Unequal pay and under-representation has long been a problem for women in the film industry. However, in recent years, the conversation surrounding this disparity has grown from mere behind-the-scenes industry chatter to actual mainstream news.
Jennifer Lawrence grabbed headlines last fall when she addressed the issue. Additionally, a recent study unequivocally proved what most industry folk knew but likely didn’t want to confront: only 7% of the 250 top grossing films of 2014 were directed by women.
In an effort to “break up the boys club,” Reese Witherspoon founded the female-driven production company Pacific Standard (Wild, Gone Girl) back in 2012, Now, Jessica Chastain has followed suit, this week announcing the launch of her own production company called Freckle Films.
The venture, done in conjunction with Trudie Styler and Celine Rattray of Maven Pictures, will aim to spotlight female talent “both in front of and behind the camera.” Rattray explained further in a statement:
“Trudie and I have always been great admirers of Jessica both on screen and off. Her intelligence, passion and talent are something that so naturally align with our work and mission at Maven Pictures — showcasing female talent both in front of and behind the camera. We are immensely thrilled about the opportunity to work together for many years to come.”
Chastain, recognized for her work in The Martian, The Help, and Zero Dark Thirty, offered up her own praise for Maven:
“I’m excited to launch Freckle Films, and I can’t imagine a better production partner than Maven Pictures. Trudie and Celine are not only both highly experienced and successful producers, but the projects they’ve created demonstrate their tenacious dedication to strong characters and compelling stories that clearly resonate with audiences. It’s an honor to work with them, as well as their company, one that mirrors many of the goals that I aspire to achieve with Freckle Films.”
As HitFix notes, both films currently optioned by Freckle Films are based on novels with female protagonists: The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister and Life and Other Near-Death Experiences by Camille Pagan.