Right now, everyone is celebrating the success of Wonder Woman for a lot of reasons. It is the first film directed by a woman to both gross over $129,350,709 and surpass the Bechdel test – that’s a lot of long over due girl power at the box office.
It’s great to see that more awareness is being brought to female filmmakers in the entertainment industry and that Hollywood is crawling it’s way back to featuring – and even creating more- strong, female driven films while attempting to treat the women in front of the camera as well as behind the scenes with more equality.
However, despite this new call to action and awareness of women in film, I can’t help but feel that a lot of women are being shortchanged both at the box office and on the set. Over the past few years, a lot of attention regarding equality in Hollywood and the entertainment industry has remained focused on two primary roles: female directors and actresses.
As a filmmaker and writer with experience both behind and in front of the lens, it feels that a great percentage of women are still being ignored. In the media we hear about more opportunities for female directors and equal pay for actresses. Jennifer Lawrence was among the many stars who voiced a need for equal pay and international groups such as the Film Fatales organize awesome events and opportunities to nurture female directors.
But let’s be honest, that’s where the conversation and debates appear to end.
No one seems to talk about the other hard working female artisans who work – or try to find work- in the other areas of film production. While director Patty Jenkins managed to blow audiences away with her modern take on our favorite golden lasso carrying superhero, it is also worth noting that the film was penned, shot, edited and even scored by men. While screenwriter Allan Heinberg of Gray’s Anatomy produced a fun and fantastic script, one still hopes to see more female screenwriters (besides favorites like Diablo Cody and Sophia Coppola) be given the opportunity to pen new, strong scripts that are not merely “band aids” aka reboots or remakes of films originally created for male actors just to appease modern audiences.
If the entertainment industry is serious about embracing this sense of equality, then we need more people to speak up on behalf of creating more opportunities for women in all aspects of filmmaking- from screenwriters to cinematographers all the way down to production assistants.
Luckily, Jessica Chastain (Freckle Films) and Geena Davis (The Geena Davis Institute On Gender in Media) are among a handful of actresses who have recently started new organizations to help generate more opportunities for female and diverse filmmakers – which is a hopeful place to start. Modern audiences want broader, more diverse forms of storytelling.
Perhaps the success of Wonder Woman will help wake Hollywood up to the full extent of success (or at least profit) the entertainment industry faces if they procure more important roles for women on every level of production and adapt their storytellers to reflect the diversity that their ticket holders crave.
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