Our theme week for April 2017 will be Women Directors. We’re looking for articles that analyze, critique, and celebrate women filmmakers and women-directed films.
The gender gap in the entertainment industry has risen to the level of popular consciousness, such that prominent public figures are frequently commenting on it and demanding change, but while awareness of the under-representation and misrepresentation of women in film and television has grown, is there much being done to combat it?
Women directors face myriad obstacles: despite there being an abundance of talented female directors struggling to produce work, many companies refuse to give them projects — only 3.4% of all film directors are female, only 7% of the 250 top-grossing movies in 2016 were directed by women, and women directed only 4% of the 1,000 top-grossing movies between 2007 and 2016. Women filmmakers are not paid as much as their male counterparts, they work with smaller budgets, “female directors make fewer films than male directors,” “age restricts opportunities for female directors,” and women-directed films “receive 63% less distribution” than films by male directors. There’s an expectation that their work be stereotypically female (i.e. chick flicks) and their work is rarely appreciated with the same level of acclaim (only 4 women have ever been nominated for a Best Director Academy Award). Of the 1,114 directors who directed the 1,000 top-grossing films from 2007 to 2016, only 35 were women and of those, only 7 directors were woman of color: 3 Black women, 3 Asian or Asian American women, and one Latina woman.
Despite all these obstacles and hardships, women continue to make amazing work with a wide range of genres and topics: romantic, thought-provoking, innovative, hilarious, or even terrifying. In 2009, Kathryn Bigelow broke barriers with The Hurt Locker, a film about soldiers and war, when she took home Academy Awards for both Best Picture and Best Director. She was the first woman ever to receive an Oscar for Best Director. In 2014, Ava DuVernay’s depiction of the civil rights movement in Selma won an Academy Award for Best Song and garnered a Best Picture nomination. But DuVernay didn’t receive an Oscar nomination for Best Director, an unfortunate snub as she would have been the first Black woman to ever receive a nomination for Best Director. However, the Oscars are overwhelmingly white and male-dominated and are increasingly being disregarded as an antiquated, patriarchal, elitist group who should no longer be regarded as the gatekeepers of important cinema.
Thankfully, many people such as April Reign, the creator of #OscarsSoWhite, and Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs are challenging the Oscars’ lack of diversity and inclusivity. The EEOC has been investigating the hiring practices of Hollywood studios and television networks for gender discrimination against women directors. Also, women are increasingly working in the independent film scene. Despite the somewhat encouraging rise of women directors, white women tend to dominate the field, receiving accolades and projects with far greater frequency than women of color directors, which is a microcosm reflective of the stratification of the feminist movement itself.
The examples below are the names of women directors alongside an example of one of their most acclaimed works. Feel free to use those examples to inspire your writing on this subject, or choose your own source material.
We’d like to avoid as much overlap as possible for this theme, so get your proposals in early if you know which film you’d like to write about. We accept both original pieces and cross-posts, and we respond to queries within a week.
Most of our pieces are between 1,000 and 2,000 words, and include links and images. Please send your piece as a Microsoft Word document to btchflcks[at]gmail[dot]com, including links to all images, and include a 2- to 3-sentence bio. If you have written for us before, please indicate that in your proposal, and if not, send a writing sample if possible.
Please be familiar with our publication and look over recent and popular posts to get an idea of Bitch Flicks’ style and purpose. We encourage writers to use our search function to see if your topic has been written about before, and link when appropriate (hyperlinks to sources are welcome, as well).
The final due date for these submissions is Friday, April 21, 2017 by midnight Eastern Time.
Ava DuVernay (Selma)
Mira Nair (Queen of Katwe)
Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)
Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust)
Jane Campion (The Piano)
Haifaa al-Mansour (Wadjda)
Amma Asante (Belle)
Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski (The Matrix)
Anna Rose Holmer (The Fits)
Kelly Reichardt (Certain Women)
Deepa Mehta (Fire)
Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen)
Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation)
Tina Mabry (Queen Sugar)
Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night)
Jennifer Phang (Advantageous)
Dorothy Arzner (Dance, Girl, Dance)
Aurora Guerrero (Mosquita y Mari)
Mary Harron (American Psycho)
Nicole Holofcener (Friends with Money)
Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou)
Agnès Varda (Cleo from 5 to 7)
Desiree Akhavan (Appropriate Behavior)
Meera Menon (Equity)
Allison Anders (Gas Food Lodging)
Karyn Kusama (The Invitation)
Melina Matsoukas (Insecure)
Victoria Mahoney (Yelling to the Sky)
Věra Chytilová (Daisies)
Kelly Fremon Craig (The Edge of Seventeen)
Angelina Jolie (By the Sea)
Gillian Armstrong (My Brilliant Career)
Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle)
Gina Prince-Bythewood (Beyond the Lights)
Penny Marshall (Big)
Maryam Keshavarz (Circumstance)
Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right)
Patricia Riggen (The 33)
Euzhan Palcy (A Dry White Season)
Susanne Bier (The Night Manager)
Chantal Akerman (Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles)
Alice Wu (Saving Face)
Tanya Hamilton (Night Catches Us)
Dee Rees (Pariah)
Jennifer Kent (The Babadook)
Randa Haines (Children of a Lesser God)
Lexi Alexander (Punisher: War Zone)
Angela Robinson (D.E.B.S.)
Nancy Meyers (Something’s Gotta Give)
Georgina Garcia Riedel (How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer)
Ida Lupino (Outrage)
Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Kung Fu Panda 3)
Lynn Shelton (Your Sister’s Sister)
Maya Angelou (Down in the Delta)
Céline Sciamma (Girlhood)
Barbra Streisand (The Prince of Tides)
Jodie Foster (Orange Is the New Black)
Cheryl Dunye (The Watermelon Woman)