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Debrief Staff | Contributing Writer | Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Women in film - and the international women in front of the camera that we love

The Debrief: The film industry is evolving, and if you’re an ambitious, creative woman, there’s no better time to get involve

Next month, Suffragette will be hitting our screens. As well as featuring an A list cast of top talent including Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep and Helena Bonham Carter, it’s made by brilliant women, including director Sarah Gavron and writer Abi Morgan.

GoThinkBig are looking for 3 crews of 18-24 year olds to join a week long film making experience from 8-15 October at the BFI London Film Festival. You'll have the amazing opportunity to write, shoot and direct a short film based on the theme ‘The Time Is Now’, that will premiere alongside a screening of Suffragette at the BFI London Film Festival. Whether you dream of getting in front of the camera or behind it, you can also be inspired by the actresses who use their profile to draw attention to the issues women in film face - and how to ensure that women can safely and successfully explore their full creative potential. Here’s a list of the women we love, and how they’re changing the industry for the better. Find out more and how to enter:

Emma Watson

Emma isn’t just an actress, she’s a humanitarian, and her work with gender equality campaign #HeForShe made men realise they have a vital part to play in ensuring that women everywhere have access to the same opportunities that they do. Emma said “I think it starts really young with girls and boys being told what they can be.” As children, we look to the movies for our role models, so if you’re inspired by Emma, you might want to write a script with an amazing female character in the lead.


Lupita Nyong’o

In 2014, Lupita won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in 12 Years A Slave, and as soon as the world was listening, used her platform to speak out about everything from feminism to diversity. She revealed that she received a letter from a fan who decided not to lighten her dark skin after seeing Lupita being praised for her beauty - and explained that as a teenager she felt the same way about the model Alek Wek, saying ‘I couldn’t believe that people were embracing a woman who looked so much like me, as beautiful.’ Lupita started an international conversation about how damaging narrow beauty standards can be and made the world realise that it’s vital to see a range of faces, voices and bodies on the big screen.

Patricia Arquette

Winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar earlier this year for Boyhood, Patricia Arquette used her speech to make a point about equal pay for all women, inside and outside of the film industry. She said ‘It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.’ She’s used her power to empower other women, and we think that she’ll inspire the next generation of female filmmakers to use their future successes to build a platform to campaign for women’s rights.

Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence is one of the most successful actresses in the world, consistently being named as one of the highest grossing box office stars. She’s also dealt with sexism at every level, from being exposed in a nude photo hack to being named in an email leak where it was revealed that she wasn’t being paid as much as her male colleagues. But instead of staying silent, she spoke out - and made it clear that being on screen should never stop a woman from being in control of her body. ’It's my body, and it should be my choice, and the fact that it is not my choice is absolutely disgusting.’ Hopefully Jennifer’s words will ensure that the next generation of stars will know that it’s never OK for them to be exploited.

Helen Mirren

Veteran actor Helen Mirren knows the industry inside out, and has always spoken out about the fair, equal treatment of women within it. She’s talked extensively about how being a sex symbol is ‘limiting’, and when women have been valued purely for their bodies and appearance, she challenges it. ‘Being powerful is so much more interesting than being beautiful,’ she commented. We hope the next generation of filmmakers will take her words to heart and focus on showcasing female strength.

Sandra Bullock

It’s a problem when men get all the meaty roles and women end up playing wives, girlfriends and Mums. Sandra Bullock has the perfect solution. She read the script for the new political drama Our Brand Is In Crisis and decided that she wanted to play the lead role - the one that had been written for George Clooney. Once powerful actresses demand better roles for themselves, life is going to get more interesting for women in front of and behind the camera.