JESSICA CHASTAIN, QUEEN LATIFAH AND MORE FORM FEMALE EMPOWERMENT PRODUCTION COMPANY
One week ago, Jessica Chastain drummed up some positive press when she launched her independent production company Freckle Films, an enterprise devoted to facilitating the creation of films about women, with a strong pro-woman undercurrent. Chastain’s move was reminiscent of a similar decision from Reese Witherspoon in 2012 to launch her own production house, Pacific Standard, also dedicated to providing female creators with meaningful work. (Pacific Standard has since mounted Wild and Gone Girl, two films featuring complex and recognizably human women in the lead.) Now, just when it seemed the wave of feminist structural upheaval had crested, it’s growing even bigger.
Deadline reports today that Chastain has joined forces with an all-star lineup of women in the entertainment industry to form We Do It Together, a nonprofit production company with the bold mission to finance and create films, TV programs, documentaries, and other media that will change and ultimately do away with stereotypes attached to women. Along with Chastain, the co-founders of this noble venture include Juliette Binoche, Queen Latifah, Freida Pinto, Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke, Ziyi Zhang, Wadjda director Haifaa al-Mansour, Diary of a Teenage Girl director Marielle Heller, and many more. The board has a male member as well, found in Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad, director of the recent Oscar nominee Omar. The company’s first production will be announced in May, during the maximum-exposure window of the Cannes Film Festival.
By now, the gross disparity in Hollywood between men and women has become abundantly, insultingly obvious, and every move made to right it deserves commendation. And in an even more inspiring turn, the staff at We Do It Together has clearly taken intersectional concerns into consideration by including women of color among its ranks. Movies might just be make-pretend, but they still need a conscience if Hollywood’s going to have an output it can be proud of. Hopefully, gestures like this will give it one.