|Get Your Hopes Up (Ballance St Wellington) photo: Phantom Billstickers|
In the eight years of my Development project, nothing has changed in New Zealand. Creative New Zealand and the New Zealand Film Commission, the organisations that distribute public funds to filmmakers and other artists, have no gender policy. They don't record gender statistics consistently. And they never publish them. Nor does New Zealand On Air, which funds some movies for television, and is required to consider women as an audience.The film guilds – publicly funded – don't make diversity statements or produce diversity reports.
And change is slow everywhere. Callie Khouri knows what she's talking about, from a career that stretches from Thelma and Louise to Nashville. She said the other day, in response to a question about conditions in Hollywood in general and for women who write feminist content–
Clearly there’s much more awareness about it. …I’d love to be able to point to one thing that says it’s better, I’d love to be able to. It’s really beginning to be the world’s most boring conversation, you know? I think everybody’s sick of talking about it, I just wish it would change.In New Zealand, but differently, I feel the same. Yep! I'm bored with the conversations about women screenwriters – and women directors. As well as gloomy.
And then, across the road from the bus stop, I see this poster, from poet Lucy Orbell's The High Point project, where she takes the 'don't' from negative clichés. Here she asks 'What's the worst thing that can happen if you do get your hopes up?'.
So what's the worst thing that can happen if I abandon boredom and gloom and get my hopes up (again) on Oscar day, here in a culture infused with screen offerings from the United States and Europe, living a bike ride along the shoreline from Hollywood-in-New Zealand, Peter Jackson's base, where other men who direct and produce come and go with their own projects, like James Cameron, now living an hour away, 'over the hill' in the Wairarapa? (Peter Jackson writes and produces with women. He’s directed interesting films about young women and girls. He employs many women. He engaged Amy J Berg to direct West of Memphis. He’s very generous in providing access to his resources to many New Zealand filmmakers, women and men. But as far as I know no woman, except possibly Fran Walsh, has directed a second unit on his big projects.) Disappointment’s the worst thing that can happen if I get my hopes up? I reckon. Worth a try.
|Get Your Hopes Up (Cuba Street Wellington) photo: Phantom Billstickers|