When I first heard that Half the Picture was going to be at the Sydney Film Festival I knew I wanted to see it. In fact I was going to make time for it. Out of all the films screening, to me, this was the one that meant the most. And it certainly delivered.
The style was basic documentary interview format but this meant that the film focused on the stories of the many women that were interviewed including Ava DuVernay, Mary Harron, Jill Soloway, and Lena Dunham just to name a few. It allowed the facts to be personalised and for the audience to attach statistics to real faces, which I believed to be a big positive.
I have been researching and following the topic of female film directors intently since starting this blog in 2016 and so the inequality exposed in this film was not new to me. So when the statistics splashed across the screen in a stylistic animated info graphic and a series of horrified gasps filtered through the audience I knew that Half the Picture was a film that everyone needed to see. It reminded me of how little I really knew about the industry before I wanted to get involved in it. How many movies I’d seen directed by a man and never thought twice about what I was watching. How many women had been overlooked and even abused to get that end result that was now taking millions of dollars, including my own, at the box office.
Being in the bubble of my own research and awareness of the gender imbalance of the industry these infographics didn’t astound me but only reaffirmed what I now already knew. However the reactions from others in the cinema told me that people don’t really know the extent to which this inequality has penetrated the the film industry and how much it actually impacts them as people living in this society.
Films are our culture. By not having women be a part of filmmaking you are essentially cutting out half of the world’s voice. Its effecting everyone, not just those women who are not being treated equally when it comes to films. By not having gender parity in the film industry every woman in the world risks not seeing herself reflected in the medium that speaks for society.
That is why this documentary should be compulsory viewing for everyone.
Male, Female, Non-binary. Filmmaker, Non-filmmaker.
I attended a Half The Picture in Australia panel directly after viewing the film where the panellists spoke about how important it is to see more stories for women, by women. In a way Half The Picture was a story about women, made by women, for women. Overall making time to see this film was one of the best decisions I’ve made and I cannot encourage people enough to try and get to a viewing of it somewhere near you.
Over the weekend stay tuned for my thoughts on Rafiki. A film about a lesbian couple in Kenya directed by Wanuri Kahiu. The film went to Cannes and it was truly stunning.
If you are in the area and want to check out some Sydney Film Festival films you can do so via the website here.
FOLLOW THE WOMENS DIRECTION