By Christina Schultz
The Oscars were all the way back in February yet I couldn’t help but think that those who were shocked, upset or angry with the fact that Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016) won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2017 felt similarly about the fact that The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, 2017) won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2018. Why could the past two winners for Best Picture cause such an uproar? Personally, I think the Oscars, and Hollywood at large, while not perfect entities – because let’s face it, they’ve f*cked up a lot and perpetuate so much that makes the industry so problematic – made the right decisions these past two years. Decisions that show audiences worldwide the U.S. film industry is moving away from the mainstream, the conventional, the heteronormative, the blandness, the whiteness and the head-up-the-assness of Hollywood.
Naturally audiences will react to such decisions (especially after the brilliant envelope slip up, #schadenfreude) and react they did. But how hard is it to understand that audiences consist of, well, every type of person on the spectrum of human beings? So instead of giving awards to a small sliver of this spectrum, i.e. straight white people, for films about said spectrum, we might actually be able to, or even should, bestow awards on “different” films? How could so many people say films like Moonlight or The Shape of Water are garbage, disgusting or indecent? They most certainly are not, especially if you view films with an open mind and fully comprehend the power of images. But yet I kept reading and hearing: *Sex with a fish man? Gross. *A love story between gay black men? Revolting. *La La Land [or other film nominated for Best Picture] was such a great film. You are entitled to your personal opinions, although I respectfully have to disagree with you, because the past two Best Picture winners certainly deserved the Oscars for so many reasons, and more importantly not because they were objectively “good films” (a term one tends to use lightly).
Allow me to use fan favorite La La Land as an example to prove why Moonlight and The Shape of Water deserved to win. La La Land is a simultaneous tribute to and self-aggrandizement of white Hollywood. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, who are just so darn cute, are not professional singers or dancers, and I would argue even their acting skills are lacking. They are nothing more than pretty white people and Hollywood has plenty of them. Despite all the buzz around the movie, it by no means deserved Best Picture. Dramas almost exclusively take home the Oscar, so if Warren Beatty had been right and La La Land won, not only would Hollywood be upholding its own superiority but it would have neglected to make an important political statement at this crucial time in American history. Moonlight was the first film with an all-black cast and the first LGBT film to win the Oscar for Best Picture. Think about that for a minute. One year later, The Shape of Water wins, a film in which “love trumps hate, monsters become lovers and freaks, geeks and the typically marginalized become heroes” (tiff_net). In other words, a mute woman (Sally Hawkins), her African-American friend (Octavia Spencer), a Russian scientist and a gay man (as it turns out, all types of people hated by 1950s conservative America, which sadly still seems true today) rescue a beautiful, highly intelligent creature from white men in power because they are willing to give it a chance and open their hearts. Two bold and aesthetically beautiful films featuring marginalized people that challenge the status quo. I could not think of more deserving films!
And before people say I'm a jerk or not giving the La La Land crew any credit for their work, let me explain why I'm writing this. While I enjoyed the film to a degree, it still left me cold, mainly because of the singing and the dancing and its retelling of an all-too familiar story. Besides representing white Hollywood, it was nothing like the ultimate musical from the 1950s. You know the one I'm talking about. Wait, you don't? Then let me tell you about it...
Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen's 1952 musical, Singin' in the Rain, is to this day considered one of the best Hollywood pictures ever. And why you might ask? Because so much work went into the film. It is a masterpiece of choreography, musical composition, cinematography, acting, set design and screenwriting. Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds, may they all rest in peace, danced and sang up a storm (get it? Singin’ in the Rain...storm?). However, the three main actors did not particularly like each other. Gene Kelly was such a notorious tyrant and taskmaster on set that he had a voice double (Betty Noyes) for Debbie Reynolds when she couldn't cut it and he had his co-stars frightened and upset by his incessant push for perfection.
And the craziest part of all? Debbie Reynolds wasn't a dancer (see below). Gene Kelly trained her so hard that you wouldn’t know she wasn't just as skilled as the others. Even though this is problematic (which I should probably address in another post), that is hard work. That is love for your craft. That makes history. Singin’ in the Rain is the far superior musical. Oh, and it has already been done. In 1952.
