The New York Times recently reported that in 2014 (as in most years), of the top 100 grossing films released by Hollywood, only 2 were directed by women. That’s right, two.

I belong to one of the most “liberal” industries in the US, and we have managed for all of our 100+ years to virtually shut out and shut up the 51% of the population who are women. It is not lost on me that I work for a hierarchy that benignly sees to it that the majority gender does not get to tell their stories.

And this rigged system continues uninterrupted when those of us who benefit from “white male privilege” do not acknowledge it openly, do not rock the boat that has served us so well, do not rail against the obvious and thus remain complicit through our obedient silence. This tidy little arrangement keeps women—and people of color—in their place: on the outside looking in, with only a rare token seat at the table. (That seat, by the way, is occasionally there thanks to the indie and documentary worlds, where “only” 75% of the films are directed by men.)

It’s no surprise to me that attendance in theaters continues to drop. When the same group of filmmakers keeps telling the same group of stories over and over again, it’s bound to get pretty boring.

Hollywood’s refusal to pass the camera (and funding) over to women so they can tell their stories is the reason everything this summer at the cine-mall is something akin to “Fast and Furious Transformers: The Apocalypse.” Don’t you want to do something about that?

In our 12 years, the TCFF has revolutionized the concept of what a film festival could be. We’ve built two movie palaces that are unlike any others in this country (and we’ve helped many theaters follow our lead). We’ve done this right smack in the middle of “nowhere.” Who would have thought that a place called Traverse City could impact our
beloved American populist art form, the cinema? You—we—did this.

Enjoy your week watching the most amazing films I discovered this year with the help of my incredible team. We knew brilliant films by women and people of color existed, and what we found was a treasure trove! Hollywood could find it, too, if they bothered to look, or to care.

Happily, one thing remains unchanged this  year: as always, we are only bringing you  JUST GREAT MOVIES.