by Carrie Specht
At the end of August Women In Film sent out their usual weekly newsletter (via email). In it there was a message from the communications Coordinator, Morgan Green regarding the approaching one-year anniversary of the organization’s #52FilmsByWomen campaign. It was on October 1, 2015, that they first launched the ingenious program as part of our Trailblazing Women Initiative with Turner Classic Movies (that’s right, TCM!). Women In Film asked a simple question: “Will viewers watch a film a week by a woman for one year?” As it turns out nearly eight thousand people said YES.
Given the number of people who go to the movies every week, watch TV, or stream content in the US alone this may not seem like an all too impressive number. However, I think it is. The number is particularly impressive when you consider how many people have taken on the challenge who did not sign up for the pledge online, either because they became aware of the project via TCM rather than through the organization, or simply didn’t feel the need to officially sign up. What it says is that there are people out there who are interested, and care about giving female filmmakers the opportunity at getting their work the exposure they deserve. No one’s saying that a film by a women is always going to be great. All anyone is trying to achieve is having an opportunity, to succeed or fail, by having an opportunity at all. Get it?
For those who were on this journey from the very beginning, you dedicated movie watchers may have nearly finished your list of fifty-two (and if you have, WIF would love to hear about it). However, life may have gotten in the way as it sometimes does, but that doesn’t mean you should give up! You can always support women creators by watching their work. If you’re concerned that you can think of fifty-two films by women to watch and need inspiration, check out 245 Films by Women on Netflix. Not only does it give you an extra 193 films, it’s a pretty amazing list that provides more than enough options for film loving entertainment. Heck, I just checked out the options that start with an A and there’s easily five films there alone that I’d like to watch!
You can also check out the personal list provided by Morgan Green herself (personal list). It’s a little short of 52 films at the time of this posting, but the recommendations are solid ones. In fact, you may just be surprised at how many of these films you’ve already seen. And may not even have realized they were directed by women! Which is kind of the point, isn’t it? After all, the sooner we stop labeling films by the gender of the filmmaker (or ethnicity, or religion, or what have you) the sooner we can simply enjoy every film for what it is and not view it through an imagined perspective that merely skews the experience.
If this is your first time hearing of the campaign, it’s not too late! You can make the pledge today, and help Women In Film get to 10,000 pledges before #52FilmsByWomen celebrates its first anniversary. Who will join me in the exploration of some amazing talent? Who knows, this could lead to you expanding your horizons in a multitude of directions when it comes to your cinematic pallet. I envy your journey. Bon voyage!