To connect the main threads here: we are moving beyond the time of the pretty white people in Hollywood; we are moving beyond the one-dimensional representation of the world; we are honoring the work and stories of people who have so often been marginalized in Hollywood and the film industry at large. And that is why La La Land is La La Lame.
For more information about Singin' in the Rain, click here:
*Note: I know my audience largely consists of intelligent, worldly people, so please understand this is a Schultzian rant about the film industry and is not directed at my readers! I thank you for taking the time to read and support my work, and the work of my team, at Femfilmfans. So please, do not in any way feel offended. Or if you are offended, let me know! Or if you disagree. Or if you love it. Any feedback is good feedback. I love to hear what my readers think.
By Christina Schultz
Words of warning: If you have not seen Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, be warned that the plot will be discussed in this editorial post. You should also be warned that the opinions expressed here, including those about rape, belong solely to the author.
If I were the mother of a teenage girl who was “raped while dying,” the text from the first of the three eponymous billboards, would I be moved to violence? The answer is simple: Yes. In Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh, 2017), the mother of dead rape victim Angela Hayes is certainly that. At first, Mildred (Frances McDormand, Oscar for Best Actress) takes out the brunt of her anger, grief and frustration on the local police because: “Still no arrests?” (billboard #2). She provokingly poses the question directly to the town’s well-liked police chief on the final billboard: “How come, Chief Willoughby?” Mildred’s three billboards and her subsequent acts of vehement hostility against the justice system that has seemingly failed her then set off a chain of events that will change the little town in many ways.
When Mildred realizes Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson in fine form), Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell, Oscar for Best Supporting Actor) and the rest of the Ebbing, Missouri police force are not the bad guys, her hatred of the unknown bad man takes over. The end of the film has Mildred and Dixon embarking on an assassination road trip to Idaho where – get this – a rapist lives. Not the rapist. But you know what? I’m going to be real honest here, and I know a lot of people will find this controversial or offensive, I agree with Mildred and her approach to rapists. Maybe I wouldn’t actually become a cold-blooded murderer or really contemplate killing someone, but if I was in her shoes, I would damn sure want to do something about it. And perhaps I wouldn’t be able to bring the defiler of my little girl to justice, whether I were on the right side of the law or not, but I could bring the rapist of someone’s little girl to justice.
Too often we ignore rape victims. Or the victims are afraid to speak out against their aggressors. We have seen it time and again. If a case does go to court, it is a messy tennis match of he-said, she-said, with the man’s reputation somehow remaining more or less intact post-trial (take Kobe Bryant, for starters). The women are portrayed as slutty, stupid bimbos who are either money hungry or just DTF or both. How is it better to deny what you did, to paint the woman in such a defamatory way, or better yet to plead ignorance when even a two-year-old knows what the words “no” and “stop” mean?
Even though we are living in the time of #MeToo and Time’s Up, why is it that so many of the women are still somehow forgotten? Why are their faces and voices not heard? Why is justice still not being served? Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby are just two, albeit major, examples but how many more men walk free? Why are women, or any victims of sexual assault, violence and abuse, still afraid to speak up? Why do we not listen to, support and help the victims even more? I am making the situation seem totally hopeless and it certainly is not all bad. Full disclosure: I am a rape victim - it is still incredibly painful to discuss - and have sought out the free and very necessary counseling services offered by Rape Victims Advocates in Chicago. There are great resources out there if you look but such programs and organizations are constantly struggling for funding. That is enough to make me want to pay for billboards all over the world...maybe my first crowdfunding campaign?
The three billboards “on a road no one goes down unless they got lost or they’re retards” (said at least twice in the film) and the woman who put them there, Mildred Hayes, vividly demonstrate what the fight could look like for things to really change. We need mouthier, fuck-all confidence. We need a better justice system. We need to get in people’s faces, perhaps slightly more respectfully than Mildred, and question their bullshit. We must call for action in rape cases, in abuse cases, in police brutality cases, in gunshot cases – the list goes on. I read the film as a call for action. The billboards tip the scales in Podunk, small town Ebbing, Missouri and this is what the country needs.
