‘Females First’ Initiative Sees Women In Hollywood Mentor The Next Gen

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We’ve all seen the dismal stats on female representation in Hollywood. And if you haven’t, don’t be a goose, get familiar and recognize how and why this affects you too.

Women are at a great disadvantage both on screen and behind the scenes in the film industry and it has been very troubling to see that the great white male domination of old is still in charge. Thankfully, we do live in an era where anything is possible, if we only set about making it happen. Women all over the world and in all facets of the entertainment industry have been stepping up to the challenge to balance out the gender bias in this powerful medium.

The latest initiative to set some forward moving wheels in motion is ‘Females First’ which was created by Dazed and Confused magazine. Jennifer Byrne, Dazed’s video commissioning editor, said she was sick of the “male, middle-aged, middle-class, white perspective of the world”.

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She added: “All the films coming to me are from the same angle. We’re not anti-men, but we want to encourage more young women to pick up the camera so we have greater diversity in what we’re watching. Girls lack confidence to pick up a camera because they think they need to be technical but a director is just someone who has a story to tell and can tell it clearly.”

Some of the big names involved in this timely cause include actress Dame Helen Mirren, award-winning director Jane Campion and actress Sienna Miller. These women have been asked to choose their favorite young female directors to make a film – from an arts short to a music video or a piece of fiction – to show on its website. Dazed, which will give those selected between £2,000 and £5,000 towards their project depending on the scale of their idea.

Campion, best known for The Piano, has picked the first film-maker, Anahita Ghazvinizadeh, although in this instance she has selected something the Iranian-born director has already made. Needle, which won a prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and tells the story of a young girl getting her ears pierced in the midst of her parent’s divorce, will open Dazed’s Females First project on Friday, April 11th.

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Sienna Miller has picked the playwright Polly Stenham who wrote ‘The Face’. Actress and playwright Sarah Soleman, and the Swedish director Maja Borg are some of the other names who have shown interest in taking part in this initiative.

This news comes just after it was announced that Disney’s ‘Frozen’ which has surpassed $1billion worldwide is the highest grossing animated film of all time, and it was co-directed by a female: Jennifer Lee! The movie has a strong message about female friendship and bonds, and it is clearly resonating with young girls all over the world.

So to all your aspiring female filmmakers out there, this is your moment. There has never been a greater time to use your talent and create something. If initiatives like ‘Females First’ are anything to go by, you just never know what is around the corner and what kind of platform will be created for you to share your message. Don’t give up, the women of Hollywood need you more than ever!

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