Gender Inequality In Film: 5 Key Findings

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Gender inequality in the film industry has been a hot topic for a good while now, but especially in recent weeks.
Over the past nine months, Stephen Follows researched gender inequality in the UK Film Industry. Stephen is an award-winning writer and producer, so we can feel assured he knows exactly what he’s talking about. Check out his full report HEREplus the many projects he’s been involved in, HERE.You can follow him on Twitter as @StephenFollows (and you should!).
I read Stephen’s whopping 140 page report, not to mention a stack of other articles and discussion. Stephen himself also kindly offered some quotes for this article. So here’s what I took from it all and want to share with you – ready??

1) This Is A Man’s World …

Let’s get one thing straight before we start.
The UK Film Industry IS predominantly a man’s world. Stephen’s research shows that after their first feature, women will direct fewer films than their male peers. Stephen also found the higher the budget meant less chance of a female being hired.
  • 2,591 films were released from 2005 – 2014, 13.6% were directed by women.
  • In 2005, 11.3% were directed by women.
  • In 2014, 11.9% were directed by women.
So let’s shut down the idea that female filmmakers and their opportunities are diminishing because of our desire to ‘play house’ and ‘raise a family’. It’s an unfair and inaccurate generalisation that proposes stereotypical ideas.
One thing is clear: there are simply not enough opportunities available to women. Our full potential can only be reached by competing on a level playing field. Also worth remembering: we also need to value the support of our male allies. Both genders need to consider each other as we navigate this business together.
STEPHEN FOLLOWS“The system is rigged against women. It’s definitely not conscious, but it IS definitely happening.” 
MORE over at Bang2Write: Women! Know Your Place (hint: absolutely everywhere) 

2) Congratulations, You Got The Job!

In an ideal world, career opportunities would be offered based solely on skills and abilities. But Stephen’s research found that career prospects and roles for women in the UK Film Industry are severely limited compared to their male companions.
  • The more senior a role in the industry, the less likely it is held by a woman.
  • In all but two key departments, female representation ranged between 6% – 31%.
  • The majority were found in Casting/Make-up/Costume.
  • A total of 17 crew credits were studied – 14 out of the 17 had fewer females than males.
The best candidate for any job relies on experience, but if more experience is offered towards men, than that is an unfair advantage in any profession.
STEPHEN FOLLOWS“What we’ve got here is an “image problem” – women are seen as not being a “safe bet”. This is not caused by women in any shape or form, nor is it caused simply by men who hate women, but rather historic and financial conservatism.”

3) We’re All In This Together … Or Are We? 

In the UK, a fifth of films released receive public funding. A higher percentage of female directors were found in such films … Hurray, right? Wrong! The average showed a clear decline in supporting and funding female directors:
  • In 2007 – 32.9% directed by females
  • In 2014 – 17% directed by females
Wow, that’s a BIG decline. Yet it’s our duty as filmmakers to showcase a varied and inclusive representation of the public, especially as public funds support these films. These percentages sadly do not provide a true representation.
STEPHEN FOLLOWSI think that a 50:50 public quota would help greatly. One in five feature films made in the UK have some form of public funding (development and/or production) and it’s public money, so carries with it an obligation to reflect the public.”

4) Do Film Students /Industry Entrants Stand A Chance?

The good news is that emerging female talent isn’t being put off. Stephen’s research found that UK film students are roughly equally represented:
  • 50% Male
  • 50% Female
And for Industry Entrants:
  • 50.6% Male 
  • 49.4% Female
  • Only 27.2% of British Short Film directors are female.
  • Only 14% of TV Drama directors are female.
  • 1% of low-budget films directed by females.
  • 3% high-budget films directed by females
Even if we are to assume that 27.4% of female short film directors is a “true” representation of the talent pool (Newsflash: it’s not), it still simply does not make sense that MOST of these talented females “don’t want to” make TV Drama, features or high budget films after making shorts! C’mon.
There ARE enough women and our ideas to level the playing field. Now is the time to change the situation for ourselves and for others following in our footsteps.

STEPHEN FOLLOWS“Bringing in new entrants is less of a problem than we might think, because it’s 50/50 – women ARE coming in, they’re not being put off. The industry is not simply “not selecting” women at all, it’s that women have a harder time than men.” 
MORE over at Bang2Write20 Female Experts On Writing

5) With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

To summarise, the cause is believed to be down to those hiring and their preferences. For example, research found that female creatives had a higher percentage of women in their departments.
The responsibility of changing the current situation falls on all of our shoulders. We must value each other and strive to create an environment where talent and imagination creates endless possibilities for both genders.
STEPHEN FOLLOWS“Most people in the industry would count themselves as liberal and pro-equality, but at the same time they need to be as risk averse as possible in an uncertain world. This creates the disconnect that puts women at a disadvantage.” 
MORE over at Bang2Write: 15 (More) Fab Female Writers On Writing


Stephen Follow’s research found that men *do* have a significant advantage in UK Film in comparison to women.  But it should be noted he also concluded there was NO EVIDENCE found of any organised or conscious and deliberate effort to exclude women in the industry. It is believed these decisions are made due to an unconscious bias.

