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Why Women ­in Hollywood Can't Get Film Financing

Want to be angry? Of course you do! Then enjoy reading this article about how women totally can’t be trusted with the vote money to make movies. Here’s a sample to get you psyched for it:

Dori Sperko, who’d been dabbling in Hollywood funding since selling her Florida-based payroll services company several years ago, told the table about three films she’d considered investing in that morning. “I automatically passed on the movie with the woman producer team attached,” she said. “I just feel like you can’t trust women you don’t know, but you can trust a man.” Sperko shrugged and sipped her cocktail. “It is what it is.”

More seriously, while that—along with several other choice bits from the article—is infuriating, some of the female filmmakers Sandler quotes need to grow up. Exhibit A: Jill Soloway, director of Afternoon Delight, about a “bored housewife looking to spice up her sex life”.

“Currently, if the [moviegoing] experience doesn’t make a man feel necessary, then there’s the feeling it’s going to be a boner kill at the box office,” says Soloway, who won the director’s prize at Sundance for Afternoon Delight, a film about, yes, another bored housewife looking to spice up her sex life. To help financiers widen the definition of what might be in their self-interest, she says, “we need to show that women actually want to see movies about unlikable women.”

I’ve got news for you, Jill: you could make that exact same movie with a man in the lead role and still no one would want to see it. The market for indie dramas about bored suburbanites is niche at best, and it’s not just women who hate movies featuring unlikable people. We’re fooling ourselves if we think otherwise.

If directors want big box office results and resultingly bigger budgets for their next projects, they need to make movies with more mainstream appeal. This applies to both men and women.

On flipside of the nonsense coin, we have Christine Vachon, producer of several critically-acclaimed indies (Boys Don’t Cry and Far From Heaven, for example), asserting Hollywood’s level playing field:

She’s not convinced the barriers to female filmmaking exist. She agrees that “good work rises to the top,” and adds: “Listen, I can’t do what I do with a chip on my shoulder.”

I’ll agree about the chip on her shoulder, but Hollywood is not a true meritocracy, and it’s nonsense to suggest that it is. I suspect Vachon’s own success is blinding her to the barriers other women face when attempting to make their own movies.

The film business has a woman problem, no doubt. I just wish Lauren Sandler had put a little more critical analysis into her writing of this article.

Via Women and Hollywood.