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From 'Psycho' to 'The Birds', here’s our ranking of Alfred Hitchcock’s best movies in terms of female representation.

Ranking Alfred Hitchcock’s best films for female representation

By News

Between his famously sketchy on-set treatment of women to his depiction of them in his movies, Alfred Hitchcock remains a divisive filmmaker when it comes to women. Between the female stars he cast and the characters he cast them as, the director has repeatedly been criticized for a punishing perspective of women.

In his book Alfred Hitchcock: A Brief Life, Peter Ackroyd suggested that Hitchcock’s often perverse personal perspective of women seeped through into his cinematic one.  

“The sexual fantasies of his adult life were lavish and peculiar, and, from the evidence of his films, he enjoyed devising the rape and murder of women.”

Meanwhile, Roger Ebert once suggested that the “blond . . . icy and remote” women of Hitchcock’s movies were all treated in a similar manner: “Sooner or later, every Hitchcock woman was humiliated.”

However, while there are certainly some films we agree on regarding this, there are other Hitchcock movies that actually provide captivating and unusual depictions of women that were well ahead of their time.

Here’s our ranking of Hitchcock’s best movies in terms of female representation.

12. Strangers on a Train (1951)

Hitchcock’s suspenseful conspiratorial film noir (based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel of the same name) is an undoubted masterpiece of intrigue – even if the subtextual use of the “depraved homosexual” trope in the character of Bruno (Robert Walker) is irksome in retrospect.

Though Miriam (Laura Elliott) is a promiscuous monster murdered for her cold-hearted lascivious ways, the rest of the women in the movie remain on the periphery of the story as moral radars, pointing as to whom they think is innocent or guilty.

11. North by Northwest (1959)

Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint) is a female character as defined by her duplicity in the story, as she is by her staggering beauty and sensuality.

As a result, the character is made love to on a train by Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) and dragged along Mount Rushmore like a woman forced on a hiking expedition for a first date. However, she’s far more integral to the story than Hitchcock’s wanton gaze of her suggests.

10. To Catch a Thief (1955)

It’s Grace Kelly and Cary Grant enjoying a romantic vacay together! The romantic caper is charming and dazzling, if a little overly simplistic.

Still, the chemistry between Grant and Kelly is lit as ever and Frances Stevens (Kelly) is a hot-headed gem of a character with an audacious love for danger that’s delightful to watch.

9. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

Doris Day is an unexpected standout in this thriller where she plays a female character who capably subverts Hitchcock’s usual icy blondes. Not only is she sweet and tender as the mother of a boy snatched by a terrorist organization, but she’s also dynamic and tenacious in her bid to save him.

8. Dial M for Murder (1954)

Margot Wendice (Kelly) using a pair of scissors to stab her attempted murderer is one of the most powerful images of Hitchcock’s overall ouvre – particularly as it shows a woman repurposing a domestic instrument into being an object of violent survival.

Aside from that, however, Margot isn’t the greatest Hitchcock heroine ever devised and she’s also the only main female character surrounded by male detectives, killers, and lovers.

7. Vertigo (1958)

Much has been said about how Vertigo (no matter how important a movie) is “still considered the last word in misogynistic creepiness,” as Kim Novak takes on dual ones, one of which is shaped into the ultimate fetish doll of James Stewart’s Scottie.

However, as The Guardian once suggested, there’s an argument to be made that Vertigo “is not an example of misogyny, but an overblown, beautiful and tragic deconstruction of it.”

6. Rear Window (1954)

It could be argued that via the voyeurism of Jefferies (Stewart), Rear Window is a tribute to the perverse power of the male gaze and that women don’t particularly factor into that narrative as active participants.

However, Thelma Ritter is exceptional as Jefferies’s quippy nurse and Kelly is as bodacious and intelligent a heroine as you could ever hope to see – even if we only touch the surface of her intrepid character.

5. Rebecca (1940)

The gothic melodrama based on Daphne du Maurier’s classic novel features one of Hitchcock’s most intriguing and chilling lead female characters in the form of Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson) – a lonely housekeeper obsessed with the dead wife of her master.

