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Women’s History Month: Greater Diversity in Hollywood

 

March is not only a time to welcome the springtime but also a month to celebrate women worldwide as it is Women’s History Month! There have been a lot of women who have contributed to the film industrywhether through directing, screenwriting, etc. A great example would be Tamar Simon Hoffs, who is well-known for her work in the film Red Roses and Petrol (2003) that was distributed by World Wide Motion Pictures (WWMPC). Hoffs is particularly interesting as she is the first woman to receive credit for playing all three roles of director, writer, and producer for the major studio film, The Allnighter (1987).

Despite the great strides women in the film industry have accomplished, there has been a problem for both genders in Hollywood―diversity. As a result, to commemorate Women’s History Month, why not discuss the growth in diversity amongst actresses throughout the years? Here are two amazing actresses that have made significant contributions to the diversity in Hollywood!

Viola Davis

First off would be Academy Award Golden Globe and Emmy award actress, Viola Davis! Since 2014, Davis has been in the popular TV drama How to Get Away with Murder, and in 2015 she became the first black woman of any nationality to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Her portrayal in the TV drama also won her two SAG Awards in 2015 and 2016. In 2012, she was listed by Time as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. And Sunday she won her first Academy Award, for her role in "Fences."

 

Constance Wu

Another actress that promotes diversity would be Constance Wu! Wu is known for her role as Jessica Huang in the ABC comedy series Fresh Off the Boat. It is a known fact that there is a limited number of Asian actors in Hollywood and Wu is well-known to speak her thoughts regarding this matter. For instance, in one of her interviews with Entertainment Weekly, she stated “[Diversity] doesn't mean we want the white people to write Asian stories. What I want is to foster the Asian-American writers and directors and producers and actors...foster their stories to come into the spotlight a little bit.”

It is great to see the growth that women in the film industry, especially in Hollywood, have accomplished. Although there still exist problems and obstacles actresses have to face, they have indeed come a long way! Let’s clap our hands for the actresses out there who continue to push through these obstacles and help pave the way for other women in the industry or those interested in joining.

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Happy Women’s Equality Day 08/26/2016

 

Considering most leading roles are played by men, having women play strong roles in films continues to be a highly relevant topic in the movie industry. Women are not only underrepresented as actresses, but also in the director's chair. Only around 8% of directors are women, however it is funny what happens when women are put in the director's chair: they seem to hire more women.

On this Women's Equality Day, we're putting the spotlight on both female directors and actors, who are not only exceptional at what they do, but also are raising their voices for women everywhere.

One of the first that comes to mind is the first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Director, Kathryn Bigelow, who directed the film The Hurt Locker, and is also known for the film Zero Dark Thirty. Bigelow said in a statement to TIME that she believes that directors should be judged only based on their work, not by their gender, which continue to stigmatize the industry. She emphasizes that “gender neutral hiring is essential”.

Talent is found all over the world, especially in the French director Claire Dennis and has produced such films as White Material and 35 Shots of Rum. She is often given the high praise of being the best French director alive.

Yet another woman breaking records is director of our own Red Roses and Petrol Tamar Simon Hoffs, became the first woman to receive the triple director/writer/producer credit on a major studio feature film, The All Nighter.

Not only is Mira Nair coming to play a center stage role in film as a director, but also take the cake in learning, hailing from the alma mater of Harvard. Most renowned for her award-winning documentary Saloam Bombay, and owns her own production company, Mirabai Films, which is based in New York.

A Tony Award-winning director, Julie Taymor, has been recognized for her work on Broadway in the production of the Lion King, becoming the first woman to win a Tony for a musical. She has also directed stirring films like Frida, showing that women can not only direct movies well, but also tell other women's stories well.

And it's not just directors, but actresses too, who are speaking out concerning women's rights and what it meant be a confident and modern woman.

Daryl Hannah, from the documentary Welcome to Eden, was listed by the Huffington Post as one of “5 Powerful Women Who Are Making a Positive Difference,” and is renowned for her contributions not only as an actress but also as an environmentalist and powerful voice against human trafficking, giving a voice to people and topics that perhaps would be often overlooked.

Salma Hayek's advice to young girls is simply to “Stand out, don't blend in,” and encourages women everywhere, “to really be profound thinkers that are excited about their differences and explore what they are and who they are and what can come out of the new.” Hayek has advanced such ideas in fundraising events for charities such as “Chime for Change”.

The currently highest-paid actress, Jennifer Lawrence, has spoken out against the gender pay gap, when she discovered that she had negotiated a smaller deal than her male counterparts in the hit movie American Hustle.

Lastly, we give you one of the most outspoken advocates in recent years for women's equality, British Harry Potter star Emma Watson. In conjunction with various organizations, she has built up quite a reputation for women's equality and feminism in general, encouraging men to come alongside women.

I want men to take up this mantle.” Watson said. “So their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice, but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too — reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.”

Happy Women's Equality Day!

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Celebrate Female Directors this Women’s History Month

 

Happy Women’s history month! Female directors may be a rarity in Hollywood today, but women were a much larger part of the film industry at the beginning of the silent film era. Before film was seen as a lucrative commercial enterprise, filming was often done as an artistic hobby. One of the most influential directors of her time, often overlooked in history books, was Alice Guy-Blache, who wrote, directed, and produced more than 1,000 narrative films in France between 1896 and 1907, and in the United States from 1910 to 1922. She is sometimes credited as the woman who began the narrative story style everyone enjoys today.

During the 1900’s, female directors were pioneers in primitive color techniques, such as hand painting and stamping, and they helped in creating the first examples of sound in film by recording on wax cylinders.  By the early teens and the 1920’s men invaded the directing roles and women were pushed to working on writing screenplays. Additionally, at the end of WW1, society pushed women back into their domestic roles as the men returned home from war. Currently only 11 % of films have a female lead actress, and only four women have ever been nominated for Best Director by the Academy. Those women were Lina Wertmuller in 1977 for Seven Beauties, Jane Campion in 1994 for The Piano,  Sofia Coppola in 2004 for Lost in Translation, and Kathryn Bigelow, who was the only woman to win in this category for The Hurt Locker in 2010. In 2013, not a single female was nominated in the Directing, Cinematography, Film Editing, Writing, or Music categories, and across the 19 categories only 35 women were nominated in total, while 140 of their male counterparts were nominated.

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