If you are in the Frankfurt am Main area in Germany, Femfilmfans strongly recommends that you check out this short film program at the Asta Nielsen Kinothek on June 9 at 4pm.
The program “Call of the Wild” invites girls and young women to the short film event, which also kicks off and introduces the quarterly film series “Keine Angst vorm Fliegen” (Not Afraid to Fly). For more info, see the German description below or go to http://www.kinothek-asta-nielsen.de/keineangst.html
We are excited that the Asta Nielsen Kinothek is encouraging girls and young women to engage with films made by women and introduce them new opportunities in the film industry.
Keine Angst vorm Fliegen
CALL OF THE WILD
Kurzfilmprogramm für Mädchen und junge Frauen
Wir laden Mädchen und junge Frauen zu einem Kurzfilmprogramm in die Kinothek ein und starten damit auch eine eigene Reihe. "Call of the Wild" ist der Titel dieses Kickoff-Programms: Es wird um tierisches Abdrehen, Party-Katastrophen und -Rettungen, feministischen Rap und Style-Begeisterung gehen.
Das Programm ist der Auftakt zur Filmreihe „Keine Angst vorm Fliegen“, die in Zukunft vierteljährlich stattfindet. Interessierte Mädchen und junge Frauen sind zudem sehr herzlich eingeladen, zukünftig in einer Projektgruppe mitzumachen, die gemeinsam Filme anschaut, diskutiert und für die nächsten „Keine Angst vorm Fliegen“ – Termine auswählt.
Happy #femalefilmmakerfriday to our Femfilmfam! Today we want to take the time to say thanks to everyone who has supported us so far IRL or online. Every little bit helps. Thanks to you, our fam is slowly growing and we couldn't be happier! Which is why we decided to buy the domain name femfilmfans.com and show off our new logos designed by Chicago-based graphic designer D. E. Schultz.
Speaking of logos, we had a tough time deciding which ones to use since they were all so good. For those who weighed in at the polls, we appreciate your feedback. We decided, however, to use the triple f design (see below) and here's why...
1. Our name is Femfilmfans, written as one single word. The version on the left takes this into account. The version of the right has the three words stacked, which we felt did not truly represent our name.
2. Since we wanted to emphasize all three parts of the word Femfilmfans equally, we liked the name-only logo with the fs written in boldface, as shown above. The version on the left has three fs, again emphasizing the three parts of the word, rather than only one in the version on the right.
3. The italicized fs might look familiar to those of you who play or read music. The "fff" dynamic stands for "fortississimo," which means to play very very loudly. The root of this word, "forte," also means strong in Italian. We felt this symbolism best reflected our mission of empowering women in the visual media.
And please: Don't forget to update your browsers and bookmarks.
You can now find our fabulous content at femfilmfans.com!
The team at Femfilmfans thanks you for your support.
By Guest Contributor Brace Bargo
Located in Berlin, Germany, Brace is interested in history, film and culture, and the way they resonate together. Having studied at University of Illinois at Chicago and Freie Unversität, he applies this background to find new ways to understand film that is relevant for critics and casual viewers alike. When not hidden behind the keyboard or movie screen, he dabbles in music, filmmaking and the hipsterest of craft beers.
Rain beat down as the audience wandered in the cryptically-labelled Kreuzberg courtyard trying to find the theater. The sign had been spotted: Sputnik Kino, 5th floor. Wait. Five stories up? Yes, five stories up. But there’s an elevator, right? No. The prize at the end of this journey was a collection of short films made by female filmmakers, presented by the Women’s Film Network Berlin and the short film Meetup Shortcutz. In the entrance, one gazed up at the task before them: stairwell after stairwell framed by raw walls and hanging wires. Upon reaching the first set of stairs one was greeted with an uplifting sign “No pain, no film” shortly followed on the next staircase with “This is so Berlin…” (written in English, which is itself quite Berlin). Perhaps the trial by stairs was meant as a taste of the struggle and pain of women in the film industry? The fight to reach the top only to receive a condescending pat on the head, rejection, or platitude? Whatever the reason, the struggle is always worth the reward when it comes to promoting the representation of the underrepresented in the media landscape.
