With a topic that could not be more timely with the gender parity among directors in Hollywood, Half the Picture is such an important film.
Amy Adrion, who directs the film, is a first-time director. There’s a staggering statistic regarding female filmmakers in that 84% will become a one-time director. A lot of this is due to financing or lack thereof. It doesn’t have to be this way. Studios can and should get better when it comes to employing women in film.
For a long time, Walt Disney Animation Studios took up an anti-women stance when it came to their hiring practices. Along came Brenda Chapman and she was hired in 1987 only because she was a woman. She broke a lot of barriers for women working in animation. Chapman became the first woman to direct an animated feature from a major studio. Nlot for Disney but when DreamWorks Pictures hired her for The Prince of Egypt (1998). Chapman would later return to the Disney family. She became the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Animated Feature with the release of Brave (2012).
The SXSW screenings come at an important time. Filmmaker Miranda Bailey is launching a female alternative to Rotten Tomatoes titled Cherry Picks. Rotten Tomatoes is among one of the subjects discussed in the film. When it comes to film criticism, a number of top outlets still employ a large number of straight white male critics. This hurts those films that largely target a female audience. This is because men won’t connect to a film in the same way in which women would. It’s disappointing on a huge number of levels because the Tomatometer can make or break a film. It’s not just that but when it comes to film festivals, the positive reviews can hurt or help a film’s chance at acquiring a distribution deal.
These are just a few of the topics discussed in Half the Picture. With a running time of just over 90 minutes, there’s a lot of conversation to be had from filmmakers and other industry veterans. There’s only so much that can be said about why women don’t get the same opportunities as men to direct a film. Take a look at the last recent weeks when it comes to Star Wars news. Every single time that a filmmaker is announced to produce or direct a Star Wars film, it’s always a male and this is no longer acceptable. This is another conversation in it’s own right.
What Adiron does with the film is amplify the conversation that is going on at the moment. There are troubles facing female filmmakers. One of them is the gender gap when it comes to paychecks. Most importantly, this has to change.
Half the Picture ought to be required viewing for every single studio executive in the industry.
DIRECTOR: Amy Adrion
FEATURING: Ava DuVernay, Lena Dunham, Jill Soloway, Karyn Kusama, Catherine Hardwicke, Miranda July, Kasi Lemmons, Mary Harron, Kimberly Peirce, Penelope Spheeris