Ok. Interesting panel on women in documentary film. Do women inherently bring different qualities to filmmaking than men? (more sensitive, better listening skills, less self-importance, etc). Or, is this gender differentiation just another stereotype, another way to keep us seperate, another way to keep us all from being just “filmmakers?” And, if we all became just “filmmakers,” would something very special, very unique be lost?
Obviously discrimination against women created gender-based barriers to filmmaking. Once those barriers are gone, what will continue to keep the “women in film” bond together? For current women filmmakers, the discrimination and struggle to make their films is and will always be an indelible part of their identity- that of a “woman” filmmaker, and will inevitably affect their work. But what about the next generation of women filmmakers? Without the struggle to link them, will they assimilate into the general filmmaking community and lose some of that perspective? Will some of them even come to think of the designation of “woman” filmmaker as a negative term, preferring to be just “filmmakers?” I think about immigrants to the United States and their desire to assimilate, to become “Americans.” What did they gain with their new found opportunities? What did they lose of their uniqueness, their culture, their identities? As barriers fall, so do distinctions.
Whatever the ultimate results of maintaining the designation of “women filmmaker” as different from just “filmmaker”, it still seems vitally important for aspiring women filmmakers to see other women making films, see them screening films at film festivals, and yes, see them speaking at “Women in Film” panels. And like it or not, they are role models for the next crop of women filmmakers.
Thanks for a great discussion.