Heute ist Sonntag der 30. Oktober, es ist kurz nach halb vier am Nachmittag. In den Nachrichten wird von über 150 Toten in Seoul / Südkorea nach einer Massenpanik bei einer Halloweenfeier berichtet. Abends gibt es diesmal keinen TATORT sondern einen POLIZEIRUF 110, der laut ARD-Webseite makabererweise – das konnte die Programmplanung nicht wissen – so beginnt:
Prolog, 30.10.22 Eine Frau wird nach dem Halloweenfest am Fuße des Brockens tot aufgefunden. (…) Die Leiche wurde verbrannt, auf einer Art Scheiterhaufen. Und schließlich stellt sich heraus, dass das Opfer gefoltert wurde – mit Methoden der mittelalterlichen Inquisition.
Der Film von Drehbuchautor Wolfgang Stauch hat den Titel HEXEN BRENNEN, wer die gefolterte und ermordete junge Tanja Edler spielt ist auf der ARD-Webseite und in den üblichen Filmdatenbanken nicht zu finden, sie scheint nur tot und nicht in Rückblenden zu sehen zu sein.
Ändert die ARD ihr Abendprogramm?
Stunden später: Nein, es gab keinen Brennpunkt, weder zu dem Unglück von Seoul, noch zu einer eingestürzten Fußgängerbrücke im Westen Indiens mit mehr als 130 Toten. Zu weit weg, nicht relevant? Im Gegensatz beispielsweise zur Trainerentlassung bei der Männerfußballabteilung von Bayern München am 27.4.09? Die war der ARD einen Brennpunkt wert, aber das ist ein anderes Thema.Continue Reading →
The World Conference of Screenwriters 2022 (WCOS) is held in Copenhagen on 5 and 6 October 2022, organized by the Danske Dramatikere / Danish Writers Guild.
It is the 5th biennial conference for professional screenwriters from around the world, which was originally planned for 2020, but only possible now due to corona. About 300 participants from 37 countries, most of them organised in their respective screenwriting guilds, came to the Danish Concert Hall in Copenhagen (great archi tecture!) for lectures, interviews and above all panels on various current screenwriting topics, and to network with others during the breaks.
I was invited to participate in the panel A Room of One’s Own? What will it take for Female Voices to be heard?, along with writers Fiona Samuel (Aotearoa / New Zealand) and Jenny Lund Madsen(Denmark) – moderated by Gail Renard (Great Britain), who stepped in for Carolin Otto (Germany, President of the FSE / European Screenwriters’ Association, unfortunately unable to attend).
Among other things, I presented some results from the SERIENSTUDIE / SERIES REPORT 2022 in English, which I am publishing here. The study as a whole is so far only available in German (PDF, 36 pages).
When is it a good Story? – German Film Awards for Screenplay 22
Lola for the Best Screenplay
Lola for the Best Unfilmed Screenplay
Acceptance Speech “But at Second Glance…”
When is it a Good Story?
Cobbler, Stick to your Last
A Cast is more than its Main Characters
Chances for Diverse Writers
Breaking New Ground – Think Outside the Box
Who can do it?
They can do it!
Lola for the Best Screenplay
On 24.6.22 the German Film Awards were presented in Berlin. I will analyse the films nominated in all categories in more detail soon, including a 6-departments-check. Today I just want to mention that Thomas Wendrich won the German Film Award for Best Screenplay with LIEBER THOMAS.
But that is not the only screenplay award, because there is also a Lola for the best unfilmed screenplay, and this was presented on 5 July at an event organised by the Screenplay Association (with the unfortunate name VDD Verband Deutscher Drehbuchautoren) and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media BKM Claudia Roth at the Rhineland-Palatinate State Representation – under frighteningly lax corona prevention rules – in front of four hundred invited guests.
Kürzlich, am 23.5.22, wurde ich von der Journalistin Gesa Ufer im Deutschlandradio Kultur für die Sendung Kompressor interviewt. Das Gespräch gibt es zum Nachhören auf der DLF-Webseite (Warum Kommissarinnen häufig sterben müssen). Und wie der Titel schon verrät ging es um das Phänomen der getöteten oder ermordeten Kommissarin, oder wie es harmloser heißt, den Serientod der Figuren.
Ich möchte diesen Hinweis zum Anlass nehmen für eine Aufstellung meiner TATORT-Untersuchungen und Krimi-Gedanken der letzten Jahre; die eine und der andere hat schon öfter nach Texten gefragt, also findet Ihr sie hier gebündelt:
Study on the participation of female writers in the creative areas of script writers, creators, showrunners and headwriters of publically funded and non-funded German series for streamers or VoD providers, private broadcasters and public television.
