Screen Australia today announced a $5 million plan to tackle the issue of gender imbalance in the film industry, especially as it relates to feature film production.
Women are chronically underrepresented in this area, with recent figures showing just 16 per cent of feature films currently female-helmed (the rate of producers sits at 32 per cent and screenwriters at 23 per cent).
The $5 million plan, to take be rolled out over three years, puts measures in place to encourage producers and production companies to seek out women collaborators.
“Our focus is on female led creative teams rather than individuals,” says Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason. “We are aiming to ensure our production funding is targeted to creative teams (writer, producer, director and protagonist) that are at least 50% female by 2018 year end.”
The plan includes an immediate $3 million injection into production and then $2 million to support “placements, distribution incentives, marketing and industry networking.”
The Taskforce is headed by Screen Australia Deputy Chair Deanne Weir and consists of Miranda Tapsell, Imogen Banks, Sue Maslin, Samantha Lang, Sandie Don, Sophie Hyde, Emma Jensen and Natalie Tran.
“This is not just a women’s issue, but one for all of us to address,” says Deanne Weir.
Stranger With My Face congratulates Screen Australia and the Gender Matters Taskforce on this decisive move in support of the under-utilised pool of talent in Australian film, and looks forward to the flow-on effects in coming months and years.
The Gender Matters initiative consists of five elements:
1. The Women’s Story Fund – an initiative to stimulate awareness and increase industry activity around storytelling by women, focusing on bold, original and compelling fully-formed story concepts.
2. Enterprise Women – business support to create industry infrastructure around women, encouraging mentorship schemes, placements, slate development, workshops, events and proposals for strategy and business development.
3. Attachments for Women – in circumstances where Screen Australia invests more than $500,000 in a project, attachments or reverse attachments are proposed to provide valuable production experience for women who want to break into the industry as creatives or crew.
4. Matched Distribution Guarantee Support of up to $300,000, to enhance the distribution and marketing of quality Australian films with significant female content, encouraging close partnership with distributors on female-driven projects.
5. Assessment criteria changes – to be made across Screen Australia, aimed at encouraging projects that promote gender and cultural diversity and removing the barriers faced by women who take time out of the workforce, including added consideration of Gender and Cultural Diversity in overall slate assessment.
image: Kate Winslet in The Dressmaker, directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse and produced by Sue Maslin.