The end of the year has, yet again, arrived at a terrifying pace. 2018 has come and almost gone. It is time to do an appraisal of the year. Spotify has already let us know what we listened to all year and newspapers are letting us know what a terrible year it has been in politics. So, the usual. Every year, JWT puts together a list of the trends coming in the new year, so that we can know what direction the world is heading into. Most of their 2018 predictions came true, when it came to filmmaking. Let’s see what 2019 holds for filmmaking.
Click here for the full JWT report.
3. Mothers of ambition
“Real and raw portrayals of motherhood are rejecting the reductive notion of mothers as passive caregivers.” Following in the footsteps of the #TimesUp movement, which beyond addressing sexual harassment and misconduct sends a message of empowerment of women, 2018 has also been the year of new depictions of motherhood all across society, whether it is about juggling motherhood and ambitious careers, or mothers in entertainment. Mothers are using their voice to affirm their multifaceted character. This year, we saw a beautiful depiction of a mother in Lady Bird… and we can’t wait to see more of them.
4. Reframing masculinity
The social movements of women’s empowerment have also tackled an important part of the imbalance issues, that is how much toxic masculinity still rules the world. Part of the conversation should be -and to some extent, has been- the depiction of men in film and television. Will & Grace, a landmark show when it first came out, is enjoying a revival. Beyond the depictions of men as savers of the world (looking at you, Ethan Hunt), let us not forget that 2018 has also been the year of Love, Simon, the first studio release with a clearly identified gay leading man going through his coming out. This was to be followed by the controversial Bohemian Rhapsody later in the year, also brought into this world by 20th Century Fox. (For an analysis of the reasons why the Freddie Mercury biopic may be doing more harm than good, read this piece.) At any rate, the door has been opened for more complex, diverse portrayals of men, beyond the usual archetypes. Deconstructing the standard that both men and women are measured against can only do good, and a more diverse representation of it can only accelerate the debates.
20. Unexpected formats
2018 has been the year of VR, AR, MR. (Virtual, augmented, and mixed realities, respectively.) 2019 is bound to entrench those mediums even further into our cultural landscapes. Brands are seizing them an putting a lot of money in those directions. If you mix in the gamification of, well, everything that has happened, this means a lot of opportunities for storytellers and world-builders. Never has there been more licence to be experimental, and never has being experimental been more acceptable and encouraged.
37. Women and money
One part of the conversation around #TimesUp inevitably revolves around money, and the gender pay gap that needs to be addressed. It has been interesting to see that women who have earned a certain status of recognition are helping others up the ladder. 2018 was the epic awards season of Frances McDormand who advocated for inclusion riders on the Oscars stage, and Octavia Spencer multiplying her salary by five when Jessica Chastain realised that her castmate and friend was paid less than she was, and negotiated a better salary for the both of them. Great examples that, as such vital conversations as the gender pay gap go, solidarity and teamwork are values to hold on to.
91. New sustainability
A UN report recently found that humankind has just a decade to rein in climate change before we get to the point of no return. Every single one of us has a responsibility to make that happen. Some brands have embedded sustainability in their very DNA, by using renewable materials for instance. Given its size, the film business has a major role to play. The BFI realised this and now takes into account whether a film is going to reduce its environmental impact when looking at applications for funding. This is never not relevant, and here are a few ways that you can make your film production green.
94. Camp’s new exhibitionism
Camp has always had an undefinable quality which is embedded in its very DNA. Camp can be best qualified by what it is not, and what it avoids. In her seminal essay Notes on Camp, Susan Sontag defined it as follows: “Camp involves a new, more complex relation to “the serious.” One can be serious about the frivolous, frivolous about the serious.” With cultural events such as RuPaul’s Drag Race, and the overall subversion of gender norms by way of Robert Mapplethopre biopics, camp is having its moment in the limelight, and is an unavoidable aesthetic. You only have to look at the Mamma Mia! sequel to see that camp is in the mainstream.
Hopefully it is here to stay and keep on subverting the culture from the inside.
Here’s to 2019!
Here’s to more films, better films, more diverse films, films that are stories told in VR, for which women are paid as much as men, and films that we can’t yet imagine -but perhaps you can imagine them, and make them.