A Renaissance Revolution – VIWIFF Catalyst For Change Discussion

Late one night, with tummies full of Tojo’s, Rawiya and Sophia lay comatose in bed.

Suddenly, Rawiya awoke from her slumber in a fit, “I just had the most crazy-ass dream!” Rousing her partner, “I was kayaking off Jericho when a huge grey whale popped up and told me I was pregnant. It said the baby would either grow up to become a great filmmaker who inspires and entertains billions or live a lifetime of struggle just to have their voice heard.”

Rawiya’s eyes widened, “It was a sperm whale! Do you think…” 

“I think you ate too much sushi.” Sophia moaned, “Go back to sleep.”

But modern science had indeed done its job, and nine months later at the age of 43, with her lesbian wife by her side, Rawiya gave birth on a couch in their claustrophobic condo.

As the midwife announced, “It’s a girl!” Rawiya sighed, “A lifetime of struggle it is.”

A frustrated screenwriter with a half dozen scripts stuck in development purgatory, Rawiya was all too aware of the stats. “Less than 20 per cent of features are directed or written by women. And don’t get me started with how we are represented on screen.”

But Sophia, a physics teacher, knew a thing or two about succeeding in a profession dominated by men. Referring to a poster of Einstein on the wall, she donned a dreadful German accent, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.

“What does that even mean? If she just thinks positive and puts on a pretty smile, she will get to tell her stories.”

“No it means if you focus on the dismal stats that’s where they’ll stay. I thought I married an artist, a dreamer, an idealist.”

“Well, now I’m a realist.”

Nodding again at the poster, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

Sophia shrugged, “Maybe we’ll get lucky. Maybe she won’t want to make films.”

But by the age of four, Alice, with her Hasbro handycam perpetually hanging around her neck, was bossing around playmates to act out scenes she had storyboarded in Crayola, demanding reluctant thespian toddlers to “Cry like you mean it.”

Rawiya groaned, “Oh great, she’s an auteur, too. A lonely lifetime of struggle.”

Sophia was about to lecture, but Rawiya cut her off, “Don’t you dare quote Einstein!”

“How about the Geena Davis Institute? If she can see it, she can be it.”

That night, Rawiya and Sophia lay dormant with Vera’s Burger bellies.

Suddenly, Rawiya bounced out of bed,  “I just had the most incredible dream. No. Not a dream. A vision… of a revolution. A Renaissance! It is time for a paradigm shift, my love. A shift in what it means and what it takes to be a great filmmaker, a great female filmmaker. Now, I just have to figure out how to make my vision a reality.”

She looked to her bewildered wife, “Sophia?”

Sophia gaped, “It’s true. You just can’t beat Vera’s meat.”

“Bitch, I’m serious. I need to get this vision out there.”

Sophia winked, “Wrap a story around it.”

“Now who are you quoting?”

“Rachelle Chartrand”

“Hmm… never heard of her.”

————————————————————————————————-

Director Karen Lam on the set of Evangeline. Photo courtesy of Opiate Pictures

Director Karen Lam, recipient of the 2013 Women in Film Artistic Innovation Award, on the set of Evangeline.  Photo: David Feuillatre / Courtesy of Opiate Pictures

 

Is it tacky to quote yourself in a blog? Don’t answer that.

So, how does this story end?

Will Alice become a great filmmaker who inspires and entertains billions? Will Rawiya’s vision of a Renaissance become a reality?

I’ll let you write the ending… or better yet, join Lauren, Maureen, Shauna, Lindsey, Candice and myself on International Women’s Day and we can all write it together.

Oh and one final quote from the only woman to ever win a Best Director Oscar:

If there’s specific resistance to women making movies, I just choose to ignore that as an obstacle for two reasons: I can’t change my gender, and I refuse to stop making movies.
– Kathryn Bigelow

CATALYST FOR CHANGE
Free admission
March 8th, 2014, 10:00 – 11:30 AM
Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour Street, Vancouver

ModeratorRachelle Chartrand

Panelists:
Lauren Davis (Telefilm – Regional Feature Film executive – Western Region)

Candice Elzinga (Casting Director, CSA)

Maureen Levitt (Super Channel – Creative Development Executive)

Lindsey Hodgson (Pacific Northwest Pictures – Sales & Acquisitions)

Shauna Hardy Mishaw (Whistler Film Festival Society – Executive Director and Founder)

#Daretotell us why you’ll come join our discussion – social media contest ongoing until March 3th, 3 p.m.

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