Women’s voices, and those of many other identities, are conspicuously inconspicuous in the production of film and television. Most can recall an actress, but it is a much greater challenge to recount the work of a renowned female director, producer or writer, positions which shape the stories to be told. The difficulty recalling a favorite female producer or director is due to the fact that there just are not that many. From all these influential roles, women make up no more than twenty-seven percent of the field, and are even more limited as executive producers, directors and writers. One must assume that the numbers for LGBTQ and ethnic communities do not fare much better. What we lose from this exclusion is the ability to engage with a too-often ignored part of itself, that is, the groups and identities excised from the simplified concepts of “everyday” culture, but nonetheless constitute a part of who we are as individuals and society. Women are denied their voice and the expression of their individual worldview. No two people see things exactly the same way, but all have been influenced by their surroundings. The external too often determines the internal, as how one looks changes the way one is greeted, treated, raised, employed, included, excluded, and even the way one speaks or is allowed to speak. It is a diversified and distributed network of power and norm-production that builds the frame within which our freedom and individuality exist. Is it not fair then, that all those affected should be seen, heard, and take part in the conversation?
It is this void of the voiceless that is expanded through the exclusion of alternative perspectives from cinema and media and against which the Women’s Film Network Berlin positions itself. The WFNB “hosts meetups and events aimed to provide a space to inspire, empower, inform and collaborate.” And far from inciting revolution: “At the end of the day, most of us just want to make something.” A space is thus provided for women filmmakers to collaborate and refine their work, and tools are shared to bring these perspectives to a wider audience. The Sputnik Kino, like all theaters, is a place where identities and ideas are produced and reproduced on the screen daily, and on this rainy Wednesday evening, newly refined voices were about to leave their mark.
The evening consisted of four short films written and directed by female or female-identifying filmmakers: The Glasshouse by Gianna Arni, Win Win by Nina Walter, Löwe am Montag/Lion on Monday by Leni Wesselman, and Out of Frame by Sophie Linnenbaum. All of the films showcased great production value, witty and clever writing and clear sense of vision. The themes were familiar: loneliness, failed ambitions, complicated relationships and regret. One is tempted to ask, what is so female about these films? That, however, is precisely the wrong question.
Contrary to the popular idea “men are from Mars, women are from Venus,” the concept of two distinct camps reduced down to their supposed core sexuality, all individuals have been shaped by similar social forces. Since the information we receive is filtered through a gendered lens, the internalization of this influence has individual effects; different perspectives on the same processes. These new takes on old themes come through in the works of the Berlin Female Filmmakers short film collection. The Glasshouse delves into failed fatherhood and reveals both a critique and expectation of masculinity through the lens of director Gianna Arni. Sophie Linnenbaum in Out of Frame explores not just feminist observations that women are seen and judged through the male gaze, but also the isolation of being the observer, the never seen, the camera itself. Indeed, some of the films resonate with and reproduce Hollywood tropes as Löwe am Montag maintains the essentializing form of the eccentric girlfriend and the boyfriend that just can never understand. Win Win addresses the aspirations of women to achieve the beauty ideal, and uncritically replicates this narrative. Cliché, one could say, but so is Hollywood, because the cliché is what exists in everyone. It is not necessary that these films and other works of women tear down the system or address brand-new, specifically feminine things. Indeed, the limitation of female filmmakers to only talk about female things is already the reality, as so-called chick-flicks exemplify. It is significant that these filmmakers observed themes and feelings that affect them and thus touch on narratives that affect everyone, and through sharing their vision, they help clarify, and more importantly, take part in defining this ephemeral object we call culture.
