DATE

September 2017 – present

PLATFORM
PRESS

Harnessing the power of the internet to promote the visibility of women and minority directors.

The images we are exposed to shape the way we see the world. A year and a half ago I began monitoring Google search results for “film director”. I noticed that the top entries in Google Images were overwhelmingly male: the first female director that came up wasn’t even a real woman: it was Barbie Film Director! I was appalled. I’ve been working as a film director for over a decade and my biggest challenge has always been the issue of credibility. Whenever I introduce myself and say that I make films, the first follow up question is invariably: “Oh are you a film student?” or “What kind of little videosdo you make?” Noticing how female film directors are virtually invisible on TV, in magazines and online must play a role in this, affecting people’s perceptions of what a film director looks like. The experiment on Google Image results also taught me an important lesson: the power of algorithms and search engine optimization. While scrolling through the image results for “film director” and counting how many women I could see in the top 100 results, I was startled to find my own photo! I was the 6th female director on the page, 87th overall. This is thanks to a guest post I had written years ago for the blog Women & Hollywood, titled “Things You Should Know: 5 Lessons for Young Female Directors” which was eventually re-published by another website: The Grindstone. The high ranking and authority of Women & Hollywood and The Grindstone, plus the keyword “Film Director” in the title of the post propelled my photo to the top of search results for film director. I was in the 87th position a year and a half ago and these days I’m number 60.
So, earlier this summer, I had a thought: maybe I could harness the power of the internet to populate the web with images of female directors – promoting their visibility and thus normalizing their presence. GIPHY immediately came to mind because of the popularity of GIFs and its integration with Twitter, Facebook and Slack. When I initially ran a search for “film director” in GIPHY, I saw only male directors in the top results: David Lynch, Park Chan-wook and Alfred Hitchcock. I’m set to change all that, so that when an aspiring female director runs a search, she can find many examples of women directors. And it’s working! Thanks to GIPHY’s integration with Twitter and Slack, now when people search for “film director” or “filmmaker” they see my GIFs in the top results:
Check out the full GIPHY gallery