THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Geena Davis and Hollywood Gender Equality — Brandy McDonnell reports

geena-davisAfter more than a decade of commissioning research and advocating for change through her Institute on Gender and Media, Geena Davis says that she believes Hollywood may be at a “turning point” regarding gender equality. Speaking at Fast Company’s recent FCLA event, Davis said there has been a “tonal shift” over the last few years, especially with stars like Patricia Arquette, Jennifer Lawrence, and Natalie Portman showing they’re unafraid to speak up on the issue. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: ‘Where Are The Women?’ Project, plus Geena Davis, Elizabeth Moss and Suzy Amis Cameron — Brandy McDonnell Reports

It costs Hollywood nothing to make movies that treat women well, and in fact, those films are less risky business. That’s one of the many interesting conclusions MaryAnn Johanson came to after spending 16 months crunching the numbers for her ‘Where Are the Women?’ project. Plus the latest news on Geena Davis, Elizabeth Moss and Suzy Amis Cameron. Read more in THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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ArcLight Women Summit: Gretchen McCourt, Geena Davis, Cathy Schulman & More – Quendrith Johnson reports

Gretchen McCourt

Gretchen McCourt

With the disparity in representation of women in the director’s chair and actor compensation, as Jennifer Lawrence penned in a recent letter, it’s no surprise that ArcLight Cinemas just presented an “Inaugural Women in Entertainment Summit” (WIE). Host Gretchen McCourt, Executive Vice President of ArcLight, can be said to be a driving force here, complete with a hashtag #arclightwomen. Read more in AWARDS INTELLIGENCER…

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SPOTLIGHT June 2015: GEENA DAVIS, Actress, Activist, Festival Co-Founder

awfjspotlightsmallsmallIt’s never a bad time to take a moment or two to appreciate Geena Davis.

Afterall, Geena Davis is Thelma! She’s the player who taught a generation of impressionable young minds that there’s no crying in baseball! geena And, it was she who also suggested that learning how to throw your voice is a greatly entertaining way to fool your friends and have great fun at parties.

But focusing AWFJ’s Spotlight on Davis at this time is a particularly fitting tribute to the Oscar-winning actress, coming as it does on the heels of the first annual Bentonville Film Festival. What does that have to do with Davis? Read on…

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Geena Davis Forum: Searching Cels for Girl Mice and Ninjas – Sara Voorhees reports

Geena Davis was watching preschool TV shows and children’s videos with her two-year-old daughter when she began to wonder: where were the girls?

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: 2,000 Scripts Confirm Hollywood Sexism, THE BOSS Wins Big Box, Plus Geena, Charlize, Mira and Maria Bello News — Brandy McDonnell comments

mulan-and-mushuPolygraph’s impressive recently released analysis of 2,000 film scripts broken down by gender and age puts date behind the anecdotal evidence of Hollywood’s sexism issues. The study foundm fir exanple, that in 22 of 30 Disney films male characters dominate dialogue, with The Jungle Book having 98 percent male dialogue and Mulan, the femme-centric animation, giving Mushu, the male sidekick, 50 percent more words than Mulan. Melissa McCarthy doesn’t have that problem in The Boss, which topped super heroes at the box office. Plus the latest on Geena Davis, Maria Bello, Mira Nair and Charlize Theron, who will be embracing her inner villain in the next Fast and Furious flick. Read all about it in THE WEEK IN WOMEN….

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Hollywood Ageism Denies Actresses Their ‘Prime,’ plus Phosphate Award for Female Characters, and Davis Honored with Ali Award – Brandy McDonnell comments

At age 38, actresses Liv Tyler and Maggie Gyllenhaal are being told by Hollywood that they’re too old to be case opposite leading men who are in their 50s and 60s. Read what they and Dame Helen Mirren have to say about that. Plus, the new Phosphate Pictures Award pitches a $25,000 prize to scripts with strong female characters and the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards honor Geena Davis for feminist activism. Read this week’s The Week In Women>>

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Bentonville Film Festival 2017: Diversity, Inclusion, and Women Everywhere! — Betsy Bozdech reports

BFF_Logo_Transparent2017_Scaled_100Founded in 2015 by actress/gender-equality advocate Geena Davis and ARC Entertainment executive Trevor Drinkwater, the Bentonville Film Festival (BFF) concluded its third annual week of, as it proudly says in its mission statement, “championing women and diverse voices in media.” The 2017 festival ran from May 2-7, with 70 films — episodic content, shorts, and feature-length dramas and documentaries — competing in several jury- and audience-awarded categories. Continue reading…

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Women’s Media Summit in P-town — Loren King reports

Most cinephiles know that there’s a gender gap in today’s Hollywood. The question is, what can be done about it? “This is not a fight about jobs. This is a fight about how our stories are told. This is a fight about the perspective from which our universal stories emerge,” notes Maria Giese, a film director who in 2015 instigated an industry-wide federal investigation into discrimination against female directors in Hollywood. Giese joined Christine Walker, CEO of the Provincetown Film Society, and Caroline Heldman of the Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media to organize the recent Women’s Media Summit in Provincetown. Continue reading…

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CASTING BY – Review by Jennifer Merin

casting by poster artCasting Director Marion Dougherty didn’t invent Al Pacino or Bette Midler, but she certainly helped shape their careers. Dougherty may be the central character in Casting By…, but director Tom Donahue calls on Pacino, Midler and a long list of other Hollywood A-list actors and directors, including Martin Scorsese, Robert Redford, Woody Allen and Clint Eastwood to appear in his star-studded documentary about the queen of casting. Donahue has now signed Geena Davis, a self-proclaimed icon of advocacy for women in film, to produce his next feature, a documentary about women’s struggle for equality in Hollywood. So this seems a good time to take another look at what Dougherty did with women in casting. Read more on CINEMA CITIZEN…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Women in Motion at Cannes, Jodie Foster in Hollywood and more –Brandy McDonnell reports

