In part due to the recent launch of the “You Cannes Not Be Serious” campaign by several groups to protest the glaring lack of women filmmakers at the Cannes Film Festival this year, I’ve started paying particular attention to where women filmmakers are and what they’re doing. Because women filmmakers are routinely shut out, ignored or otherwise overlooked, it IS news when a woman filmmaker or a team of women filmmakers has their work shown at a festival, on public television or receives a large theatrical opening.
Here’s what’s jumped out at me over the past few days:
* Iranian filmmaker Kiana Firouz (Cul de Sac) may be deported to Iran if her U.K. asylum request is denied. Due to her being a lesbian, she is subject to Iranian corporal punishment, and eventually death, if she is returned to Iran. A petition is circulating to oppose her deportation from England.
* The Kids are All Right will open the Los Angeles Film Festival in June. Lisa Cholodenko (Laurel Canyon, High Art) directed & co-wrote this film. All three of her past features, including this one, have screened at Sundance.
* Project Kashmir will be broadcast on U.S. public television (PBS) on Tuesday, May 18. Directed, written and produced by women filmmakers, Senain Khashgi and Geeta V. Patel, it will be the featured “Independent Lens” film this week.
* Jane Campion (Bright Star, The Piano, An Angel at My Table) won a shared award with another woman filmmaker, Aviva Ziegler, at the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards in Australia on May 18, 2010.
* A panel on Women in Film was held at the American Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival and moderated by Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood.
* Filmmaker Cheryl Dunye (My Baby’s Daddy, Watermelon Woman) won the inaugural Director’s Award at the Boston LGBT Film Festival the first week of May.
* Karyn Kusama’s far-off project to star Rachel Weisz got a little press last week. Kusama is writing and will direct what she calls a “Cronenberg-inspired body horror” story.
* New Zealand director, Gaylene Preston (Perfect Strangers, War Stories, Bread & Roses), is in Cannes this month to screen her film, Home By Christmas.
* The new (spring 2010) issue of Filmmaker magazine surprisingly covers a range of women filmmaker’s new projects! Films by Laura Poitras (My Country, My Country), Debra Granik, and Jessica Oreck are all featured.