TFW is excited to highlight the inventive work of several phenomenal women filmmakers in a forum that runs from today through Friday. Carmen Torres, tiona m., Aishah Shahidah Simmons, Anna Barsan, Pratibha Parmar, and Nev Nnaji reflect on the plight of women filmmakers in a male-dominated industry, feminist approaches taken up in filmmaking, filmmaking as both an art form and modality for social change, and their processes.
The reflections offered challenge masculinist understandings of filmmaking. For example, Nev Nnaji had this to say:
First, let me say that determining the ‘plight’ of women filmmakers largely depends on what is considered success. I don’t judge the talent or success of myself or any other woman filmmaker based on how many awards she’s received, or whether her film has premiered on HBO. There are spaces where women filmmakers are celebrated, but they are not going to provide the same glitz, glamour and financial rewards that are afforded to male and other privileged artists.
Respondents also reflect on their filmmaking processes as that which fuses artistic technique and radical politics to bring about revolutionary change. In this regard, Anna Barsan states:
Despite a constantly evolving process, I find myself returning to film as a meditative medium, as a questioning medium, as a visual essay that a filmmaker can employ to encourage reflection – reflection on ourselves, on society, on the State, on borders and migration, on communication, on the colonization of our minds and bodies, on suffering, on the laws and policy that regulate this suffering, on radical love and reimagining, on existence.
We are also invited to consider the work of women filmmakers who live in countries beyond the United States. For example, Carmen Torres notes:
I work in countries like Colombia, where the illiteracy rate was reported at 10% of the population, just this past year. I think that the poverty and general state of despair cannot be remedied without education, and due to lack of services and attention from the State, lower income communities, both urban and rural, face huge hurdles in improving their education systems…When I see this occur in the communities of my own country, from my position as a filmmaker and what I have been able to study, research and question, I am moved to provide resources in an audiovisual language that is accessible to all (i.e. television) so that it can reach the largest number of people possible.
Check out the remarkable reflections and join the conversation.