With Share Her Journey, TIFF — the Toronto International Film Festival — is campaigning for gender parity for film creators, cast and crew. And we here at FF2 Media are thrilled to cheer on a cultural institution both leading critical discussions of gender in the film industry and raising funds to support women filmmakers.
Share Her Journey — #ShareHerJourney — was initially intended to last five years, but its leaders have since made it permanent, thereby recognizing a continued need for resources for women artists. We are still far from gender parity in film.
The campaign frames its call to action with the numbers. Of the top 250 films in 2019, TIFF shares only 21% included women in top creative positions (directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, or cinematographers), while 31% included zero women in off-camera jobs.
With these statistics, Share Her Journey emphasizes “key creative and decision-making roles in the film industry.” It’s the executive team that has the power to choose which stories the film industry tells and how they tell them.
By focusing on the top 250 films, the campaign highlights the importance of box office statistics. The film industry brings more resources to stories and creators that make more money. Therefore, gender parity campaigns must grow audiences for women professionals and women-centered stories. As the home base of the SWAN project = Support Women Artists Now — growing the audience has always been FF2 Media’s primary mission as well.
TIFF is working to address the issue for women filmmakers at all points in their careers. They strive to foreground women-led films in their festival and maintain gender parity for participants in their Talent Development Initiatives. In retrospectives, they highlight the formidable careers of women filmmakers. Funds raised in the campaign go toward mentoring and development programs to support the careers of women in film and facilitate conversations about gender equity and identity.
An impressive international assembly of film industry ambassadors has teamed up with Share Her Journey. This team includes directors, writers, producers, and actors: Mira Nair (Salaam Bombay!, Monsoon Wedding, The Namesake, The Reluctant Fundamentalist), Carmel Winters (Float Like a Butterfly), Priyanka Chopra (The Sky Is Pink, Baywatch), Deepa Mehta (The Elements Trilogy = Earth, Fire, Water), Stella Meghie (The Photograph), Ann Marie Fleming (Window Horses), Ashley McKenzie (Werewolf), Amma Asante (Belle, A United Kingdom, Where Hands Touch, Mrs. America), and many more. These artists are supporting TIFF’s gender parity mission.
“When we have these woefully pathetic numbers in terms of how women are represented in the industry, the only way those things will start to change is from these kinds of complex and concerted efforts that take place over time to try to lift up this constituency into a more equitable position, which then responds to the diversity of voices, which then fulfills the mandate of transformation through this medium. This initiative has the capacity to really make a difference.”
To learn more — and hopefully donate if you can — visit Share Her Journey’s site here.
© Amelie Lasker (9/20/21)–Special for FF2 Media.
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