Women bat­tle in SA film in­dus­try


THE world­wide film in­dus­try is in shock fol­low­ing the re­lease of Won­der Woman by Patty Jenk­ins.

Its South African re­lease at the be­gin­ning of the month sprouted cu­rios­ity in the lo­cal film in­dus­try and the place it holds for women.

Won­der Woman is the first movie fea­tur­ing a fe­male superhero and is the first superhero movie di­rected by a woman. De­spite this, it smashed box of­fice records earn­ing $212.648m (about R2.7 bil­lion) in the US.

South Africa’s film in­dus­try is quite young.

Women, how­ever, are as dis­crim­i­nated, if not more, as in other film in­dus­tries.

Sara Blecher, a fe­male di­rec­tor and win­ner of the Golden Horn Award for Best Achieve­ment in Di­rect­ing in a Fea­ture Film for It’s Me, Anna said there are still many is­sues fac­ing women.

“(Pre-made con­cepts and ideas) are easy to break and so bring new ideas with­out so many risks. That helps cre­ate a much wider space for new ideas and new con­cepts come into the air ” said Blecher.

She spec­i­fies that the in­dus­try al­lows space for fail­ure and re­newal, but women have it tough.

“As women, many con­straints are put in your way. Some such as: do peo­ple trust you with their money, they don’t trust in your abil­i­ties. That re­sults in you hav­ing to do ev­ery­thing your­self, from di­rect­ing to pro­duc­ing,” Blecher said.

In her pro­duc­ing and di­rect­ing, Blecher also tries to tell women’s sto­ries.

The 2015 suc­cess of It’s Me, Anna high­lights sex­ual as­sault. It’s an is­sue that is also rife in the in­dus­try. They are con­stantly vic­tims of sex­ual ha­rass­ment, vi­o­lence and ob­jec­ti­fi­ca­tion while film­ing in a mainly male dom­i­nated in­dus­try, she said.

“Over 70% of women in the film in­dus­try do not feel safe to go to work. That num­ber is ab­so­lutely ter­ri­fy­ing.”

Her ad­vice to up­com­ing fe­male di­rec­tors is: “They have to de­cide whose opin­ion they value so that they are not de­stroyed by their own films. Hav­ing men­tors they can trust and that can help them grow is ex­tremely im­por­tant.”

As women, many con­straints are put in your way

ROLE MODEL: Sara Blecher says it’s tough be­ing a woman di­rec­tor in a male-dom­i­nated in­dus­try.

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