But overall, there’s nothing to debate anymore: this IS happening but we can use the figures to our advantage. In order to stop any type of discrimination we must support each other, ignoring every sub-category or label. These facts are our fuel to create more opportunities and a better circumstance for ALL writers.

So what are we waiting for?? Let’s GO!


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Yes, you've read that right.

Based on the ugly/adorable toys we all loved in the 90's, comes Dreamworks latest animated film Trolls

Not much is known about the plot at this stage, but here's what the synopsis states so far:

"Princess Poppy and Branch venture 'far beyond the only world they have ever known', and their quest will test their strength and reveal their true colours."

Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick take the lead in this upcoming animated musical comedy,  which also stars James Corden, Russell Brand and Gwen Stefani. 

Directed by Mike Mitchell (Shrek Forever After), Trolls will be released on November 4th 2016.


The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist

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The official teaser for James Wan's upcoming The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist is here!

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farming return as paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, who must travel to England and investigate poltergeist activity at a family home in Enfield. 

Based on real-life events and with James Wan at the helm, The Conjuring 2 is sure to be a great successor of the previous hit film. And yes, you probably will need to sleep with the lights on!

The film is due to be released on June 10th, 2016.

Are you brave enough to watch the teaser?

20 Game-Changing Love Interests & Why They're SO Important

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Love is a powerful motivator


It Must Be Love!

Love interests are often resigned to trophy position or prize for the main protagonist, but here are 20 Love Interests who are more than just the stereotype. Here’s our list of 20  types of love interest and why these characters are so important to the development of the STORY!

Romantic Love

1) Romeo & Juliet (from Romeo & Juliet)
Juliet thought she had found a solution, to fake her death and be reunited with Romeo. Ironically their families’ feud is only ended when united in grief … Cue the tears and tissues!
2) Han Solo & Princess Leia from the Star Wars Series
This feisty duo are capable of handling anything, even carbon-freezing can’t keep these two apart! Han Solo is the loveable rogue /supporting protagonist whose flaws can be overlooked as he is a substantial help in fighting the dark forces.
3) Rose DeWitt Bukater & Jack Dawson from Titanic 
Jack proves to be a hero through various examples of the classic hero archetype. His lower class status endures abuse and humiliation from Rose’s peers, however Jack’s acts of selfless love save Rose’s life.
4) Ennis & Jack from Brokeback Mountain
A forbidden love affair remembered forever from a tragic memento. Their story has been compared to those of a Greek Tragedy or characters such as Romeo and Juliet. 
5) Aragorn & Arwen from the Lord of The Rings Trilogy
Aragorn and Arwen’s relationship could almost be compared to a spiritual experience. Aragorn embarks on a journey, overcoming obstacles that transform him to be worthy of being crowned King and marrying a princess. 
Round Up: Romantic interests should motivate/challenge/inspire the protagonist to overcome obstacles/personal flaws. 

Platonic Love

6) Creasy & Pita from Man On Fire
Creasy is a former CIA assassin and alcoholic working as Pita’s bodyguard. When Pita is kidnapped Creasy finds redemption in his last chance to save somebody that cared for him.
7) John Coffey & Paul Edgecomb from The Green Mile
Coffey is a perfect example of the archetypal Christ figure. A gentle giant with magical abilities, whom Paul knows is too pure to save himself from a crime he did not commit.
8) Imperator Furiosa & The Five Wives from Mad Max: Fury Road
It’s Furiosa’s story in this male-dominated world and Max is just living in it, aiding her motive to protect the wives. A rare female character that is an equal protagonist to the main hero without serving as a romantic interest.
9) Teddy & David from A.I. Artificial Intelligence
When David the robotic boy is abandoned by his human mother, his android toy Teddy acts as a mentor and guide as they embark on a journey to find her. 
10) Casper and Kat from Casper
Casper the friendly ghost befriends Kat, a young girl living in his haunted house and dealing with the loss of her mother. He sacrifices his one chance at becoming human again for Kat’s father, solidifying his BFF status!
Round UpThe platonic love interest could also be called an ally. The ally archetype is a character that the hero trusts/can provide comfort and aid in the hero’s journey.

Parental Love

11) Mufasa & Simba from The Lion King
Mufasa serves as the expendable hero, a catalyst for his son Simba’s transformation. Mufasa still provides a profound and moral compass for Simba even after death. 
12) Sarah Connor & John Connor from The Terminator Series 
Sarah Connor is a badass mother devoted to protecting her son John at any cost. Her role as a maternal guardian is in the same vein other matriarchal archetypes such as Ripley in the Alien Series.
13) Meg & Sarah from Panic Room
Mother Meg and daughter Sarah are forced to fight for survival against a brutal group of burglars. Another example of a strong female character prepared to do anything to protect her daughter.
14) Man & Boy from The Road
Possibly the most depressing film ever, but a deeply moving and realistic portrayal of the father-son relationship between Man and Boy driven by pure primal instinct to survive an apocalyptic world. 
15) Chris Gardner and Christopher Jr from Pursuit of Happiness
A true rags-to-riches story, the hero is determined to provide a better life for his young son. Overcoming various obstacles on the hero’s journey to accomplish his dream and motivating the audience to achieve their dreams in the process. 
Round UpThe parental love seen in a mother/father figure often plays the role of a mentor. A mentor’s primary function is to be a support system to the protagonist. 


