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Old 01-30-2013, 07:51 AM   #121
CJ Walley
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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I know I said I was done, but I have to also mention how absolutely bad-ass Madeleine Stowe is.

Not only does she make mass-appeal movies, but she wrote a screenplay (Unbound Captives) for herself to star in and direct, then turned down a 5 million dollar offer for the script from a studio, because they wanted to recast it with Ridley Scott directing a male lead, as she waits for an opportunity to direct it herself, even though she has now aged out of the role. That's chutzpah.

If this ever gets made, I better hear all the Done Deal ladies talking it up!
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:00 AM   #122
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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Speaking of the French... this whole thread brings up another important point that's been bothering me and that I find important to bear in mind.

First, a personal anecdote in demonstration. On one of my first scriptwriting jobs in France, a director and the script editor told me one day at lunch that I was the first/only woman they knew to do that. Me: "Huh? Really". What did I know? But looking into it every so slightly, it didn't take long at all to discover that there are plenty of women scriptwriters here (and directors, I might add) that are actual household names - known, not only to professionals but by your average Joe (or 'Pierre') in the street!

(Just a few names that leap to mind in case anyone cares to imdb them: Danièle Thompson, Agnès Varda, Josiane Balasko, Agnès Jaoui, Marguerite Duras, Françoise Sagan, Coline Serreau - whose 'Trois hommes et un couffin', remade as 'Three Men and a Baby', was a huge success in Europe - and far funnier than the American remake.)

So why did these chaps, who'd been in the business (and France!) much longer than I, say that? They surely knew of these women, and others too, like everyone I've met here.

My theory after years of puzzlement and discussion: it's a mantra.
Not sure why that French dude said that. But having been involved in French film for many years, I would definitely say that most anyone with a knowledge of cinematic output in both countries could absolutely come up with more names of women directors in France than in the U.S.

I don't know what that says about sexual barriers, etc., but yeah, in my mind, there are more famous women directors in France than in the U.S.

Of course, France is not famous for 250 M tentpoles, but rather for smaller, more intimate, character driven pics.

P.S.: I once hosted a dinner for Agnes Varda. It was a disaster. But I will forever cherish her message on my answering machine telling me just how much a disaster it was.

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Old 01-31-2013, 09:36 AM   #123
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

Sorry if I wasn't clear, Rantanplan, but they were marvelling over the fact that I was a female scriptwriter (I don't direct) and said they'd never seen one before. Nor could they even think of one.

I guess the first case is possible. But 'never heard of one' is very odd, indeed! Since all those women I cited, and more, very often wrote the scripts they shot.

Guess we could chalk that up to the fact the French always talk as though the director were uniquely responsible for the films they see - with no attention paid to scriptwriters whatsoever - except to blame them if the film was bad! N'est-ce pas?

Thank you for that link, sc. I've added it to my collection (with the link this time!) It's true we don't hear or talk about the Asian market enough, no doubt. But burn-out time for them could possibly come sooner than they think. I don't know how much "into cinema" they are, compared with, say, the French? And other Europeans. Smaller market, sure, but a very loyal and assiduous one. These folks are "into it". And a couple of quotes in that article really hit a few points well:

"the prospect that a film will embed itself into the cultural and historical consciousness ... in the way of “Gone With the Wind” or the “Godfather” series seems greatly diminished in an era when... the films that play broadly often lack depth."
and
"
..said the critic David Denby... referring to... his argument in a New Republic essay “Has Hollywood Murdered the Movies?” and in a new book, “Do the Movies Have a Future?” — the enduring strength of film will depend on whether studios return to modestly budgeted but culturally powerful movies. “If they don’t build their own future, they’re digging their own graves”.

I'm the one who bolded the word "enduring" btw.
For some reason, neither BO Mojo nor imdb ever show what revenues later DVD or other sales garnered - though surely the execs and studios have this information. What's with that? Could it have something to do with all those 'points' they promised participants? Garsh darn! I wonder!
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:50 PM   #124
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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Guess we could chalk that up to the fact the French always talk as though the director were uniquely responsible for the films they see - with no attention paid to scriptwriters whatsoever - except to blame them if the film was bad! N'est-ce pas?
Actually, I remember a former colleague (French guy) telling me that one of the problems with French cinema was that there weren't really very many screenwriters, and that most directors wrote their own scripts. The problem being that not everyone has both those talents. He was saying France really needed more professional screenwriters. Here we have our share of writer-directors of course, but even so writing and directing are usually seen as very separate professional activities that require different abilities.

So yeah, the French are really into the whole auteur thing, sometimes to their own detriment...
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Old 02-01-2013, 02:52 AM   #125
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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Isn't it interesting that women fought and fought and continue to fight to exist in a way that does not ultimately serve men by default, and yet here we are in the 21st century and it's a big deal that a woman does not have consequence-free sex on screen. Make of that what you will.
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I have been told straight up that if I want to have a male and female working together to solve a case, they must be romantically involved. They are not allowed to simply respect each other as colleagues; they have to be intimate.

A beautiful, smart woman who is interested in doing her best work and not in sleeping around? It's nice to see.
Well I never got a response when questioned these points, so I went and found a women, pulled her knitting out her hands, paused sixteen and pregnant and asked her.

