This is why recognition matters.

We all, particularly those who are in placement positions, can do our part to encourage more hiring of women behind the camera — however equally important (and the case could be made by some, slightly more important) is the proper treatment and respect of women after they’ve been hired.

I was fortunate to spend some time with talented director, and self-professed badass Lexi Alexander last year.  She told a story I will never forget.  She was directing a film a few years ago (which one doesn’t matter), when a male junior executive from the studio stopped production on the set (at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars) so he could question her choice in jacket color for one of the characters.  One of them wanted blue; the other red.  (I don’t remember which was which, to be honest.)  She was convinced said exec would not have even dared attempt to open the discussion with even a lesser-known male director.

I agree with Lexi Alexander.  You know how I know she’s right?  She’s right, because scores of studio films with male directors were shot today, TODAY — and this didn’t happen.  Sure, after watching today’s dailies, some up-and-comer might question jacket color choice in tonight’s production notes.  Just as sure, however, is the fact that Mr. Male director will ignore those notes — if he chooses to read them at all.

There are women directors (and crew members) who won’t have children, because they know they’ll be asked “Who will watch the kids while you’re at work?” — a question never asked to a man.  Then, after these childless women go to work, some male will invariably ask her “You’re forty years old, why no children?” — another question never asked to man.

So when someone like Nancy Schreiber wins the Presidents Award from the American Society of Cinematographers, it’s not just a victory because she gets hired in the first place (although there is that too); it’s a victory because she’s recognized as the best of the best by a professional society/organization that is still comprised, unfortunately, mostly of men.

This is why recognition matters.


JM 1.1

(PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Macall Polay, Variety)



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