With COVID-19 dominating news feeds, it’s more important than ever before to keep our attention on movements like #MeToo and the fight for gender equality. The music industry, like many male-dominated fields, is rife with stories of harassment and assault. And the disconcerting trend we see over and over in cases of sexual assault pops up in the music industry, too: the silence of women scared that speaking up will mean losing their careers.
Academy Award-nominated filmmakers Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick seek to break this mold in On the Record, an intense and poignant account of one woman’s fight to tell her story. Drew Dixon, formerly a music executive at Def Jam Recordings and Arista Records, is one of the first women of color to speak up publicly about sexual assault at the hands of a prominent industry giant. On the Record tells her story, and those of several other women alleging sexual assault, harassment, or rape by music mogul Russell Simmons.
One of Many, a short film about the 2017 Women’s March, and an official selection of the upcoming 2020 International New York Film Festival, is seeking digital distribution. As the Trump era lurches to a close, and new rounds of protests occupy the streets, One of Many documents the women’s marches that occurred nationwide three-and-a-half years ago in opposition to Trump, and more broadly, to sexism, patriarchy, and racism.
“The film captures the widespread, collective outrage that President Trump’s inauguration provoked while contextualizing it within historical human rights movements,” notes One of Many Executive Producer Jessica Good. The sixteen-minute documentary is directed by M.J. Bernier and debuted last fall at Atlanta’s Out on Film festival, one of the oldest and largest LGBTQ+ film festivals.
In this global Pandemic time, philanthropic resources are stretching to a maximum. As well, our vision of what is philanthropic is also expanding. For the many of us who are tech savvy and broadband accessible, while we are isolated in our homes, our intercommunications online have tripled and quadrupled. Virtual meetings and presentations abound. We are tackling service in entirely new ways and through newly chartered venues.
The independent film community is rallying around extending ways it can serve both its filmmakers and audiences – all while shut in at home. The Art House Convergence community listserv initiated a discussion early on and set some guidelines about safety as the coronavirus started to spread in the United States. Two days before SXSW cancelled, members of AHC pondered “when and if” questions. Then, one by one, art house movie theatres posted their closing statements, and a discussion emerged on what message to place on the empty marquees.
Verizon “Future Fund” supports females in entertainment and technology
LOS ANGELES, CA (February 11, 2020) – Today, Verizon announced the creation of the Future Fund, a $5 million dollar commitment to support new and emerging female talent across entertainment and technology. In addition to funding, Verizon will provide Future Fund recipients with access to state-of-the-art production facilities, including the Verizon Media RYOT 5G Studio in Los Angeles and Verizon 5G Labs, as well as distribution opportunities across the Verizon Media ecosystem, which reaches nearly 900 million global consumers per month.
In addition to introducing the Future Fund live on stage at The 2020 MAKERS Conference in Los Angeles, Verizon Chief Marketing Officer Diego Scotti named the first project to receive its support: a feature documentary called NOT DONE. This film will examine how feminist change makers of today are carrying the torch and making real progress toward true equality.
(Feb. 20, 2020) Today YouTube and Global Fund for Women unveiled the official trailer for “Fundamental. Gender Justice. No Exceptions” – a brand new 5 episode documentary series that follows dynamic activists from five countries who are disrupting the status quo and radically altering the course of history.
Feb 18 (Reuters) – A Manhattan jury’s verdict in the sexual assault trial of former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein may well hang on the testimony of three women whose accusations were not part of the underlying criminal case.
Deliberations began on Tuesday in the case of Weinstein, 67, who pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi and raping Jessica Mann, a onetime aspiring actress.
During the six-week trial, the three other women – costume designer Dawn Dunning, model Tarale Wulff and actress Lauren Young – testified they were enticed into meeting Weinstein for professional reasons and then groped or raped.
A question I ask myself and others: how do you get inspired to keep doing this work? How do you get charged up to talk about the value of feminist strategies for giving when oftentimes, philanthropy gives feminism the radio silence treatment? One way is through art.
A powerful new infusion of art is coming out this year. It’s called Unladylike2020, and it’s a film series celebrating women trailblazers. I was fortunate enough to see a preview of the first film in the series here in Providence last year, and got a glimpse of how the series combines original artwork, animation, rare archival footage, and interviews with family members, historians, and experts who discuss how these women shaped our world. PBS’s American Masters series will be participating in the initiative with three projects:
Bumble—the self-proclaimed feminist dating, lifestyle and career app—recently announced the five winners of its 2019 “Female Film Force” competition.
The competition, now in its second year, provides grants to female filmmakers in France, Germany, Ireland and the UK. Female Film Force received over 1,300 pitches by teams of women filmmakers (writers, directors, or producers) and awarded £20,000 (about $25,000 USD) to each winner.
The initial candidates had submitted their applications in March, and were subsequently reduced to a short list, following which ten teams pitched a film industry panel, and then that group was winnowed to the five victors. In addition to the grant, the winners will receive support and guidance from industry experts; the completed films will be released in January 2020.
The number of women in engineering (the crucial E of STEM) has risen in the last few decades, but still lags behind men — only 13% of engineers are women. A new big-screen film called, “Dream Big: Engineering Our World,” seeks to inspire the next generation of diverse female engineers. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), MacGillivray Freeman Films (MFF) and Bechtel Corporation are the key partners driving this initiative.
A Film About Big Dreams
“Dream Big” shares exemplary feats of
engineering and the stories of the contemporary engineers who bring them to
life, with a focus on women in the field. Towering buildings, underwater
robots, solar cars and sustainable city planning are a few of the topics
Minority directors are underrepresented in
film at a degree of three to one, while women are underrepresented at a rate of
seven to one, according to UCLA’s 2018 Hollywood Diversity Report. There is clearly room for
progress here in terms of equality, especially for women who are black or of
another minority identity. Rapper, singer, actress, label president, author,
real estate developer and entrepreneur Queen Latifah is out to shift the
scales; she recently teamed up with Tribeca Studios and Marc Pritchard, Procter
and Gamble’s chief brand officer, to launch the Queen Collective (TQC). TQC has
a goal of “accelerating gender and racial equality behind the camera.” Two
inaugural documentaries backed by TQC premiered in April 2019 at the Tribeca
Film Festival, and they are now streaming on HULU.