“It isn’t fair to us, the Audience”

All over the world there are women in cinema raising their voice about equal opportunity in filmmaking but we rarely hear men in cinema publicly speak up about this inequality. Why is that?

We cherish the thoughts of Mark Aldridge, who points out that the real loss is for the audience as they are being denied the opportunity to watch more voices in cinema. He makes it evident that this is not only a “women’s issue” but a social one. We hope he inspires more men in cinema to speak up and make a difference.

Mark Aldridge

Writer and director of BlessedDays That Shook the WorldMummy AutopsyRameses: Wrath of God or ManDanny Loves Angela and Breath of Angels.

“I’m not great on numbers, but, like most people, I do understand fairness; it isn’t fair that 85% of films are directed by men. It isn’t fair that 80% of films are written by men, or that 78% of films are edited by men and 92% are shot by male cinematographers. It isn’t fair that women are directing less than 10% of the top films released every year.

Yet, women make up more than half of the cinema-going audience. Without women supporting film in theatres, it’s arguably the case that cinema would be in a state of severe decline. So, one might say that it is simply a matter of fairness that women should be afforded the same opportunities to create films and connect with a diverse audience.

But, that isn’t an argument for ‘positive discrimination’. The fact is that creativity, imagination, technical insight and audience awareness are not gender specific. Men cannot lay claim to a greater concentration of ‘filmmaking’ genes. The somewhat unpalatable truth is that women have been denied opportunities to express themselves through the medium of film and television, simply because they are women.

The prejudice and exclusion may not be malevolent or even conscious, but this does not dismiss the fact that the prejudice exists.

Ultimately, in the same way that great cinema should make us forget we are sitting in a theatre, so great film should make us blind to the gender of the filmmaker. As important as it is to share in stories which benefit  from women’s perspectives, it is also vital that women have equal opportunity to tell great stories which need to be told and which require the expertise of great film-makers, irrespective of gender.

We are undoubtedly missing out on seeing brilliant mainstream films from women who are and would be great, hugely successful and inspirational mainstream film-makers.

That is more than a shame. It isn’t fair. It isn’t fair to the filmmakers being denied the opportunity and it isn’t fair to us – the audience.”

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