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‘Twilight’ Director Catherine Hardwicke on Hollywood Gender Parity: ‘There’s Still A Lot of Work to Do’

Catherine Hardwicke became a trailblazer for female directors after leading “Twilight” to global success; however, ten years after the first film came out, she says there’s still not enough women working behind the camera.

“There’s still a lot of work to do because we’ve got to get to both sides of the camera; we’ve got to get more representation in all the categories,” Hardwicke Told Variety at the 45th Student Academy Awards ceremony held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. “We’ve got a lot to say, and we’ve had a long time where we haven’t gotten to have our voices back there.”

Hardwicke, along with Patricia Riggen, Kumail Nanjiani and Arthur Dong, presented awards at Thursday’s Student Academy Award ceremony, which highlighted some of the best student films from around the world in animation, alternative filming, documentary filming and narrative filming. Out of the more than 1,500 submitted entries, the Academy selected 15 to be honored during the show, assigning a bronze, silver and gold medal winner in almost every category.

“The 33” director Riggen said she was excited to present at the Student Academy Awards after launching her own career at the show years before. During her time at Colombia University, Riggen’s student film was selected as one of the finalists for the awards ceremony, providing her with the springboard she needed to dive headfirst into the film industry.

However, Riggen said getting started as a female filmmaker in Hollywood was quite different from working on films in college.

“When you are in a non-financial situation, you’re competing without a gender,” she said. “When there’s money involved, that’s when things change and that’s when we as female directors get pushed aside.”

Patricia Riggen and Dawn Allen45th Student Academy Awards Ceremony, Los Angeles, USA - 11 Oct 2018
CREDIT: Michael Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

Riggen said male directors often get more opportunities to work on bigger projects due to the unconscious bias that exists in the entertainment industry. Even in places like television, where she said the effects of movements like #MeToo are starting to take effect, Male backlash toward women can make working in entertainment difficult.

“They literally attack you because of that; they will try to criticize us and make us feel that we are being hired because we are women – I’m the quota,” she said. “But it doesn’t matter as long as female directors are given the opportunities that have been denied for decades.”

Nanjiani also joined Riggen as a presenter at the show, although he said he spent his time in school studying chemistry and not film. Before heading into the theater to announce the winners for animation, “The Big Sick” star teased a small detail about the upcoming film he’s working on with his wife and co-writer Emily V. Gordon.

“It’s not autobiographical in the way that ‘The Big Sick’ was,” Nanjiani said. “In some ways it’s just as personal, but it’s not based on our lives; it’s a very different genre.”

See the full list of winners from the Student Academy Awards below:

Alternative (Domestic Film Schools)
Gold: Shae Demandt, “Reanimated,” Florida State University

Animation (Domestic Film Schools)
Gold: Hanna Kim, “Raccoon and the Light,” California Institute of the Arts
Silver: Yu Yu, “Daisy,” University of Southern California
Bronze: Eaza Shukla, “Re-Gifted,” Ringling College of Art and Design

Animation (International Film Schools)
Gold: Pierre Perveyrie, Maximilien Bougeois, Marine Goalard, Irina Nguyen-Duc and Quentin Dubois, “The Green Bird,” MOPA

Documentary (Domestic Film Schools)
Gold: Mathieu Faure, “An Edited Life,” New York University
Silver: Yiying Li, “Love & Loss,” University of Southern California
Bronze: Lauren Schwartzman, “Dust Rising,” University of California, Berkeley

Documentary (International Film Schools)
Gold: Mart Bira, “Nomadic Doctor,” University of Hertfordshire

Narrative (Domestic Film Schools)
Gold: Hua Tong, “Spring Flower,” University of Southern California
Silver: Kelley Kali, “Lalo’s House,” University of Southern California
Bronze: Brian Robau, “Esta Es Tu Cuba”/“This Is Your Cuba,” Chapman University

Narrative (International Film Schools)
Gold: Jonatan Etzler, “Get Ready with Me,” Stockholm Academy of the Arts
Silver: Lisa Gertsch, “Almost Everything,” Zurich University of the Arts
Bronze: István Kovács, “A Siege,” University of Theatre and Film Arts, Budapest

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