As the #MeToo movement continues to resonate, filmmaker Nina Menkes has unveiled details about her forthcoming documentary Brainwashed and the all-female team behind it. The feature docu exposes common cinematic techniques that disempower women and girls. Produced, conceived and directed by Menkes, the film is slated for completion in mid-2021 and will be entered for festival consideration.
The docu gives incisive commentary on films from the 1940s through the present. Using key scenes from A-list directors, Menkes spotlights how filmmakers employ framing, lighting, visual effects and camera angles to disempower women while appearing to glamorize them. These cinematic techniques for disempowerment have been dubbed “The Menkes List.”
Maria Giese and Summer Xinlei Yang have boarded the project as co-producers. Giese is the DGA member who instigated the groundbreaking 2015 industry-wide federal investigation of sex discrimination in Hollywood. Yang is an independent producer and founder of Summary Productions. Giese is also featured in the docu as an interviewee. The pair join co-producers Sandra de Castro Buffington, a leader in developing entertainment for social change, and Menkes, along with Inka Rusi as Creative Producer. Also, Cecily Rhett has also joined the team as Editor and Director of Photography Shana Hagan was just admitted to the ASC. Brainwashed executive producers include Tim Disney of Uncommon Productions, Susan Disney Lord and Abigail Disney.
Brainwashed expands on Menkes’ solo presentation Sex and Power: The Visual Language of Oppression, with film clips, and interviews with prominent filmmakers and thinkers. Menkes will also offer a virtual version of Sex and Power on October 23 at 4PM PT as part of the Wexner Center’s Unorthodocs series.
Watch the teaser to Brainwashed above.