Belinde Ruth Stieve SchspIN – An Actress’s Thoughts Berlin, May 16, 2022
So far no English version of the report available.
The different participation of women and men on and off screen in the German film and television industry has been a topic of discussion for quite some time. At first, the focus was on directing, while scriptwriters and related fields such as creators of series were often only mentioned in passing and not yet examined in depth. Yet they are the ones who create the stories, the ones who should get the label “a series by”. Consequently, an answer to the question of whether gender imbalance continues to exist in scriptwriting and to what extent is long overdue.
Series of every genre and format are what novels used to be in former days; they entertain, mirror the familiar and can be the “Bildungsroman” of our time. Fictional narratives help to build identities. So it is glaringly important to look at the people in whose minds the characters and stories are created. We have been observing for years that significantly more male authors are commissioned and promoted with series. So we wanted to check if this perception was true.
Kristin Derfler and Annette Hess (Creators, Writers, Creative Producers), who commissioned the Series Report 2022.
It won’t come as a big surprise to regular readers of SchspIN that I’m not a big TATORT fan. In addition, since the escalation of Russia’s years-long war against Ukraine in February 2022, there have been so many news stories of murdered, tortured civilians, raped women, abducted children, that I don’t want to see any more – even fictional – brutal violence against people.
Nevertheless, Germany’s top cop drama TATORT is a good indicator of possible gender imbalances in front of and behind the camera in German television; they are the 90-minute format with the highest budgets, the greatest reputation and the highest measured and extrapolated ratings (which, however, are not without controversy, but that would be a topic for another day). And a statistical view is also possible without having seen TATORTs.
Recently several people approached me, filmmakers from various departments, regarding TATORTs 2021 and what might be the situation regarding the participation of women in the core departments. Therefore, here and today let’s look at the annual 6-departments-check:
The share of female directors is still over 40 %, which is good news. There were 14 female and 19 male directors, including one twice: Torsten C. Fischer for DER TOD DER ANDEREN in Cologne and DER KALTE UND DIE TOTEN in Berlin.
At the same time, however, the share of female writers is again below 20 %, which means that four fifthsof the writers involved were male. They are the ones who ‘invented’ the cases, wrote the stories and developed the events around the investigation teams, some of whom have been solving cases for many years. The question is how much a director can still change in the plot, unless they also wrote the script, were involved in it or had rewriting rights. Their number is surprisingly high.
Four directors were solely responsible for their scripts: Tom Bohn (HETZJAGD) and Martin Eigler (DER BÖSE KÖNIG), both in Ludwigshafen. Petra Lüschow (WER ZÖGERT, IST TOT) in Frankfurt and Niki Stein (MACHT DER FAMILIE) in Hamburg. Co-authors or writers‘ duos were Katharina Bischofwith Johanna Thalmann (LUNA FRISST ODER STIRBT) in Frankfurt, Dietrich Brüggemann with Daniel Bickermann (DAS IST UNSER HAUS) in Stuttgart and Jan Martin Scharf with Arne Nolting (DER REIZ DES BÖSEN) in Cologne. There was no overlap between the two departments in the other 26 Tatorten.
Let‘s investigate the script situation a little further: in the first half of 2021 only two out of twenty scripts were written by women, Elke Schuch wrote RHYTHM AND LOVE (Münster) and Katrin Bühling DIE DRITTE HAUT (Berlin). That’s ten per cent. By the end of the year, five female authors were added, which sounds great at first, because after all, there were only 13 crime scenes in the second half of the year. So just under 40 %? Almost. But not really, because of the five female writers, only Petra Lüschow (WER ZÖGERT, IST TOT. Frankfurt) wrote her TV movie alone. Four TATORTs by women only, two more with female participation. And on the other hand, twenty-seven TATORTs by men and two more in teams with women. That makes a total of 35. No, of course 33. (In fact, I’m trying to keep my spirits up a bit while writing because there is so little positive to report on the scripts, unfortunately.)
Only two authors wrote more than one TATORT script in 2021: Arne Nolting, together with David Sandreuter and Jan Martin Scharf, wrote TÖDLICHE FLUT for Hamburg, and with Jan Martin Scharf DER REIZ DES BÖSEN for Cologne. And Johanna Thalmann, who wrote LUNA FRISST ODER STIRBT with Katharina Bischof, and formed a team with Moritz Binder for DREAMS in Munich.
