I recently sat down with documentary film director Tom Donahue and producer Ilan Arboleda co-founder of CreativeChaos to explore the role of men in this confounding state of affairs called gender inequality. Here’s an excerpt from our chat:
We are in the midst of a societal revolution where we are seeing cultural/historical norms break wide open, perhaps one of the most significant in modern history. What do you think will “really” change everything in terms of gender equality?
Ilan – I don’t think we will see a real change in terms of gender equality across the board until women have an equal seat at the table at the top of the power structure – that means our financial institutions, our government and policy making bodies, and our major corporations. Until then, it’s at best, nominal gains.
Your work at CreativeChaos has focused on social change, now with your films “Casting By,” and “This Changes Everything,” are you noticing any changes in how you approach your work?
Ilan – I think that social action has to baked into the very beginning of the filmmaking process. What began as an afterthought for us once a movie was completed, is now what leads us on every project.
I’d love for you share your “woke” story on feminism, equality, and toxic masculinity.
Ilan – Feminism is a symptom of toxic masculinity. My woke moment. I was sitting at a restaurant in Sedona with a group of women who had been kind enough to showcase This Changes Everything as a special event. The woman next to me at dinner asked me, “have you made other films about toxic masculinity?” And I thought for a second, and realized that ALL our films are about toxic masculinity. Whether it’s Hollywood, medical error, the mental health crisis in the military, gun violence or climate change, all of our films take on a power structure that suffers from this ailment. In the end, our foe is always the same institutional power that needs to change no matter the topic.
What can Hollywood do next?
Ilan – At the end of the day, Hollywood has no power and is traditionally (politics aside) a conservative reactionary monolithic body. However, Hollywood is owned by corporations who all have a fiduciary responsibility to the stockholders. It is the stockholders (and we the public are the stockholders) who should demand that the companies they invest in practice gender equality as a matter of good corporate practices with the knowledge that it will ultimately positively affect the bottom line. Otherwise, we should divest.