|Isabel Coixet (photo: Mauricio Retiz)|
Spanish women directors are amazing. I love them. They make lots of films that we don't see enough of outside Spain (see women nominated in Spain's Goya Awards 2014 here, for some of the most recent). And – I believe – they're collectively the most activist group of directors in the world. Spanish women directors founded CIMA (Asociacion de Mujeres Cineastas y de Medios Audiovisuales), and then EWA, the European Women's Audiovisual Network, which is going from strength to strength – an interview with EWA's director Francine Hetherington Raveney, coming soon.
Isabel Coixet is one of the visionary directors involved with CIMA, EWA's current president and director of seven features and many shorts, docos and commercials. She was a member of the Camera d’Or jury at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and her latest film, Panda Eyes, is due for release shortly. This is what Isabel says on the EWA site–
Every time I teach in a film school I face the same challenge: How to teach girls to believe that they really can be film directors, that they will be able to reach their goals and their dreams, when I know very well it`s going to be much more difficult for them than for the boys? I always use a very graphic example: the film industry is like a rocky mountain; boys climb the mountain with boots and sticks, girls must climb naked except for a pair of really high heels and a suitcase full of stones.
For a man, directing a movie is a fierce challenge, for a woman it is like winning the lottery. There`s also something very upsetting, something we must fight every single day: the cultural dismissal of women is so ingrained that the public, including some women, don`t seem to perceive a problem.
What do we need? What we really need is to change our cultural attitude towards women 180 degrees. We need Female super heroes. We need Big budgets. We need the right to be bitchy if we feel like it. We need to stop apologising for being bitchy. We need to alert the audience, if they are not watching films directed by women, they are missing the point of view of the other half of mankind (did I say 'mankind’?)
EWA can't change the mountain, but we will try to make women much better prepared for the climbing. At least the suitcase will be lighter and we'll be able to wear our Louboutins when we get to the top.
Irresistible! So of course I asked EWA if I could cross-post this interview between Isabel and Francine Raveney. Warm thanks to you, Isabel and Francine!