To change the sexist culture of Hollywood, we need to do more than call out abusers. We need to disrupt the boys club environment that so long fostered and hid abusers. To that end, Time’s Up activist Tessa Thompson has thrown down a challenge in hopes of increasing the numbers of female directors making movies in 2019 and 2020.
At the Sundance Film Festival, Thompson declared, “Because only 4 percent of the top 100 studio films over the last decade have been directed by women, Times Up is initiating a challenge, the 4 percent challenge, and I intend to take it. I commit to working with a female director in the next 18 months.”
The gauntlet was thrown down. And some big names were eager to take on the challenge, proclaiming their resolve on Twitter.
Hells yeah. I accept the @TIMESUPNOW #4percentChallenge …I’m in!!!! How about you @MishaGreen @MargotRobbie @rosieperezbklyn @JussieSmollett @GabbySidibe @itsgabrielleu @TraceeEllisRoss @LenaWaithe https://t.co/wiiA1scvla— jurnee smollett (@jurneesmollett) January 26, 2019
I’m in 🙋🏼♀️ - who else is ready to step up? https://t.co/iJkMso206j— Brie Larson (@brielarson) January 26, 2019
Last night in a keynote speech at @sundanceorg I announced that I will join the @TIMESUPNOW #4percentChallenge. I will work with a female director in the next 18 months. I know @brielarson, @kerrywashington, & @jurneesmollett are in. Which male actors are with us?— Tessa Thompson (@TessaThompson_x) January 26, 2019
You know I’m in!!!! https://t.co/uQaf5h9rzC— Jordan Peele (@JordanPeele) January 27, 2019
I’m in. Wish my film “Paint it Black” had a support network like this when it came out in 2016. I have many horror stories about trying to get it made and sold and seen. I bet many women filmmakers could say the same thing. Happy it’s happening now.— Amber Tamblyn (@ambertamblyn) January 26, 2019
I’m in! https://t.co/StZF53QRfd— Constance Wu (@ConstanceWu) January 27, 2019
And here’s how you can get involved in getting the number of working female directors up.
If your favorite Hollywood actor or producer hasn't committed to work with a female director on a feature film in the next 18 months, ask them why not.— Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) January 28, 2019
Here's a list of who has accepted the #4percentchallenge thus far. @Inclusionists @TIMESUPNOW https://t.co/798wJcLkR8
But Thompson wasn’t done. She’s looking to enhance the voices of women and people of color in entertainment journalism too.
I also committed to Doubling the number of women and POC journalist covering the films I have coming out this year. (One in April and in June). TimesUpx2 https://t.co/WFFSXSwuhB— Tessa Thompson (@TessaThompson_x) January 26, 2019
The how here isn’t clear. It’s possible she’ll have her PR team give priority to interview requests from women and people of color, which could move the needle. But does Thompson have a plan for how to get more diversity in film criticism? It’s something Time’s Up has spoken to before. We’ll see.
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