Geena and gender equality


wtatangelo@bradenton.comMarch 13, 2011 

Geena Davis appears to be a spot-on selection for the 13th annual Sarasota Film Festival’s inaugural Impact Award.

Sure, she has portrayed strong characters in films such as “Thelma and Louise” and the television show “Commander in Chief.” But she also founded The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

Since 2004, Davis’ organization has campaigned to expand roles for women and girls in film and television. It has also sought to eliminate gender stereotypes in media directed at children younger than 11.

Davis’ activism got her appointed to the California Commission on the Status of Women, and she is a partner with UN women, which aims to change the way media represent women and girls globally.

The Impact Award will be presented by Carol Poteat-Buchanan, president of the U.S. National Committee of UN Women, in conjunction with the Gulf Coast Chapter of UN Women.

Davis will be at the festival next month for a screening of “Miss Representation.” It’s part of SFF’s intriguing “The Films of ‘Through Women’s Eyes’ Series.” The new documentary centers on the under-representation of women in positions of power. Davis appears in “Miss Representation” with Condoleezza Rice, Katie Couric and Gloria Steinem, perhaps the most important feminists of the past half-century.

At SFF’s annual Filmmaker Tribute, Davis will be joined by Sarah Green, recipient of the Producer’s Award.

Green’s numerous high-profile credits include producing “Frida.”

The movie earned Salma Hayek an Oscar nomination in 2003 for her fiery portrayal of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, a favorite among feminists for her unflinching self-portraits.

A feminist film festival? No.

But congrats to SFF for making sure important women are being spotlighted.

And for choosing Davis for its first Impact Award.

She’s one of Hollywood’s greatest spokeswomen for gender equality.

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