America Ferrera believes the future is bright for women filmmakers despite the difficult challenges they face in Hollywood.
Recapturing the magic of her viral monologue in Greta Gerwig’s film “Barbie,” Ferrera delivered a moving speech as the keynote presenter at the Academy’s annual Women’s Luncheon presented by Chanel on Thursday, it prompted a standing ovation lasting several minutes. Ferrera’s remarks focused on the importance of camaraderie and how the impact of uniting voices can make waves within the industry.
“Community is not something we can or should take for granted – and I would like us to consider that growing and strengthening that community could be the key to scaling this industry,” she said. declared to the crowd.
“By the time I became successful in my career, I was used to fending for myself. I was the first of my time, the only woman or the only person of color in important meetings, on set. And I was celebrated for this achievement, congratulated for breaking through, told that my uniqueness was a sort of badge of honor, a testament to my talents and hard work, but, most of all, I felt really alone and isolated,” Ferrera recalls. “Until then, I had internalized the idea that other women working in this sector, and particularly women of color, were my competitors and not my collaborators. After all, there were never more than one of us in the room, unless, of course, we were competing for the same jobs and opportunities.
Ferrera went on to explain how building a community helped her form important connections with her peers, reducing the distance she felt from the rest of Hollywood filmmakers.
“We began to build a friendship and develop a community of collaborators and mentors to this day that fills me with courage, hope and the feeling that we are not alone. It was an entirely new feeling, more than a decade into my career,” she said. “And then in 2017, when the Times Up and #MeToo movements were launched, something truly miraculous happened in Hollywood. Women who had worked at the same company for decades but had never been in a room together started coming together. And once again, I witnessed and experienced the transformative nature of being together, of community, of how it allows us to change our relationships with each other and expand our understanding of our own experiences. Being in community creates possibilities for what we can imagine and what we can do together.
Citing a list of statistics on the representation of several marginalized groups in media, Ferrera concluded: “This system of dehumanization and erasure is uniquely felt by our Indigenous, API, Black, LGBTQIA, and trans sisters, as well as by all marginalized communities. As we sit here and hope to build a powerful brotherhood and community and create an authentic brotherhood, we must center students on our shared understanding and goals. We must be resolute in our commitment to care for all of us to demand opportunity, access to equal investment in pay and opportunity for every human being, because what I know today that I did not know when I was a child, is that we all need to know that together we can develop all our possibilities and strengthen a global community of women, storytellers, artists and truth-tellers that we need more than ever Today.
Ferrera’s message resonated with the crowd as girl power was on full display on the roof of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Among the audience were Maude Apatow, Annette Bening, Lily-Rose Depp, Gina Gammell, Molly Gordon, HER, Patty Jenkins, Laura Karpman, Riley Keough, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Greta Lee, Carol Littleton, Eva Longoria, Lupita Nyong’o , Leslie Mann, Dylan Meyer, Ashley Park, Gina Prince-Bythewood, AV Rockwell, Michelle Satter, Sadie Sink, Kristen Stewart, Diane Warren, Academy Governor Rita Wilson and Academy President Janet Yang.
Earlier in the program, Bening (who previously served as Academy Governor) introduced 2023 US Gold Fellowship for Women recipients Erica Eng and July Jung. The Gold Fellowship for Women, now in its sixth year, is a year-long program that combines direct support, personalized mentoring and access to networking opportunities for emerging filmmakers to pursue their work in the domain. The Academy currently awards two scholarships per year, one in the United States and one international, each in the amount of $35,000.
In addition to the up-and-coming women taking center stage, the entire room lit up with celebratory screams and cheers as the cast celebrated the end of the SAG-AFTRA strike, which resulted in a resolution Wednesday.
Wilson breathed a sigh of relief as he spoke with Variety on the beige carpet, remembering the moment she found out the strike had ended after a historic 118 days. She was more than ready to finally talk about her latest production, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3,” which hit theaters in September.
“We couldn’t do press, it was sad,” Wilson said. “You work so hard and you don’t even have a moment to celebrate.”
In light of the keynote speaker’s speech, Wilson – who has long been working on her own Barbie movie, a documentary about the creator of the dollRuth Handler — reflecting on the box office success from Gerwig’s “Barbie” and expressed her frustrations with the challenges women filmmakers face.
“Our job is sometimes so frustrating because you can present 50 films by women and they say no to everything. And then they’ll make one and they’ll say, “Well, that’s a success.” Now we have to find 49 more women’s films, but you just gave them the other 49 women’s films. So it’s almost like if they see it, they can say ‘it works,’ and now there’ll probably be a lot of movies about other brands of other dolls,” Wilson said, joking, “There’s A few years ago they made Bratz so, could they bring Bratz back? I don’t know? But it’s really a question of voice.
More seriously, Wilson hopes that Hollywood will learn the right lessons from the success of “Barbie” and recognize not only the value of women’s stories, but also the magic that is captured when more women are able to work together in this space.
“When you work with people who look like you, but who are also willing to explore other topics, other people and other cultures, you feel engaged in a different story and we can’t always make films about the same things. the moment,” she added. “I remember doing two films back to back with female directors, writers, producers, cinematographer and I remember being so happy at the end of every day. I’m just like, ‘This is the best day of my life. Wow, why am I so happy with these movies?’ And I was like, ‘Oh, that’s because they’re women.’ That’s what men feel every time they go to work,” Wilson said with a laugh.