As part of Women's History Month, we take a look at "A Wrinkle in Time" from director Ava DuVernay. and discuss other great women filmmakers.Read More
For the past 12 years, Angela Barnes Gomes has held a reputation as a kick-ass African-American Female 1st A.D. but recently has made the not-so-easy transition to directing. Eric Bomba-Ire interviews Angela in the latest 5 QUESTIONS.Read More
LaRonda Sutton and Suzan Satterfield tell us about the 2017 Women in Production Summit, unconscious bias, sexual harassment on set, and more!Read More
We've heard and talked a lot about autism on the show, but now it's time to really dive deep and see what autism specialists Paran and Allen Davis have to say! Do they like the script, or should Molly go back to the drawing board?Read More
The second act is complete! Molly explores the story so far with filmmaker Jen West and Georgia State University's Laura Jones. Plus, director Dustin Jacobs wants Molly to change direction and make a totally different film. Will he succeed?Read More
Our series following a first-time feature filmmaker rolls on! Molly talks with screenwriter Charles Thomas & producer/accountant about writing the first act, a recent location scouting trip, pitch meetings, and much more.Read More
Introducing a brand new series in the Atlanta Film Chat family! AFC co-host Molly Coffee, owner of Zombie Cat Productions, is gearing up to make her first feature film and you're along for the ride. Join her through each stage of making the movie through concept, script, shooting, editing, and beyond. In each episode of the podcast she will pitch her current progress to other female filmmakers in the area so they can judge her progress and give notes to help her make the best film possible!Read More
Producer and actress Jessica Leigh Smith came on to talk about her film The Sunday Lady, the faith based film market, the struggles women face in the film industry, and much more!Read More
“With the way that I ran my business, you would have never known that it was just me! People thought that I had a full-fledged staff!”
Nicole Hankerson casually sat in the conference room of her Downtown office as she explained how her passion for audio helped to fuel her ambitions to become a successful entrepreneur. While many people her age are just beginning their careers in the industry, the 27-year-old South Carolina native has already built an impressive resume as both a production mixer for the likes of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Resurrection, while also founding C.C. Productions 803 LLC, an Atlanta-based audio production house.
With services ranging from location and post-sound production, to gear rental and consulting, C.C. Productions has been carving a place in the Atlanta film and television scene since 2010, and is showing no signs of slowing down. The company’s name was derived from the initials of Nicole’s moniker, ‘Coley-Cole’, which was joined together with the ‘803’ South Carolina area code. Nicole and her office manager, Kathy, are the two-woman crew behind this growing operation.
The idea for the enterprise was simple-while working her way up as a sound PA on smaller projects and eventually on the feature, Big Momma’s House 2, Nicole noticed that her follow sound professionals would offer money to borrow her gear so that they could work on their own gigs. After seeing the need for an audio rental facility to help keep up with Atlanta’s increasing production schedule, Nicole jumped on the opportunity to be just the person to capitalize on this idea and started the company from her own home. She now rents an impressive selection of professional audio gear to productions across the city.
“I have always known that I wanted to start a business. When I was younger I originally wanted to start a record label called ‘C.C. Records’ but I later learned that doing sound for film and television would provide a lot more opportunities. People will always want to watch a movie, whether it’s at the theatre or Netflix or Hulu, people will always pay for entertainment.”
Given the cutthroat nature of the film business, one would assume that Nicole is trying to dominate the niche market that she has carved out for herself, but she is actually a proponent of using collaborative efforts to help build her business and the Atlanta entertainment industry as a whole.
“So many people are afraid of someone taking a job from them or being competition, I see no one as competition, I see every person as an opportunity to network and help one another.”
Help is exactly what Nicole wants to provide for the Independent film community and she hopes to make C.C. Productions a one-stop shop for any cinematic audio need. In the future they look to expand their post-sound department and provide both the on-set recording and post-production mixing and editing for Indies of various genres. They look forward to meeting filmmakers in all stages of production to see how they can help make Atlanta-based productions sound world-class.
For more information on Nicole and the company, visit www.ccproductions803.com
Today I came across bechdeltest.com. On it you'll find a list of films, going back to 1902, that have had the Bechdel Test applied to them. The test has three simple rules:
1. A film has to have at least two women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man
The rules come from a 1985 strip of Dykes to Watch Out For, a comic created by Alison Bechdel. Feminist Frequency posted a Youtube video a few months ago that listed a number of classic and blockbuster films, many critically acclaimed, that fail the Bechdel Test.
