Toronto: 'I Am Woman' Star Tilda Cobham-Hervey Talks Time's Up Movement

I Am Woman - TIFF - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of TIFF

"I feel like that Pandora's box has been opened now and we can't back away," the lead star of the Helen Reddy biopic said during a Toronto fest presser.

A press conference for I Am Woman — the Helen Reddy biopic that recalls the 1971 megahit anthem for the  women’s liberation movement — lost little time Friday before the film's cast and creative addressed the Time's Up movement.

"I feel like that Pandora's box has been opened now and we can't back away," Tilda Cobham-Hervey, who plays the Australian singing legend in director Unjoo Moon's movie, told the Toronto media about Time's Up. "I find it a really exciting time to be a woman in this industry. Doors have opened and there's all these amazing women around me. It makes me feel excited," she added.

I Am Woman bowed Thursday night in Toronto as part of the Special Presentations sidebar. The film's cinematographer, Dion Beebe, recalled the excitement during the writing of I Am Woman as Hillary Clinton was campaigning to become the U.S. President and it was assumed the movie would be released when the U.S. had its first female leader.

"Instead, here we are, and it's relevant for a different reason," Beebe said in reference to U.S. President Donald Trump now sitting in the White House.

Director Moon praised Reddy for writing I Am Woman as a song that allowed the Australian singer to find 1970s music industry success and speak directly to women also embracing a fledgling feminist movement. "She wrote lyrics to a song that really reflected who she was at that time of her life, and what she was as a woman," Moon said.

I Am Woman writer Emma Jensen told the Toronto presser that Reddy in her songwriting and stage performances still had to clarify what it meant to be a feminist, just as women today have returned to doing.

"It feels like we're still having these conversations, that Helen would have to say this is not the music women want to listen to and it's time that men listen to what we want to listen to. That resonated — the fights that we're still having and more broadly, seeing where we've moved and where we still have to go," Jensen said.

The Toronto Film Festival continues through Sept. 15.