And would you know it she agree'd 100%. She felt that a woman having sex with a man is almost always submissive on the woman's part and she actually rolled her eyes over the working romance thing and agreed it would be detrimental to how the women is perceived.

I was pretty shocked and a little angry to learn that's how the world is, seems I've been a little naive. I'll certainly be questioning writing any sex/romance into female roles in the future, regardless of how mutual/liberating/empowering I think they may be. Lesson learned.
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:16 AM   #126
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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Actually, I remember a former colleague (French guy) telling me that one of the problems with French cinema was that there weren't really very many screenwriters, and that most directors wrote their own scripts. The problem being that not everyone has both those talents. He was saying France really needed more professional screenwriters.

So yeah, the French are really into the whole auteur thing, sometimes to their own detriment...
Take that story to the French scriptwriters' guild and listen to the whole place groan!

I was around when La Guilde (originally, the UGS) started getting organized. They had close to 300 professional scriptwriters join in very quickly - which didn't include all of them, by any means!

And one of the perpetual obstacles they all face is not being able to get producers to consider projects without a director attached. Plus the fact that directors here almost always want to rewrite the script to make it "theirs" (cough, cough) - whether they know how to write or not. And, indeed, as your friend implied, a great many don't. I could go on for hours with tales of woe I've heard or experienced along those lines...!

Including for two features I've written myself that take place in France (one just partially) but written in English with an international audience in mind.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:56 AM   #127
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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Take that story to the French scriptwriters' guild and listen to the whole place groan!

I was around when La Guilde (originally, the UGS) started getting organized. They had close to 300 professional scriptwriters join in very quickly - which didn't include all of them, by any means!

And one of the perpetual obstacles they all face is not being able to get producers to consider projects without a director attached. Plus the fact that directors here almost always want to rewrite the script to make it "theirs" (cough, cough) - whether they know how to write or not. And, indeed, as your friend implied, a great many don't. I could go on for hours with tales of woe I've heard or experienced along those lines...!

Including for two features I've written myself that take place in France (one just partially) but written in English with an international audience in mind.
Pros and cons on both sides I guess. I think there are definitely more women directors in France, and it's also a country that looks kindly on first time writer-directors, or first-time directors. A lot of them get government financing (but it helps to have gone to the right film school). And they don't really seem to care if the film ever makes money And even major stars like Huppert seem willing to work with first-timers.

I remember a panel discussion with a first-time director at the film festival I used to be involved with (emerging French cinema). The moderator asked the young lady how she got her film made. She didn't understand the question. "Well I wrote ze script, and zen I got ze money." It seemed so self-evident to her. The moderator tried to be more specific: "In the U.S. you can spend 100 thousand dollars on film school, and then get a job at Borders."
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:02 AM   #128
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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Well I never got a response when questioned these points, so I went and found a women, pulled her knitting out her hands, paused sixteen and pregnant and asked her.

And would you know it she agree'd 100%. She felt that a woman having sex with a man is almost always submissive on the woman's part and she actually rolled her eyes over the working romance thing and agreed it would be detrimental to how the women is perceived.

I was pretty shocked and a little angry to learn that's how the world is, seems I've been a little naive. I'll certainly be questioning writing any sex/romance into female roles in the future, regardless of how mutual/liberating/empowering I think they may be. Lesson learned.

Yes, because that's exactly what I said. Your fallacy is showing.

Anyway, to the point of the thread, I'm glad to see that views of women in film are continuing to evolve.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:59 PM   #129
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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Well I never got a response when questioned these points, so I went and found a women, pulled her knitting out her hands, paused sixteen and pregnant and asked her.

And would you know it she agree'd 100%. She felt that a woman having sex with a man is almost always submissive on the woman's part and she actually rolled her eyes over the working romance thing and agreed it would be detrimental to how the women is perceived.

I was pretty shocked and a little angry to learn that's how the world is, seems I've been a little naive. I'll certainly be questioning writing any sex/romance into female roles in the future, regardless of how mutual/liberating/empowering I think they may be. Lesson learned.
Oh, hey. When I said "make of that what you will," that was because I didn't exactly know what to make of it. And the extent of the problem, if indeed there is one, is so diffuse/amorphous/elusive as to defy explicit and consistent definition across observers, independent of gender. So it probably doesn't even merit discussion so much as caution and further awareness and consideration going forward on the part of anyone who feels it prudent to be sensitive to such things -- such as filmmakers who might want this prodco's attention.
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Old 02-02-2013, 03:41 AM   #130
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Default Re: New prodco to focus on female directors and "strong roles for women"

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Oh, hey. When I said "make of that what you will," that was because I didn't exactly know what to make of it. And the extent of the problem, if indeed there is one, is so diffuse/amorphous/elusive as to defy explicit and consistent definition across observers, independent of gender. So it probably doesn't even merit discussion so much as caution and further awareness and consideration going forward on the part of anyone who feels it prudent to be sensitive to such things -- such as filmmakers who might want this prodco's attention.
Thanks for the explanation, I do appreciate it
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