Filmmaking While Female: ‘Sufferage’ In Hollywood

People often ask me what I do and when I tell them that I make horror films they laugh at me, in my face. It’s really upsetting. In the year 2015 one would think that a young woman can pursue whatever career she wants. However, statistics show that 93% of directors in Hollywood are male. I’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign because the chances of being hired as a female director in Hollywood are literally 7%.

According to the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, “women take up only 17% of parts [in film and television] – including crowd scenes – and are just as sexualized in family films as they are in films for adults.” The American Civil Liberties Union has called for a state and federal investigation into discriminatory hiring practices in Hollywood. “The statistics don’t lie. Women represent only seven percent of directors, 11 percent of writers, and 18 percent of editors on the most successful films over the past 17 years.” – NY Times

Screen writer Alexandra Grunbergand I are so sick of waiting for horror that doesn’t rely on gratuitous violence and explicit sexuality that we have created our own horror film called “BUGS: A Trilogy.” The film is a psychological horror trilogy in the style of the 1975 film, “Trilogy of Terror,” starring Karen Black. After only five days, the film has raised more than 36% of its funding goal on Indiegogo. This is testament to the fact that women want to see change. Many of our supporters don’t even like horror – they just want to see women succeed.

A babysitter with a clever and violent ward. A patient who mistrusts the doctor’s orders. A young woman haunted by a malevolent presence. And the terror that ties them all together: BUGS. On their own, spiders, parasites, and bedbugs hold their own private horror for those who are beset by the quiet scuttles and slurps of inhuman creatures. But for Diane, Hannah, and Elena, three varied yet eerily similar women, these bugs represent the larger horrors of paranoia, helplessness, and abandonment.

Magic Dog Productions is dedicated to employing and empowering women in the film and entertainment industry in roles where they have been traditionally marginalized, such as writer and boom operator. We believe it doesn’t require maleness to be scary. And we aim to prove it.

Alexandra Grunberg and I have been a filmmaking duo for over a year and have had success both individually and as a team. My film “Quietus” recently screened at the Manhattan Film Festival and won Best Short Film. Alexandra Grunberg’s short stories have been published in several professional magazines recognized by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Our web series, “HOUSED,” was an Official Selection of the Miami Web Fest, nominated for Best Mockumentary, and selected as Best Sit-Com out of a slate of nine nominees in the category and 200 Official Selections.

Instead of standing around seething at the impossibility of being heard in this male dominated space, I have done the only thing I can do – create my own work. I self produced the first third of “BUGS: A Trilogy” because I believe that female characters in horror films can and should be so much more than a screaming pair of tits on a stick. I have an inkling that women experience real terrors and honest horrors that tend to haunt us in the moments right before sleep – terrors we all know and do our best to ignore. The potentials for danger are too real in my world, and the world of so many women, for us to be screaming in fear of shadows. TC mark

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