|Maria Giese Photo: Reggie Burrows Hodges for the Bluestocking Series|
About a year ago, I interviewed American director Maria Giese about her campaign to end discrimination against women directors in the United States. It's a collective human rights-based action that’s globally unique and significant for all of us who watch and are influenced by Hollywood entertainment. Here’s the next chapter of Maria's story, in two parts: a summary for everyone, followed by the deep nitty gritty for women directors and our allies.
WW What have you been up to?
MG It’s been quite a year. After 20 years, I left LA and moved to Connecticut with my husband and two children to write a book, Troublemaker. It tells the story of my Hollywood insurgence and my battles in the Directors Guild of America (DGA) during the past 5 years, with a bold group of other women directors. It also describes my journey getting the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to launch the campaign for women directors that led to the current Federal government’s investigation, by ‘the Feds’: the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).
I’ve been working hard to support the investigation, foster independent legal actions, and keep this issue alive in the mainstream media, through speaking publicly, talking to journalists, and networking with other activist individuals and organisations. We want to trigger a paradigm shift in people’s thinking so that everyone can comprehend and agree that it is fair and just and in accordance with America’s ideals that women contribute equally to our cultural narrative. I’ve also been part of five documentaries and have developed ideas about the role of distribution.
Together with Christine Walker and Caroline Heldman, I am organising the 2017 Women’s Media Summit on gender equity among women storytellers in US entertainment media. It will take place March 31 — April 2 in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
WW All women directors have to draw heavily on their imaginations, their hearts, their resilience. They have to be tenacious. A few, like you, are also activists with a collective vision for all women. Who and what has influenced you?