The psychological back and forth between the character and the long-suffering Mrs. de Winter (Joan Fontaine) makes Rebecca a rare Hitchcock movie that revolves around two lead female characters in peculiar roles.

4. Notorious (1946)

One of Hitchcock’s rare attempts at romance actually draws an incredibly complex female character in the form of Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman) – an undercover spy tasked with infiltrating a group of Nazis in South America.

Alicia’s mission becomes complicated by her falling in love with co-worker Devlin (Grant) while marrying family friend Alexander Sebastian (Claude Rains), but her role is never undermined by the romance. Alicia remains a powerful portrait struggling to consolidate her desires to do right by herself, her family, and her country.

3. The Birds (1963)

The behind the scenes cruelty and sexual harassment of model-turned-actress Tippi Hedren at the hands of Hitchcock during the making of the film has been well documented and is galling to revisit in full. However, Hedren’s character (Melanie Daniels) is one of Hitchcock’s finest.

Daniels is a firebrand of a woman – a free spirit and a prankster who does whatever the fuck she wants. However, when nature starts going apeshit, it’s fascinating to see the vulnerability splinter through the cool veneer even as she fights back.

2. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

One of the most underrated and influential characters in cinema history has to be Charlotte (Teresa Wright) – a dissatisfied angst-ridden teenager who starts to suspect the uncle she idolizes might actually be a serial killer.

The noir mystery hits some subtle incest beats that are challenging to get past, but ultimately Charlotte is compellingly complex. She’s a young woman fighting for survival and for peace of mind while also losing a pivotal part of her innocence in the process.

1. Psycho (1960)

All shower slaughter and voyeuristic glimpses of nudity aside, Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) is a subversive female character (particularly for the time) who simply seeks self-gratification and freedom at whatever cost.

Likewise, her sister Lila (Vera Miles) is arguably the first archetypal final girl of horror, refusing to back down in her investigation of her sister’s disappearance and showing true tenacity in her disturbing search for answers.

To mark the release of Hulu's documentary 'Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie' we're examining Barbie’s cultural legacy.

Bimbo or renegade? Examining Barbie’s cultural legacy

By News

At the beginning of Hulu’s documentary Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie, we hear a series of various people offering their take on the legacy of Mattel’s iconic, plastic, and often controversial doll.

She’s destined to be a polarizing figure because “femininity has always been a contested space,” one states. “She’s the symbol of America,” another proclaims. Someone else muses that Barbie represents something far beyond the doll we all played with as children, arguing “Barbie symbolically gets caught up” in issues surrounding “gender roles, and white supremacy, and body image, and beauty myths.” Ultimately, as a Mattel worker later suggests, Barbie comes with “a lot of baggage”.

Toy market and society aside, that’s perhaps most evident in how Barbie is depicted in popular culture. The name “Barbie” has become synonymous with depicting a certain type of woman and is exchanged on screen as a barbed insult.

It’s the name that Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley) repeatedly uses to denigrate Elliot (Sarah Chalke) with during Scrubs; is the reference that Otis (Bill Moseley) reels out as a slur against a female victim during House of 1000 Corpses (“you Malibu middle class Barbie piece of shit!”); and it’s the persona that all the vacuous mean girls dress up as in Never Been Kissed (thus proving that they’re total trash).

All of which is understandable. In recent years, Barbie has suffered a decline in popularity and in sales. As Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie highlights, the classic doll hasn’t kept up with modern trends or social changes and her impossibly shaped figure, porcelain skin, and white blonde hair are hardly representative of modern America.

Barbie started out as a renegade career woman at a time when this simply wasn’t an option for the average housewives who may have watched their daughters play with the ambitious toy. But over the decades Barbie soon became a plastic relic; an icon of mass consumerism and disposable playthings with little else to offer young girls.

In the 1994 episode of The Simpsons titled “Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy”, we see little Lisa Simpson (Yeardley Smith) raging against this idea as she discovers her latest Malibu Stacy doll is fortified with a series of pull string sexist sentiments like “Thinking too much gives you wrinkles” and “Don’t ask me, I’m just a girl”. Clearly based on Teen Talk Barbie – a version of the doll released in 1992 that spouted such dismal “teen talk” phrases as “Will we ever have enough clothes?” and “Math class is tough!” – bimbo Barbie was in full effect.