Women in film does not necessarily mean feminism in film. To limit women to feminist stories and ideologies serves to further isolate their work from the rest. The films this evening had a tendency to reproduce rather than resist the patriarchal narrative. All four films had male protagonists, male narrators and the agency to act was largely in male hands. Mothers were caregivers, women characters prioritized beauty and eccentricity was a female trait. Men and women existed as categories without question. One must remember that liberation is the freedom to choose to accept the status quo and to identify with whatever one wishes. The first step to an equal culture is telling the story from all sides and being part of the larger conversation, to have a platform from which to confront and construct what it means to be a woman, and to share this process with a larger audience. The WFNB takes a great first step in amplifying the voices of the underrepresented from the small screen to the big screen, and eventually letting them reverberate through the halls, down the stairs, and in the exposed structure itself (where, coincidentally, one could very easily build an elevator).
 Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish, 1975.
 Laura Mulvey, Narrative Cinema and Visual Pleasure, 1989.
This post was originally published on Brace's blog. He graciously allowed us to post it on Femfilmfans in an edited form. To read Brace's original post in its entirety, please visit his blog at the link below:
Meet co-founder and writer for Femfilmfans, Marina Brafa
Hometown: Waiblingen, Germany
Current Residence: Berlin, Germany
M.A. in European Literature, focusing on German and Italian Literature
Wrote her master thesis on the banned DEFA film Fräulein Schmetterling by Christa and Gerhard Wolf
Culture junkie, riding throughout the city to find inspiration and creativity. Never stops.
Favorite Films: Hard to say...melancholic mood: Forrest Gump; girl’s night: Crazy Stupid Love
Favorite Shows: I hardly watch any but I can recommend Türkisch für Anfänger and Weissensee
Favorite Books: Never ask a literature student this question but, currently, Vielleicht Esther, the Neapolitan Novels, Der Fall Mersault
Would you be able to give up your career to get married? No, because without being able to do what I like and to develop my own projects outside of a relationship I would be unhappy and feel bored.
Why are you a feminist? I have a hard time saying that I am a feminist because everyone has their different definition of that term. I do support the idea of female solidarity and empowerment, and equality for everyone.
Meet our regular contributor, Lissy Granzow
Hometown: Berlin, Germany
Current Residence: Chicago, IL, USA
M.A. in American Studies with focus on Identity, Diversity, Gender Studies in American Literature and Culture
Wrote thesis on Fresh Off the Boat and the U.S. sitcom genre
Obsessed with television dramas and comedies and analyzing them
Favorite Films: I can’t think of any films I would count as my absolute favorites. I’m a TV fanatic through and through. I love guilty pleasure movies, such as Clueless, Mean Girls, The Holiday, BBC adaptations of novels (e.g. Pride and Prejudice)
Favorite Shows: currently into Buffy (which always has and will have that special place in my heart), Game of Thrones (I’m very worried that the final season will be a disaster), Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Arrested Development, The Handmaid’s Tale, Dear White People and others
Favorite Actors: currently Elisabeth Moss, Michael B. Jordan, Rachel Bloom, Samira Wiley, Constance Wu
Favorite Books: Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (get it together George and finish what you started!), the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (duh), the Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante (LOVE them), Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (love all her work), the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss (pretty woke for a male fantasy writer)
Would you be able to give up your career to get married? I personally would always want to have some sort of career to not be bored out of my mind. I also would not would want to be with a partner who expects me to stay home or be dependent on them. But I think you always need to weigh the circumstances and find a compromise that works for both sides. If one partner in a relationship would like to stay home for family or any other reason, and the economical situation allows it, why not?
Why are you a feminist? “I don’t understand the question and I won’t respond to it…” (Lucille Bluth)
Just kidding! I think Chimamanda Ngozi Aidichie sums it up pretty well in her TED talk “Why we should all be feminists.” Feminism basically just means that we believe in the equality of the sexes, and all people for that matter, so I don’t think this should be controversial at all. Feminism has often been highly misunderstood. Many people, men and women, do not realize how privileged men are in Western societies and how all non-cis men are discriminated against on a daily basis. I think people need to be made aware that institutional sexism, racism, heteronormativity, classism etc. exist everywhere and are masked in Western societies and around the world. This is why I think intersectional feminism is so important, because it deciphers the many systems of oppression people face and we should learn as much as possible about them, particularly if we are privileged through these systems.
