“In 2014, women accounted for 7% of directors…5% of cinematographers…and 93% of films had no female directors” (Celluloid Ceiling Report).
As a young womxn pursuing filmmaking, hearing about the statistics on womxn working in film is deeply disheartening and discouraging. The fact of the matter is that media has a huge influence society, and media-makers have a huge responsibility when it comes to representing people of diverse demographics.
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We are naturally inclined to create media-content that we ourselves understand. We are naturally inclined to represent on the screen what we can personally relate to.
If that’s the case – what happens when mainstream media is dominated by cisgendered wealthy white men? What happens when womxn account for only 7% of directors in the industry? What happens to the types of stories young children become conditioned to viewing? And how does seeing womxn primarily in the roles of princesses, or the hot girlfriend, or the object of sexual desire impact the psychology of a human being?
We have a long, LONG way to go until mainstream media becomes truly representative of genders, race, identities, orientations, and backgrounds.
Thankfully – there are communities such as the WYV team & it’s brilliant readers are actively working on changing these numbers.
Camp Reel Stories is one such organization, started by Esther Pearl – who has worked on films such as Titanic, Wall-e, and Monsters, Inc.
I’ve had the opportunity to interview Esther on many occasions over the past few years. Not only is she a well-known professional in her field, she also actively works on supporting and empowering women pursuing filmmaking as a profession.
Camp Reel’s mission statement is that “when women and girls are better represented behind the scenes in the media, they will be better reflected on the screen.”
This brilliant non-profit organization based in Oakland, California is a one-week media camp empowering “13-18 year old young women with the skills to create their own media, to view current media critically and thoughtfully, and to aspire to leadership in their field.”
At my recent visit to Camp, I was really impressed to see that besides working on their own short films, the young women were also exposed to in-depth workshops surrounding media literacy.
(A subject that ought to be integrated in primary and secondary education system IMO)
I seriously wish something like Camp Reel existed when I was younger! It’s such a boost of inspiration and encouragement to see the kind of work being promoted at Camp Reel.