women in film who inspire us

it’s women’s history month!

We’re inspired every day by women: our coworkers, our families, our friends. All the ladies on the Empress Avenue team are a constant inspiration! Yesterday, the team chatted briefly about women who in film who inspire us – here are some of them now.

A woman in the background is filming, in the foreground are inspirational women in film.

Kathryn Bigelow, Director of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, became the first and, as of 2021, only woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director, the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing, the BAFTA Award for Best Direction, and the Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Director. About women making movies, she says: “If there’s specific resistance to women making movies, I just choose to ignore that as an obstacle for two reasons: I can’t change my gender, and I refuse to stop making movies. It’s irrelevant who or what directed a movie, the important thing is that you either respond to it or you don’t. There should be more women directing; I think there’s just not the awareness that it’s really possible. It is.”

Dame Judi Dench is well known for her numerous and varied stage roles and for her work in television and in a variety of films. We love her because no matter what she does, she is the star of the show. Watch “Ask a Legend” with Dame Judi Dench here.

Tiffany Hsuing is a Canadian documentary filmmaker. She is most noted for her 2016 short documentary film The Apology, which won a Peabody Award in 2019, and her 2020 short documentary film Sing Me a Lullaby, which won the Share Her Journey award at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival. You can watch trailers for the two films on Tiffany Hsuing’s website here.

Jennifer Kent is an Australian actress, writer and director, best known for her directorial debut, the horror film The Babadook. We’re inspired by the way she has stepped up and brought her unique voice and vision to the horror genre, a genre that is historically desperate for female perspective. If you haven’t seen her films, and you enjoy horror movies, we highly recommend you check them out! The Director explains how she made The Babadook and The Nightingale here.

Nina Paley is an artist, cartoonist and animator who is perhaps best known for creating the animated musical romance-comedy-drama feature film Sita Sings the Blues (2008). She is remarkable because she is the triple threat of animation – she created all of Sita Sings the Blues, including the music! In the director’s own words, the film is “a tale of truth, justice and a woman’s cry for equal treatment.” (How apt!) Nina has generously made Sita Sings the Blue available to everyone; you can watch it and support her here.

Shonda Rhimes, creator and showrunner of Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal – what an inspirational powerhouse! Casting and writing African American, Asian and Latinx people in fully-dimensional, highly intelligent, emotionally deep roles, Rhimes revolutionized the way we see people of colour on TV. Visit Shondaland here; watch her TED Talk here.

Thelma Schoonmaker is an amazing film editor who has edited Martin Scorsese’s films for more than fifty years! She started working with Scorsese on his debut film, and has edited all of his films since Raging Bull (which won her her first Academy Award in 1980). The team credits their ability to work so well together to excellent communication skills. Thelma is on set with Scorsese from day one, and until the very end. There are many videos on YouTube about how Schoonmaker edited movies – here is one to get you started.

the theme of women’s history month 2021 is #ChooseToChallenge

We choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. This month we’re highlighting some of the outstanding women in film and film history and some who have inspired us and influence our work at Empress Avenue Media. Here are the women in film who inspire us: Mia is inspired by Kathryn Bigelow and Shonda Rhimes; Ben is inspired by Dame Judi Dench; Joseph is inspired by Nina Paley, Jennifer Kent and Tiffany Hsuing; and Josh is inspired by Thelma Schoonmaker. Find us on social media on twitter, facebook or instagram and let’s choose continue the conversation!