Distraught, Lisa seeks out the creator of Malibu Stacy, Stacy Lovell (played by an on form Kathleen Turner) and makes an aspirational toy called Lisa Lionheart with the woman who she hopes will inspire little girls to be smart, ambitious, daring, and confident.

However, when it comes to releasing the toy, it’s a massive failure overshadowed by the release of a new Malibu Stacy toy – an updated version of an older model who just happens to come with a new hat. But a closing shot shows one little girl looking clearly delighted with a Lisa Lionheart doll. “If we get through to just that one little girl then it’ll all be worth it,” Lisa states optimistically, measuring success in positive influence instead of dollar signs.

The episode powerfully highlights that representation is important. And that’s as apparent in TV and film (where many of Hollywood’s most popular and best paid female stars are as blonde, white, and impossibly skinny as the classic Barbie doll) as it is with toys.

The more that Barbie has been depicted as a superficial bimbo, the more it’s become the overwhelming legacy of a progressive doll that once assumed the role of an astronaut decades before the first human woman was able to and that took the role of a presidential candidate back when Hillary Clinton was just Bill’s other half.

In 2010, Toy Story 3 both played up to and masterfully subverted Barbie’s bimbo persona with the doll shown swooning for Ken (Michael Keaton) and shrieking over a closet stacked with outfits. All the while, Barbie (Jodi Benson) looked as bright-eyed and dim-witted as ever.

However, later on in the movie, Barbie develops some serious grit and strikes back against her beloved in a bid for information about what the evil Lotso (Ned Beatty) has done to Buzz (Tim Allen). Barbie gets mean, ties Ken up to a ping pong paddle, and proceeds to tear up all of his cute little 0utfits right in front of him in a show of torture.

The Toy Story version of Barbie shrewdly and wittily celebrates everything that has managed to maintain Barbie’s success over the years – the doll is unabashedly feminine (even when she’s torturing someone) but at her best, she’s always had a lot more going on than just being a plastic airhead. As Pixar’s interpretation proved, the doll is also only as stupid as we allow her to be (all pull string faux-pas aside).

Barbie can take on whatever narrative we create for her and by depicting the toy as a one-dimensional dummie, we’re also carelessly reflecting some of the worst tropes of our media – female characters can only be one archetype, blonde women are idiots, and femininity and beauty are to be considered a weakness.

As we tune in to watch Westworld’s life-size Barbie dolls Dolores & Maeve prove they’re more than just body parts and disposable punching bags on HBO and we watch the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race strut out definitions of femininity and glamor in a way that Barbie would surely approve of, the doll and everything it represents is more relevant than ever in modern society.

Whether Barbie is a vapid bimbo or a renegade of a toy is up to all of us to decide for ourselves. But if the doll truly is the symbol of America, we’d do well to think there are some brains rattling around inside that little plastic head of hers and that she isn’t just an embodiment of all the weakest stereotypes ever perpetrated against women in our culture today.

Watching Stanley Kubrick’s films through a feminist lens

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Did you know it was acclaimed director Stanley Kubrick’s birthday last month? The prolific filmmaker (who passed away in 1999) would have turned 90. To honor the occasion, the official Twitter page posted a tribute video made up exclusively of white male filmmakers fawning over the filmmaker’s genius (and their own).

Martin Scorsese stares straight into the camera as though he’s delivering a cult induction video and suggests Kubrick is something “you live by”. Christopher Nolan (a director known for “fridging” the female characters in many of his films) stated simply that Kubrick’s movies have a “very special place” in his heart.

Meanwhile, Simon Pegg simply reeled off even more white great male directors in his honoring of the late director, stating, “The likes of Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Martin Scorsese, and Francis Ford Coppola – those guys are the movie brats that shaped the contemporary movie industry but I think all of those guys would absolutely defer to Kubrick as being a huge influence.”