In the strip, it was a measure by which the character decided if she wanted to see a movie or not, 25 years later, it's being applied to measure a film's woman friendly bonafides.
It's easy to understand why the test has such a seductive quality. It reflects how often women in film have been relegated to little more than the girlfriend, mother or wife role. In comparison to men, they are much more likely to be a plot device, a source of exposition, or a prize for the protagonist to win or lose. Complexity and dimensionality for female characters has a troubled history.
As a conversation starter, and not taken too seriously--remember, it was basically a joke in a comic strip--the test is fine. Used much too literally, the test not only retards the overall conversation, it undermines the deeper problems when it comes to women in film and lowers, not raises, the bar filmmakers should aspire to.
As an example of how easy it is for a film to pass here's how The Karate Kid passes the test on bechdeltest.com.
Sherry Parker talks to the school vice-principal about her son. Sherry also meets a woman at the airport who drives them to their apartment and tells Sherry who to talk to if they have problems.
Then there's this excerpt from the back and forth about about the worthiness of 2009's Star Trek ticking off all three boxes:
Uhura and her roommate Gaila briefly discuss Uhura's lab time, and her interception of a Klingon transmission. The interaction is brief, but necessary to the plot.
Becky disagreed with the rating and said:
True, except my roommate and I feel that this brief interaction, while theoretically passing the tests is compromised by the fact that Kirk is hiding under the bed watching while Uhura strips down until both women are nearly naked and conversing in their underwear.
Mireille disagreed with the rating and said:
I agree with Becky, especially since that conversation very quickly segues into discussing Kirk.
I did notice at the beginning that the nurse and Kirk's mother were talking, however Kirk's mother wasn't really answering the nurse, so I don't think that counts.
*falls over laughing* If 'Star Trek' passes on the basis of that Uhura scene, then legendary porno 'Debbie Does Dallas' passes as well -- the naked cheerleaders in the showers are talking about football, not men, which is necessary to the, um, plot
As Becky and Em point out, unaltered, the test ignores context, action and motivations. It also leaves out the most important, at least in my mind, component: agency.
Female characters who talk to each other, yet have no influence on the plot, or don't demonstrate control over their own situation, is still a fail if the goal is to create better, more interesting female characters. And it's this last point that's hard for many folks to understand.
Too often folks confuse a character's strength and/or perceived importance as a proof of agency and of complexity. She's an ass-kicking president, therefore she must be a fully rounded character, right? If she's ordering people around, she must be helping drive the plot? Not necessarily so.
Salt opened this past weekend and it features Angelina Jolie as a near unstoppable spy being hunted by the U.S. government, who suspects she's a Russian sleeper. Jolie's Salt is strong, capable and smart. She also frustratingly has almost no inner life and her backstory is mostly only directly relevant to the plot. Her life, at best, is perfunctory and the movie never slows down long enough to give us an idea of who Salt is.
Can you say Salt is a complex character? Not really, as it's less what we see Salt do, and what the filmmakers choose to hide, that make Salt's motivations appear more complicated than they ultimately are. Reinsert a few key scenes and Salt's through line becomes simplistic and her character arc is rendered nearly flat. By the end, you'll find that Salt only had one real motivation, which, even if there was another woman in the film for her to talk to, spiritually violates the Bechdel Test. There's nothing more driving Salt, nothing else tugging at her soul.
However, without Salt, the movie's story, wouldn't exist as it does. If Salt doesn't do half of a dozen things, the other characters don't react to her, and she in turn doesn't react to them. So she does have agency, but she lacks true depth.
This doesn't make Salt a bad movie--although I do think it's a middling one at best, with a house of cards plot structure. Nor does it make Salt a bad character, just a disappointing one, as her motivations are more rooted in her role as a girlfriend and wife and not so much as her role as a spy.
And this is what the application of the Bechdel Test misses. It shortchanges in depth analysis for a reductive pass/fail dynamic.
It may not be possible, but if we want to have a Bechdel like test that really motivates conversation and analysis, we can't ignore how context, action, motivation and agency are used to build and inform female characters.