Zoe Lister-Jones (Life in Pieces & New Girl), actress and writer, just made her directorial debut with a film called Band-Aid. Comprised of an all-female crew, from the coffee-runners and drivers to the production assistants, Band-Aid stands as a rare feat for male-dominated Hollywood.
Having been in the business for over a decade, Lister-Jones is a well-seasoned writer and actress. She has appeared in a total of 40 TV shows and films. Yet, out of all these projects, only three had female cinematographers. For Lister-Jones, this gender disparity was too blatant to ignore. As a result, Lister-Jones challenged herself to create the indie comedy Band-Aid with a crew solely comprised of women.
In an interview with the New York Times Lister-Jones said, “I wanted to see what it would feel like if a community of women exclusively created a piece of art together.” She made it clear that merely calling attention to the inequities is not enough to correct them, which is why she did something about it. The new director added that the change “needs to be really deliberate. It’s not going to happen by accident.”
The film was released to the public on Friday, June 2. It follows a couple played by The Mindy Project’s Adam Pally and Lister-Jones herself and their journey in starting a band in order to save their marriage. Aside from the film’s cast, Lister-Jones remained adamant at keeping true to everything all-female behind the scenes, including the financial aspects and executive production. “I just felt like it would be too muddy if some days a man would be at the monitor,” Lister-Jones explained.
According to a series of reports conducted by the Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film at San Diego State University, the gender disparities in behind-the-scenes production in media and film has seen little to no change since 1998. The center’s most recent study indicates that the movies exhibited in the top 23 well-known American independent film festivals (including Sundance and AFI Fest) employed over twice as many men as women in occupations such as executive production, editing, and writing.
Some of the challenges Lister-Jones faced while finding and hiring female employees stemmed from the deep-rooted gender disparities in the American film industry. The actress and writer believes that women themselves have internalized Hollywood’s tendency to second-guess and shove women to the wayside in terms of casting and hiring.
However, Lister-Jones reported that once the set and crew were hired, the rest was smooth sailing. According to Lister-Jones’s on-screen husband, Pally, even shooting the movie’s more intimate scenes was more relieving and “freeing” with an all-female crew. “Being vulnerable and whatnot, in front of all those women, it was just easier,” Pally admitted. The co-star also found
communication and collaboration were strong points for the all-female crew. “Men are sometimes a little bit more bullheaded… If someone comes in and offers an idea, it doesn’t come across as toward the common good, it comes across against the original idea.”
While the female film crew of Band-Aid was a huge step in empowering women in the American filming industry, Lister-Jones recalls the project’s greatest outcome was showing that the quality of a film is not undermined by having a few women behind the camera.
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