American filmmaker Izzy Chan – Photo by the American Embassy American filmmaker Izzy Chan – Photo by the American Embassy

‘The Big Flip’ constructs path to reversed gender roles

Sun, Mar. 11, 2018
CAIRO – 10 March 2018: An introductory to common misconceptions, “The Big Flip” is a documentary film directed by the American filmmaker Izzy Chan challenging the notion of women incapability, where Chan documented the stories of four different American families where women are the main breadwinner.

“The film’s aims to deliver a specific message that breaks the stereotypical concept of women belonging to housework tasks while men are good at business work,” Chan told Egypt Today.



Statistics show that 40 percent of American moms are the breadwinners, adding that the numbers of dads staying at home have doubled since 1999 until 2015, according to Chan. She explained that statistics and studies are only stating facts concerning this issue while her documentary aims to explore why families, in which women are the main breadwinners, are not happy.

“Directing this film, I was mainly inspired by my own story,” Chan said, mentioning that she coincidentally worked on that film while she herself was the main breadwinner in her family when her husband decided to quit his job. Unfortunately, he chose the wrong time to quit his job, he couldn’t start his own business because of the economic downturn that took place in New York at that time in 2008. Although Chan was really supportive of her husband, something started to break down in their relationship when she started to feel that she was the only one playing her role.

“I wanted to know whether my husband and I were the only ones suffering from the idea of exchanging the roles that society made us used to,” Chan said, explaining her shock when she discovered that divorces between female breadwinners and their husbands are 40 percent higher than in traditional marriages.

Chan clarifies the reason behind such a high percentage is that in America more women are graduating from universities than men which is why the market is favoring women over men.
As many articles, stories and films have featured how women are fighting for equality at work, Chan’s target was that her film would shed light on the lives of female breadwinners at home and what is happening with them and their families.

The film managed to depict this idea by following four different real families in different cities. Chan followed them for two years filming them. She expressed how emotional it was to observe people at home and their day-to-day interactions. She also referred to the importance of seeing how they interact with each other and how that changes.

Throughout two years of filming the four families, Chan would go for two weeks at a time and stay in the city for a week or ten days. At the beginning of the project the members of these families were feeling a bit worried because there was a camera documenting their moves and daily lives but through time and because of Chan’s small crew, they got used to the situation.

Chan was careful all the time to refrain from judging during filming. Through the film, she wanted to show both sides without taking the man’s or the woman’s side.
she believes that it is acceptable and normal for men to take care of their kids while it was also okay to be a woman who is excelling at her job. In this, Chan was deeply influenced by her childhood that she spent in an all-girls school in which she wasn’t competing with men and was used to doing any task on her own without being labeled as physically weak.

“Independent films have the ability to tackle numerous societal issues realistically despite their limited budgets, which is why Hollywood, with its magnificent studios, started to take the same direction in production the same way independent filmmakers does,” Chan explained. The independent film is financed with “crowd funding”, which is an effective method in the market to fund a project by gathering small amounts of money from large groups of people.

“The Big Flip” has showcased in Sharm El-Sheikh Festival as Chan was invited by the American Embassy in Egypt to participate in the festival and display her documentary film. She expressed her excitement to see how people in the Arab region would interact when they see a man taking care of his kids at home and that gender roles are reversed.
“I wish my wife can trust me with the baby,” one of the audience said to Chan after watching “The Big Flip” at the festival.



 
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