ENTERTAINMENT

Meet The Women Fixing The Aussie Film Industry's Gender Problem

Sexism is real in showbiz. But these Aussie sisters aren't having it.

25/11/2016 10:53 AM AEDT | Updated 25/11/2016 12:52 PM AEDT
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Sisters Sophie and Dominique Mathisen are shaking things up in the best kind of way.

Australian sister duo, Sophie and Dominique Mathisen are making the underrepresentation of women in the Australian film industry everybody's problem.

This year we've already seen the likes of Reese Witherspoon and Emma Watson take steps towards parity in film, and closer to home the Mathisen sisters are following suit.

Their feature film "Drama" landed this month, and while the indie charmer is brilliant on its own, what happened behind the scenes during production, including enforcing a gender quota of minimum 50 percent female across all departments was truly innovative.

It was a fight that began for Sophie Mathisen when she was just 21, a fresh graduate from the Victorian College of the Arts.

"I started working in the independent theatre scene and quickly realised the dominant theatrical culture was very much driven by this male auteur," Mathisen told The Huffington Post Australia.

Working on different crafts from live performance to playwriting, Mathisen grew frustrated with the landscape that only ever allowed for male voices to be filtered through.

When she signed up to do her Masters, the same issues arose and was unimpressed by the fact all of her lecturers were men.

"The problems that exist [in the film industry] are extremely subtle because you are dealing with a group of men who are not only signing cheques but they're also tastemakers," Mathisen said.

Tastemakers who, in the words of Jennifer Lawrence are ensuring Hollywood's pay gap allows women to be paid much less than "the lucky people with dicks".

But as Lawrence wrote in Lena Dunham's Lenny Letter upon discovering she'd lost out on millions due to not negotiating as her fellow male co-stars had, she didn't get angry at the film companies, she got angry at herself.

And so, she did something about it, just as Mathisen did when she made the decision to turn her final thesis and film project into something that would shake up the industry she loved so much, but that had left her disappointed for so long.

The result? Her first feature film set entirely in Paris and London that explores the friendships we have that often outlast our romantic relationships which for many women, Mathisen included, is a gay male best friend.

"Women often get into these very serious relationships in their early 20s and go down this adult path, only to break up in their mid to late 20s."

"For me, it was my best friend Russ who helped me through this raw and fragile period, in a way he re-introduced me to life," Mathisen said.

The film celebrates the way in which romantic love is no longer the central focus, rather friendships are the true love stories of our time.

"These days you are less likely to find 'the one' and more likely to find 'one of many'," Mathisen said.

"Drama" is out now at cinemas and online ($5 download via iTunes and Google Play).

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