New Year's Resolution: No More Crowdfunding White Dudes.

So, I've got a film related New Years Resolution: I will not give any kickstarter money to white male filmmakers. It might seem obnoxious or closed minded to some but, I thought about it a lot and it is a rule I am going to try and stick by.

The thing that first got me thinking about this was a pre-holiday onslaught of white dude directors gracing my facebook wall in search of money for their projects, taking advantage of the holiday spirit (& the tax deductible year end donation season)! One of these kickstarters, whose film is basically done, or at least done enough to get into a major film festival, is seeking funds for his large production team to travel to the premier of the film...o, and he also wants money to build a kick ass website for the film. The filmmaker obviously got enough money to make a large scale film. Enough money to get it into a big name fest. People invested in it enough to get the thing made and out there, so why should I step in and help market the film? Help it find a distributor? So many other directors out there- especially women & minority filmmakers, and even a bunch of other, less connected white dudes- struggle to just get a film made and I think there is something a little lame about funneling even more money into an already funded, nearly completed project by a well established white guy who makes films for a living. How can we proliferate distinct, new voices in film without funding them? Does this guy really need help? Especially given the fact that (according to my math) out of 17 of the fiction film premiers at Sundance this year, 2 were directed by women and out of the 11 documentary premiers 2 were directed by women, and one of those women happens to be a Kennedy! Her funding is probably just fine? I haven't parsed out the ethnicities of the directors but I would bet money it's a high white guy percent...and, in case you are suspect, the screenwriters for all of these tend to be the directors too so there isn't too much written lady voice in there either. Yeah...white dudes, you aint getting my money! And I am sure some Sundance employee will argue that there weren't a lot of submissions from female fimmakers which might be true, but true for very good reasons...

I've often heard the argument that there aren't a lot of women in the arts because there aren't a lot of women who are good at the arts. I actually agree with this to some degree. I don't think there are enough female filmmakers, artists, and other culture makers working on a professional level out in the world. And you know why? Because our ability to exist as artists- even our ability to exist as professionals let alone creative professionals- began so much later than our male counterparts: the gender wage gap still at a cool 77¢ to a man's $1. Women have not suddenly become creative but the starting line for women working professionally in creative fields began much more recently than that of the age old marathon of males. But, maybe this thinking is somewhat flawed? Maybe women have been working professionally, we just don't know it.

Some think cultural institutions need to be sure to include women in the history of art: women have always been there through artistic movements, making things equivalent to & just as influential as men. If the narrative of art history chooses to include women then maybe, just maybe, the vital role they have always played in creative fields can be discovered and allow for the long legacy of female creatives to be revealed and, ultimately, more strongly extended into the future. Others argue that quotas in funding an equal amount of male and female filmmakers should be implemented in order to expand the range of storytelling (mostly in countries that provide government issued film funds). This idea ties in with the former for sure: the voices of women have not, and are not, being heard & documented and it's about time there is an institutional change. No matter the solution to upping the visibility of women in the arts, the fact is women HAVE been making things alongside men forever, they have just been written out of the larger story in a way that has led to things like exposure, professional recognition, and, ultimately, funding to remain elusive. Note:...and speaking of silencing, don't get me started on the MPAA & their double standards regarding what parts of a woman's sex life is acceptable to see on the big screen!

There are a lot of ladies out there living the filmmaking dream of course...Amy Seimetz, Miranda July, Sarah Polley, Kelley Reichardt Lena Dunham, have all come onto the scene with amazing projects of all kinds. There isn't a lack of talent by any means, there is a lack of including that talent in a larger narrative of cultural history and allowing that talent the chance to be listened to by a wider audience. I'm not giving kickstarter money for anymore boy stories!!! It's time to think about whose voices have yet to be heard and whose voices we should want to hear from.

Resources for Women in Film!

1. GRANTS:  Chicken & Egg Pictures (money & mentorships for women made docs), The Adrienne Shelley Women Filmmakers Grant (through Sundance, part of the Adrienne Shelley Foundation, a great director taken too soon!), a list of other grants can be found at Women Arts.

2. SITES & ORGS & FESTS: Women Make Movies, Agnes Films, Citizen Jane, AXW Film Festival, Indiewire's Women and Hollywood blog, and Camera Obscura.



Donna K. is a recent transplant to the Midwest where she can be found exploring culture at large through film programming, writing and her general interest in the world- both on and offline.