Diversifying My Media

screen-shot-2014-10-03-at-10-38-39-am_0There are a lot of complaints about the lack of diversity in film. In part, this is because there is a cycle of creation and consumption and, basically, we need to be putting our money where our mouth is — if we demand these films, then we need to support them. So this year, I am going to make an effort to see 52 movies by women — an average of one a week. I doubt there will be that many in theatres (though I will keep my eye out for them) so I am planning some back-catalog viewing.

In Canada, we measure the “Canadian Content” (eg CanCon) of music through the MAPL system (Music Artist Performance and Lyrics) whereby a song must qualify under two or more headings to be deemed CanCon. I wanted to do the same for “movies by women” and I initially came up with four key roles of Director, Editor, Writer, and Director of Photography (or Cinematographer) which spells DEWD, which made me giggle. I considered Producer but I’m not sure that role always has a notable impact on the tone of the finished project (just the overall quality by making sure there is enough money to finish it) and in the end it is that different tone or voice that I am seeking.

When I put it out on FB, I got a flurry of recommendations from the Hurt Locker to Sita Sings the Blues. I decided to start a spreadsheet so I can track potential films and note when I watch them; I also made it sharable so that you can leave comments!

Thanks to my friend Janis, I learned of the Canadian Women Film Directors Database (created by a librarian at the University of Toronto — thank you, Margaret Fulford!) which will, doubtless come in handy. I also found the following list of Essential Films By Women to mine for ideas — though in both cases I am facing a fair number of subtitled films.

Of course I also read a fair bit; I’ve revised my goal for 2017 back to 36 books (I managed 35 this year; my goal of 40 was out of reach) and I am going to try for at least 18 books by women authors. I’m also going to be looking for books that feature diverse characters — race, religion, gender, orientation — because it is important to not only consume these stories but also share them. Glancing at my bookshelves I know it is an achievable goal — I pulled off an even dozen in a rough first pass:


Let me know, though, if there is a book you think I really need to read that falls into one of these categories!


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