Last night, I was watching the Oscars and like many of us was moved by Cate Blanchett’s acceptance speech. She said that we need to stop clinging to the idea that women centric films don’t make money. I couldn’t agree more. Mainly because it isn’t true… they do make money and people (men and women) want to see them.
In trying to get my feature film made, I can’t tell you how many times in the last 6 months I’ve heard comments that all stem from this “idea.” Here are some of them.
1) Women mean nothing in foreign sales
2) Female perspective films are difficult to sell
3) Yeah but SHE can’t get us our money
4) We can’t cast Mom until we cast Dad
5) If we make the Dad character bigger than the Mom character maybe we can get him to say yes
Cate Blanchett thinks this has to change. Which is why she chose to speak about it during her acceptance speech for the Oscar.
I was reminded last night during the Oscars about the influence that movies have on society. Film is such a powerful medium to discuss taboo subjects, politics, heroism and the ugly side of humanity. It is a business of entertainment but it is so much more than that. Mostly, it’s a kind of emotional bravery. From the actors who work for scale and lose 30 pounds for a role, to the producers who put second mortgages on their houses to continue to get their film made, to documentary film makers who put themselves in harms way to tell the most authentic story, they are all willing to risk so much to be heard.
So, even though I don’t believe one actor should win an award over another, and I watch the Red Carpet interviews for the fashion, there is still something fundamentally cool about celebrating a years worth of artistic integrity. I dream about being in that room one day and making a movie as important as “Dallas Buyers Club”, or “12 Years a Slave.” I too am willing to risk a lot to be heard. It’s important to keep moving forward, to keep progressing and challenging ourselves. “Gravity” is a perfect example of that, in both the story itself and it’s visual effects.
I do think that there are other more profound professions such as school teachers and doctors. I’m not someone who is living in the Hollywood bubble and thinks that show biz is the end all be all. But I am aware of what I am passionate about and about what I think I’d like to do with my life. And it is a noble profession. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that when I see stacks of tabloid mags at the airport high lighting cellulite and messy divorces. I suppose it’s part of the fall out, part of the risk factor of being in a job where the world is watching and can’t differentiate between your work and your private life. I can’t imagine what that must be like. But the smile on Brad Pitt’s face when he accepted his Oscar for Best Film makes me think it must all worth it.