We’re obviously huge fans of the director’s work and there’s no doubt he helped to influence an insurmountable volume of independent and Hollywood movies – but he isn’t beyond reproach. Furthermore, tributes like this that only focus on the white male perspective of his oeuvre and influence do little to counter criticisms that Kubrick’s treatment of women during production and as characters in his films was (to put it politely) a little iffy.

It’s a criticism that was brought to mainstream attention when Stephen King (who has long and openly challenged Kubrick’s treatment of his novel The Shining) called Kubrick’s depiction of Wendy Torrance (Shelley DuVall) “one of the most misogynistic characters ever put on film” in an interview with the BBC. The horror writer reasoned that the character is “basically just there to scream and be stupid and that’s not the woman that I wrote about.”

It’s a difficult criticism to argue against. For as multi-layered and truly ingenious as The Shining may be as a film, Wendy is a shrill prop of a woman – a thing to swing an axe at. The character is further worsened by Kubrick’s merciless treatment of DuVall while directing her on set.

In the behind the scenes documentary of The Shining filmed by Kubrick’s daughter Vivian, we witness the abuses DuVall endured at the hands of the director – all in the name of enhancing Wendy’s insecurities. Such intense pressure was heaped onto DuVall that she notoriously suffered hair loss from the stress of it all and was found crying between takes.

The culmination of which is most evident in the iconic scene in which Wendy swings a baseball bat at a deranged Jack. Her hysteria is palpable and it’s also very real – it broke the World Record of the most takes ever shot for a scene with spoken dialogue at 127 takes. In the documentary, Kubrick can even be heard urging other crew members “don’t sympathise with Shelley” even though she’s stood right next to him. It’s just locker room talk, right fellas? Such jokes. Much funny.

Following the film’s release, DuVall opened up to film critic Roger Ebert that she essentially “had to cry 12 hours a day, all day long . . . nine months straight, five or six days a week.” She also sadly lamented that for all her hard work and suffering, she wasn’t recognized for her efforts, with critics failing “even to mention it, it seemed like. The reviews were all about Kubrick like I wasn’t there.”

It’s a telling quote and it perfectly summarizes some of the criticisms of Kubrick’s work when viewed through a feminist lens. In Lolita, Eyes Wide Shut, and A Clockwork Orange, women tend to take two forms – they’re either young sexual objects or they’re elder shrews.

The lusty nymphets who strut, seduce, and are sexually and rapaciously consumed provide a framing of a woman’s power being solely beholden to her youth and beauty. The older women of these movies tend to be subsequently rendered weak and powerless and pushed into the outer frame of shots.

As Danielle R. Pearce wrote in her essay “Kubrick, Misogyny & The Human Condition”, in Lolita, “severe contrasts can be seen between mother and daughter. Kubrick clearly places Lolita in the center of frame when she is featured. This is different to her mother, whom is consistently framed off center – in the periphery. Humbert is fixated on Lolita, however Charlotte is simply an annoyance to him.”

There’s obviously an argument to be made (especially considering the satirical nature of Lolita) that Kubrick is simply reflecting societal attitudes towards women. Particularly in regards to how young and beautiful women are given prominence across all corners of society while women beyond a particular age (even a goddess like Nicole Kidman) are pushed to the outer fringes.

The problem with that reading (no matter how true it may be in regards to his intentions) is that he never made a film that truly challenged the idea of women being anything more than victims, objects, or shrews. In Killer’s Kiss, the heroine is relegated to the subordinate role of a frightened dancer striving to escape her dangerous boss, while in Barry Lyndon the movie explores ideas surrounding toxic masculinity, but still depicts a cheery scoundrel of a protagonist who marries a woman for her money and has his merry way with their merry maids.

In Kubrick’s further masterpieces Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Paths of Glory, and Full Metal Jacket, women are mostly absent from the narrative. Which, in all honesty, is fine – we’re happy to enjoy a film mostly free of a female presence than one where a woman has been awkwardly shoved in for the token representation. The point is that Kubrick’s vision was such an obstinately male one that it left absolutely no space for a single complex female character or perspective.

