(July 1, 2015 – Toronto, Ontario) Two weeks ago, the 13th annual Female Eye Film Festival kicked off in Toronto when founder Leslie Ann Coles took her place behind the podium to welcome a nearly sold-out audience to the opening night Gala. In addition to a short film and the screening of a new feature, one of the highlights of the evening was an on-stage interview with this year’s Honourary Director, Léa Pool conducted by President and CEO of Creative Woman Workshops Association, Carol Whiteman. But before that, Pool accepted her award in a short, moving speech about the role of women in filmmaking today. Northernstars.ca requested a copy of that speech and although we’ve had it for the past two weeks, we decided to hold it for publication until today, Canada Day. Pool began her remarks by saying’ “Good evening! Thank you….”
“I first began making films in the eighties and as a young woman, all I wanted was to express my own vision, my own language and my own emotions. I was looking for my own voice and the opportunities to define it. I remember being apprehensive to present my films at ‘Women Film Festivals’ with fear to be labeled as a ‘feminist filmmaker’ or as a ‘gay filmmaker.’
I was afraid to be marginalized.
Tonight I am more than proud to be here with you.
Tonight I speak as a woman filmmaker.
Tonight I am grateful for all the opportunities I’ve been given to work and create.
Tonight I’m also still concerned by the ongoing inequalities of our industry where few women’s voices are heard. It is impossible to avoid the statistics, that proves year after year, that women in films are under-represented in all departments and that their voices are often and sadly still marginalized.
Fortunately and as usual, women are standing strong. In different parts of the world recently, a new wind is blowing:
In Québec for instance, Les Réalisatrices Équitables is working very hard to give a strong voice to women filmmakers hoping to reach equity for women directors.
In Hollywood, Patricia Arquette used her Oscar speech to call for equal pay for women. The Meryl Streep Funds promotes the Lab for Women Screenwriters Over 40. The Swedish Film Institute achieved 50-50 Funding Distribution for Male and Female Directors.
So, I believe it’s important to get involved, to teach, to support and inspire women filmmakers. Inspire them to persist fighting for equality between women and men in our business. I believe it is our duty.
Tonight, It is a great honour and a privilege to accept this award at the Female Eye Film Festival, where so many talented filmmaker before me, were also honoured.
Tonight it is wonderful to see so many of you celebrating Woman’s Cinema.
Also see: Léa Pool`s filmography.