By Rica Arevalo
BRIDGET Pickering, the co-producer of "Hotel Rwanda," was recently in town to screen "Courting Justice," a documentary about South African women's pioneering efforts in their male-dominated judiciary, at the 19th International Women's Film Festival of the UP Film Institute.
Last March 10, Counselor Hugo Lambrechts of the South African embassy presented Pickering to some filmmakers over lunch at Barbara's in Intramuros. The filmmaker started her career at Universal Pictures as a casting associate in Hollywood films like "Glengarry Glen Ross" and "Last of the Mohicans."
The Syracuse University alumna shares: "These days, I produce more than direct. I love working with people. I'm very good at selling other people's projects. In producing, there's a system involved. The job description is very clear." What kind of stories does she want to produce? She replies, "I like documentaries and narrative features. I like stories about characters living in a particular landscape, their relationship to society and how they cope in their respective worlds."
What are her views on the role of women in cinema? She answers, "Women have not really made their presence felt as directors and writers, but we eventually will. We bring different points of view to stories and situations. We're good organizers, and we can do many things at the same time. And, we're very strong in the fields of line producing and production management."
Any thoughts on Kathryn Bigelow being the first woman to win the Best Director Oscar? "It was a good thing," she beams. "The industry will now take women seriously. It doesn't matter if she won because her movie was really the best or only because people felt it was the right time (to give the award to a woman). It had to happen one day, and it happened with 'The Hurt Locker.'"
Lambrechts was very pleased about Pickering's Manila visit. He explains: "She opened doors for us, and we're proud of her achievements. We did it before with 'Tsotsi' (the 2006 Best Foreign Language Film winner), so there's no reason why we can't do it again in the near future. Her trip to the Philippines will also help strengthen our countries' cultural ties."
Pickering interjects: "I'm very excited to be here, and I hope I can come back. I want to watch Filipino films, and maybe Filipino filmmakers can go to South Africa to show their movies there. It excites me to know that there's so much going on here!"