Friday, April 9, 2010

Women Make Movies

"Courtesy of Women Make Movies," 

Its amazing when researching for this post how many searches and pages I had to skim through to find something about women creating their own media. Instead the top searches were not even for women rather for men. We live in a society where no matter how much progress we make, there always seems to be a step taken backwards. I came across this organization called Women Make Movies these are films by and about women. An amazing notion, which I thought deserved to be further looked into. 
Women Make Movies was established in 1972 to address the under representation and misrepresentation of women in the media industry. Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which aids in production, promotion, distribution and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. The organization provides services to both users and makers of film and video programs, with a special emphasis on supporting work by women of color. 
Women Make Movies distribution service seeks to expand the public exposure to independent film and videos that are directed by women, and whose content is about women and the issues that affect their lives. Their collection of more than 500 films includes award-winning works by both established and emerging independent media makers all over the world. They cover incredible and moving topics. 
Why is it important for this organization to show these films that are of women and by women, you might ask? It is because they believe that women's media, in both traditional and non-traditional forms, presents social, political, and aesthetic visions of women that are not generally available in mainstream media. By having these media films out there, they are making others aware of what issues are out there, and these issues are being covered by WMM. 
The Women Make Movies' Distribution Service is their primary program. As the leading distributor of women's films and videotapes in North America, Women Make Movies works with organizations and institutions that utilize non-commercial, educational media in their programs. Which includes media arts centers, museums, galleries, colleges and universities, as well as other non-profit organizations and agencies, ranging from hospitals to prisons to labor unions to the U.S. Army.  In the last three years, WMM has returned more than $1.5 million to women producers in royalty payments
In 1984, Women Make Movies exhibited a ground-breaking program of media by Latin American women, Punto de Vista: Latina, and the next year co‑sponsored the conference Viewpoints: Women, Culture and Public Media with Hunter College, which was attended by more than 700 artists, practitioners, theorists, and community activists. In 1988, a new production assistance program was initiated, which included artist‑in‑residencies, a technical assistance program and workshops. The following year, Women Make Movies launched two international touring programs, Changing the Subject: An International Exhibition of Films by Women of Color and The Feminist I, a survey of contemporary women’s video.
WMM has also worked with dozens of local women's organizations in Asia, Latin America and in the Middle East to support new International Women's Film Festivals. In the coming years, Women Make Movies looks forward to continuing to increase the visibility of women both in front of and behind the camera. 
This organization is remarkable for the work that they do, and the awareness they are putting out their in this world. Everyone should take the time to further look into the website, and read all the things they offer, including programs, and sign up for their newsletter, in which you will be informed about new films which have been made. The only thing I wish the website did have were short clips on these films, to show others who visit the kind of moving work that is being done. 
After reading the readings for this week, as well as doing the research for this assignment, I never fully realized in numbers the little amount of women holding high positions in today's society. In the "National Organization for Women" fact sheet it stated in the very first line, "Women will not be truly equal until we have full and fair representation in the media." It took me a few times after reading that for it to fully sink in and accept that I didn't want to accept the notion of something so bogus but true. "In television for kids, male characters appear at about twice the rate of female characters." The line that totally caught me off guard especially since I am a mother was, "Animated programs in particular are more likely to be presented in sexy attire and twice as likely to be shown with a diminutive waist." After reading that line I was bothered because we were talking about cartoons. Even cartoons are depicting female characters as sexy! Pure Disgust!!!
WMC states it very clear, "Almost everything we know about our country, and our world is dictated by media." This is very true and sad, many people seek the media for the latest news and they believe every word that is said and every image that is shown. I mean why not? Why wouldn't we believe the people who are feeding us the news every morning and for the cable we are paying for to have them feed us the news? We all do it.

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