16) Aslan & The Pevensie Children from The Chronicles of Narnia 
Aslan is another Christ archetype, the sacrificial scapegoat who through resurrection defeats his enemy. Aslan serves as a mentor and saviour to the children, such as Gandalf in Lord of The Rings.
17) Ann & Kong from King Kong
After near-death encounters with dinosaurs and the epic battle on top of the Empire State building, Ann is devastated to lose her friend and protector Kong. Ann’s fear over the course of the film becomes love. 
18) Shadow, Chance, Sassy & The Burnford Children from Homeward Bound
When three pets become stranded in the wilderness their only hope for survival is the love they have for their owners. These three prove love can conquer all, even bears and mountain lions! I dare you to watch the ending and NOT cry … 
19) Littlefoot & Mother from The Land Before Time
His mother’s death starts events that Littlefoot must overcome on his journey to reunite with his grandparents. Themes of death and an omnipresent love proving a mother’s love can conquer all.
20) Albert & Joey from War Horse 
The central theme of War Horse is friendship and loyalty between Albert and his horse Joey during World War 1. Joey’s journey is brutal and harrowing but proves more than once that he is a hero.


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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The first trailer is finally here for the spin-off of the Harry Potter series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

In the upcoming fantasy film based on J.K. Rowling's book of the same name, the story focuses on Newt Scamander. Newt arrives in New York city at the Magical Congress of United States of America, where upon he mistakenly unleashes his monsters from his expandable briefcase. 

With the American wizarding authorities out to capture him, Newt must claim back his monsters and return the wizarding and muggle world back to normal.

Eddie Redmayne stars as Newt, alongside Samantha Morton, Ron Perlman and Jon Voight. 

Directed by David Yates and screenplay written by J.K. Rowling, Fantastic beasts and Where to Find Them will be released internationally in November 2016. 

The Good Dinosaur: Review

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As a huge Pixar fan I was very excited for this film as the idea was unique and the concept art looked beautiful. I was not disappointed by the trailer with the long awaited introduction of  dinosaur Arlo and his human side-kick Spot.

Arlo is unlike the rest of his dinosaur family - he is nervous and scared of most things. When he falls into a river and carried far away from home, Arlo must confront everything that he is scared of to find his way to his family. With the help of his new human friend Spot, they must learn the true meaning of family and facing your fears. 

As beautiful as the animation is (even the small details can't go unnoticed here, truly breathtaking), Pixar's latest film The Good Dinosaur unfortunately doesn't deliver the same emotional punch as their previous films.

Don't get me wrong, there are some tear-jerking moments here, but the opportunity for an exciting and terrifying adventure seems to have been lost. The Good Dinosaur was supposedly plagued by production problems, with the story going through some serious rewrites and original director Bob Peterson removed from the film just last summer. 

I can't help but feel that The Good Dinosaur falls short on the most fundamental part of storytelling - the story. Yes the characters are endearing and the animation is its usual Pixar perfection, but the story seems rather bare. The characters however are as memorable as ever,  with Arlo, Butch the T-rex and Arlo's Poppa Henry stealing the show. Perhaps with a few more interesting plot points The Good Dinosaur would have really hit the mark, because the animation is some of the best they've ever done. I dare you to watch this film and not be moved by the animation with the atmospheric score.

My rating: 6/10

The Good Dinosaur is directed by Peter Sohn and stars Raymond Ochoa, Frances McDormand, Jeffrey Wright and Sam Elliott. 

The Good Dinosaur is in cinemas now!


Captain America: Civil War

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The official teaser trailer for Marvel's Captain America: Civil War is finally here and it looks just as epic as we had all hoped for!

The official premise is " After the events of Age of Ultron, another international  incident involving Captain America and the Avengers results in collateral damage, prompting politicians to form a system  of accountability and a governing body to determine when to call in the Avengers. This results in the fracturing of the team while they attempt to protect the world from a new enemy."

The trailer has a lot of new footage not seen before, and makes it clear that Bucky and Steve are a force to be reckoned with. With Steve (Captain America) and Tony (Iron Man) on opposing sides of the law, and their fellow Avengers forced to choose, will they be able to save the world without destroying each other?

Civil War features an ensemble cast, including new faces such as Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Scarlet Witch (Elisabeth Olsen), Vision (Paul Bethany) and Antman (Paul Rudd).

Whose side will you be on?

Civil War will be released on May 6 2016.
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