And you know what? That’s fine. Grab a spoon and eat your fill of it if that’s what you think is the marker of masterful filmmaking. However, it leaves a distasteful residue upon the history of Hollywood that Kubrick is still renowned as being one of the most influential directors of all time. Especially when a modern perspective on his legacy still only offers a male white championing on the impact he continues to have on modern filmmaking.

A study by San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film suggests Hollywood still has a long way to go before it achieves gender equality.

Film’s future is female: Join these women leading from the front

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In the wake of Hollywood’s sexual misconduct scandal, gender equality remains a central theme within the industry. While female filmmakers like Lady Bird’s Greta Gerwig, Wonder Woman’s Patty Jenkins, and A Wrinkle in Time’s Ava DuVernay may be recognized as some of the greatest talents working today, a study by San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film suggests Hollywood still has a long way to go.

The study discovered the jaw-dropping statistic that women held just 18% of behind-the-scenes film jobs including directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers in the top grossing movies of the past year. The figures have hardly budged since 1998. Out of the 250 top-grossing domestic films, just 1% employed 10 or more women, while 70% employed 10 or more men. Furthermore, 30% of the titles featured zero or one woman in behind-the-scenes jobs, while none of the films had fewer than one man.

Rather than simply sitting back and despairing at these dismal figures, a series of organizations and initiatives have launched to encourage gender parity both in front of and behind the lens.

Seeking to prove actions speak louder than words are the Film Fatales – a community of female feature film & TV directors who meet regularly to share resources, collaborate on projects, and discuss relevant topics in their careers. Currently there are over 500 members in Los Angeles and New York, and hundreds more across Europe, Australia, and Africa.

Film Fatales Founder Leah Meyerhoff thinks the statistics for female filmmakers are too low. “Half of our society is women. Half of the audiences are women. Half of the creative content needs to be made by women. The more that women and people of color can see reflections of themselves on screen, and the more that straight white men can learn to empathize with other subject positions through watching a variety of stories unfold, the healthier our society will be as a whole.”

That’s where Film Fatales comes in. So far the company has programmed over 250 films directed by women at 90 independent theaters and organized over 100 panel discussions, workshops, and networking events in partnership with festivals such as Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, Toronto, and more. “By expanding the landscape of storytelling to include more underrepresented voices, Film Fatales continues to bring new and exciting films to the big screen.”

Meanwhile, the Alliance of Women Directors offers many programs to benefit its members. Chair of the organization, Jennifer Warren, claims that the non-profit’s primary goal is to achieve parity in the workplace for female directors. “As an organization, we are fighting for change in the hiring practices. One example would be our partnering with the ACLU in identifying discriminatory patterns within the studios.

“In addition, we have outreach to all the film festivals, which provides our members with various perks, including lower entry fees; we have affiliations with many of the professional organizations; we have educational programs and panels with high-visibility directors; and we have different kinds of shadowing programs all aimed at getting our members employment.”

Over in the UK, Women in Media provides networking opportunities and professional development for directors in the film and TV industries. Executive director Tema L. Staig outlined the company’s reason behind the launch of its female-focused IMDB-style list, the so-called WiMCrewList.

“For the longest time, we heard that people just couldn’t find women in the crew. For some reason, even though I knew tons of women, they were invisible to many decision makers. With the WiMCrewList, women can add their IMDB, resume, reels, SoundCloud, mini bio, if they are union / non union, and the rest. Our members can add all their credits, which is necessary when it comes to decision makers vetting new talent.”

The Director List is a hub for finding female directors and their work. As a filmmaker herself, founder and editor Destri Martino sought out the work of seasoned female directors to provide inspiration and guidance for her own projects, but was often disappointed by the low number of women she found.

“While doing research for a masters thesis back in 2005, I realized there were a lot more working directors than mainstream media coverage”. Out of this realization, The Director List was born. Since then, the list of female directors with demonstrable experience in features, TV, and/or large-scale commercials and music videos has jumped to 1,000 members and growing.

In addition to the database, the site provides news, photos, video, and a community focused on the film, TV, and video projects women are actively creating around the world.

