Instep Today

Women directors take center stage at Los Angeles Film Festival

June 19, 2017
By Instep Desk

It’s a strange time to be a fan of the movies. Take, for example, the story of Wonder Woman. It is the first mainstream female superhero movie and is currently demolishing box office competition with ease, which should be seen as a good thing. Many have not only hailed Patty Jenkins as director but have pointed to it as a reference that women can helm big-budget projects.

Sofia Coppola and Elvis Mitchell speak during the Los Angeles Film Festival 2017.

CultureVulture

42 per cent of films featured at the festival have been directed by women.

It’s a strange time to be a fan of the movies. Take, for example, the story of Wonder Woman. It is the first mainstream female superhero movie and is currently demolishing box office competition with ease, which should be seen as a good thing. Many have not only hailed Patty Jenkins as director but have pointed to it as a reference that women can helm big-budget projects.

But this development, and not an entirely insignificant one, is being overshadowed by something a lot more disturbing. As it emerged online that Gal Godat, who essays Wonder Woman, served in the Israeli army while it was in conflict with Palestine, many have dismissed the hype surrounding it and despite claims that it is a good film within the superhero genre, the story does leave one with a disturbed outlook. 

While this debate continues to evolve, in another part of the United States, a much more significant event is taking place that must be discussed in this space. After the conclusion of the ATX Festival in Austin, we must now look at Los Angeles, California, where the 23-year-old Los Angeles Film Festival is currently unraveling.

Throughout its duration, 42 per cent of the films presented at the festival have been directed by women with 40 per cent having been directed by people of color.

“The festival is part of Film Independent, so it is specific in what it does in terms of amplifying underrepresented voices,” says Jennifer Cochis, festival director. “Our having that many women and people of color is deliberate. It’s not some sidebar. They’re actually the films that are up for prizes and awards.”

“Los Angeles, from neighborhood to neighborhood, is so unique,” says Cochis. “If the festival is in conversation with the city, not only are we trying to play films that reflect the people who live here, but we want to be able to bring it closer to people’s homes.”

Reporting on the fest, The Hollywood Reporter noted in a story: “Having conducted an extensive out-reach program to encourage new filmmakers to submit their work, the festival ultimately put together a line-up in which 65 per cent of the films are by first-time directors.”

Beginning last week, the festival will go on till June 22, 2017.

– With information fromThe Hollywood Reporter