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  • Melody Cooper

LIGHTING THE WAY

Directly outside my window where I'm staying during my writer's residency in France is a beacon on a rocky jetty. I fall asleep every night to the gentle crashing of waves against the shore below. (God, am I going to miss that when I leave!) Both of these are profound symbols for me. I stayed up all night to watch the Oscars (yes, and we're several hours ahead here), and was ecstatic to learn that two of my favorite movies and directors took home Oscars for the genres I write in...and they were won by a Black man and a Mexican. As it happens, my very first screenplay was about a a Black soldier and a Mexican immigrant (both female in a current revision). One day there will be more women up there accepting an Oscar. Maybe even this Black woman. I wildly imagine a day when there are as many (if not more) women nominees for work behind the camera as men.


Men are not my enemy. They are my colleagues and mentors. Jordan Peele in particular stands as a beacon for me. He stood fast with his vision and acknowledged that it took others to raise his voice for his award-winning work to get made. I too have family, friends, colleagues, fans and mentors who have been incredibly supportive. Please never underestimate the necessity for your support, especially in a world that constantly devalues the contribution of women artists behind the camera in film. Yes, it's changing. But there are many talented, trained, experienced women who have stories to tell and need their projects funded, as stated by Frances McDormand, who brilliantly rallied women at the Oscars to stand and tell the world.


Men like Guillermo and Jordan, women like Frances and Dee, Greta and Rachel , Ava and Amma are all beacons lighting the way for me. The ocean is the body of work we hold within us as artists, often unfathomable until it breaks with gorgeous sound on the shore of opportunity.


Today, I'm digging into the work, just like I always do, but with a sense of light out there, leading the way.


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