Why These Films?
Joan of Arc, Amelia Earhart, Marie Curie. These are a sampling of the remarkable women who have been acknowledged by history. Women have not always been allowed the right to their own voice or to pursue their dreams and, in recent times, it has been noted that more notable women have been left out of history.
At Bella Destino Films, we believe that every woman has a story, and we are proud to introduce the true stories of Bessica Medlar Raiche (the first American woman to fly an airplane), Frances Bertolli (a young Sicilian-American faced with life-changing choices involving culture, family, future and love), Grace O’Malley (the brilliantly strategic and dauntless, Irish pirate), Mildred Norman, the “Peace Pilgrim” (a bold and convicted woman who walked across the country for peace), and Marie Connolly (a strong and caring woman who became the first American, female police officer).
For years, the film industry has lived under the myth that films centering on female characters, let alone substantial, female characters, do not yield as large of a profit as male-driven films. But a new report has revealed that this is not true. You can read the report for yourself here: (http://womenintvfilm.sdsu.edu/files/2013-14_Boxed_In_Report.pdf) Initially, these findings might lead one to believe that films featuring female protagonists or prominent females in an ensemble cast yield lower box office grosses and DVD sales than films featuring male protagonists. However, this conclusion ignores the influence of the size of the budget on box office grosses. When the size of the budget is held constant, films with female protagonists or prominent females in an ensemble cast earn similar box office grosses (domestic, international, opening weekend) and DVD sales as films with male protagonists. Because films featuring male protagonists have larger budgets, they earn larger box office grosses. However, the differences in box office grosses are not caused by the sex of the protagonist but by the size of the budget. Films with larger budgets generate larger grosses, regardless of the sex of the protagonist.
Some actors and filmmakers have already realized that women’s stories are just as moving, entertaining, and powerful as men’s. In her acceptance speech at the 2015 Academy Awards, actress Cate Blanchett shared this view:
“Thank you to... those of us in the industry who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films, with women at the center, are niche experiences. They are not -- audiences want to see them and, in fact, they earn money”
The film industry is also in need of substantial, complex female characters. Actress Geena Davis shared this disappointing realization:
“When my friends and I would act out movies as kids, we'd play the guys' roles, since they had the most interesting things to do. Decades later, I can hardly believe my sons and daughter are seeing many of the same limited choices in current films”
Perhaps one of the most piercing realizations of how substantial, female characters are overlooked came when director Joss Whedon was asked by a reporter, “why do you write these strong, women characters?” To which Whedon replied, “Because you’re still asking me that question”
Women are more than daughters, sisters, or mothers. They can be doctors, astronauts, political leaders, soldiers and, thanks to the progressive time in which we live, the list is nearly endless. Women are world-changers and now is the opportune time for their stories to be told
We thank you for standing with us and supporting us in telling the stories of these exceptional women.