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Showing posts from July, 2017

Vaishnavi Sundar, activist filmmaker

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Activist #womeninfilm from around the world are my major online blessings.  Vaishnavi Sundar, from Chennai, India, is one of these. We met when she supported the open letter to Cannes that a group of us circulated a couple of months ago and then wrote about the letter for her Women Making Films site, 'an online platform with an offline collaboration model. Women come together, create'. 

Vaishnavi's Lime Soda company has made a group of short films and docos and her Aage Jake Left(Go Ahead and Take Left) has been selected for this year's London Feminist Film Festival. 

Vaishnavi is currently crowd-funding for her But What Was She Wearing?, exposing Indian policies of workplace sexual harassment, with an all-women crew.



WW You started out in a completely different field. What made you pivot towards film? Was there an 'inciting incident'? VS No, there was no inciting incident, but a lot of clues from the universe. I have always hated to conform to the rat race that is…

NZ Update #9: Louise Hutt on Her 'Online Heroines'

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I've been reflecting on webseries in Aotearoa New Zealand, because I believe they're central to our development of a diverse and sophisticated female protagonism. I'll write about some of them soon; having Louise Hutt's extraordinary and pioneering Online Heroines as a reference point will make a big difference. Ngā mihi nui, Louise.


by Louise Hutt

In New Zealand, we like to think of our film industry as pioneering. We’ve got Weta Workshop, Peter Jackson, Taika Waititi, Andrew Adamson—who made Shrek and Narnia—and Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords. But it also has a dark underside that we don’t like to talk about. When people play devil’s advocate and ask if gender discrimination is even a problem in our industry, I ask if they can name a woman director from New Zealand. On a good day, they’ve heard of Jane Campion. However, I’m still yet to find anyone who can name a second.

If you’re a woman who wants to make films, why is it so hard? Diane Twiss, the firs…

NZ Update #8: More Local #DirectedByWomen Features at #NZIFF

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NB All these #NZIFF 2017 posts are joined together and looking beautiful over on Medium


Every year, Women & Hollywood counts the #DirectedByWomen features at Cannes, in the various categories. This year, the site noted a slight increase, to 29 percent overall.

To compare, for the first time since 2014, I've just counted the New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) features listed in its Wellington catalogue. I included docos, but excluded the animation and short film programmes.

I used to feel that I was the only person concerned about the NZIFF stats. That's no longer so. Many more people now want there to be gender equity behind the camera and to explore ways to make this happen. Many more people are also concerned about representation in front of the camera, about how we're all affected by seeing the world primarily through the white male gaze. Actor Jessica Chastain is one of these.  This is what she said at the final press conference, after she sat on the…

NZ Update #7: NZ Women-Directed Docos at the #NZIFF

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I'm waiting (always) for more feature documentaries by *and* about women from Aotearoa New Zealand. Coming soon I hope.

And some of you will read this and wonder about docos by and about Māori women and by and about indigenous women of other parts of the Pacific; and by and about women from our immigrant communities. 'Where are they?' you might ask. I wonder, too. Most years.

And now, when I wonder, I reflect on a recent and brilliant essay, Poutokomanawa – The Heartpost, by award-winning fiction writer, essayist and teacher Tina Makereti. There, she writes about her writing students–

In a class of young middle class+ Pākehā students (e.g. the majority university classes) there are many clever, witty, talented, politically astute and very pleasant people. Some of them are beautiful writers. Educationally, they have always been surrounded by writers, theorists and educationalists with the same socio-cultural capital as them. Few of them have stories to tell. Yet.

In a class …