Columnists, Opinion, Upon Further Review

Female film directors more motivated by artistic control than profit

“We want to make sure that when we bring a female director in to do ‘Star Wars,’ they’re set up for success. They’re gigantic films, and you can’t come into them with essentially no experience.”

Much has been made of this comment by Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy, the woman presently behind the wheel of the “Star Wars” franchise. The corner of the Twittersphere that preoccupies itself with “Star Wars” took offense at her statement, off-put by the implication that women aren’t “ready” for the franchise.

I, however, feel there’s another, more probable reason behind the lack of women directing these films: female directors have better things to do.

As a motion pictures major, it would be my dream to helm such a big-budget blockbuster. But the reality is that the current incarnations of some of these franchises, including “Star Wars” and the Marvel Universe, are not exactly a breeding ground for the creative freedoms that many directors crave.

Both of these mega-franchises are owned and ultimately controlled by Disney, which is a corporation, not an artistic haven. They have a game plan, and filmmakers brought onboard have to be okay with being slotted into that plan; another cog in the ever-churning Disney machine.

Now, for some directors, this may be a fun prospect. Filmmakers looking to rake in some Disney-sized profits while working within the iconic “Star Wars” universe might see such an opportunity as a pleasant stop between personal gigs. But these directors are, overwhelmingly, male and white.

Women in Hollywood struggle disproportionately to get their films made. When an artist has to work twice as long and hard to make their work come to fruition, every project becomes more precious. Most female directors working in Hollywood probably aren’t willing to spend years working on a project when they don’t have real control. When each film you make has to be a labor of love, you cannot afford to sacrifice years on something you cannot call your own.

Directing a Disney movie isn’t the pinnacle of directorial achievement. While it would be nice to see some non-male perspectives injected into these franchises, the truth of the matter is that female voices in Hollywood are scarce. We should be less concerned about getting a woman to direct franchises developed by men, and more concerned with getting stories originated by female creatives onto the big screen.

Andrew Allen is a senior majoring in communications. Upon Further Review runs alternate Thursdays.

Featured image courtesy Pixabay user thomashendele

November 30, 2016

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