Maria GieseA year ago, Maria Giese complained to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) about gender discrimination when she felt she had hit a glass ceiling, being passed over for directing work on movies and TV shows.

This week she and thousands of other women directors are one step closer as it is revealed that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has begun expanding its investigation into gender discrimination in Hollywood.

Maria Giese contributed a chapter on the current state of play for women directors in Hollywood for our book Silent Women: Pioneers of Cinema.

Madeline Di Nonno, CEO of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media said of the book that it “…honors the women in cinema who actively paved the way for future women in this indusilent-women-bookstry, and brought attention to the issue of gender bias in media, a problem we are still fighting today.”  Gayle Nachlis, Senior Director of Education, Women In Film Los Angeles added “Silent Women: Pioneers of Cinema is inspirational reading for any woman who dreams to express her vision through film in any direction this industry takes us. Only by understanding our past can we embrace our greatest future.”

Read more on this in the Los Angeles Times and The Daily Beast.

Maria Giese wrote and directed two feature films: When Saturday Comes, (starring Emily Lloyd, Sean Bean & Pete Postlethwaite) and Hunger, based on the novel by Nobel Prize-winner, Knut Hamsun. She introduced the plight of women directors to the ACLU and co-founded the activist/agitator web forum, ‘Women Directors in Hollywood’, which helped initiate the current EEOC joint government agency investigation. While writing regularly about women directors (Ms. Magazine, Elle, Film Inquiry, IndieWIRE), she has been  featured in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and on Bloomberg TV, among others. Giese is currently the subject of several documentaries and is working on a book about her work. Educated at Simon’s Rock of Bard College, Wellesley College, and UCLA Graduate School of Film and Television, she is an active member of the Directors Guild of America, and is currently attached to direct several feature films.

Picture credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times