"I knew from a very young age that I wanted to make movies, and I knew that there were not so many women who did it, I grew up with Amy Heckerling [[Out of wave, nineteen ninety six]Y Jane Campion [Thepiano[Elpiano, 1993], but then I could name the women directors I knew with the fingers of one hand, so I knew it would be hard. "
This is how Amy Adrion presents herself in her first feature film as director, a documentary entitled Half the Picture (Half of the film, in its translation into Spanish), where she talks to about fifty filmmakers about discrimination in Hollywood. It premieres in Spain TCM on Friday, March 8 (22.00, can be seen on demand as well).
That lack of references was one of the reasons that led her to make this documentary. Another was the figures. In the last decade, of the 1,114 highest-grossing films in American cinema, 1,069 have been directed by men and only 45 by women, who nevertheless add 50% of enrollments in film schools. Then at festivals like Sundance, 75% of the films are directed by men. Another figure: in 90 years of Oscar awards, after 442 people nominated for the Best Direction award, only five women have been nominated. And only one, Kathryn Bigelow, has won the award (for the hurt Locker in 2010).
"I have several female filmmakers who find many obstacles to funding their work or for their first movie to get going." At the same time, we began to hear the investigations that emerged in Hollywood about discrimination.There is a civil rights organization called American Civil Liberties Union that investigates the fact that the studios are not hiring women to direct films and series, "says Adrion in a telephone conversation with EL PAÍS.
"When you're young, you think you're going to be the exception, that you're one of those who get it, and then you get older and you see that women there are not so many and that our ideas and our stories do not seem as valuable as those of men. And that is something to fight against, "he continues.
After talking with so many directors and with the experience of having made the documentary in Hollywood after several shorts, what suggestions would you give to women who aspire to be directors? "To begin with, let them see Half the Picture, because the women who appear are amazing filmmakers and have so many tips … I would say, do not take the rejection personally, because there is so much rejection in this business. If you have to pretend that you have confidence, do it. Enter the room with a sense of power and confidence in what you wear. Just make the work flow, at whatever level you are, whatever the resources you have, keep telling stories. If you can channel your voice, which is unique, people will sooner or later listen, but keep working and keep pounding on doors. "
In the film, directors like Lena Dunham (Girls), Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball), Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), Jill Soloway (Transparent), Ava DuVernay (Selma she was nominated for the Oscar for Best Film, but she was not in the category of direction) or Miranda July (You, me and everyone else), among other.
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accused in 2017 the big movie studios of discrimination. Since then it has been negotiating to resolve the situation, but for the moment no results have been noticed. "It is disheartening that the published statistics show that nothing has changed in the last 20 years because of the reactions with which the film has been received.[[In Spain Half the Picture is released now, but the film was presented a year ago at the Sundance Festival and was aired in the United States by the public broadcaster PBS]I am optimistic but with caution. In recent weeks there has been a report that says that more women have begun to be hired, "he replies.
"I am encouraged that for the first time in a long time the numbers seem to move, there is a structure of power entrenched in Hollywood and there are people who would be very happy if everything goes exactly as it is, if we want more representation of women behind the scenes, of people of color or gay, we are going to have to keep fighting for it, "Adrion concludes.
That structure of power is sustained, in the opinion of the director, in power, money and prestige. "Once you reach the status of director in Hollywood there is a lot of that, there are not so many jobs, I understand that there are people fighting to protect their land," he says. Can the services of streaming be one of the outputs to this plug ?. "Now there are so many new platforms, like Netflix, Amazon or Hulu, that are creating a lot of content and where different types of creators have managed to get their work done, that place can be very good for new voices."