Director Lexi Alexander received an Oscar nomination for her short film Johnny Flynton in 2003. Since then, she's directed movies like Green Street Hooligans (which she also wrote) and Punisher: War Zone. And this week, shortly before no women were nominated for Best Director, she took to her blog to write about the sexism she sees in the film industry.
Alexander's post, which was republished on Women and Hollywood, alleges that studios talk a lot about the importance of hiring women, but in reality, if they wanted to make things different, they would have done it already. "There is no lack of female directors," Alexander writes. "Repeat after me: THERE IS NO LACK OF FEMALE DIRECTORS. But there is a huge lack of people willing to give female directors opportunities."
Over the weekend, Alexander attended a Women's Steering Committee meeting for the Director's Guild of America. The Women's Steering Committee is one of several organizations in the DGA devoted to improving the diversity of directors hired for film and television products. At the meeting, Alexander found herself dejected; there was infighting between studios present and the DGA about whose fault it was that not enough women are working, and though things seem better in television with regards to available opportunities for new directors, most new directors are still predominantly white men:
The people with the most intelligent things to say were bullied into silence, the bullies were applauded and one fairly prominent female director actually stated several times in a row: "Let me make this very clear: I am not here as one of you, I am one of the boys okay?"
To Alexander, this type of "conversation" is just that: all talk and no action. She calls it "fake activism," writing, "Can we all just be real for a second here? Ask yourself this: If diversity hiring would be a sincere core value to Hollywood's studios, do you honestly believe they'd fail?'"
Though Alexander says she's gotten a few requests for meetings this month from places she knows are focusing on improving the diversity of their directors, it's a little upsetting to her to realize know that she's being approached mostly because she's a woman.
But it's still better than being rejected for being a woman. Alexander acknowledges that she's known as a "bitch" and "difficult" for being vocal about these issues. In the edit note before her republished piece, Women and Hollywood reminds us that Alexander wrote this piece "at great peril." In the fall, she made news when she alleged that she'd been refused a meeting with one of the producers of the upcoming film ExpendaBelles because she wasn't considered hardcore enough to direct the action film, despite her extensive experience with martial arts and fighting, plus the fact that she was a favorite of fans and Expendables original Sylvester Stallone. Though that movie is still in development and has yet to announce a director, they're likely to a pick a woman – just not Alexander.
Image via Koji Sasahara/AP