Monday 20 May 2019

Deborah Frances-White: Seeing changing gender politics on screen is important

The Guilty Feminist podcast host spoke at the premiere of her film Say My Name.

Emma Thompson with lead Lisa Brenner and writer Deborah Frances-White (Isobel Infantes/PA)
Emma Thompson with lead Lisa Brenner and writer Deborah Frances-White (Isobel Infantes/PA)

By Alex Green, Press Association

Podcaster and comedian Deborah Frances-White has called on filmmakers to put women at the heart of everything they do.

The Australian-born stand-up, who penned the script for forthcoming film Say My Name, said women needed to demand roles both behind and in front of the camera.

Frances-White hosts The Guilty Feminist podcast, which tackles feminist issues and features comedians such as Sara Pascoe and Felicity Ward.

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Deborah Frances-White at the gala screening for Say My Name (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Speaking at the premiere in London, she said: “I feel like we are building.

“Feminism is not just bringing hammers to knock something down, to knock down old power structures.

“Feminism is bringing bricks to build a world we do want to live in.

“One of the ways we are doing that is making art with women at the heart so we can see things from a woman’s point of view.”

The event in association with Amnesty International was attended by Emma Thompson and Juliet Stevenson among other stars.

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Juliet Stevenson and Emma Thompson at the London screening (Isobel Infantes/PA)

Frances-White described the film as having “feminism at its core” but added it was an “entertaining screwball comedy about a one-night stand gone wrong with gags and guns”.

She added: “One of the most feminist things about the film is that women don’t get to write these movies.

“We get to write movies about a woman who wants to open a cupcake shop but doesn’t have the confidence until some loser she meets gives her the confidence.

“There’s nothing wrong with those movies. I’m not dissing anyone else’s work but I feel like there is room for more. Feminism can be at the heart of anything we do.

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Lead actress Lisa Brenner (Isobel Infantes/PA)

“It’s questioning the way things are regularly presented and flipping that round and asking questions about how women are represented.”

Say My Name follows a one-night stand interrupted by a robbery and the couple, played by Lisa Brenner and Nick Blood, forced to navigate the criminal underbelly of a Welsh isle.

Brenner said she was thrilled to play such a complex female lead.

She said: “In this romantic comedy the man is the object of the love, not the woman, which is so liberating.

“It was so fun to play someone so strong and free and irreverent. It’s the opposite of my personality.”

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