The Oscars may be lacking in female representation but these 10 podcasts show there’s plenty of women whose work is worth watching.
At this year’s Oscars (Sunday 24 February), you’ll not see any women nominated for Best Director, despite a clutch of awards worthy films from Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here), Debra Granik (Leave No Trace) and Marielle Heller (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) released in the last year. You’ll not see many women outside the gender specific categories generally; no women will represent in cinematography, editing, original score or visual effects either.
In fact, women make up only a quarter of non-acting nominations at this year’s Academy Awards, according to a study by the Women’s Media Center. The numbers are indicative of the industry wide issue of representation at a time when the film industry has also come under scrutiny in terms of the gender pay gap and sexual harassment, thanks to #TimesUp and #MeToo.
What’s clear is that despite women’s creativity, craft and expertise in cinema, our voices are still struggling to be heard in the industry.
That’s why we’ve put together our top 10 favourite feminist film podcasts. Listen up and get inspired by female movie buffs as they cover everything from rom-com recommendations to bad representation and ultimately, how to effect change by making it in the industry.
1) Girls on Film
A relatively new kid on the block, Girls on Film is a review show from a female perspective, aiming to open up the conversation about film beyond the old-guard of male critics. Hosted by President of the UK Critics’ Circle Anna Smith, each episode features discussions of a wide range of films, from Oscar nominees to smaller arthouse productions and documentaries, as well as director Q&As and interviews with actresses (Carey Mulligan and Andrea Riseborough have already featured on the show.) Guests also carry out Bechdel tests on new releases (which measures representation of women in fiction) and there are in-depth discussions about diversity both in front of and behind the camera. This is a must listen for film buffs and novices alike.
Female perspective is the focus of this weekly podcast hosted by film journalists Gavia Baker-Whitelaw and Morgan Leigh Davies. In every episode of Overinvested, the self-proclaimed ‘pop culture obsessives’ dive deep into a film, TV show or comic book. The show’s remit runs from newly released blockbusters to long-running cult TV shows, the conversation always centering on the female perspective. Discussions on Overinvested, which has clocked up over 100 episodes, include the presentation of female characters, gender politics within film and the performances of individual female actresses.
3) Black Girl Film Club
Black Girl Film Club was created by film fanatics Britney Brinson and Ashley Ayer to create a much-needed space for women of colour to watch and discuss films. Every fortnight, the pair analyse films from the archives and new releases, while discussing the movie business from an underrepresented point of view. Britney and Ashley’s discussions usually begin with their opinions on certain films and then open up to how these relate to their personal life experiences, making it a unique and intimate film-focused show. It’s a podcast that gives you perspective, in many different ways.
4) Who Shot Ya?
Describing itself as “a movie podcast that isn’t just a bunch of straight white dudes”, Who Shot Ya? focuses on diversity in film, from race to gender. Comedian Ricky Carmona is joined by critics April Wolfe and Alonso Duralde to discuss all things film from a range of different perspectives, and their approach is always inclusive and accessible. The group discuss industry news, like the under-representation of women and people of colour in film. Episodes are funny and thought-provoking, both light-hearted and serious in equal measure. The team also direct listeners to non-mainstream film websites, blogs and directors, so it’s a great source of film info and inspo.
5) Switchblade Sisters
Hosted by film critic April Wolfe (co-host of Who Shot Ya?) Switchblade Sisters talks to women in film for its specific take on cinema from a female perspective. Every week, April sits down with a different female filmmaker to analyse a classic genre film, from horror to sci-fi. The filmmaker also discusses their own work and experience of the industry. Guests include female scriptwriters, directors and producers, and the episodes always offer an interesting comparison of guests’ contemporary work with the much-loved classics that influenced them.
6) Bad Feminist Film Club
Inspired by Roxanne Gay’s book Bad Feminist, Bad Feminist Film Club is a fortnightly podcast from film aficionados Kelly Kauffman and Sarah Barson. They take a look at some of the biggest films out there, both golden oldies and new releases, and examine whether they can be called feminist or not. The pair started out reviewing the Fast and Furious franchise (they now cover everything from blockbusters to niche releases) and describe themselves as “two nerds trying to reconcile their love of movies with their nobler feminist convictions”. Each episode makes entertaining listening as the pair painstakingly dissect their much-loved movies from a feminist point of view.
7) Citizen Dame
The Hollywood insider podcast that’ll make you feel like you’re ear wigging on all the industry gossip in L.A., Citizen Dame is a weekly show from critics Kristen Lopez, Karen Peterson, Lauren Humphries-Brooks and Kimberley Pierce with the latest on Hollywood scandals and stories. There’s also movies reviews, award show low-downs and film festival dispatches. Citizen Dame is the go-to podcast if you want to get up to speed with Hollywood intrigue.
8) The Other 50%
This podcast comes with some serious industry credentials. Host Julie Walker Harris spent almost two decades working in the film industry before she launched The Other 50%, to tell what she calls “The Herstory of Hollywood.” The podcast explores the contributions of women to American cinema over the decades as each week a female guest from writers like Amy Spies (90210 and Melrose Place) and directors like Jen McGowan (Kelly and Cal) discusses their experiences working in film and television. A great listen if you’re interested in a career in film and want some inside intel.
9) Bad Romance
Hollywood has produced some absolutely classic rom-coms from When Harry Met Sally to Notting Hill, but the genre has a habit of always getting it just a little bit (or a lot) wrong when it comes to the presentation of women. On Bad Romance, writers and comedians Bronwyn Isaac and Jordan Searles pick apart a different rom-com each week, exploring a genre that manages to throw up big bulky feminist issues time and time again. It’s not all doom and gloom, though, as the pair always recommend a good romantic comedy at the end of each episode to replace the lousy one they just spent an hour ripping to shreds. Bad Romance is great for a fresh and unwaveringly hilarious perspective on much-loved classics, but probably best to avoid unless you’re prepared to see your old favourites torn apart.
10) The Bechdel Cast
Another one to avoid unless you’re ready to never look at your much loved favourites in the same way again. The Bechdel Cast, hosted by L A based comedians Caitlin Durante and Jamie Loftus, looks at a different movie each week and examines the way women are portrayed (spoiler: it’s usually not great). Caitlin and Jamie’s discussions manage to be hysterical whilst also getting deep into the serious issue of female representation in film, making each episode an engaging listen.