Feminist Film Resolutions for 2017 (& Beyond!)

by Corrina Antrobus


Corrina is the founder and director of the Bechdel Test Fest, ‘an ongoing celebration of films that pass the Bechdel Test’.


Plenty of stats will remind you that women are not quite out of the woods in the search for better rep in film. But hey, new year, new hope and here’s to new ways of thinking that, actually, you can help chip away at the patriarchy. Here’s just five resolutions you can apply immediately in the plight for a more female friendy cinema.
1. Go to see a female-led movie on its opening weekend

nothing but death
Opening weekend counts. Cinemas will keep a movie on their screens as long as people are turning up and putting their bums on seats. It’s a supply and demand system like any other business. If you want more female-led movies in the cinema, don’t just talk about it – buy a ticket and prove you want them there. Here at BTF we announce the female-led movie releases on our Facebook page and Twitter every Friday, so don’t say we didn’t tell you.
2. Read female film criticism

simpsons
Female critics do exist but surprise, surprise the byline bias tilts towards the male writer. There are hundreds of us (promise), hiding in plain sight – you just need to look in fresher alternative spaces such as zines, indie publications and blogs as the mainstream press continues to peddle the predominantly white male fog horn. For more context, Kiva Reardon – founding editor of the fantastic @cleojournal, writes with class and insightful investigation on the necessity of and challenges for female film critics over on TIFF.com. Kiva’s drawn up an empowering to-do list we can all take into 2017 and beyond: dismantle the film canon, examine the media landscape, and question the authority. 
3: Take a man to a feminist film event

SHIA
We love our male audience members; we’ve got a hefty bunch of die hard BTF fans  because they simply love cinema, discussing film and let’s face it – we pick great films. However, we understand when some men say (and they do say) ‘are men allowed?’ and express an anxiety about ‘sitting in a room full of feminists’. The answers? Obviously yes – men and male identifying individuals are most welcome at our events, and while they’re at it, it’s OK if they want to call themselves feminists too. We need more feminist men – which means listening, not interrupting and contributing respectfully to the conversations that arise in feminist spaces. 
4: Champion the great female-led films you see

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Saw a great film that happened to have a female director or a deliciously dynamic female lead? Tell everyone. Put it on your Facebook, Snapchat, MySpace, whatever. If you put it on Twitter why not @ us so we can RT it? Point is, word of mouth is more valuable than a paid ad spot. Your good word is the best endorsement to your movie going mates. When was the last time you avoided/attended a film because {insert BFF’s name here} said it was awesome? Exactly. 
5: Just ask 

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If you happen to know a filmmaker, production company, or studio head and they happen to be riffing on their latest project, some simple questions can work as gentle yet powerful activism. ‘How many women are hired on your production crew?’, ‘How many female-directed films are in your programme?’ and ‘Does your film pass the Bechdel Test?’ are direct questions that get to the root of the problem. It’s not meant to be antagonising, but the bubble of unconscious bias can be popped with these simple inquiries that may help heads think.  

Corrina Antrobus

The Bechdel Test Fest launched in 2014 and is now an award-nominated film festival that’s been celebrated by The Guardian, The Independent, Little White Lies and the late-but-great The Dissolve. Since embarking on Bechdel Test Fest, Corrina has written for publications including The F Word, Total Film and Sight & Sound magazine and has appeared on BBC Worldwide, BBC Radio 4’s The Film Programme and London Live.

Twitter 
@corrinacorrina

Originally published at bechdeltestfest.com. Thank you, Corrina!


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