Writer and Director Mark Cousins is teaming with Turner Classic Movies to release Women Make Film starting tomorrow.
The series features narration from Tilda Swinton, Jane Fonda, Adjoa Andoh, Sharmila Tagore, Kerry Fox, Thandie Newton, and Debra Winger. It closely examines film techniques from women directors across the world.
“It’s not only about filmmakers in North America,” said Pola Changnon, TCM general manager. “It’s about countries where filmmaking reputations aren’t that well-known, especially here. That’s why I love the title of this — ‘Women Make Film.’ It’s a statement of fact, and even though they’re not always well-represented in the film canon, women have been doing this for decades.”
The project is currently slated to last 14 weeks and is 14 hours long. Cousins makes it clear that the run time was intentional, so as to fully highlight the passion and strength of women in film.
“I felt that we need to talk about [these women] as filmmakers, not victims of a sexist industry or not marginal figures or not curiosities or not symbols of something,” said Cousins. “When you dig into the life story of every one of these filmmakers, they made these movies because they loved cinema, and they wanted to express themselves.”
In addition to highlighting diversity in filmmaking through Women Make Film, Turner Classic Movies has also added 100 movies to the Women Make Film event, incorporating movies from 44 different countries.
“We used to program it with a very concerted eye on, ‘We have hosts talking about it, talking about the history of it, and where it lives in D.W. Griffith’s filmography,’ all those things,” Changnon said. “But at this point in time, I think there are too many hurdles to talking about that other stuff and too much pain for our audience in understanding what it contributed to. That’s one where I would say I don’t see us programming back.”