August 1, 2021

Geena Davis has her own film festival

Just as Robert Redford created the Sundance Film Festival and Robert De Niro did the same with the Tribeca Festival in New York, Geena Davis also has its own film festival.

It’s about the Bentonville ‘BFF’ in the state of Arkansas, with the good cause of prioritizing underrepresented minorities.

And in an exclusive interview (without a mask and with the social distance of the phone) she herself confirmed “This year there is much more diversity than ever because we released no less than 70 films with 80% directed by women, 65% with directors of ‘color’ and 45% gay directors”.

Of course, there was no shortage of Hispanic themes and characters, such as the romance behind ‘Our Quinceañera’ or the exploration of the millennium concept of Frida Kahlo on ‘My Friend Frida’ and the story of an immigrant who crossed the border into the United States and ended up studying to be a lawyer, to represent the minors who were left alone in the country, after the parents were deported in ‘Immigrant Voices of America’.

(Photo: Courtesy)

The roles are changed

And in a year where, in addition, almost 40 years have passed since the film debut with ‘Tootsie’ and the 30 years of filming Thelma & Louise, Geena Davis ensures that it is not just a famous face for the festival. “I am very involved in everything” , to detail that the festival also included quite original panels, such as one in particular where she herself proposes the possibility of changing the roles of certain characters from men to women, contrary to the famous movie ‘Tootsie’, where Dustin Hoffman she had to dress as a woman to get work.

With the festival, on the other hand, they demonstrated true examples, where the cinema achieved remarkable successes with the key to choosing a woman, instead of a man, for the leading role. “One of the most famous examples was the film series ‘Alien’ with Sigourney Weaver, because her character had been written for a man until someone had the genius to change it for her. And I think something like that happened to Angelina Jolie, with the movie ‘Salt’, where I seem to have heard that they had thought about Tom Cruise and eventually Angelina was the protagonist ”.

Geena Davis has her own festival

Long before ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, Geena Davis had already been a female pirate in the movies of ‘Cutthroat Island’, although we could never imagine a male version of the most popular movies ‘A League Of  Their Own’ O ‘Thelma & Louise‘, as she herself justifies. “There is no way to tell those stories from the male point of view, because what happens with women does not happen with men. And for them to be so successful, they needed the characters to be female. “

(Photo: Courtesy)

But when looking for a much more general change, Geena Davis insists “I am not saying that the leading role must necessarily be changed. There are many important characters in the cinema, of all sizes, where the role of a police officer can become a woman or an executive, a boss, or a woman, to generate good social change.

Drive-ins are back

In such a difficult time where movie theaters are closed, not even the pandemic was able to cancel the festival.

“It was a huge challenge for us” assured Geena “We did not know what to do. We put it off at first, until we realized that we weren’t going to be able to do it with people, live, this year. We say that it is a ‘hybrid’ festival where, for example, we spent some movies with people, in drive-ins and that was very, very fun ».

Looking on the bright side, they also discovered that showing virtual cinema over the Internet attracts an audience that would never have been there. “The online presence opened our eyes and I can predict that from now on, I believe that we will be able to have our film productions on a global level, adding those who will continue to come to the festival”.

And in a very optimistic way, she also believes that the pandemic It will not be able to end the world of cinema.

I guess we all hit the pause button to try to see what’s going to happen and people are furiously trying to figure out how to film past the pandemic. I just hope that we can get the famous vaccine, one day, that things get better and we can get back to normal. But in the meantime, we are going to need a lot of creativity to try to find a way to continue making films. Luckily, our industry is very creative and I think that eventually we will find the solution. “

(Photo: Courtesy)

By: Fabián Waintal