Suddath Post

Today I got a message from a friend who was all excited about a recent post by Claire Suddath of Time magazine. “Isn’t it great,” she said. “Time magazine is on to your issue!”

Well, yes & no. While I am always thrilled to see the MSM write about the underrepresentation of women filmmakers in the multiplex, it’s simply NOT true that “Only 5% of Directors in Hollywood Are Women.”

Over & over again, year after year, people read Martha Lauzen’s “Celluloid Ceiling” report & draw the wrong conclusions. You can’t simply ignore the denominator (the part about “the 250 top-grossing films of 2011”), and still trumpet the metric!

Since becoming a film critic, here’s something I know that most of you don’t: the number of films released in Chicago in 2011 was approximately 600! And that doesn’t count many of the films that played at our local film festivals, films released in LA &/or NYC that never got released here, films that went straight to DVD, etc.

Here’s what IS true: Only 5% of 2011’s commercially successful films were directed by women. Put another way: Men directed 95% of the films available to most of you in your local multiplex.

If you look at the problem Suddath’s way, the solution is to create more opportunities for women filmmakers. That’s fine with me & I’m all for it, but I do NOT believe that will solve the multiplex problem. It also lets us all off the hook. We can keep whining about “the problem” without having to do anything proactive to solve it.

My friends: The films are there; what’s missing are the audiences! Different diagnosis; different cure!

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  1. Avatar
    • karen Reilly
    • February 7, 2012
    Reply

    The women’s movement in the 70s was misunderstood by many and today’s films are part of the backlash along with greed from the suits that produce purely for the money. Once you hand your product over to the marketing department you’re in trouble.

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      Reply

      You are so right, Karen! Marketing gaffs are another part of this equation. I ranted about this in a piece called “When Bad Marketing Happens to Good Movies” (http://www.thehotpinkpen.com/?p=1130) after AN EDUCATION received three Oscar nominations, and yet, when Lone Scherfig’s next film came out, the marketing campaign was even worse. So Scherfig directed two really good films (first AN EDUCATION and then ONE DAY), & both underperformed at the Box Office… Will she get another chance? Who knows 🙁

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