The other side
Re: "Men on films get thumbs down" March 17 and "Accusations fly over film-fest" March 21
To the Editor:
As a member of both the Western Film Festival organizing committee and the film selection committee, I am in a good position to correct the often fraudulent claims concerning the festival made in Joshua Paul's article.
It is true that of the 16 student films screened in the March 15 festival, only two were made by women. However, Joshua neglects to mention that this ratio is reflective of the submissions themselves. Of the 26 films submitted, only five were made by women.
The group that chose the films, four men and one woman, (Joshua's numbers are slightly off here), were in fact not "only members from the undergraduate film society," as Joshua suggests.
Rather, the committee consisted of two members of said society (myself included), one member of the visual arts program, a member of the film department and one representative of the women's studies department. This arrangement was by chance. The selection process was open to all Western students, regardless of faculty, so long as they had not submitted a film and the competition was advertised as such. The five people on the committee were those who displayed their interest by showing up.
During the actual selection process, films were rated and discussed in terms of a uniform set of criteria. They consisted of: artistic merit, technical merit, originality, appropriateness of form to theme and overall impression. Anyone who was socially connected to one of the filmmakers was not allowed to be in the selection room for the screening of their film.
Claims that anyone from outside the film department would have lower chances of getting in are dispelled by the festival itself, which included the works of filmmakers from a wide variety of disciplines including visual arts, media, information and technoculture, film and engineering.
Finally, as far as Joshua's claim that the festival "represented a bunch of ignorant males who would rather see big tits and male protagonists" is concerned, perhaps if he were at the festival, he would better see just how ridiculous this statement was. In lieu of this, perhaps he could ask festival winner Mary Fogarty, or anyone else for that matter, as to how sexist the films were.
Gender bias is a serious issue in an industry dominated by males and one which we thank [filmmaker] Victoria [Moufawad] for raising. We indeed need to call attention to this problem to encourage female filmmakers to keep creating and increase their involvement in the festival. Rest assured however, that the festival's organizing committee and the film selection committee did everything in their power to showcase the best of the films submitted period.
English and Film IV