Women directors, take action!

Females First directors like Emily Kai Bock and Maja Borg tell Dazed why sexism in the film industry needs to change

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Emily Kai Bock: "As a society, we need to be teaching young girls not to be spectators to boys"

Ninety-five per cent of Hollywood directors are men, according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, and so are most of their crews. There are simply not enough films being made by women. We want to change that. Today, Dazed Digital launches Females First, a video series funding and premiering new work from the best emerging female directors in the world, from art shorts and music videos to documentaries and fashion films. The subject matter will be bold and broad, and all will be created by women. We asked future FF contributors Emily Kai Bock, Cathy Brady, Aoife McArdle, Destiny Ekaragha and Maja Borg to explain how they broke through and what needs to change. Head here to find out more about Females First. 

EMILY KAI BOCK, Canadian-born director behind music videos for Grimes and Arcade Fire

"I’m convinced there are masterful filmmakers out there who for whatever reason can’t access filmmaking, and many of these are women. As a society, we need to be teaching young girls not to be spectators to boys. Also, not to be intimidated by technology. You don’t need a big crew to make a small film. I don’t want to silence male filmmakers who are speaking for a woman – I don’t feel like I can speak for all women, or that I can’t speak for a man – but I’d like to hear equal voices being heard. Women need to speak up and both men and women need to listen.”

DESTINY EKARAGHA, independent filmmaker behind award-winning comedic short Tight Jeans

"It’s easy to feel intimidated by this industry – it’s mostly made up of white middle-class men and that can make you feel like you don’t belong. Be aware of this but don’t carry it. Walk into that room like you’re supposed to be there, because if you’ve done the work, you are. Remember that."

MAJA BORG, award-winning visual artist, film director and ex-Dazed Visionary 

"My aim in my filmmaking is to focus on people who are usually not seen. Women and lesbians in particular have obviously existed throughout history, but their voices have been lost and silenced. We need to shine a light on them."

CATHY BRADY, award-winning Northern Irish director, currently shooting writer Jack Thorne's new E4 series Glue

“I can only talk from my experience, but I love seeing bold, intriguing, complex female characters onscreen. Certainly in cinema there are not enough female-driven stories. We need to see the full picture. For years we’ve been predominantly focused on ‘his story’. I want to understand and challenge ‘her story’."

AOIFE MCARDLE, London-based music video director for Jon Hopkins and James Vincent McMorrow

"Feature film is slowly changing in terms of its representation of women – Clio Barnard is fucking amazing – but it’s still shocking how few women realise they can be directors or DoPs. Watching Lynne Ramsay and Jane Campion films as a kid made me realise it was possible to be a director. I’d love to have an all-female crew, for instance, but that’s near impossible. This just makes no sense to me. We need to celebrate existing women filmmakers and inspire girls to get out and become cinematographers and directors."

Keep checking here for more information about Females First, and check out our dA-Zed guide to female filmmakers and our list of ultimate female innovators in cinema.

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