If it were up to her, Victoria Alonso would make a female superhero film today. During her keynote speech this past weekend at Visual Effects Society’s Production Summit, the Marvel executive producer and executive vice president of visual effects and post-production was asked why Marvel still hadn’t made a female-led film, and whether Marvel felt pressure after Warner’s Wonder Woman film announcement. Saying she hoped the Marvel/DC venture would be successful, because “…the success of superheroes, whether ours or others, is success for all of us. But I will be honored to be part of a woman leading the way.” And that’s just why Marvel should put her in charge; for women, this is about all of us moving forward, not a contest between comic houses.
Alonso spoke passionately and eloquently about ushering more girls into the visual effects field, encouraging VFX companies to hire more females.
“You’ve got to get the girls in here, boys. It’s better when it’s 50-50. I have been with you beautiful, handsome, talented, creative men in dark rooms for two decades and I can tell you those rooms are better when there are a few of us in them. So as you take this with you, please remember that it’s OK to allow the ladies in. They’re smart, they’re talented. They bring a balance that you need.”
The executive also addressed filling in the gaps left when women leave to have children, noting that about “half” the women who take that time away don’t come back. Alonso has personally worked to bring back talented female effect people, encouraging them to take part-time or partial-year positions.
“This a tough road for women, not because it is a world of men, but because it takes a certain amount of time to be in a supervisory position, and by that time you are having to make a decision about having children or not. Which means you have to take a break. If you take a break, you’re out of the game, and once you’re out of the game, it’s hard to get back in the game.”
Proving herself a worthy role model, the Marvel executive makes it a point to speak at as many VFX events around the world as she can; Alonso said that as a girl in Argentina, she had no true role models (the closest was executive producer Kathy Kennedy):
“This morning I came here because I wanted to make sure that when you put this out on a live-stream and there’s some 14-year-old kid in Austria or a 15-year-old in Germany or a 17-year-old in Massachusetts or somewhere else, and you want to go become an engineer or a digital artist, ladies, you can do it. Why, because the boys are going to be by your side, teaching you what they know, and at times, you will be teaching them. So for me what’s important is to have a presence.”
What a damned cool lady, who doesn’t just talk the talk, but realizes the importance of inspiring the next generation of behind-the-scenes heroines. While we wait for Feige to make good on his promises, it’s comforting to know someone like Victoria Alonso is pushing change forward.