DAVIS SARANDONA year after the biggest news involving women at Cannes Film Festival was the controversy over a rule requiring women to wear high heels on the red carpet, there have been some strides made for women at France’s esteemed film fest. Kering’s Women in Motion initiative has honored Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, and three women directors are competing for the prestigious Palme d’Or. But there’s still a long road ahead. Plus Jodie Foster says Hollywood is scared of women, and more. Read this week’s THE WEEK IN WOMEN

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Oscars Aftermath, GHOSTBUSTERS, and more – Brandy McDonnell reports

ghostbustersThe Oscars and Ghostbusters offer opportunities for real talk about diversity, plus Geena Davis reminds us why women’s equal representation in movies and television is important and Patricia Arquette continues her equality crusade, exec producing a docu that advocates for passage of the ERA. Tribeca Film Festival, unveiling half of it’s 2016 slate, sets a new record for female directors with one third of its programmed titles helmed by women, including Sophia Takal and Ingrid Jungermann. Read more in THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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SPOTLIGHT September 2015: Amandla Stenberg, Actress, Activist In the Making

amandla1Our latest SPOTLIGHT subject may be the youngest yet, but in her 16 years actress Amandla Stenberg has proven that she deserves to stand alongside such previously AWFJ-highlighted champions for diversity as Cynthia López and Geena Davis, if only based on her potential. It’s been a short three years since Stenberg burst into the scene with a supporting role in the first Hunger Games movie, but in that time she’s already become a leading force in conversations surrounding cultural appropriation and the need for intersectional feminism. Read on…

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SPOTLIGHT August 2015: Natalie Portman, Actress, Activist and Crusader for Women Directors

awfjspotlightsmallsmallportman excerptNatalie Portman is no stranger to Hollywood. The Oscar-winning actress’ first feature film, Luc Besson’s Léon: The Professional, debuted when she was only 13 years old. Since then, she’s racked up dozens of film credits, some of them—Closer, Black Swan—better than others. Looking at You, Star Wars prequels. But isn’t that the way? This consummate, classy professional has made it through decades in the film industry and earned a mantlepiece full of awards along the way… two of them, I’d be remiss not to mention, EDA Awards for Black Swan, issued in 2010 by this very group. Read on…

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SPIRITED AWAY on Blu-ray Spreads Feminist Spirit, Streep Campaigns for Equality and Film Festival Feminism – Brandy McDonnell comments

spirited-away2Spirited Away uproots the tired ‘damsel in distress awaits the prince to rescue (and marry) her narrative, as 10-year-old Chihiro embarks on a mission to save Haku, the boy who initially helped her adapt to the spirit world and who turns out to be more than he seems as well. Seeing the legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki’s 2003 Oscar winner in glorious high definition on Blu-ray, I was again astounded by the richness of his storytelling, and also by the influence one determined game-changer can make. Plus new kudos for Meryl Streep on equal rights, feminism at the Los Angeles Film Festival and the new collaboration between BFI London Film Festival and the Geena Davis Institute in this week’s The Week in Women.

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Anne Thompson’s THE $11 BILLION YEAR (Exclusive Excerpt)

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After reporting on everything movies for 25 years, Hollywood pundit Anne Thompson, an AWFJ member, has written her first book. It’s fascinating. We excerpt it here.

From CHAPTER 7: WOMEN, POLITICS, AND ZERO DARK THIRTY

In its history, the Academy’s largely male directors’ branch had nominated only three other women directors—Italian Lina Wertmüller (Seven Beauties), New Zealander Jane Campion (The Piano), and American Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation), daughter of Oscar-winningGodfather creator Francis Ford Coppola.

Gender politics in Hollywood—as everywhere else—are complex, layered, often unconscious, and difficult to parse. One can argue that things are slowly improving for women in the film industry, but they are still woefully underrepresented in too many areas, from hiring, especially as directors, to roles onscreen.

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AWFJ Partners With ITVS on Women and Girls Lead Campaign

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists is proud to announce its partnership with the Independent Television Service (ITVS) for its the three-year national PBS campaign Women and Girls Lead, the multiyear public engagement campaign, which aims to educate, focus, and connect viewers with more than 50 acclaimed documentaries, as well as through nationwide community and educational events.

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AWFJ Women On Film- Sarasota Film Festival – Susan Wloszczyna reports

USA TODAY’s Susan Wloszczyna, a founding member of AWFJ, found the topic of women in film alive and well and much discussed at the 13th Sarasota Film Festival this year. Her exclusive report:

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AWFJ Women on Film – The Week In Women, February 25, 2010 – MaryAnn Johanson

Imagine if men were all but invisible onscreen; Kathryn Bigelow is a man, baby! and

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“Nothing But The Truth” – Rod Lurie Interview by Jenny Halper – Exclusive!

In Rod Lurie’s Nothing but the Truth, a female reporter who writes an article exposing a female CIA agent is thrown in jail for refusing to name her source. This might sound like a fictionalization of old news. It isn’t. At least, not according to Lurie.

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Women On Film: “Nothing But the Truth” – Susan Granger reviews

Obviously inspired by the incarceration of Judith Miller, the former New York Times journalist, who in 2005 was jailed for contempt of court after she refused to cooperate with a grand jury investigating the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson as an undercover CIA operative, filmmaker Rod Lurie has crafted a timely political drama that tests the limits of journalistic integrity.

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