Oct. 16, 1995
Sex, Lies and Global Economics
Film-maker Terre Nash's latest work features the ideas
SFU'S OSCAR-WINNER, TERRE NASH
of Marilyn Waring, an economist. But Nash -- who began making
films as an SFU student and won an Academy Award in 1983 --
says the subject of her new feature-length documentary is
anything but academic.
"I had as much 'economics anxiety,' to use Marilyn's
phrase, as anyone else, until I read her book If Women
Counted," explains the director of Who's Counting? Marilyn
Waring on Sex, Lies and Global Economics.
"Then I wanted to make more people aware of her ideas,
especially on the environment and the enormous, yet
unrecognized, contribution women make to the world economy,"
Waring, the youngest-ever female MP elected to the New
Zealand Parliament, withdrew her support from her own
National Party and brought down the government over the issue
of a nuclear-free country in 1984.
"In a no-nonsense, easy-to-grasp manner, she explains
the massive impact of economic concepts and decisions on all
our lives," says Nash. "The analysis and tools she provides
are desperately needed, and because Marilyn is easy-going,
funny and brilliant, she's an ideal film subject."
The feature-length documentary addresses issues of
global significance, such as the invisibility of women in the
GNP accounting of most nations, and the absence of
environmental sustainability in national accounting.
Waring's book -- If Women Counted: A New Feminist
Economics --- was published in 1988 and won praise from
Gloria Steinem and John Kenneth Galbraith, both of whom
appear in the film.
Through public speeches and candid interviews, the film
captures Waring's ground-breaking work and her provocative
critique is made more powerful by Nash's celebrated use of
"I love editing and want to create multi-layered
films," she says. "You have to allow the material to speak
for itself, and the structure -- the chapters and overall
shape -- emerged from my complete submersion in the
While shooting her newest film she was thrown off a panicked
horse and broke her leg, ankle and almost severed her arm
from her shoulder.
"Marilyn was a frequent visitor to the hospital during
my recuperation and I got to know her in a more personal and
informal way," says Nash, whose film attracted a great deal
of attention at Vancouver's International
Film Festival earlier this month.
In 1983, Nash's film, If You Love This Planet, gained
international notoriety when it won an Academy Award, after
being denounced as propaganda by the U.S. department of
justice. It combines excerpts of a lecture by Dr. Helen
Caldicott, then President of Physicians for Social
Responsibility, with footage of the bombing of Hiroshima.
She hopes teachers and organizations will see and use
her new film.
"It's structured in short episodes or 'chapters' so the
information is easy to grasp and appropriate for education,"
she says, "and there are many issues which are important in
Canada, such as clear-cutting and NAFTA."
Terre Nash, who attended high school in West Vancouver,
was a charter student at SFU, in 1965. Her master's degree in
communications is the first ever granted in Canada. She has a
PhD from McGill and was one of the first film-makers in the
NFB's Women's Unit, Studio D, in Montreal. Who's Counting?
Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies and Global Economics is her ninth
"I see myself working in an activist tradition, where
films are made for more than entertainment and intellectual
stimulation, and I want this film to be a tool for social
change," she concludes, smiling. "That all started at SFU in
To purchase NFB films, call 1-800-267-7710. They also
may be rented at the Vancouver Public Library.
- Al Parsons, NFB, Vancouver, 666-3838
- Bruce Mason, media/pr, 291-3035/3210
Media/pr's web site: http://www.sfu.ca/mediapr/
© Simon Fraser University, Media and Public Relations