Helen Mirren's making a habit of it. When she accepted a lifetime achievement award last year at the Czech Karlovy Vary Festival she said "I don’t know how many female directors are presenting their films in this festival. I very much doubt that it’s 50%" and added that, should she return to Karlovy Vary in five years, she’d want to see at least 50% of the films at the festival being presented by women directors. Now she's done it again, at Britain's Empire Awards, after fellow award-winner Sam Mendes acknowledged a group of directors who'd influenced him, all men. Like other veteran actors – Judi Dench, Meryl Streep – she's uniquely placed to identify changes in the industry and like Meryl Streep, she's happy to speak out.
The last little while I've been working on one piece about women directors in New Zealand, for the Directory of World Cinema: Australia and New Zealand and another for Women Screenwriters: An International Guide, edited by Jill Nelmes and Jule Selbo. Academic writing for the page has become more of a challenge than it was, and it makes me miss writing scripts, filming, producing and the immediacy of activism and the associated online communities that I love.
So, this morning, with thanks to Helen Mirren, a round up of what's going well for New Zealand women directors. But first, a gender analysis of the New Zealand Film Commission's (NZFC) funding decisions for the last quarter, available on its website.