Less than five per cent of music producers are women, an issue local musicians are highlighting with a new documentary about the gender disparity at the Reel 2 Real International Film Festival for Youth this week.
I spoke with director Stephanie Clattenburg about the issue and her film.
What is your film about?
Play Your Gender is about the gender disparity in the music industry. According to all the statistics we’ve found, the women we talked to are working and succeeding in an industry that is very biased against them. Less than 5% of music producers are women and that’s concerning, because the songs we listen to say a lot about our society and music is a big part of human culture. The aim was to figure out why that disparity exists and what can be done about it.
What prompted you to do it?
Producer Sahar Yousefi, Host and Executive Producer Kinnie Starr and myself all feel passionate about tackling the subject of gender bias. With my background in music playing a traditionally male instrument, the drums, I feel a particular pull to the subject.
What was one of the challenges in filming?
Sometimes educated, intelligent people believe that gender bias isn’t an issue or a concern in the music industry. Although that can be upsetting, it also gives us the chance to try to educate some of those people and perhaps open their mind to the benefit of discussing these issues. By discussing things like this, we will only become a more just society.
What was a happy accident / or unexpected joy when making the film?
It was very fun to meet and talk to all of the artists involved in the project but on a personal note, I got to meet drummer Patty Schemel who played with Hole in the 1990s. I was a big fan of the band growing up and as a drummer myself I have always looked up to her so I was very excited to get to meet her and have her as part of the film.
Why are festivals like this important?
Screening your film for an audience is always an exciting time for a filmmaker. We wanted this film to be made because we want this discussion to be had. Film festivals like this bring people together to see and hear new ideas and different points of view. My goal is to spark conversations so people can walk away from the film thinking and discussing things they had never thought of before.
Here’s the link to the info and trailer to Play Your Gender: http://www.2017.r2rfestival.org/content/play-your-gender
David C. Jones