And what was the situation for female filmmakers in other departments? The proportion of female cinematographers rose above 20 % for the first time since I started these evaluations in 2011, with six female cinematographers, Cornelia Janssen (HETZJAGD and BLIND DATE), Katharina Diessner (WIE ALEREN AUCH), Judith Kaufmann (BOROWSKI UND DER GUTE MENSCH), Julia Daschner (LUNA FRISST ODER STIRBT), Leah Striker (UND IMMER GEWINT DIE NACHT) and Bella Halben (ALLES KOMMT ZURÜCK).
After three zero-years, there is at last onefemale sound mixer in 2021, Antje Volkmann – with whom I have worked already! She pushes the percentage of women to 5.4 %, as she was the sound mixer on two Dresden cases: one on her own (UNSICHTBAR) and one together with Erich Lutz (RETTUNG SO NAH).
Women edited just under 60 %of all TATORTs and took part as composers in, er, 4 %. The music for the 35 TATORTs was composed by two women and 48 men: Iva Zabkar, solely responsible for VERSCHWÖRUNG in Vienna, and Jasmin Shakeri in Bremen (NEUGEBOREN) together with the duo Beathoavenz.
As always, I also did a roles analysis of the first-named characters and the main cast, i.e. the actors named on the ARD website. Good statistical news: the proportion of women among the first-named roles, i.e. the respective number one on the cast sheet, is 45.5 %. And – even more astonishing – the proportion of women in the main cast is 46.9 %. So there has been quite a bit of change.
I don’t know what these roles did and said because I don’t know the scripts or the films. However, the ARD website provides a short description of the plot for each case, and I would like to conclude with this.
Always a favourite: Dead Young Women
The presumed favourite corpse group of German crime scriptwriters are the “young women”, so probably the 14- to under 25-year-olds. This can be seen again and again in TATORTs and other TV thrillers (see also TV Cop Dramas – Actresses can do more than play Victims. SchspIN 12.2.2020)
In four of the thirty-three 2021 TATORTs the murder victim is described as a “young woman” (see the synopses on the ARD channel’s website), additionally there are two murdered women aged 18 and 19 who are mentioned by (first) name and profession. The following sentences are the first sentences of the descriptions:
After a fire in the basement of the Gerberzentrum, a high-rise housing estate in Dortmund, the charred body of a young woman is found.
The abused body of a young woman is found on a wasteland near a popular club in Kiel.
Alarm in Kiel: During a riot in the forensic clinic, the woman-murderer Kai Korthals manages to escape from security custody. (…) 2nd paragraph: Then the body of a young woman is found on the shore of a lake.
A Weekend in Berlin: Partygoers and revelers wander the wintry streets in search of an unforgettable night. A young woman finds a suitable date in the couple Dennis Ziegler and Julia Hoff via a dating app. The next morning, a body is found near Dennis’ flat. Her face is disfigured so that identification seems impossible.
Schoolgirl Jessi (18) has a date. But not at the disco, she sets off for the nearby forest on the outskirts of town. A short time later she is dead.
After the release party for her debut novel, 19-year-old author Luise Nathan is found dead.
Six out of 33 cases, that is about 20 %, every fifth TATORT film. In German reality, according to the German police crime statistics for 2020 – the one for 2021 has not yet been published – girls and women aged 14 to 25 account for only 6.6 % of all murder victims.
Another TATORT murder victim was under 30:
Sudden cardiac arrest at only 29: Anna Schneider collapses dead in broad daylight on the street outside her café.
Another murdered woman, a little older:
Four weeks earlier, the members of the Oase Ostfildern building community moved into their building and already the foundation has to be dug up again because of a leakage problem. An even bigger problem comes to light: an unidentifiable female corpse.
The description on Wikipedia adds that it was an approximately 40-year-old woman. Two other murdered women are presumed to be a similar age:
Susanne Elvan met her husband Tarek, a convicted violent criminal, via a pen pal portal during his imprisonment. The wedding took place before his release. When Susanne is found murdered, Tarek had just been released earlier.
The actress Neshe Demirwas 42 years old at the time of the shooting.
Someone anonymously reports the discovery of a dead body in a desolate residential area in the early hours of the morning. Jana Gruber has been assaulted and brutally killed in her house. Circumstantial evidence suggests that the woman worked as a prostitute and that she had a child.
