Female Asian Filmmakers

Topics: Film, Feature film, Film festival Pages: 10 (2939 words) Published: April 22, 2008
Brief outline:
1. Gender Inequality in film industry
2. Female film makers in Asia
India : Gurinder Chadha
Malaysia: Yasmin Ahmad
The Philippines : Marilou Diaz-Abaya
Hong Kong : Ann Hui
3. Female film makers in Singapore
Singapore: Tan Pin Pin, Sun Koh and Wee Li-Lin.
4. Singapore Film Industry
5. Rise of female Asian film makers in the future?

This paper shall touch on the gender issues in the filmmakers’ industry. Some noted female filmmakers from Singapore and from the region shall be introduced. Singapore's film industry will be touched upon and lastly, some speculation of the future of female Asian filmmakers will be included in the conclusion.

Gender Inequality in the film industry:
For decades, gender issues have been deeply implanted in of every aspect of our lives. It is common to find people who hold on to their stereotypes of women today. The film industry is yet another example of that unfortunate circumstance.

This issue is prevalent on screen and behind the scenes. Male dominance began decades ago in the 1960’s and perhaps even before that. Just from the overwhelming statistics of subordination of women we saw in film and the typical stereotypes people have of women being housewives, unemployed and without careers, it is plain that women were disadvantaged from the start.

Men have had a head start when it comes to film making. It is time for women to begin catching up.

Female Filmmakers in Asia:

Gurinder Chadha (India):
Gurinder Chadha is Asian, British and Sikh. Born in Kenya, her family moved to India before moving to Britain, where she grew up in Southall, London.

Starting off in radio and television, she owes her film making to journalism. In 1993, Gurinder directed her first feature film, Bhaji on the Beach. It is a comedy following three generations of British Asian women on a trip to the beaches of Blackpool. Each woman is either escaping from a problem or looking for new possibilities.

Gurinder’s most accomplished and commercially successful film to date is Bend It Like Beckham (2002). It tells the story of a young Asian woman trying to follow her dream to be a footballer while struggling to meet the demands of family and tradition. Bend it like Beckham also won an award for "Outstanding Film" from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Her films reflect her sentiments of her mixed heritage. The films showcase stories of people with mixed parentages, bringing across the message that we’re all the same despite cultural differences.

Marilou Diaz-Abaya (The Philippines):

Marilou Diaz-Abaya was born in Quezon City in 1955. Graduated from Assumption College with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and majored in Communications before furthering her studies in film and television in Loyola Marymount University in 1978. She completed the Film Course at London International Film School in the same year.

Tanikala (Chains) in 1980 was her first feature film and since then, she remained in the public eye, establishing a name in Philippine Cinema. Her early films like Brutal, Karnal (Of the Flesh), and Baby Tsina censured the system during the administration of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos.

After the deposition of Marcos, she switched to television. She resumed making films in 1995 beginning with Ipaglaban Mo (Redeem Her Honor), continuing with May Nagmamahal Sa Iyo (Madonna and Child), Sa Pusod Ng Dagat (In the Navel of the Sea), Jose Rizal, and Muro Ami (Reef Hunters). Diaz’s work dealt with difficulties faced by her countrymen, focusing on the lives of impoverished, women and children struggling for their lives in harsh circumstances.

Her most famous work to date is José Rizal, featuring actor and 2007 Philippine senatorial candidate, Cesar Montano, playing the role of a national hero as an ordinary person, artist, and struggling doctor.

Diaz is the 2001 Laureate of the Fukuoka Prize for Culture and the Arts in Japan. She won...
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