What do you do if you don’t see yourself reflected in the stories being told on the big screen? Do you sit idly by and hope things will get better? Or do you take action and make the art that you want to see in the world? In the case of the female filmmakers behind Sundance standout XX, they chose the latter, and created a horror anthology that put women at the forefront, both in front of and behind the camera. And it’s about damn time.
In recent years, the issue of a severe lack of diversity behind the camera–particularly in regards to gender–has been an increasingly hot button issue in Hollywood, and for good reason. According to the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, only 7% of directors, 13% of writers, and 20% of producers are female. It’s even bleaker when you break things down into matters of genre. Case in point, a 2015 study by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film revealed that action and horror are the genres in which women are least likely to work, accounting for 9% and 11% of the creative workforce behind the camera.
With those discouraging statistics in mind, I felt particularly heartened by the inclusion of XX in this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The film, which we named one of our favorite films of the festival, is a work written by, directed by, and starring a murderer’s row of talented women. While at the Sundance, I caught up with four of the dynamic filmmakers behind XX–Jovanka Vuckovic, Roxanne Benjamin, Sofia Carrillo, and Annie Clark (a.k.a. St. Vincent)–to chat with them about the importance of a project like this, the challenges of making their segments, how they’re hoping to make a dent in said statistics, and why this sort of representation matters, especially in genre fiction.
XX hits theaters on February 17, 2017.
For our complete Sundance coverage, click here.