First “brutally killed“, shortly afterwards “a prostitute“. Another classic TV stereotype for murdered women. The actress Susi Ramberger was also 42 years old when the film was shot.
German Criminal Statistics for 2020
The following diagram shows Germany’s reality concerning the age distribution of murdered women and men. By far the largest group in 2020 were women aged 60 or older, they accounted for 17.5 % of all murdered women and men. How many of them may have been victims of domestic violence, were killed by their husbands or their sons?
6. April 2022
by SchspIN Comments Off on Demand Change (from: The Age Buster)
In December 2021, I was interviewed by Italian journalist, sociologist and author Stefania Medetti. She currently lives in Thailand and runs, among other things, the English-language blog The Age Buster, which focuses on the topics of age, age valuation and ageism / age discrimination. The interview along with Stefania‘s introductory text about her experiences in Germany were published on 13 Jan 22 under the title Demand Change.
With Stefania’s kind permission, I am publishing the German version today. Grazie sincero!
It was all because of my love for cats that on a frosty St. Valentine’s morning I found myself under the high arches of the Milan Central Station. Standing in front of the train that would have taken me to Germany, I looked at the tracks extending outside the building in a foggy, yellow-pale light. I thought about my grandmother who, a fifteen-year old, got on a steam-engine train to come to the city to work as a maid. Two generations later, a bit older then her, I was traveling in the direction she came from (she was born on the border with Austria) to work as an au pair and improve my German. The family wanted a Spanish candidate, but in my introductory letter I mentioned cats and this convinced them I was a good fit anyway. As the train travelled east and then northeast, the plains first and the vineyards later passed in front of my window. When the train reached the Alps, we travelled through a narrow valley between two high walls of mountains and then the names of the railway signs were written in German.
12 Film Festivals 2019-21: Share of Women Directors, Writers and Cinematographers in Competitions
To start the year, I would like to present a film festival analysis. It deals with the proportions of women in directing, scripts and cinematography – the so-called 3-departments-check – in the main competitions of twelve German film festivals.
I briefly considered evaluating music / composers. But since music, similar to sound, is listed very incompletely (both on film websites and in databases) the research would have been very time-consuming and just beyond the scope of my capacities.
The first table shows the festivals and the number of films in their main competition in the three years examined. The majority were feature films, you’ll find the number of documentaries in brackets:
Most festivals provide programme notes or film lists on their websites, often in the digital archive, from which at least the film title and often also the director can be seen. More detailed information is often available, including synopses and a short biography of the director, as well as other team positions. In some cases, friendly and helpful staff members have sent me lists or links. (All enquiries were answered promptly!).
I was able to complete the information on the three trades mostly via the IMDB database, the question about the gender of the filmmakers came partly from the short biographies on the festival pages (director), supplemented from IMDB (author and DoP), and some film websites, interviews or through further online research.
Out of a total of 401 competition entries, I only failed to identify a position twice, both times it was the DoP. That is 0.5 % of all (401 x 3) positions. (These are only the feature-length films, i.e. not counting the Oberhausen Short Film Festival, where 153 films were shown in the competitions).
For some documentaries, I could only determine the director and DoP, no matter how thoroughly I searched. In these cases, I took the director’s entries for the script as well.
A gap in the table can be found at the Hof Film Festival. They don’t have a competition in the conventional sense, but: “It has to be the first feature-length film (feature film) by a filmmaker. In accordance with this criterion, the Hof Film Festival sifts through all the films submitted (…)” (information from Sabine Reiter, Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts). Unfortunately, the corresponding lists are not available through the festival office, nor can they be found on the website. I have been promised that I will still receive the information and will then complete this evaluation.
Another gap is due to the fact that there was the Munich Film Festival did not take place in 2020. Other festivals were held online and had smaller competition compared to pre-pandemic years.
Due to the mass of an average of 51 films in competition at the Oberhausen Short Film Festival and the special short film situation, I had to make the decision to only evaluate the position of director from this festival. For some films, screenplay and camera were also available; for example, in 2019, for 26 of the 53 competition films the festival website provided information on scirpt, and 24 films on camera. That’s less than 50% for both. For most films – including those of other years – these items are missing, and they are also not listed on IMDB and other online sources. In the case of short films, the script is often written by the director, who often also films the short, though if this is not explicitly stated anywhere I can’t take it for granted. And I cannot contact 153 filmmakers on these issues.
