#femalefilmmakerfriday was started in order to get filmmakers who are women more exposure and to celebrate the work that they have done which rarely gets recognised. But when do we stop calling these women ‘female’ directors instead of just directors?
You could argue that by calling them female directors it celebrates their gender and in the present moment, where gender parity is a hotly debated issue, works to compensate for the inequality by adding much needed attention to work made by them. But then you could also argue that by calling them female directors it’s working to have the opposite effect and strengthening the already present sexism in the industry.
Kate Rees Davies is a filmmaker who challenges the idea of “female directors” and says that there should be no gender bias in the job title. Her reason? “You don’t say female nurse or female teacher or female doctor and we don’t say male director, unless you are Natalie Portman and you are the announcer at The Golden Globes and you want to make a statement then you say “all male director nominees”!”
As a member on the board of directors of the Alliance of Women Directors it is clear that she has women’s best interests at heart but it is an interesting idea to ponder. Why do we need to gender any job title and is it hindering the progress towards the equality that we all desperately crave? Kate spoke to me a bit about what her roll on the board means, “[I]am a passionate advocate to get gender parity and safety for women in the workplace. I also want to see more women get into the room with executives and be hired…Last november, I also organized the first AFM panel talking about the benefits of hiring women on your projects, panelists included Geena Davis, and the producers from A Wrinkle In Time.”
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On top of all this however Kate is herself a Director and has been a part of many exciting projects so far in her career. Recently she completed her 5th 48hour filmmaking challenge, the AT & T Create A Thon, which forces filmmakers to work at a fast pace writing, shooting and finishing an entire film. Although she is not a stranger to working fast as her first feature was shot in only 5 days!
If that wasn’t proof enough that Kate enjoys a challenge, she was also a part of the first indie film to shoot on 4K. Now readily available on most new phones when it first began 4K was the highest resolution professional cameras could shoot on. “The Sony F65 camera had just come out and hadn’t yet become mainstream, the only other film using it was After Earth.” Kate had a film in the works and when her Director of Photography managed to get their hands on the Sony camera Kate didn’t say no. “I said sure, as was just happy to have a camera. At the time the files were huge and it took a long time for our DIT (Digital Imaging Technician) to download the footage.” To Read More Click Here
For Kate the love of film started early with a 16mm Camera on her 16th birthday but turned into a career later on down the track. “I came into the business later in life after a successful carer in finance and sales, which I feel really helped with my story telling and the business side more.” Currently working on something for Cannes Film festival, there is no indication that the she will be leaving the film world anytime soon. “Telling stories and creating worlds is what I love and collaborating with the many talents on set is a joy.”
Before speaking with Kate I was very much an advocate for calling women ‘Female’ directors. I’m proud to be a woman and I think the specificity was important to bridging the gender gap. But after speaking with Kate and getting to know a bit about what she has achieved I realised that the determination, skill and passion of filmmakers like her (and the others I have featured on this blog) speaks louder volumes than the label of their gender. They are not female Directors but Directors that just happen to be female.
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