Elsewhere, Reel Angels has been breaking boundaries as an agency that represents female technical crews for film, TV, and entertainment events. The company claims to promotes gender equality in technical departments by providing a credible and proven resource of top-end talent.

Lulu Elliott, founder of RA Agency, told Film Daily how the company exists at a time when there has never been a more opportune moment to employ female talent in film and TV. “By representing women, we see ourselves as leaders in the ongoing progress towards full gender parity across the industries.”

These organizations’ efforts haven’t been going unnoticed. Since 2016, Telefilm Canada, the powerful, well-funded film financing arm of the Canadian government, unveiled its ambitious drive to gender equality in the film sector by 2020. It seems the initiative is already having effect, as a 2017 study shows a 27% increase in agency-backed projects directed by women since 2015.

While gender counting in filmmaking crews & casts will undoubtedly remain a hot topic in 2018, it remains to be seen whether a world in which crews maintain 50% representation between genders across the entire industry is actually desirable, or even possible. And what about those who identify as something else entirely? Film Daily recommends the underrepresented feline contingent in entertainment production create a non-profit to promote human-cat parity by 2026.

Dorothy Arzner was an absolute boss who helped to pave the way for future generations of badass women in Hollywood and she joins the ranks of several other badass women who shook up the film industry and helped to move it forward.

Film has always been female: The badass bitches of old Hollywood

By News

Earlier this year, trailblazing industry pioneer Dorothy Arzner was paid tribute by Paramount when a dressing room building on the Melrose Avenue lot was dedicated in her name. Paramount Pictures’s CEO and chairman Jim Gianopulos shared a few touching sentiments about the phenomenal late director, stating: “Today we are doing our small part to honor her and to leave our own mark for the next generation rather than be the ones who failed to advance what she gave us.”

Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather) was actually a student of Arzner’s when she taught at the UCLA Film School and shared anecdotes about the filmmaker at the special event. Coppola praised the filmmaker’s indelible spirit with some touching anecdotes. “She was salty and sort of tough, but had a heart as big as the world. Every time she came to class, she’d bring a big box of cookies or crackers because she knew we were starving to death. We had no money, but she had stuff so we could eat.”

Not only was Arzner one of the most prolific female directors under the studio era, but she was also an unequivocal badass who helped move the film industry forward. She was an openly queer director in an era when that was simply not the done thing, but she also filled her cinematic canon with independent, female protagonists and was the inventor of the boom mic (although her idea was never patented).

In short, Arzner was an absolute boss who helped to pave the way for future generations of badass women in Hollywood and she joins the ranks of several other badass women who shook up the film industry and helped to move it forward.

Lois Weber

Weber was the first female director to make a full-length film. She was so prolific, it’s believed she made as many as 400 movies during her career, of which only 20 survive today. The actor / director / screenwriter / producer pioneered the use of split-screen and full-frontal nudity and also tackled challenging female issues such as abortion and birth control (subsequently banned under the 1930 Hays Production Code).

Asserting her rightful place within the industry, Weber once claimed being a woman was what made her such a great filmmaker. I like to direct, because I believe a woman, more or less intuitively, brings out many of the emotions that are rarely expressed on the screen. I may miss what some of the men get, but I will get other effects that they never thought of.”

Germaine Dulac

The political activist, writer, and journalist became one of the most revered visionary artists of the French Impressionist movement in the 20s. With her own production company – Delia Film – Dulac began her filmmaking career with melodramas before advancing to the avant-garde. Her 1922 movie, La Souriante Madame Beudet, is considered a groundbreaking film for the representation of women and is frequently labeled the first “feminist” film of all time.

Mary Pickford

Pickard had a lot of game, having setup the movie studio United Artists with Charlie Chaplin and husband Douglas Fairbanks so she could exert more control over her career and enjoy a bigger cut of the profits.

Within the three years of her silent movie career, Pickard hustled to become a producer on her own films, providing the actor with an uncompromising command over collaborators, scripts, and how movies were edited. Despite once proclaiming, “Adding sound to movies would be like putting lipstick on the Venus de Milo,” Pickford won her only Oscar in 1930 for the talkie flick, Coquette.

