Angeline Ashlee Marquez and John Phillip Morales

“The entertainment industry is vast and is a reflection of the society we live in.” - Karrine Steffans.

Vast as it may be, the entertainment industry has been continuously expanding, changing the ways of old shows and films, as many elements and unique features of storytelling have been explored over the years. From action-packed movies to melodrama and romantic comedies, the entertainment industry has now revolved around the world with different themes and genres. But what about the people behind the undeniable success of the industry?

The popularity of the film industry increases. It no longer is dominated by men and it already opened its doors to women who have similar interests and diverse ideas that makes the entertainment industry what it is today. From women acting to having our doors be opened to directors, producers and scriptwriters be women!

As we celebrate Women's Month this year, we should also recognize the women behind the scenes of our favorite films and shows. How they capture the very essence of storytelling through the means of scenery, color scheming, and costume designs proves that women can thrive and provide in this industry. This in turn, we share our favorite works from different women from the local and international screens and indulge ourselves with how they created their pieces– as well as how they immerse themselves to catch the audience's attention and curiosity to watch their works.

Her-Story: A Background Insight on Women in the Entertainment Industry

As we walk across the street of recent films and shows made by women, we recall these women who stepped forward and made significant history to the entertainment industry as a whole.

Alice Guy-Blache, a French woman, was considered to be the first female to ever direct a film. Her debut film "La Fée aux choux" - "The Cabbage Fairy" in 1896/1900 sparked the idea of using a motion-picture camera to record scenes and shots, whereas without the film's insights, the camera would never made its way through the entertainment industry–making the films and shows we know and love today. 

Active during 1933, Brigida Perez Fate was the very first Filipina to direct a film. But not much information is known about her, where her whereabouts are or what her life was like. But her legacy lives on as she was the last director of her era to work on a silent film called "Pendulum of Fate.”

As for awards, from 1929, it took 82 years before Kathryn Bigelow became the first female to bring home the bacon for Best Director at the Oscars. She won for her film, "The Hurt Locker" (2008), where it collected not one but five more awards respectively.

Series Made by Women

Be Careful with My Heart created by Mel Mendoza-del Rosario (2012-2014)

A story that features a simple girl named Maya (Jodi Sta. Maria) who gets scammed, meets a rich widowed man named Richard (Richard Yap), who would change her world forever. Their story goes over four seasons and 600+ episodes in total–as the series not only showcased a blossoming love story, it also showed perspective on family bonds, true kindness and compassion.

The franchise has received three nominations and 10 awards respectively from the local scenery down right to the international stage–where the series was recognized for its amusing storyline and heart-warming scenes, as well as recognizing the skills and dedication of the people behind the series.

Fleabag produced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge (2016-2019)

Starting from Waller-Bridge’s one-woman show from 2013, the idea of Fleabag started anew as the idea came to her when she was in her twenties–as a young woman tries to go through her life while learning to live with the mishaps she went through. The comedy-drama series started its first season on September 16, 2016 while the second season aired on May 17, 2019.

Admittedly, both seasons aired all episodes on the same day and have six episodes per season to the Fleabag name. The series received high ratings for both seasons; as it captures the audience with its fascinating storyline, emotional moments and unforgettable liners. With this said, Fleabag is not your ordinary main character, as she is a flawed woman who has ultimately done things she is not proud of, but that's what makes her likable and relatable to the audience. As Fleabag is not perfect, many realize and understand that they too, are flawed and can make mistakes just like our lovable and weird main character.

2 Good 2 Be True directed by Mae Cruz-Alviar (2022)

Ali (Kathryn Bernardo) and Daniel Padilla (Eloy) initially crossed their paths after they met in a robbery incident inside a hotel. Ali is a nurse who works for Hugo Agcaoli (Ronaldo Valdez) who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Ali and Eloy became an ally in helping Hugo’s disease progress. The series had only one season with 130 episodes in total. It is also included in the Top 10 of Netflix Philippines. The series can be watched through iWant TFC and Netflix.

Kathryn Bernardo was named “Outstanding Asian Star” for her role as Ali at the Seoul International Drama Awards (SDA) last September 21, 2023.

Films Made by Women

Anak, directed by Rory B. Quintos (2000)

The film features an Overseas Filipino Worker who is forced to leave her family and work abroad to support their needs. Her efforts made a rift between her and her children.

Josie (Vilma Santos) is a mother of three who knew that she could make money in Hong Kong. While working abroad, her employer won’t allow her to take a vacation. Josie is unaware that her husband died. When she finally returned home to the Philippines, she brought gifts for everyone but her children gave her an unwelcoming treatment.

It bagged the Best Film in Catholic Mass Media Award in 2000.

Ladybird written and directed by Greta Gerwig (2017)

Greta started in the film industry as an actor. Ladybird is Greta’s directorial debut, she worked on her first solo script with a total of 350 pages. She won an award as Best Picture for Comedy or Musical for this film.

This movie revolves around the life of Christine McPherson or Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan), she makes her way through her senior high school and is getting ready for college. Lady Bird struggles with who she is and where she fits in the world. She wanted to escape her hometown  Sacramento because she hates to live there. The movie captures the journey of adolescence when individuals feel they were misunderstood and invalidated.

Billie and Emma directed by Samantha Lee (2018)

Made as Lee’s second feature film, it showcases itself as an LGBTQIA+ coming out story set in the 1900s where Billie & Emma fell in love and surpass the challenges thrown at them–as it tackles self-discovery, teenagers falling in love and a journey filled with music and laughter intertwining their lives forever.

The cast consists of Zar Donato as Billie and Gabby Padilla as Emma; alongside the appearance of Beauty Gonzales as Amy, Cielo Aquino as Ms. Castro, and Dolly De Leon as Sister Mary. Whereas, the film had received 10 nominations and had brought home two awards from the 2018 QCinema International Film Festival. Lee as a director focuses more on queer stories, with women as leading characters–having to expound and explore other themes revolving around the LGBTQIA+ sector and integrating the challenges queer women face in the real world.

“I've discovered on this journey in the entertainment industry that, especially as a girl, woman... it's really important to try to create your own opportunities.” - Tasha Smith

Women in the entertainment industry are proactive to actively pursue and develop their own projects, roles, and platforms. With this approach, women are empowered to break traditional barriers and shape their careers on their own terms. By creating their own opportunities, they will surely enjoy huge success.

Women are powerful to write, produce, and create. Utilizing their platforms to fight for change, many of them are advocates for gender equality. They also use their platform to fight social injustices. Female-led shows are proven to be successful in the box office, sales, and ratings. Numerous awards and recognitions have been given to women in the entertainment industry in the local and international scene.

In Women’s Month, we continuously go for creating more inclusive environments to further foster the success of women in the field of entertainment.