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Archive for the ‘Women Mediamakers’ Category

Agnes Varda making first feature “La Pointe Courte”

Couldn’t resist that title.  In Chapter 8 of Moving Images, students explore the positions that correspond to the filmmaking tasks for which they have been developing skills throughout their work with the textbook.  These jobs have been in a pretty constant state of flux for a number of years as the processes of the digital media pipeline and business of media production continue to evolve and transform.

Recently a very interesting piece by Cara Buckley on gripping appeared in the New York Times: What is a Grip?  The Few Women Doing the Job in Hollywood Explain.”  Check out this article to find some answers along with insights and inspiration.

On a topic related to a core theme of this article, mediateacher.net notes the deeply sad news of the passing of Agnès Varda, one of the most important filmmakers of this era and a truly inspiring creator and visionary.

And to continue with another follow-up (related to the earlier references in multiple ways!) to working in the movie industry, here is an interview with Jessica Lee Gagné, the cinematographer of the stunningly shot Escape at Dannemora, a Showtime 7-part miniseries directed by Ben Stiller, released a few months ago to widespread acclaim.  Amazing work both behind and in front of the camera.

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Among the very necessary debates and amidst the range of fallout that mediamakers have seen and are still to see from the New York Times investigative report on Harvey Weinstein and his subsequent fall from power as a movie studio executive, media students, educators, and professionals must sift through many perspectives and viewpoints.  I would like to highlight this op-ed by Sarah Polley that appeared today, The Men You Meet Making MoviesMs. Polley was the subject of an earlier post in mediateacher.net’s series on Women Mediamakers, Talking Stories: Portraits with Sarah Polley, which readers may wish to check out for further information on this important multi-talented creator.

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Here is a follow-up to the Women Pioneers of the Cinema: Patty Jenkins and the Wonder Women post from a few days ago (see below).  For Mekado Murphy’s New York Times “Anatomy of a Scene” series, Patty Jenkins narrates a key scene from Wonder Woman, along with a nice tip of the hat to a strong inspiration for her — Richard Donner’s Superman from 1978.

P.S.: Right after I posted this piece, the NYTimes published this highly interesting and enlightening interview with Patty Jenkins.  Read it to the end.  The exchange at the tail of this conversation with journalist Cara Buckley was one of the most take-your-breath-away moments I have read in an interview with a filmmaker in quite some time.  It features a very inspiring and strikingly original statement from Ms. Jenkins.

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In Chapter 3 of Moving Images and a number of mediateacher.net posts (for example, check out Part 2 from this series or the Kevin Goff interview), we have discussed cutting edge moving image creation designed to produce advertising, public service messages, issue-driven content, and a wide array of visual storytelling.  Here is a very interesting current resource: the TBrandStudio Selects for 2017 from the world of animation.  The chosen mediamakers are: Nice and Serious, Block & Tackle, Bhakti Patel, Mighty Oak, and Pete Levin.

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Director Patty Jenkins

As earlier periods of motion picture history could be described as the heyday of the Western or the Musical, we are clearly living in the age of the Superhero.  It seems like each summer brings the need for new articles on the evolution of the form — from Heroes for America! (And now the world.) or A Stink Bucket of Disappointment” or just some criminally wacky fun? (which was certainly far more the former than the latter) — and the current moment certainly calls for a nod in the direction of the upcoming release of the feature length film Wonder Woman. 

Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot shooting Wonder Woman

Now, finally, a contemporary major studio release that features a female superhero — and not only that, but the most popular super-heroine in comic book history, a character created by William Moulton Marston as a testament to the power, independence, and strength of character of the women in its creator’s life.  For a story at least as interesting  and jaw-dropping as anything that screenwriters can whip up, Jill Lepore’s The Secret History of Wonder Woman delves into the incredible stories of Olive Byrne and her mother Ethel Byrne (and aunt Margaret Sanger), of Marston and his wife Elizabeth Holloway and their unconventional family, and of the genesis and early years of Wonder Woman. 

For this movie, another milestone is being reached: it is directed by a woman, Patty Jenkins.  The only previous feature film directed by Jenkins is the feature Monster, (which she also wrote), starring Charlize Theron in an Academy Award-winning performance as Aileen Wuornos, the infamous serial killer who died by lethal injection in 2002.  Since then, Jenkins has been directing television shows, particular for the pilot of The Killing (another production featuring a strong female protagonist), Entourage, and Betrayal.  Now, Jenkins has directed the highly anticipated feature Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, written by Allan Heinberg.  Here is a video interview with Jenkins about the movie, and here is an interview from FilmInk.

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In our series of posts about Women Pioneers of the Cinema, a few years ago we highlighted the work of one of the most important filmmakers in movie history: Alice Guy Blaché.  For some further information about this groundbreaking creator and studio head, you can check out this brief piece with video links from Open Culture.  Or, you can go straight to this short but informative video.  It is titled “The First Woman Filmmaker Nobody’s Heard Of” — well, that might be the case unless you learned about filmmaking and media literacy from Moving Images and mediateacher.net.  

And do you want an exciting piece of news?  There is a documentary in the works about this inspiring pioneer: Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché, directed by Pamela B. Green.

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screen-shot-2017-02-28-at-6-50-48-pmThis article by Google (about their own initiative) highlights interesting work in technology applications used to study and evaluate gender roles onscreen in film and to use data to analyze screen time by gender in a variety of movies.  This resource can be of value in media literacy work that explores gender bias and social implications of media messages.  For further research, there are many resources available through the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

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