When you think of a film director, what image comes to mind?
This is the question that Alicia Malone asks her audience in the powerful TED talk, ‘Female Directors in Hollywood & Impact of Movies Made from 1 Perspective’ from 2017.
Most people, Malone argues, will envision a male, perhaps in baggy trousers, reclining on his director’s chair. Malone’s aim, in her talk, is to encourage us to change our perceptions of what a movie director looks and sounds like. To do this, she spotlights some of the early female pioneers of filmmaking who were actively impacting the world of film at the dawn of the industry. One of these incredible women is Dorothy Arzner, who used her creativity and ingenuity to invent the boom microphone in the 1920s.
Image credits © BFI
Malone also reveals the shocking statistics that evidence the imbalance of male and female directors working in the industry, and the ways in which technology can serve to solidify these narrow perceptions. A quick Google search for ‘film director’ will bring up a disproportionate number of male directors in the results.
Malone goes on to discuss the vital importance of representation, not just behind the scenes, but on screen too. The ways in which women are presented as characters in movies has a trickle-down effect, which influences the opportunities for females in filmmaking as well. As Malone says, ‘Movies are powerful’, and they have the power to both solidify negative stereotypes and tear them down to build new ones. If female characters on screen are one-dimensional, then fewer women will be given the opportunity to tell their stories behind the camera, Malone suggests.
Image credits © IMDb
Alicia Malone is a film journalist, TV host, producer, writer and editor. She has worked in a number of roles within the media industry including for TV and news channels in Australia, her home country. She hosted many film-related shows such as Movie Juice and Premiere and has hosted live red-carpet events for awards shows and film festivals around the world. In 2010, she packed her bags for Los Angeles, where her career as a film journalist and critic really took off. Her work has been featured on MTV, Access Hollywood, CNBC, and E!, to name just a few. She has dedicated her time throughout the last decade to encouraging changed perceptions about women in film and gave a second TED talk on the same topic in 2015.
Take a look at Malone’s TED talk below!
With her research, her passion and her words, Malone is advocating for positive change within the industry, and empowering all of us to open our minds and change our understanding of what it means, and looks like, to be a movie director in today’s industry.
We’re inspired and invigorated by Malone’s talk, which is why we’re sharing it as part of our #WomenWednesdays series this week! Who is your favourite advocate for women in film within the industry? Let us know by leaving us a comment on social media!