Director Mona Fastvold recently spoke out about a trend she’s experienced in the industry that’s made it more difficult to get female-centric films financed. Her most recent film, The World to Come, fits into the lesbian period drama template that’s grown in popularity as of late with films like Portrait of a Lady on Fire and Ammonite.
“There was very little written diaries from 1856 for farmers about their love life and definitely not about their queer love stories, but of course there were plenty. And we’ve seen a lot about men in that time period in that place, so why not focus on these women?” she said in an interview with Variety.
Her sophomore feature stars Katherine Waterston and Vanessa Kirby as two neighboring wives in the mid-19th century who fall in love with one another and discover a void in their lives that they never knew existed. The film also stars Christopher Abbott and Casey Affleck.
“Usually people just want to keep you at a certain budget level when you’re a female director,” Fastvold said. “But even for my partner [Vox Lux director Brady Corbet] who mostly writes female protagonists – financing these types of projects is still tricky despite talk that things are changing.”
At one point, Fastvold was working on a film based on a Norwegian novel called The Bleaching Yard, which was never able to be made due to a lack of solid financing. The director said that she was only able to find the backing for The World to Come from female financiers like Margarethe Baillou and her partners at Myra, Carole Baraton from Charades, and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions vice president Lakshmi Iyengar.
“Fortunately their backing allowed me to stretch the scope of the film as much as possible because I knew that it couldn’t just be four people in a living room,” said Fastvold. “They needed to be with nature, we needed to see time pass and seasons change and for it to feel lush and big and have that scope of a drama from a bygone era.”
The World to Come is getting its DVD release this Tuesday, June 1, 2021.