Meet our editor-in-chief and co-founder of Femfilmfans, Christina Schultz
Hometown: Chicago, IL, USA
Current residence: Frankfurt, Germany
PhD in Germanic Studies with a concentration in Film Studies
Self-proclaimed film nerd and feminist
Vegetarian, but really more like "cheese-atarian"
Dog lover, avid recycler, bike rider
Read about her favorites below and she why she is a feminist
Favorite films: Fack ju Göhte, Die Ehe der Maria Braun, Blazing Saddles, A Hard Day’s Night, Clueless, Black Panther (this is the short list, ask me what my others are!)
Favorite shows: Tatort, The Walking Dead, Arrested Development, Parks and Recreation, Der Tatortreiniger, Parks and Recreation, South Park, L’ispettore Coliandro
Favorite actors: Danai Gurira, Sanda Hüller, Elyas M’Barek, Hanna Schygulla, Benedict Cumberbatch, Emma Watson, Bjarne Mädel (and so many others)
Favorite directors: Margarethe von Trotta, Ernst Lubitsch, Amy Heckerling, John Hughes, Bora Dagtekin (again, too many to list)
Favorite genre: Comedy
Favorite books: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (the OG of female empowerment), all the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling (Hermione, Luna and McGonagall forever!), anything by Agatha Christie, currently very into Volker Kutscher's and Elisabeth Herrmann's detective thrillers
Would you be able to give up your career to get married? No. I’ve worked in some capacity since I was 12 years old. No matter what my situation or whoever my partner, my financial, emotional and intellectual independence are too important to me. Even if my partner were able to take care of me, I would not feel comfortable as a “kept woman” and I’m not sure I would be able to assume the role of a housewife. I’m almost 33 and just can’t imagine making that my “career” at this point.
Why are you a feminist? Personally, I am a feminist because I know the struggles single working mothers go through. Because I know the struggles immigrant families go through. Because I know the struggles rape victims go through. Because I know the struggles anxiety and depression sufferers go through. Globally, I am a feminist because I want to raise awareness for those who are so often forgotten or cast aside by society. Femfilmfans is my contribution to advocating for those who have suffered far too long at the hands of their oppressors, whoever they may be. We all deserve to be equal, no matter what our color, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental condition, religious belief or income bracket.
By Christina Schultz
Yesterday, May 19, the world witnessed the royal wedding of British Prince Harry, brother of Prince William, son of Charles and Diana, grandson of the long-reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II, and Meghan Markle, the American biracial divorcée actress best known for her role as Rachel Zane in Suits (2011-), an American legal drama show airing on the USA Network. Their wedding was a beautiful spectacle to behold with the pomp and circumstance you would expect from such a joyous royal occasion. I was captivated by the wedding like so many others who turned up in Windsor to catch a glimpse of the proceedings. I hate to admit it, but the little princess in me, conditioned by my upbringing of consuming Disney films, playing with Barbies, and societal gender expectations, was in full force yesterday. I couldn’t help but regress to the days of my youth when I daydreamed about meeting Harry or William to then transform into a full-fledged royal princess (or duchess, I’m not picky) complete with a fairytale wedding that would cost as much as the entire budget of a small country. Feminist enlightenment be damned.
Now you might be thinking who cares about all this conservative heteronormative nonsense? Why watch a royal wedding at all? It’s a display of the utmost sexism and elitism. While this is understandable, you don’t have to be an obsessed fan of the Royal Family to find Harry and Meghan’s relationship and their union as husband and wife intriguing. I certainly find it intriguing on several levels because it breaks with so many of the stuffy British traditions we have come to know over the past centuries. Meghan is a true breath of fresh air to the endangered species that is the British monarchy. She does not at all fit the “blue blood” profile as a half African-American actress with a divorce and success under her belt. Her show Suits has been nominated for several awards and averaged a few million viewers per episode over the course of its seven seasons (by the end the numbers were more around the one million range; it has been renewed for an eighth season).
