So “weekly” feature has become sort of a misnomer, and now we’ll be referring to this as a “recurring” feature.
Badass: Kathryn Hahn, star of I Love Dick, gave an interview to Vulture and it’s chock-fucking-full of discussions about the female gaze, identity, womanhood, and the dual wonders that are Paul Rudd and Maura Tierney. On the importance of having another woman behind the camera, she had this to say: “We are being asked to be quite vulnerable in the deepest ways. So, to know that there are women’s eyeballs behind it; to know you’re being taken care of; that you are the subject, even if you’re taking your clothes off, is pretty potent.” Oh, and she gave an interview to Elle, too, and the title alone is amazing: “‘F**k it, We Have to’: Kathryn Hahn Is on a Feminist Mission.” Yaaaasssss Kathryn. (Vulture | Elle)
Badass: Sigal Avin, David Schwimmer, and Mazdack Rassi produced a series of short films illustrating the sort of sexual harassment that women experience all too often, called #ThatsHarassment. Among the videos is “The Actor,” in which a scene plays out according to the same dialogue used by an actor who once exposed himself to Avin when she was a young playwright. Avin says “it took me a while to understand that he was using his power, and everything behind that.” Schwimmer adds that part of the inspiration came from seeing “men abuse the power they have, especially on a film or television set,” particularly in the case of “younger actors and actresses” who “are subjected to things that they feel they don’t really have the ability to say ‘no’ to out of fear that the repercussion will be the loss of a job or word will get out of ‘what they’re like’ in the industry or that they’re ‘difficult’ to work with.” (NPR)
Badass: Seed&Spark’s #100DaysOfDiversity campaign raised “nearly $1 million for new movies and shows actively addressing inclusion in front of and behind the camera.” The initiative is a part of their “mission to increase inclusion in front of and behind the camera in 2017.” According to Seed&Spark, “of the projects crowdfunding or greenlit during this time, 90% had women or people of color in key positions, more than half would pass the Bechdel test and the most common themes were LGBT/gender identity, racial equality and sexual assault.” You can take a look at – and maybe contribute to – some of the projects currently seeking funding here and subscribe to their streaming service here, where you can watch movies, shows, and docs and ensure that your subscription fee goes to diverse independent filmmakers – not to advertisers, distributors, or sales agents, as is usually the case with indy projects.
Badass: Australia’s government-funded screen agencies, Screen Australia and Screen NSW, are putting their money where their mouths are when it comes to gender parity in film and television. Screen Australia, the largest agency down under, recently changed its assessment guidelines, “scrutinising the gender and ethnicity of every creative team (producer, director, writer, protagonist) that applies for film, television or documentary subsidies.” The agency’s COO made clear in a March statement that “when two film, TV or documentary projects are judged to be of equal merit but one features more women or non-whites in key on-screen or off-screen roles, the latter project will get the grant.” Screen NSW has itself set in place a rule that all TV drama series must include women in key creative positions in order to receive funding, and the agency will boycott any events featuring all-male panels. Given the impact of subsidies on US-based projects, it seems like a bit of a no-brainer that New York and California ought to take a page from the Aussie’s book and implement their own gender parity requirements. (The Australian)
Badass: The big 5 networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and the CW) will be adding at least eight female showrunners to the slate this season:
The CW: Valor (showrunner Anna Fricke), Dynasty reboot (showrunner Sallie Patrick)
Fox: The Resident (showrunner Amy Holden Jones)
ABC: Splitting Up Together (showrunner Emily Kapnek), The Gospel of Kevin (showrunners Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters), Ten Days in the Valley (showrunner Tassie Cameron)
NBC: Good Girls (showrunner Jenna Bans)
Not all of the shows that have been picked up have indicated who their showrunner will be and there are more shows likely to be picked up in the next week, so hopefully of the 33 shows picked up as of tonight, more than these will be helmed by women.
Potentially badass: Roadmap Writers is launching an “Iconic Character Screenwriting Fellowship” to identify a breakout project with a kickass protagonist. Roadmap with work with the winning writer to develop their script and connect with industry execs. Enter for free by submitting a short essay on “why you should win this fellowship from the perspective of your main character.” More details and instructions are available on their website.
Bad: Amazon has acquired a spec script about underground abortion providers in the pre-Roe era. According to Deadline, it “follows a Chicago woman who founded and maintained the underground abortion service ‘Jane,’ a group of women who taught themselves how to perform abortions in the years before Roe V. Wade.” Which would all be incredibly exciting had the script – based on the nonfiction book The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service by Laura Kaplan – not been written by Dan Loflin, someone who is definitely not a woman. It’s appalling enough when a script like the one for the Victoria Woodhull movie is penned by a non-woman, but seriously – this is who should be telling a story about the horrific lengths women were forced to go to in order to terminate a pregnancy before Roe v. Wade? The guy whose best-known works are Supernatural and Oz? Most of us get that a bunch of old men shouldn’t be legislating on the matter, so why the hell would it be okay for a man to tell this story? (Women and Hollywood)
Bad: Following her firing during her medical leave for breast cancer treatment, former BET head of originals Zola Mashariki has filed a lawsuit against Viacom, BET, and former president of programming Stephen Hill for gender discrimination, among other things (including violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act). According to Mashariki’s complaint, “The Company fosters a good old boys’ club atmosphere and mentality that are hostile to women and their advancement” and that “women are grossly underrepresented in leadership positions at the Company,” with positions on critical committees and other opportunities routinely being offered to male execs over their female counterparts, men taking credit for their female colleagues’ work, and women receiving lower pay and titles for more work. And despite Viacom’s claims to the contrary, everything we know about the behind-the-scenes culture in Hollywood suggests that Mashariki’s complaint is an accurate description of her workplace. And as much as we’d like Mashariki to be able to move on from this and focus on her recovery and on whatever she does next, we kind of have to hope that instead of settling, the case goes to trial and the misogyny and harassment that goes on throughout the industry is laid bare for the world to see. (Hollywood Reporter)
Recommended Readings: perspectives on The Handmaid’s Tale