How Women In Hollywood Are Dealing With Their Sets Being Shut Down

Photo: Christophe Aumaitre/EyeEm/Getty Images.

Lesli Linka Glatter was supposed to be in Budapest when Hollywood suddenly ground to a halt.
The Emmy- and Oscar-nominated director was packed and ready to fly out for an eight-month trip to begin production on her new Amazon project, The Banker’s Wife. The night before her departure, she was told to hold off. The project was being put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic
“I had nothing in the house,” she told Refinery29 over the phone. “I was not planning on being here. A friend literally dropped a chicken on my doorstep a couple of days ago.”
Struggling to gather enough supplies to weather out the storm in grocery stores that are all but empty, Glatter is one of the many people around the world whose lives and careers have been put on hold by the outbreak of COVID-19. But in Hollywood, where so many creatives are freelancers who work on a project-to-project basis (which means they need to always have their next project lined up to know they’ll have continued income), the widespread shut-down of productions has been particularly destabilising and frightening. 
“As a director I am always with people — it’s a team sport,” Glatter, whose preview credits include Homeland, The West Wing, Mad Men, and cult coming of age movie Now and Then, said. “The big concern for me is: Are our crews going to be okay? Will they be taken care of? And I don't know if anyone knows the answer to that yet.”
Over the last couple of weeks, most movie and TV sets have announced that they’re either wrapping early or on hold indefinitely, leaving hundreds without jobs or, in some cases, health benefits. Movie theatres have closed, and it’s not clear when, or even if they’ll ever reopen. (If you want to help, consider buying gift cards to your favourite indie theatres now.) As a result, upcoming movie releases have been cancelled and pushed back. 
2020 was supposed to be a banner year for women in Hollywood. Five of the biggest and most highly-anticipated blockbusters of the year — Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey, Niki Caro’s Mulan, Cate Shoreland’s Black Widow, Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 1984 and Chloe Zhao’s The Eternals — were directed by women. And though Birds of Prey is now available on VOD, Mulan, Wonder Woman 1984,
and Black Widow’s theatrical releases have been postponed, while the fate of The Eternals remains up in the air. And those are just the big studio releases. With festivals like South by Southwest and Tribeca Film Festival cancelled until further notice, it’s hard to even estimate how many indie women filmmakers are struggling to get their work seen. SXSW did hand out its usual prizes, but the majority of films went home without distributors, their main purpose in going to the festival.
Refinery29 is committed to sharing their stories. Scroll through for a snapshot of how women in Hollywood are handling the current coronavirus crisis, at all levels of the industry.

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