In becoming a princess, however, she had to make a huge sacrifice. She gave up her acting career and deleted all social media. She now belongs to the royal family and will have to play by their rules of conduct and etiquette. Naturally, this has been met with skepticism by many people, myself included. Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t be happier that Harry and Meghan are together. She has tamed the former wild child and royal pain in the ass of the Windsor family and the two seem oh so happy together. But the feminist in me cannot help but think really Meghan?!?! Especially since she is a self-identifying feminist (or was?).
By giving up her career and taking part in an “event steeped in patriarchal tradition,” it seems like we as society are taking quite a few steps back. However, the most modern wedding the royal family has ever seen did break with some of the typical traditions and, for some, actually brought feminism to the occasion. And while I'm not 100% convinced by that idea, I do agree with Valerie Wade, historian and archivist, that “the wedding is an opportunity for crucial political issues to get some mainstream attention. ‘Anything that sort of helps us think about race and gender and class in an accessible way is good,’ said Wade, ‘because I think a lot of those ideas sort of get stuck in the academy.’” Arguably race, and not feminism, was the hot topic yesterday with newscasters and commentators because the wedding proudly included African-American culture and excellence, a touching tribute to Meghan’s heritage, in an otherwise very white, stuffy, Anglo-Saxon, upper crust crowd. The royal family didn’t know what to make of the Reverend Michael Curry as he delivered a passionate speech with the mantra “love is the way.” It was a fitting mantra, however, especially considering that love was a powerful enough motivator for Meghan to dedicate herself fully to Harry and her new life as the Duchess of Sussex.
Whatever side of the pond you find yourself on, the royal wedding, and weddings in general, trigger a mixed bag of emotions, associations and reactions. It will be interesting to see how the couple fares in the coming years in addressing political issues and whether Meghan Markle retains her freedom and feminist strength. I see it as a good sign, however, that one of the charities she (and Harry) support is the Myna Mahila foundation, which empowers "women to speak about issues they are most afraid to discuss aloud and employs "women from urban slums in Mumbai to manufacture and sell affordable sanitary pads back into their communities, improving menstrual hygiene, providing stable employment, and building a trusted network." I hope we can expect more like this from Meghan as she settles into her new “career.”
Speaking of careers, would you be able to give up your career to be with your partner? Leave your response in the comment section. We'd love to hear what you think!
Special thanks to Caro for hosting me and to Robert for the idea to write about the “feminist dilemma!”
 North, Anna. “The fraught gender and racial politics of the royal wedding, explained.” Vox, May 15, 2018. https://www.vox.com/2018/5/15/17335946/meghan-markle-royal-wedding-2018-prince-harry-windsor-race-gender.
 Alexander, Ella. "5 ways Meghan Markle brought feminism to the royal wedding." Harper's Bazaar, May 18, 2018. https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/bazaar-brides/a20757742/meghan-markle-feminism-royal-wedding/.
The Future of Film Showcase (FOFS) is a not-for-profit media arts organization based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The artistic objective of FOFS is to organize an annual film festival geared towards providing an opportunity for young Canadian filmmakers to network, cultivate and share their talent. The goal of FOFS is to help usher in the new generation of Canadian filmmakers through their festival.
FOFS was founded in early 2014 by filmmakers Eric Bizzarri and Shant Joshi. Today, the FOFS team is made up of young, Toronto-based filmmakers who seek to diversify the industry, as well as bring to light the work and extreme talent of emerging filmmakers. The festival - now in its fifth year - screens short films from Canadian filmmakers aged 30 or younger, or who attend a Canadian post-secondary institution. Over the past four years FOFS has grown into an exciting event for young and emerging filmmakers from Canada to come together, and enjoy outstanding shorts created and selected by their peers.
Eric Bizzarri reached out to Femfilmfans editor Christina Schultz because he likes the work the team does (aw shucks, the feeling is definitely mutual) and an exciting collaboration was born. Over the coming months, Femfilmfans will feature profiles and interviews of several female filmmakers whose films have been shown at FOFS. Stay tuned for more information!
We at Femfilmfans strongly encourage our readers to check out the film festival and what it has to offer. This year the festival takes places at the Scotiabank Bank Theatre Toronto on Monday, May 14 at 7:30pm. Tickets are available here.