My initial assumption was that the proportion of women directors and screenwriters is highest in competitions with first to third feature films (Saarbrücken, Hof), documentaries (Leipzig, Munich Doku) and short films (Oberhausen). And that the proportion of women cinematographers is higher in documentaries and short films than in long feature films.
I also wanted to check whether the assumption that in cinema the directors always write the scripts as well is true. And thus the tag “a film by” is even more true here than in television, where there are significantly more independent, non-directing authors.
In the diagrammes, I replaced the festival names with the respective cities, I added D (documentary film festival) and F (film festival) to the two Munich festivals and slightly abbreviated Mannheim-Heidelberg.
The following tables show how many of the competition films had no women at all in directing, screenwriting and cinematography, or how many had only women in all three sections. Values above 50 % are highlighted in each case.
You can see that 2019 was the year with the fewest competitions with films involving women in the three departments. However, this does not apply to all festivals, see Berlin for example.
In general, there is a focus on female directors at festivals within the industry and the media, but I cannot say whether this applies to all festivals and wherer it is also a topic within the festival organisation, whether there are even considerations about voluntary commitments or the like. In this respect, my evaluation may be about something that is perhaps not a topic or goal at the festival itself: gender equality. Nor do I know how many films applied to the festivals in each case and what their composition was in the three departments. It is not possible to speculate on whether films by women (= director and screenplay) are favoured or disadvantaged or treated equally in the application process.
In 2021, there were still three festivals where half the films had only men in the the three departments; For Munich Film Festival, this was the case with eight out of ten films. The second table has a lot of zeros, which means: no film in the competition with a female director, writer and cinematographer. Whereas even one participation, a collaboration with men at the head of the deaprtment, would have been enough to qualify. Documentaries in particular often have several DoP’s, and there are also teams in the screenplay section. Nevertheless, zeros en masse, the highest value of 25 %, i.e. every fourth film with women in all three departments, can be found at the goEast Festival of Central and Eastern European Films Wiesbaden 2020. In 2019 it was already 23.5 %(= second highest value), but in 2021 only 5.9 %. Let’s wait and see what it looks like this year.
As I said, there are twelve festivals, three departments and three years each. This is difficult to represent in one figure, so it is divided into nine diagrammes. Each year separately, the three trades separately, and the festivals arranged according to the number of women. (To enlarge and browse, simply click on an image):
The same figures, only separated by festival, are shown in the next eleven charts (Hof is still missing), Cottbus and Munich Film Festival are competing for last place, and even Hamburg doesn’t do as well as I would like as someone from Hamburg.
(subchapter added Jan 27).
In the total of 554 films in all eleven competitions 2019-21 (Hof is still pending, as mentioned), 254 were directed by women and 365 by men. That’s a total of 619, significantly more than there were films, which is due to the fact that some films – not only documentaries – had directing teams.
The average proportions of women directors through all 11 festival competitions were: 32.1% in 2019, 45.8% in 2020 and 37.9%in 2021.
Phrases like “films by women directors” are problematic as long as it is not clear what exactly is being talked about. Films by one female director? Several women directors? Films with mixed teams of women and men directors?
The average of all festival averages for the proportion of women directors is 37.7 %. But if I only count the films in which one or more female directors directed without a male director, then their share is 32.8 %. Or perhaps to put it in more understandable terms:
In the 11 German film festivals in total, just under a third (32.8 %) of the films screened in the main competitions from 2019 to 2021 were directed exclusively by women.
And finally, the answer to the question about auteur films: yes, it looks quite different from (German) television. In very few films (this is the first value in each series of three) the director is not involved in the script at all. The second value – usually the highest – shows the films in which the directors wrote the screenplay alone or as a directing duo. The third number shows the scripts written by the director in collaboration with other authors.
I hope to receive the titles of the films that qualified for the Hof Gold Award soon. Then I can add them to this analysis, and perhaps also evaluate the first-named cast members of the feature films.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to May Ho Ho, Berlin, for gender research assistance with some Chinese filmmakers, and to Aki Sato-Johnson, Toga / Japan, for clarifying a Japanese filmmaker.
Furthermore, many thanks to Angela Heuser, Dramaturg (VeDRA), who confirmed my approach in dealing with unstated script positions in documentaries.
Also many thanks to Dario Becker / Filmfest Hamburg, Sabine Niewalda / Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen and Anne Thomé / DOK.fest München for catalogues, film lists and notes on the competitions on the festival pages. Special thanks to Sebastian Hammer / Film Festival Cologne for film lists and links to all competition films of the three years.
