WOMEN Filmmakers' section at the 10th Dhaka International Film Festival began with the screening of American director-writer-producer Alexis Krasilovosky's well-acclaimed documentary film Women Behind the Camera. The documentary is based on her book with the same title. Krasilovsky has accomplished a novel feat: she travelled the world in search of female cinematographers and made a documentary on them.
Women Behind the Camera aims to educate the audience on gender discrimination in Hollywood and other film industries in the world. The documentary features interviews with leading female cinematographers from different countries such as Akiko Ashizawa (Japan), Joan Hutton (Canada), Brianne Murphy (USA), Vijayalakshmi (India), and reveals the history of female cinematographers in male-dominated film industries. The documentary celebrates not only the survival of pioneering female cinematographers, but also their visions. The documentary carries a bold feminist message.
Krasilovosky spoke on her documentary at a 'meet the press' session at the ongoing Dhaka International Film Festival.
“After several years of documenting the aspirations and obstacles, satisfactions and conflicts, failures and successes of female cinematographers throughout the world, I've grown to appreciate the resonance of their stories. For the last six years, following their lives in Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Iran, Mexico, Russia, Senegal, Afghanistan, United States and other countries, global connectedness has become my obsession,” informed Krasilovosky.
“These stories help us to see how interconnected our lives are as women and as filmmakers, and will empower the next generation to pick up cameras and show us a new world, as cinematography was once considered to be a profession just for men,” she added.
In response to a journalist's question, Krasilovosky said, “Women and people from minority groups still struggle, even in Hollywood. It's discouraging that only four percent of the cinematographers of the 250 top grossing films in Hollywood are women.”
Commenting on the impact of the documentary, Krasilovosky said, “This documentary seems to have become popular all over the world, especially among the people who work for the empowerment of women. I've become sort of a facilitator; enabling links on a grassroots level between countries and women on a cross-cultural basis. I believe works like this will help Hollywood and other film industries to come out of the '1950s state of mind' and step into the new century by opening itself up to the idea that women are not meant to be locked up in closets.”
Krasilovosky is now working on the next part of the documentary.
Alexis Krasilovosky, a professor at the Department of Cinema and Television Arts, California State University, USA, has written books, directed and produced films and shot numerous documentaries, video poems, and art films such as Camp Terezin (1999), Epicenter U (1995), What Memphis Needs (1991), Exile (1984), Just Between Me and God (1982) and Beale Street (1981).