MSUToday
Published: Nov. 6, 2015

Bringing awareness to women filmmakers

Contact(s): Alexandra Hidalgo College of Arts and Letters office: (517) 884-4503 hidalgo5@msu.edu

On Monday, a group of Michigan State University faculty and students will launch a social media campaign around the hashtag #FavWomanFilmmaker.

It consists of a daily video inviting viewers to share their favorite female filmmaker as well as several Twitter interviews and chats with women filmmakers, activists and academics around the world.

The campaign, which will run through Thursday, is sponsored by agnès films, a website supporting the work of women and feminist filmmakers.

“Those who are behind the camera control how the stories are told — from who gets cast, to how they’re filmed, to who we as audiences relate to the most,” said Alexandra Hidalgo, assistant professor of writing, rhetoric and American cultures and editor-in-chief of agnès films. “Except for a brief period in the 1920s when women had substantial behind-the-camera roles, men have dominated filmmaking all the way from studio executives to gaffers and everything in between. And yet, women make up half the population. Because stories shape our dreams, identities and desires so profoundly, we need to engage with the film storytelling of women so we can have new ways of understanding the world and our role in it.”

One of the goals of the campaign is to provide audiences with a list of women filmmakers in every genre whose work they can connect with through the videos, blog posts and Tweets, which will be collected by agnès films and used as a resource for audiences seeking to discover what the world looks like through women’s eyes.

“Until recently, I hadn't even asked myself whether women were making the films I love so dearly,” said experience architecture senior Shell Little, who redesigned the agnès films website in preparation for the campaign. “The fact that it was so difficult for me to come up with a favorite woman filmmaker is the exact reason why we need this campaign.”

As it was for Little, it is difficult for most people to think of a woman filmmaker whose work they love, even though they can easily pinpoint the work of various male filmmakers.

“If people have a favorite woman filmmaker, we want them to tell us and their friends who that person is and why so others can check out her work,” Hildago said. “If they don’t have one, we want people to start looking at films made by women until they find one woman whose work they love.”

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