Mountainfilm on Tour is constantly growing, so we’re screening films for larger audiences in more locations around the world. Perhaps that’s why we’ve received a rash of criticism we’ve not seen before: Women are writing to describe “feeling upset…at the end of the presentation” because of “an utter lack of films portraying women.” They want female role models. We hear you and appreciate the input, and Emily Long, Mountainfilm’s program director, offers this response:
Thanks to everyone who has noticed and addressed the lack of adventureous and inspiring females in our programming. It's a problem for sure, but the problem goes much deeper than just Mountainfilm or one Mountainfilm on Tour show. The truth is, unfortunately, that not that many awesome, adventuresome women are making films. This is 2014, not 1954, and yet there's still a huge dearth of women in film that is endemic to the entire industry.
Most of the filmmakers and film subjects who create in the adventure genre are men — 80% or more. Even when you expand into Mountainfilm's other festival themes — such as the environment, social justice and culture — women are still a small minority. I've been programming Mountainfilm in Telluride since 2006, and I've seen little change since that time. The problem is not that loads of women are making films that aren't getting seen; the problem is that loads of women are simply not making films in the first place.
We, as women, should not wait to see female role models before being inspired to go on adventures, make films or do anything extraordinary. The longer the wait for role models, the longer it will take to make positive, significant change in the world. To quote a woman who was decidedly ahead of her time, Amelia Earhart once said, “The most effective way to do it, is to do it.”
In the meantime, here at Mountainfilm, we will continue to steer our efforts toward discovering, encouraging and cultivating female filmmakers and film subjects as best we can.