Filmmaking isn’t the only path I’ve chosen where I’ve found myself in the minority. As a student of Philosophy at NYU, I was one of few females in classes such as Logic, Metaphysics, and Philosophy of Language. My training in philosophy is now allowing me to consider my current minority status as a female filmmaker, and how we can truly be considered equal to male filmmakers.
How does philosophy relate to filmmaking? While at NYU, I conceived the idea for my first short film, “Circles,” which is an exploration of despair. The film draws from concepts I studied in philosophy classes, and demonstrates the thought processes of a young girl trying to understand tragedy through sometimes paradoxical logic. The study of Logic greatly influenced “Circles,” and also influences how I view myself as the filmmaker of “Circles.”
Logically speaking, being a female and being a filmmaker doesn’t boil down to “being a female filmmaker.”
Linguistically speaking, I am a female filmmaker, where “female” is an adjective. However, the phrase “female filmmaker” seems to be used more often as a noun, rather than a noun and its modifier—distinctly different from the noun “filmmaker.”
As a female and a filmmaker, I’d like to be considered a “filmmaker,” as I am doing the same job as other filmmakers, whether those others are male, female, or otherwise.
I was recently asked what advice I would give to other female filmmakers. In light of my education in philosophy, I considered carefully my response: We shouldn’t necessarily think of ourselves as “female filmmakers,” but rather, as “filmmakers.”
My suggestion is not one of anti-feminism, or to imply that the paucity of female helmers in Hollywood is simply a linguistic misrepresentation. My suggestion is that we understand the implications of putting ourselves in the minority group, “female filmmaker,” when our goal is to transcend this status. How will we and our films be treated differently if we refer to ourselves in this specific way?
When submitting “Circles” to festivals, did I fill out on applications that the film was written/directed/produced/starring a female? On some, yes, until I thought about why that question was being asked. Do I want to question whether my film was accepted to a festival on its own merit or because it was female-led? No.
If we continue calling ourselves “female filmmakers,” we are only darkening the distinctive line between “female filmmakers” and “filmmakers.” And if both do the same job, we should not need to distinguish between the two.