Paula Weinstein, Tribeca Enterprises executive vice president, made a speech to a restaurant full of female filmmakers, producers, writers, actresses and gatekeepers that acknowledged just how much things have changed in the entertainment industry.
“In my early days in Hollywood, there was very little reaching back to pull women forward,” she said. “‘Now we are in the third phase of the women’s movement and this is a must. This is a moment when we need to hold hands and bring each other along and allow our work to help to the women who are less fortunate so they can have their moment. Whether it’s a blow job or a shift loss, we want to help make that stop happening.”
After the room cheered, Weinstein began to cry.
“I’m just so moved and inspired,” Weinstein explained moments later.
The tears were understandable. Close to half of this year’s TIFF feature films were directed by women. In addition 40 percent of the festival’s shorts were helmed by females and women directed 70 percent of NOW (New Online Work) category.
“Tribeca has always supported women filmmakers,” said TIFF co-founder Jane Rosenthal. “This year we said, let’s try and get to our (feature film) programming to be 50-50. (The programmers) only got to 46 percent because they are very picky.”
Held at Tribeca’s Odeon restaurant attending directors with films in the fest included Ondi Timoner (“Mapplethorpe”), Liz Garbus (“The Fourth Estate”) Assia Boundaoui (“The Feeling of Being Watched”) and Lisa D’Apolito (“Love, Gilda”).
Sarah Jessica Parker was also in attendance. Her first film in three years — “Blue Night” — is debuting at TIFF on Sunday.
“I’m riddled with anxiety,” Parker said about the upcoming premiere. “Blue Night” follows Vivienne (Parker), a singer in New York City, whose world is shattered after she receives some bad news.
“We made the film on these streets and the city was an inspiration for this story in a lot of ways,” she said. “So it’s right and good that it will premiere here.”
The lunch was also in support of Through Her Lens: The Tribeca Chanel Women’s Filmmaker Program, a program designed to support emerging U.S.-based female writers and directors of short-form narrative films. The program, presented by Tribeca and CHANEL and facilitated by the Tribeca Film Institute (TFI), discovers and empowers rising filmmakers with project support, master classes, one-on-one mentorship and awards production funds. Submissions will be open this summer for the program, which takes place in the fall.