Director and screenwriter, Jennifer Fox and producer, Laura Rister of breakout film, The Tale, discussed how to foster gender equality throughout the cinema industry during a special Women in Motion Talk at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival
Women in Motion, a program presented by global luxury group Kering, hosted an intimate Talk between Jennifer Fox (director and screenwriter of The Tale) and Laura Rister (producer of The Tale) on Monday evening at the Sundance Film Festival.
After discussing the deeply personal and strikingly relevant topic of their feature film, The Tale - which has received an incredible response at the Festival - the two filmmakers explored their personal experiences as women in entertainment and discussed how to foster gender equality within the American and international film industries.
Speaking to the question of how women artists can make their voices heard, be they actresses, directors, producers, etc., Fox said, “We as women sometimes have to take on what are traditionally thought of as male characteristics in order to fight fear and go forward. We have to keep asking ourselves to rise to the craft; we have to be rigorous and tenacious. We have to take our power back.”
When asked for advice on how to create more opportunities for women in film, Rister responded, “We need to band together to create a support system - women especially, and also the men who want to support what we’re trying to do: hire more female filmmakers and create more opportunities. Most importantly, we need to increase the number of women decision-makers, especially in the financing structure.”
Continuing on the topic of financing female-led films, Rister explained, “It’s hard to finance a film with a female protagonist because ultimately it comes down to foreign sales. The value associated with women – unless in an action film – is not as high. But the fact remains that women account for 51% of box office sales, so clearly the notion that women don’t sell is bogus.”
Kering was thrilled to present this Women in Motion Talk during the Sundance Film Festival, especially in light of its ongoing work with the Sundance Institute to support female filmmakers. Since 2016, Kering and the Sundance Institute have combined forces to support women storytellers through a variety of initiatives, including workshops for the Women at Sundance Fellows. In May 2017, Kering, always through its Women in Motion initiative, provided support to Sundance’s first-ever Catalyst Women program, focused on connecting film financiers to female artists. In November 2017, Kering, with the support of the Sundance Institute and UniFrance, also hosted a special preview of the Palestinian director Maysaloun Hamoud’s first film, In Between, followed by a Talk on women's representation in film and gender equality in the industry. Both Kering and the Sundance Institute share a deep commitment to achieving greater diversity in entertainment by creating opportunities for female creatives to flourish.
Fox stressed the role that Sundance has played throughout the course of her 30-year career as a filmmaker, saying, “When I had doubts about my ability to transition from documentary to narrative filmmaking, a Sundance Institute mentor told me, ‘if you were a man, you wouldn’t be thinking twice about moving forward.’ That gave me the courage and confidence I needed.”
Fox won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize for best documentary for Beirut: The Last Home Movie and also directed and produced An American Love Story for PBS, Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman, and the Emmy-nominated My Reincarnation.
Rister is an LA-based film and television producer and oversees production at Untitled Entertainment. In addition to producing The Tale, her credits include Margin Call, The Iceman, Lovelace, and All is Lost, among others.
About Women in Motion
Launched in 2015 by Kering, in partnership with the Festival de Cannes, Women in Motion sets out to showcase the contribution of women to the film industry, whether in front of the camera or behind it. The Women in Motion initiative is based on two pillars: Talks open to journalists and industry professionals, which give major figures the opportunity to compare and contrast their experiences and viewpoints around the question of women’s contribution to cinema and to pool their recommendations for greater representation within the industry and ways to move forward. Two Women in Motion Awards are presented each year, one to an inspiring figure who embodies the programme’s values, and another to a young film industry professional, who receives funding support for cinematographic projects.
A global Luxury group, Kering develops an ensemble of luxury houses in fashion, leather goods, jewellery and watches: Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Brioni, Christopher Kane, McQ, Stella McCartney, Tomas Maier, Boucheron, Dodo, Girard-Perregaux, Pomellato, Qeelin and Ulysse Nardin. Kering is also developing the Sport & Lifestyle brands Puma, Volcom and Cobra. By ‘empowering imagination,’ Kering encourages its brands to reach their potential, in the most sustainable manner.
The Group generated revenue of €12.385 billion in 2016 and had more than 40,000 employees at year end.
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