Since Ava duVernay was not given an Oscar nomination for directing “Selma”, the media has taken to discussing the female presence, or rather lack of it behind the camera in Hollywood. The growing independent film world provides a slightly better outlook.
Studies like the “Celluloid Ceiling” and “The Women Filmmakers Initiative”, show women make up only two percent of directors for the top grossing films. While at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, 36 percent of films were either directed or co-directed by women.
Brooklyn based filmmakers and collaborators Jennifer Cho Suhr and AnnaRose King find that as young filmmakers early in their careers, the indie work has been welcoming to them.
“I see opportunities because you can make small films for cheaper and there are a lot of prod companies focused on women talent,” said Suhr.
It has not been without challenge like the time in film school when King was asked to be the makeup artist rather than complete a technical task on set. To overcome the issue of finding directorial work the women, along with three other friends from film school, decided to start a film collaboration.
“The idea is that there is this issue and gap of women getting directorial jobs, and we could sit back and read a lot of articles about it and feel upset about it so we said, lets get our own work and our own jobs and support each other,” said King.
Twenty year filmmaking veteran, Chitra Neogy, has developed a strength and confidence overtime necessary to become a powerful female filmmaker.
“Being powerful as a woman is not simple,” she said. “It’s not about ‘I’m powerful’ or ‘I’m such a strong woman’. When I say I’m a strong woman I have walked toward my strength. I’ve gone through all insecurities that one goes through.”
Neogy who left India at 16 to follow her passion for film, is both colorful in words and dress with a red feather worn in her hair. Neogy described herself as a poet artist and she has the merits to prove it, winning several awards for her directorial work over the years. She welcomes the conversation about women and film.
“Yes I’m a woman, a filmmaker, I am Indian, but the most important thing is that I’m an artist,” said Neogy. “This subject it is important to talk about it, but we don’t need to weep about it. We need to just do it.”