One Theater's Response to #MeToo: Celebrate Female Directors

Mar 12, 2018

As Hollywood continues to react to allegations of sexual harassment embodied in the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, an Iowa theater is celebrating movies made by women. “Women’s March” at FilmScene in Iowa City is a series of movies and special events limited only by one criteria: the directors are women.

Classics, documentaries, new releases and shorts made by University of Iowa students and alumnae all are on the schedule this month.

Rebecca Fons, programming director at FilmScene, says last fall she and her colleagues were watching the allegations of sexual harassment unfold in the movie industry and asking themselves what they could do.

“How can we respond to this, and do it in a positive way?” was their question, she says. “So rather than sort of re-hashing the negative things that have happened, we really wanted to highlight and spotlight female filmmakers in a really positive way.”

Inclusion and diversity were on their minds as they selected the month’s movies, which feature directors from different eras, working in different genres and coming from different backgrounds.

“We really tried to exemplify for the past, the present and the future of female filmmakers,” she says, “locally, domestically and internationally.”

Many of the films and events have some connection to Iowa, including an afternoon with Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday, who is originally from Des Moines. Animator Kelly Gallagher, who earned an MFA in cinematic arts at the University of Iowa, will teach an animation workshop.

Fons says creating this celebration likely will make FilmScene even more conscientious about representation than it already was.

While the month’s events are limited to Iowa City, Fons says she’s heard from other theaters and film festivals planning similar celebrations of women in film making.