In spite of its general leaning towards liberalism and the progressive attitudes that are meant to go hand-in-hand with that, the film industry has a problem with women. Whether it’s major studios afraid to produce female-led blockbusters (and then getting hammered by certain parts of the internet when they do) or the woeful underrepresentation of women in major creative roles (director, writer, producer) on films of all scales, the industry repeatedly shows itself as chauvinistic and sometimes outright misogynistic.
The writer and director Tom Clarkson tackles the disturbing treatment of women in the industry with his new short film ‘Girl, mid-twenties. Brunette’. It sees a number of actresses audition for a sexist, mildly abusive director, and shows how remarkably accommodating they are to his unreasonable demands.
The film started off with a much more innocent premise, but the darker side of casting proved too important to ignore. As Tom explains; “The idea began as an experiment to tell a story using the honesty and vulnerability of the moments between the performance in a casting, but it slowly developed into a brief insight into the problems that actresses deal with regularly in castings and their acceptance for female characters to be belittled and two-dimensionalised within that context. In most cases they not only have to tolerate this, but expect it.”
While capturing the moments was uncomfortable (and it is in turn uncomfortable to watch) the team make clear that a female producer greeted the actors and was nearby during the fake auditions. Tom also discussed the project with the actors after shooting the scenes and says that they were supportive of the film’s aims.
‘Casting Call Woe‘ has displayed the laughably absurd and reductive attitude many filmmakers have towards women and female characters. ‘Girl, mid-twenties. Brunette.’ shows the other, more threatening side to those attitudes.
‘Girl, mid-twenties. Brunette.’ is screening at festivals now. Catch it if you can tomclarkson.virb.com/girl-mid-twenties-brunette