Chicks for Flicks by Chicks
Film critic Jan Lisa Huttner and her grassroots group
want to close Hollywood's gender gap.
By Deanna Isaacs
The Chicago Reader
May 18, 2007
LOCAL FILM CRITIC Jan Lisa Huttner says she opened her Sunday NEW YORK TIMES one June morning five years ago and got hit in the face with an article that inspired her to start a consumer movement aimed at the film industry,
"WITASWAN," Huttner says. "Women in the Audience Supporting Women Artists Now." The group's logo is a placidly paddling bird that looks like it was lifted from a 1940s soap ad. For a group of pretty irate women, this is branding so bad it's good...
(click here to read complete
Mitchell: You’re listening to “The Ministry of Truth.” I’m Mitchell Szczepanczyk. We now feature an interview with film critic Jan Lisa Huttner about the involvement of women in film. The following interview was recorded on Wednesday, April 4, 2007.
I am joined on the phone with Jan Lisa Huttner who is a film critic and writer in Chicago who helps to maintain a website called FILMS FOR TWO. Jan is also involved in a project called WITASWAN, an abbreviation for “Women in the Audience Supporting Women Artists Now,” and she’s joining us on the phone from Chicago. Jan, welcome to the show.
Jan: It’s nice to be here tonight, Mitchell.
You’re involved with a project called WITSWAN, “Women in the Audience Supporting Women Artists Now.” Could you talk a little bit about what the project is and what it does?
Yes, I am a member of AAUW-Illinois, which is the American Association of University Women. In fact, I’m serving right now as Director of International Relations. About 5 years ago I was reading an article in the Sunday NEW YORK TIMES about the difficulty that women filmmakers have getting their films shown; and I became very interested in the research of Martha Lauzen, a professor at San Diego State University in California, who’s been the primary person responsible for documenting what’s been referred to as “The Celluloid Ceiling” in Hollywood.
I brought this issue to the AAUW board about 5 years ago as an example of an equity issue and they have since taken this on as a statewide project. We have been collaborating with other organizations all around Illinois and we’re determined to help women filmmakers get more attention and more visibility so that they can succeed and get over some of the barriers that have been prohibiting them from achieving more market success.
Right now, just as an example, in the last set of statistics that Martha Lauzen put out (she always puts them out every June), she was able to demonstrate that in the top 250 films that were distributed in the United States last year, 90% of them, over 90% were directed by men...
(click here to listen to complete
Click here for the AAUW-Illinois WITASWAN
Click here to read Jan’s chat with Martha Lauzen.
Proud Mother Kvells:
She’s the new Chicago Fire!”
May 18, 2007
Photo Credit: Mireya Acierto