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Women in Hollywood, Women in Toronto

A while back,

I wrote about how women directors were missingfrom a list of the top 100 directors of all time.

In today's Toronto Star , there's an articleexplaining that while it may be difficult for women directors in Hollywood, those women are finding a welcome refuge at the

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Toronto Film Festival. At this year's festival, there were 52 female-directed films out of 332 total - this is apparently up from last year and a watershed compared to Hollywood. Also, some of those films received a fair bit of prominence and buzz, including

Julie Taymor'smuch anticipated Beatles extravaganza,

Across the Universe.

One of the interesting revelations in the article comes from director Robin Swicord , whose film The Jane Austen's Book Club comes out in a couple of weeks. She has worked in the industry for years as a screenwriter and was frustrated by the small number of women screenwriters and directors getting work, especially since women dominate the publishing industry and compose the majority of graduates from English and writing programs. Why, Swicord wondered, were men getting all of the screenwriting jobs in Hollywood?

She went to the Writer's Guild and began talking to folks. Swicord learned that it was harder for women to get agents because agents want clients with the best career opportunities. And, we've heard this before, women's stories were considered less marketable to the largely male audiences -- in other words, the teenage boy demo that money hungry studios see as the audience holy grail.

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So if you want to know what kinds of films women directors are making now, one place to go is the Toronto Film Festival. Also, on a local level, the San Diego Women's Film Festival is just around the corner, October 4-7th at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park. The festival will showcase around a 100 films, including features, documentaries, and shorts.