This year’s AFM is an interesting space to be, the elements that are affecting the Hollywood creative community because of Weinstein, Spacy and many others to be yet made public, is on top of people’s minds. There is now a prominent concern about equality and equity and panelists such as Independent Producer Cassian Elwes, is very aware of the toxic environment created by those men that have abused their position of influence and power in this alluring industry. Mr. Elwes is part of a small group of men is trying to change the environment to place women at the forefront through the Horizons Awards.
There is little doubt that all industries have the a problem with women, they are not only faced with sexism, misogyny many times at home, but also at the workplace where the stakes are high as this is where their financial value is judged by people, generally men, who are gatekeepers to better opportunities and a better life. One of Mr. Elwes latest films, “Mudbound” was produced by Netflix and it was Directed by Dees Rees who was purposefully approached by Mr. Elwes because he felt that this woman’s talent was being dismissed and because she was a woman and black. As Mr. Elwes has been a champion on social justice, he felt that this woman had great stories to tell and he would be her advocate. It is rough to read that a producer of his caliber was still not able to get the major studios to respond positively, but the new horizon includes Netflix, who decided to produce the story, as described on imdb, is about “two men return home from World War II to work on a farm in rural Mississippi, where they struggle to deal with racism and adjusting to life after war.”
This is story that Elwes felt needed to be told, his passion for these stories is not common, unfortunately. “Mudbone” is a profound example of how influential creative can support the effort of equality an equity. We have seen that industries are all dangerous to women, and the creative arts are specifically problematic because of the blurred lines that can be part of the strategy used by Weinstein and his disciples to victimize women. There is a movement that is crashing the wall of silence that has been propped up because of the fear and anger many of these men felt toward women. Women are a very prolific and powerful audience, but only direct 7% of the major films, this disconnect is not being examined because the strangling of power. Stories like “Mudbound” bring us back not to a time where it was accepted and expected for people of color to accept their inferiority at a tremendous violent cost if they didn’t. This time is now again being aggressively pursued by those champions of the current administration and this story reminds us of what happened in an immediate past, and what those Alt Right racists are longing for. It still takes immigrants to be strong enough to champion those stories, and they need the audiences to support the production of more.