alexis Ostrander Korycinski | Indiewire June 4, 2014 at 10:20AM

Director Alexis Ostrander Korycinski writes about why we need female-driven films right now.
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Alexis Ostrander Korycinski
Alexis Ostrander Korycinski

Korycinski, an award-winning filmmaker, is currently in pre-production on "The Haircut," a short film about the first class of female cadets, as part of the 40th annual AFI Directing Workshop for Women. "The Haircut" team recently received the $5,000 Creative District Grant. Creative District, which Indiewire called "LinkedIn, but tailored to creatives" is building a professional network for film and media makers to collaborate. In a guest post below, Korycinski writes about why it's so important that the film industry support women directors.

I'm a director – a female director. Over the past 8 years, through my experience in different facets of film and television, I've had a lot of time to reflect upon what it means to be a woman in search of open doors. They're out there, believe me, but often times they require a little push or an entire well-placed boot heel to gain access. As a woman in the film industry, you'll have to work harder and longer to compete. Is that fair? Of course not, but here are 5 reasons it's worth pushing harder and giving your stories an opportunity to be told.

1. Money Talks

First and foremost, at its most successful levels, film and television work is lucrative. What if a lion’s share of a market remains untapped? Silly business model, for sure. Here’s where women come in: we spend more. Significantly more.  According to Fleishman-Hillard Inc., in one decade women will control an estimated two-thirds of the consumer wealth in the U.S.  Women also currently dominate day-to-day spending and make a majority of consumer financial decisions. The total purchasing power of women is estimated anywhere from $5 trillion to $15 trillion. Anyone else want to tap into that? 

READ MORE: Memo to Hollywood, Hire More Women Directors

2. Numbers Talk

Ok, so the money is there, but where’s the content? Not being created. Men dominate film and television without contest. According to the 16th annual "Celluloid Ceiling" report, which analyzes the top 250 domestic grossing films, only 16% of directors, writers, EP’s, producers, editors and cinematographers were female. As a female director, the odds are stacked against me.

Let me be clear, I’m not advocating that we bump any men out of the way. This is about creating new jobs, new content and forward thinking. Want to make films? I hope you’re preparing to ride a wave of impending purchasing power to create deeply passionate, exciting content that speaks to a rapidly growing market. Women are there; now, do we have the guts to green-light strong female voices?  

3. Female Point of View

The money is there. The audience is there. Let's give them the female point of view current film and television seldom capture. Let's champion stories from an alternative perspective. I’m not saying we don’t have a wealth of great female story and spirit; 2013 was a great year for women on screen. Have you seen "Gravity," "The Heat" and "Catching Fire"? We need to capture that onscreen presence and channel it behind the camera as well. Including more female input, from pre-production to finishing touches in post, will deepen these characters and provide more distinct voices. Trying to portray a rich and textured female experience? I’d recommend one thing - employ women.

READ MORE: Women Behind the Camera Fighting Gender Bias with Data

4. Women Give Women Access

We have a borderline content-starved audience, flush with the power to financially pursue meaningful, exploratory content. Let's create more! According to USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, when a film has a female director, there is a 21% increase in the number of women working on that film.

5. What It All Means

Numbers. Statistics. Market Share. That's all great, but the most important benefit will be the impact on what it is to be a woman. More female driven content breaks stigmas and conveys modern female responsibility and power, opens the door to social change and leads to greater respect for women. In light of recent events and a global subculture laden with misogyny and misconception, it’s important to bring more humanity back to women. And who better to do that than us?

One Last Thing

Stick together and create something new and great. Follow your hearts and push yourselves. It takes a lot of time and continuous hard work and remember it takes a team to bring great projects to completion. With this in mind I’d like to thank AFI Directing Workshop for Women, Syracuse University and Creative District's support of strong female voices. The projects for which we work so hard are always in need of this kind of belief and support. 

To learn more about "The Haircut," click here or here. You can follow Koryncinski on Twitter: @aokorycinski or @TheHaircutFilm.

This article is related to: women directors, Women, Women's issues, Features