Alice Guy-Blaché

In 1896, at the staggeringly young age of 23, French filmmaker Guy-Blaché made the first narrative film in history and was the first ever female film director. Although Guy-Blaché does not feature heavily in cinematic history, she pioneered the concept of filming on location and was one of the first to utilize closeups in her work. Charmingly, Guy-Blaché made over one thousand movies after falling in love with the medium while working as the secretary of the Gaumont film studio founder, Léon Gaumont.

Tazuko Sakane

You may not have heard of Sakane, but you’ll definitely want to know more about her after reading this. As one of the first Japanese female film directors, Sakane worked her way through the stratified Japanese studio system of the 1930s where she reportedly faced repeated harassment for being one of the industry’s few women. Nevertheless, she persisted and made her first and only major movie Hatsu Sugata in 1936.

Sakane also made propaganda films in north-eastern China during Japan’s invasion of Manchuria. However, upon her return to Japan she was subsequently excluded from directing on the grounds she didn’t have a college degree. As such, Sakane was forced to reenter the industry from the bottom of the ladder as an assistant.

Twitter is a breeding ground for creative thoughts, inspirational stories, and political debate. It’s with this in mind that we’ve decided to provide you with a rundown of the best female creatives to follow on Twitter.

Girls on fire! The best leading ladies to follow on Twitter

By News

Who runs the world? Actually, the less fun answer is a complex web of secretive government bodies, wealthy tycoons, and illuminati shapeshifters. But we here at FutureFemme are all about fun and if we’re talking about the society we consider to be reality, we say it’s run by girls. Yes, women rule the place, including the entertainment industry that’s teaming with wildly talented femmes.

If you’re an aspiring TV writer, film producer, or acting powerhouse, you’ll likely find inspiration in the musings of the industry’s fiercest females and where better to find said musings than on Twitter? The social media platform is a breeding ground for creative thoughts, inspirational stories, and political debate. It’s with this in mind that we’ve decided to provide you with a rundown of the best female creatives to follow on Twitter. Let’s do this!

Issa Rae (@issarae)

Did we mention we’re huge fans of Issa Rae’s? No? Well let us tell you again! Rae has built quite the comedic empire from the ground up, starting out with her Awkward Black Girl web series and launching into the present with the HBO hit Insecure. The TV show creator is outspoken about racial issues in the entertainment industry and her Twitter feed is dedicated to championing actors and filmmakers of color, keeping followers updated on current projects and happenings, and posting truly funny and personable musings.

Gale Anne Hurd (@GunnerGale)

If you thought monsters, zombies, aliens, and everything else that goes bump in the night were boys’ interests, you would be sadly mistaken, as shown by Gale Anne Hurd’s eclectic resume. As producer of such sci-fi classics as Aliens and The Terminator, as well as TV shows like Fear the Walking Dead, Hurd’s passion for such genre beats is reflected in her Twitter account, which provides followers with updates on all of her new projects (between snortworthy memes that we dare you to not chuckle at).

Nina Jacobson (@ninajacobson)

As a former studio exec for Disney, Nina Jacobson’s been involved in films like The Chronicles of Narnia, The Sixth Sense, and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. When she was fired from the media powerhouse, did Jacobson let that get her down? Fuck no! She went on to create her own production company, Color Force, and ended up producing the Hunger Games movies, because that’s the level of badassery we’re dealing with here. As Raindance put it, “Her Twitter is informative (bringing attention to the mistreatment of women, LGBTQ, people of color in both the film industry, and society as a whole) and fun (she was sorted into Ravenclaw by Pottermore).”

Abbi Jacobson (@abbijacobson)

Yas queen!! Making up half of the Broad City duo (the one with that sweet angel ass) is Abbi Jacobson a.k.a. the Val of our hearts. Her Twitter page is an exciting mix of Broad City posts, news on her upcoming projects, political news stories, and TV show updates. Informative and entertaining, all at once!

