Claiming the Director's Chair: Preparing Next Generation of Women Filmmakers

Monday, March 30, 2020

CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY (LONG BEACH) -- As the director of the School of Cinema at San Francisco State University, film scholar and independent filmmaker Celine Parreñas Shimizu, Ph.D., recognizes that “our school is the ground on which change in the industry should be seen and modeled. We need to formulate systems of teaching and learning that show how things could be done.”

On the first day of class, Dr. Shimizu talks to her students about how they will be entering one of the most inequitable industries in the world. “Something is then lifted off their shoulders, especially the women who are already anxious about the inequities they face. Once the problem is acknowledged, we can find solutions together.”

One way is to provide a curriculum in which students witness and engage diverse voices. “If we as faculty consider women’s stories important, then we shouldn’t only show films by white men in Introduction to Cinema or our other core and foundational classes. We need to send a strong message that the canon is wide ranging and comes from different underrepresented voices. We should also have a diverse faculty in order to meet the needs of all our students.”