I approach San Diego Comic-Con annually as an avid supporter and passionate advocate of women in film, the perspective from which I have produced and moderated the panel Women Rocking Hollywood for the third consecutive year. The panel and my overal Comic-Con participation are a highlight of my professional year, especially because I have found Comic-Con to be quite receptive and progressive about recognizing women in film. My tenure has also pushed me to become a better critic and a bigger fan, and I’ve become an obsessive collector of Funko Pops, those wonderful figures that memorialize the characters I love. Unlike my husband, who hunts down the yearly releases that will later be found on Ebay for upwards of a thousand dollars, I buy only the occasional figure that strikes my fancy. When they DO strike my fancy, I absolutely positively must have them.
Case in point, I couldn’t resist an exclusive release at this year’s Comic-Con: Taika Waititi, the charming and talented director of What We Do In The Shadows and Thor: Ragnarok.
My cat is named after Taika Waititi. Clearly I had to have his Funko Pop figure. And, once I saw that Funko is creating director figures, I had to see what other delights I might acquire. I found figures of Paul Feig, James Wan, and James Gunn, but was most excited about the Guillermo Del Toro that will soon be released. Actually, I was thrilled that Funko had the insight to know that many film lovers are as enthusiastic about the directors as the stars of their favorite films. After all, the directors craft the films we know and love!
So, what’s missing from this burgeoning collection? Female filmmakers. FEMALE FILMMAKERS!
So, why does that matter?
Missing female representation is an issue that crops up frequently these days, at Comic-Con and other such gatherings — even those working to make progress towards parity. For example, when talking with friends or new acquaintances about my female filmmaker-focused Women Rocking Hollywood panel, I’d ask them to name five female film directors. Few could name even one, and out of dozens of friends, only one could name five.And, she was a film critic, so she hardly counts.
Anyone who loves movies and follows industry trends knows there is a dearth of female filmmakers helming studio films. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of talented, inspired women who are directing out there, and that devoted fans are not following their work. The fact that the Women Rocking Hollywood panel was — this year and for the previous two — filled to capacity and had to turn away hundreds of people is a clear and present indication that fans of movies and TV are enormously interested in and supportive of women working behind the camera.
With that in mind, my sisters at the Alliance of Women Film Journalists have a suggestion — nay, make that a challenge — for Funko. Represent the women directors who’ve won huge fan constituencies with their undeniably popular blockbuster or indie films. For starters, we’re thinking Patty Jenkins, who brought us Wonder Woman, or Ava DuVernay, whose Queen Sugar show has singlehandedly expanded opportunities for women behind the TV cameras, or record-breaking legend-maker Catherine Hardwicke or living legend Agnes Varda, whose movies, personal lifestyle and dedication have for decades been inspiration young girls everywhere to dream of film school.
We’ve noticed that Funko is a movies merchandising company that stays way ahead of the curve, and might be just the perfectly fearless innovator to acknowledge that women — yes, women — do buy toys, and that girls — yes, girls — want to see themselves represented in collectibles such as your figures, right along side directors like Waititi and Del Toro. I bet if you ask Waititi and Del Toro, both of whom champion women in film and support diversity and inclusion, they’d agree that this is a perfect opportunity for Funko to include female figures in your line up.
Selling all of the 3000 Taika Waititis and all of the 1000 James Wans you brought to Comic-Con 2018 must have satisfied you. Don’t you believe that Patty Jenkins, Ava DuVernay, Catherine Hardwicke and/or Agnes Varda Pops will sell as well? I’d love, in particular, to see a Jenkins figure, and I’d wait on line at next year’s Comic-Con to buy one. And, I’m sure I’m not alone!
So, what do you say, Funko? Please add female directors — those we’ve suggested or others — to your Pops roster. We want to see #FemaleFilmmakerFunko releases on #FemaleFilmmakerFriday. That’s not too much to ask, and, I daresay, the request is timed perfectly.