Aspen Times Weekly: Girl Power Behind the Camera

by Andrew Travers


“City of Gold,” Laura Gabbert. Friday, Sept. 25, 5:30 p.m. at Paepcke Auditorium

“The Passion of Augustine,” Lea Pool. Saturday, Sept. 26, noon at Paepcke Auditorium

“Sherpa,” Jennifer Peedom. Sunday, Sept. 27, noon at Paepcke Auditorium

“Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict,” Lisa Immordino Vreeland. Sunday, Sept. 27, 5:30 p.m.Paepcke Auditorium

“Frame By Frame,” Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli, Monday, Sept. 28, noon. Isis Theater

“All the Time in the World,” Suzanne Crocker. Monday, Sept. 28, 5:30 p.m. Isis Theater

“Sworn Virgin,” Laura Bispuri. Tuesday, Sept. 29, noon. Isis Theater

“The Great Man,” Sara Petit. Wednesday, Sept. 30, noon. Isis Theater

“The Second Mother,” Anna Muylaert. Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2:30 p.m. Isis Theater

Nine out of the 22 movies in the 2015 Aspen Filmfest lineup are directed by women. The number of female-helmed movies here may not be quite equal to the number directed by men, but, at 41 percent, the gender split is remarkably more equitable than the film industry’s as a whole.

A study released last month by the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California highlighted extreme industry inequality and found that just 1.9 percent of feature films made last year were directed by women.

The works in the Filmfest program directed by women include features and documentaries, foreign titles and domestic ones.

Brazilian writer-director Anna Muylaert, whose “The Second Mother” screens Wednesday at the Isis Theater, says her experience bears out the statistical picture of a woefully skewed film industry and struggles that continue for women even after they make a film.

Muylaert recalls a meeting with a male executive from a distribution company that highlights the posture of the industry. Throughout the meeting about buying the film, she says, the distributor lavished compliments on her male co-producer but ignored Muylaert.

“It was like people were saying, ‘She’s not so important — she wrote it and directed it but she’s not important,’” she says. “It’s not just that one story or two, it’s like 30 stories like that with this film.”

“The Second Mother,” starring Regina Case as a nanny for a wealthy Sao Paolo family, highlights classism in Brazil. It has won prizes at the Sundance Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival.

For Muylaert, the industry’s gender inequality problem is not just a matter of job opportunities for women behind the camera. She believes that a lack of female perspectives, like the one in “The Second Mother,” harms global cinema overall.

“When you look through the lens of femininity, you see love, family, and if we could balance it more, the whole society would be more healthy,” she says. “Hopefully we’ll start to have the chance we deserve.”

Aspen Times Weekly

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