Director Isue Shin on How the Art World Can Combat Some of the Problems Men Helping Women Addresses.

Oct 2, 2021 by

This month audiences can screen Men Helping Women, directed by Isue Shin, on the Planet Classroom Network YouTube Channel.  

Men Helping Women explores the way male artists abuse their positions of power in lieu of mentorship. Maybe they don’t know what they’re doing? But maybe they do. A male monologue loosely consisting of “apologies” amidst sexual assault allegations is spoken back to – and this time we’re not afraid. Isue Shin creates work relating to identity and memory. She received her BA in Modern Culture and Media from Brown University and is currently based in LA.  

The Global Search for Educationis pleased to welcome Isue Shin.

How important do you think film and other artforms are in telling these powerful and necessary stories?  For example, what did you learn from the audience feedback for Men Helping Women

I think film and other art forms are extremely important in telling powerful and necessary stories. I think the basic way in which we communicate is that we tell stories to each other, whether that is a lullaby or a bedtime story or a folktale that’s been passed down for generations. When you add a visual element to storytelling, I think that it becomes that much more powerful. When I showed Men Helping Women at various film festivals, I was really taken aback because it’s one thing to show your film to people who already know you and your story and the context behind your work, but to have hundreds of people see my work without knowing me first was really incredible. People came up to me saying hey, I really connected to the story, I feel the anger or sadness or frustration that you felt. Having my film be a jumping off point for meeting someone else was really special to me.

What’s the main message you want our youth audiences to take from this piece?

The main message I want youth audiences to take from Men Helping Women is that when you are working in the art world and making art, there are a lot of complicated people. Unfortunately, there can be times when you are not being treated very well, or not treated with respect, and I wanted to give clarity to situations that are manipulative or abusive and in hopes for a future in which people don’t take advantage of their power; especially for younger people, people who are just getting into the industry and starting their careers. My only hope is that this film sheds light on those issues of injustice and contribute to a future in which that happens less and less.

Your direction was both simplistic and powerful.  Can you take us through your creative process when constructing this film?

My creative process for Men Helping Women was that I did a brainstorm in the beginning of all these ideas that were floating around in my head. I did a lot of research on the sexual assault scandals that were going on in LA at the time, starting with Harvey Weinstein and ranging to Aziz Ansari. I compiled their official apologies and mixed it in with my own personal narrative and created that script. From there I created a short list of images that I thought would go well and provide an evocative contrast to the words. 

What do you think are some necessary actions that need to be taken in the art world to combat the rampant problem you focus on?

Some of the actions that need to be taken in the art world to combat some of the problems that Men Helping Women addresses…I think there’s already a lot that is being done.  For example, there are women focused or minority focused or queer focused groups for filmmakers and other creatives. I think it’s really transparent and when something happens, and it inevitably will happen, that other people, not just the person that the bad thing is happening to, speak up and call out abusers and people who are doing things that are clearly not okay. I think as the industry and the process become less and less patriarchal, less and less hegemonic, I really do believe that these kinds of problems will get better. 

C.M. Rubin and Isue Shin

Don’t Miss Men Helping Women directed by Isue Shin, now screening on the Planet Classroom Network YouTube Channel.  

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