Indya Moore (@IndyaMoore)

As many have outlined on Twitter and beyond, Ryan Murphy’s 80s ballroom show Pose shows what happens when trans actors are given a foot in the door. With the wildly talented and outrageously beautiful Indya Moore taking the role of the sweet Angel among a cast of five trans actors, her Twitter page is filled with updates on the show, as well as plenty of posts of portraits and artwork. With a face like that, who wouldn’t self-promote?

Ava DuVernay (@ava)

As one of the most influential and important filmmakers in the industry today, Ava DuVernay is the first African-American woman to win the Best Director Prize at Sundance Film Festival (Middle of Nowhere), the first black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award (Selma), and first woman of color to direct a live-action film with a budget of over $100 million (A Wrinkle in Time). With so much under her belt and her influence only set to grow, DuVernay’s Twitter page is worth a follow if you’d like to stay updated on her latest projects and news about diversity and political issues in Hollywood.

Shonda Rhimes (@shondarhimes)

If you’re interested in the TV industry in any way, Shonda Rhimes is a great one to follow on Twitter. As the producer & screenwriter responsible for hit shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Scandal, Rhimes is a great one to follow as she keeps everyone updated on all of her projects, while promoting news about people of color in the entertainment industry.

Patty Jenkins (@pattyjenks)

A wonder woman in her own right, director Patty Jenkins helmed one of 2017’s most successful blockbusters – the remake of DC’s Wonder Woman. With the Gal Gadot-starring sequel on the way, you’d be worth following her on Twitter for the updates alone.

Trace Lysette (@tracelysette)

The stunningly talented Trace Lysette has blown us away with her acting talents in such hit shows as Amazon’s Transparent and FX’s recent Pose (which you should totally add to your watchlist if you haven’t already). If you’re looking for updates on the finest LGBTQI talent as well as trans issues in the entertainment industry, Trace Lysette’s Twitter page is a fountain of information. Give her a follow!

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced its new members and with 926 new people joining, its given 49% of the new membership to women and 38% to people of color (it’s about time).

Celebrating the women of color who are joining the Academy

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced its new members and with 926 new people joining, its given 49% of the new membership to women and 38% to people of color (it’s about time). To mark the organization finally diversifying its members pool, let’s take a look at ten of the most kickass women of color who have just become members of the Academy.

Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay became the first black woman to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Film and the first black woman to be nominated for Best Director at the Golden Globes too, for her film Selma. While these should not be milestones and should just be the norm, it still goes to show that DuVernay is absolutely smashing it.

Lupita Nyong’o

Lupita Nyong’o

Nyong’o has risen to fame over the last few years with stunning turns in 12 Years a Slave and Black Panther to name but a few.

Danai Gurira

Danai Gurira

Gurira is both an actress and a playwright best known for her work on The Walking Dead as well as for her roles in Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War.

Tiffany Haddish

Tiffany Haddish

Haddish’s fame continues to rise after starring in The Last O.G. along with Tracy Morgan, and she’s not stopping there. The actor’s also lined up for the sequel to the Lego Movie next year.

Zoë Kravitz

Zoë Kravitz

Kravitz is an actress and singer who, despite her eye-catching second name, is carving out her own career with band Lolawolf along with starring turns in X Men: First Class and Big Little Lies.

Quvenzhané Wallis

Quvenzhané Wallis

She may only be 14 but Wallis has already published four books and starred in the remake of Annie (for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe).

Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling

Since appearing in The Office from 2005 to 2013, Kaling has been a mainstay of US TV along with her own show The Mindy Project, as well as publishing two books and some memorable voiceover work.

Jada Pinkett Smith

Jada Pinkett Smith

Pinkett Smith is by now surely one of America’s most recognizable actresses, having started out her film career in 1993’s Menace II Society and progressing up the ladder to more recent films like Girls Trip.

Tika Sumpter

Tika Sumpter

Sumpter is a well known actress, model, and TV presenter who appeared in both Ride Along and Ride Along 2. She also more recently played Michelle Obama in Southside With You.

Wunmi Mosaku

Wunmi Mosaku

Mosaku starred (and was nominated for a BAFTA TV Award for her performance) in Damilola, Our Loved Boy and she was also in the BBC miniseries Moses Jones.