Our first topic to talk about is women in film. So, for “I Talk”, we talked with Bianca Crespo, screenwriter, director, and producer in Los Angeles, California. Bianca spent her childhood in a presumably haunted 4-story warehouse from the 1900s, located within the quaint Kensington borough of Philadelphia, after which, she ventured to Los Angeles to pursue writing and directing. She graduated from Temple University with a concentration in English Literature, becoming a Development Consultant for Millennium Films immediately following her last semester. Within the five years of working for Millennium, Bianca transitioned into an apprentice role at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences archives, located within their Margaret Herrick Library of Beverly Hills. At the end of her apprenticeship, Bianca established Santa Mira Pictures L.L.C., and now produces her own original material. Bianca talked what it’s like to be a woman in film today.
BTG: In your opinion, what is it like to be a woman in film today?
In 2018, the tides are finally beginning to shift in our favor, particularly in relation to the respect of female filmmakers with the #metoo Movement. This involves the basics of ethics, though; this kind of treatment should be implemented regardless of gender, across all business fields. Basically, everyone needs to be nice, and banish the ‘quid pro quo’ culture.
Source: Bianca Crespo – Photo: Jimmy Romano – Makeup: AZI
There have always been talented woman creatives: from Sophia Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow to Karyn Kusama and Jennifer Kent, but now, with the ongoing rise of social media, there is much more exposure and accessibility to content. This allows female filmmakers to showcase their work more than ever before, to a wider audience. It’s crazy how much is out there now; the world is really watching 24/7. The added pressure to produce quality material is also staggering, and increases the competition. I feel like it is a great time to be a woman in film today. We have more valuable resources outside of the studios to get material out there. My short film BRUTE – a zany slapstick noir that hopefully makes Mel Brooks proud – was recently selected for the 2018 Fort Myers Beach Film Festival, and this might not have been possible had my little movie not caught the eye of a producer via social media. The buzz was helpful to the film prior to the fest. This attention helped significantly. So, yes, as a woman these virtual vehicles allow gals like myself to show ‘em what we got!
BTG: What do you think are the biggest obstacles women in film face today?
I used to say it was ‘assumptions’. When I was first dipping into the LA film culture, I discovered that most of my superiors at the time automatically figured I was an actress or laughed at the fact that I loved horror since I had “that girl next door” look and wasn’t tattoed or pierced up. “Really, YOU?” they’d bark. I mean, let’s be honest, anyone can dig/do horror; John Carpenter is a basketball fanatic, while Wes Craven was a distinguished lit professor. The stereotypes associated with horror should die in a nice little lake called Camp Crystal, especially nowadays. Horror won an Oscar with Get Out, for crying out loud. Granted my favorite film An American Werewolf in London won for Best Makeup back in 1982 (confetti to Rick Baker), which I believe was a great start.
I feel like women are gaining more respect in the horror genre. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon are perpetuating the recognition. It’s a wonderful progression. In terms of obstacles, despite progression, assumptions seem to hold opportunity on the backburner at times, while other times, I have found that it works rather well: because it creates surprise, and allure that it is “against the norm” for a few. There needs to be a little bit more open-minded behavior in that regard, but that will come; any renaissance (“The Future is Female”) beckons new artists to exhibit their creations, and challenges the observers to broaden their horizons.
BTG: Do you think the situation regarding women in film has changed over the past few years?
The situation has moved in many ways: there is more of a spotlight on us to create with the various platforms that enable several tools for fast film production (iPhones, digital, etc.), and it is exhilarating, although I will truly love 35mm and 70mm (thanks, New Bev) until the day I die. The options are endless. There are also many men who are encouraging this to be. And that is exactly what needs to happen: more true equality amongst the genders; a kind of embracing for intellectual and creative visionaries across the board.
BTG: Do you like how today’s film and television depict women?
I do see stronger female roles in the mainstream TV scene: i.e. THE HANDMAID’S TALE, MINDHUNTER, and even THE OA. And love that so much. But in terms of film, I feel like the culture still has some growing to do. Spielberg noted how the next Indiana Jones should be a woman. And when taking that 2-cents with the latest OCEAN’S (8) installment, the entire female-forward movement appears to be more of a joke, a current trend to tackle for timely publicity, instead of a natural pioneering effect.
We already have Lara Croft. She has her own story, so build upon it (since the 2018 attempt missed the mark completely). Don’t throw us a bone with a male film, BUT WITH LADIES NOW (*jazz hands*). If we want the future to actually be female, we need original content for women, like WONDER WOMAN, not OCEAN’S 8 or INDIANA BRIDGET JONES.
BTG: What would you change to make things better?
I feel like more women in the entertainment business need to stop relying on the #metoo Movement to propel their careers: i.e. boosting Instagram followers and exploiting the cause. It is a traumatic situation for all involved, but there are some females who have not dealt with a particularly horrific situation, and are still using the movement as a means for their own selfish gains, which is tarnishing what the movement is really about: human rights. If we as women want more respect in this business, we need to earn it like anyone else: do the work (shoot, write, CREATE), and the rest will follow, which is what I am doing right now. I just established my own studio to produce original content. I have three horror shorts slated for this year, with my debut horror feature set to shoot in 2019. If you want more opportunities, make them yourself and mentor your fellow woman by doing so. We are strong women, meant to empower our like-minded gals, and by incessantly perpetuating “the victim standard” with tacky exploitation, we are being completely counterproductive. We are not prey; we are warriors. Less talk, more do. I want to change the conversation from “she felt powerless” to “she felt fearless”.