Thursday, July 13, 2006

What a Weekend!

I am so happy that the Festival weekend in Venice was such a success. The filmmakers who came watched each other's films and talked in the lounge and enjoyed not only the satisfaction of having other people see their work, but also of meeting other women whom they admired. There was much to admire in this crowd.

What I loved in all the conversations was the spirit of problem solving vis-a-vis women's invisibility in the film biz. Unlike last summer's WIFTI summit, where much of the message was, "Sue the batards. We did and now we have work. We have to struggle to maintain our status, so we can't help you. You need to help yourself." The feeling here was more, "Okay, things are skewed. But look at all this great work done mostly without any support. What can we do with it?" The problem becomes how to unite or at least coordinate our energies so that some of it goes into making opportunity for all and not just for oneself.

The image I have in my mind is a dry creek bed. There, women are building boats - some tiny rafts, some canoes, some sailboats, some the Queen Mary. But without water, the boats will do nothing but rot in the sun. A flash flood will carry a few further downstream, maybe even to open water. There we are, working on our boats, praying for rain and hoping not to be smashed by the others when it comes. We are afraid of each other's work and success as if only a lucky few will make it,and their finding the way out will block or smash our own escape.

At many industry and networking events, people are always asking for help on their "boat." Instead, we need to be thinking of ways to get water to our little river. A rising tide lifts all ships. And who knows, we may find we have created our own reservoir where we can sail our flotilla and the world will come to us for a break from the vast, indifferent blockbuster ocean.