My net working time on this study, including the German and English publication, was 63:47 hours.
2. January 2022
by SchspIN Comments Off on Looking Forward, Looking Back: Tiger, Cow and Mouse
SchspIN in times of Corona: 23 articles in two years
2022 has just begun, 寅年 (toradoshi), the Year of the Water Tiger. As the Japan Times wrote: “The slow, gentle and hardworking nature of the ox, which manifested the mood of 2021, will be replaced by the speed, strength and power of the tiger in 2022.”
Annual animal as a Japanese mobile phone tag: left for 2010, right for 2022. Photo SchspIN
In a fortnight, on January 16, my blog SchspIN – Thoughts of an Actress will be nine years old. That’s a long time, during which I have published over 150 analyses, comments, articles. – By the way, on 20 January NEROPA will be five years old, but that’s a topic for another day.
In the first three years of SchspIN, I created annual indexes where texts were sorted by topic to make them easier to find. Unfortunately, I did not continue this. But by the 10th anniversary at the latest, there should be a comprehensive index and also some design flaws should be fixed (by that I mean, among other things, that the current theme undermines the comment function).
Anyway, let‘s have a look at my blog’s activities in Corona times: here‘s a compilation of the 11 articles of the last year of the cow / ox and the 12 articles of the year before last of the mouse / rat. Have fun (re-)discovering them!
In the first Corona year, the 4-departments-check – directing, script, camera and music – on German top cop drama TATORT were the biggest group with five articles. They were produced in cooperation with WIFT Germany on the occasion of the “50 years of TATORT” anniversary. In addition, the second text on violence against women in film* appeared in February, followed by thoughts on some incomprehensible German Order of Merit awards in March. In the summer I wrote a text on the Corona situation.
Annual animal as a Japanese mobile phone tag: for 2020. Photo SchspIN
Annual animal as a Japanese mobile phone tag: left for 2009, right for 2021. Photo SchspIN
In the second Corona year I published three investigations in front of and behind the camera: NDR Prime Time Krimis (reprint of an analysis for the Film and Media Office of Lower Saxony), Filmfest München and Deutscher Fernsehpreis. In the last quarter, the trilogy “Old Women. Visibility”. As well as the 3rd text of the “Violence against Women on Television” trilogy.
I am currently working on two studies that I will publish here in due course, and also another text is already in the works. So feel free to check back!
And if you’ve always wanted to know how you can support SchspIN: share blog articles you like or are interested in, invite friends or colleagues to stop by or subscribe to the blog, comment on articles, post SchspIN links on your social networks (but mention 1) the source and 2) my handle if I’m also active in the network = Instagram / Twitter: @schspin, Linkedin: Belinde Ruth Stieve).
Citing sources and including authors should be a matter of course, but unfortunately many people forget this when they post pictures, photos, insights, works and content of others on social media. But now that a new year has just begun, this makes for a good resolution!
And finally: I wish all old and new readers of SchspIN a happy, exciting, insightful, healthy and cheerful new year. Thank you for your interest, your messages, your criticism, your encouragement and your suggestions. (Unfortunately, the comment function is not working properly at the moment, but what you write will get to me, and perhaps I will be able to get it working again in the foreseeable future). Good luck with your projects!
Warning: this text is about, among other things, violence against women portrayed on television.
Warning: some of the photographs used may cause unpleasant feelings.
I recently read the appeal by Liz Tucker, Chair of Women in Film and Television UK, on the issue of violence against women in fictional programs. It began with the question “Why do so many shows feature violence against women?” – which goes with two older texts of mine, one published, one unpublished, which I will present today.
WFTV UK is asking Why?
Liz Tucker published the following on 1 November (You can find the full text on the WFTV UK website and on Broadcast Now, emphasis in the quote by me):
Every night of the week across a wide range of broadcast platforms, if I so wish, I can watch stories about women being raped, decapitated and murdered in ever more imaginative and gruesome ways. As it happens, I don’t wish, because I think the time has come for all of us working in the broadcast industry to think much more carefully about the message we are sending out when we continually produce TV crime dramas and documentaries that have women as the central victims. Recent years have seen an avalanche in this type of programming and there seems to be a spiralling competition between some writers and directors to escalate the violence and come up with ever more graphic and disturbing ways to portray the murder of women. (…) Would it really be so hard today to come up with imaginative new plots that don’t involve the brutalisation and murder of women?
No. Of course not. It just has to be wanted.
A tick is biting into a human breast. Photo: SchspIN