The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is making a five-year, $3 million charitable campaign commitment to support women in the film industry.
On its website, TIFF says this commitment is to increase “participation, skills, and opportunities for women behind and in front of the camera.” The Share Her Journey campaign will prioritize gender parity with a focus on mentorship, skills development, media literacy, and activity for young people.
TIFF continues by providing some sobering statistics about the lack of women in film. For instance, of the top 250 films of 2016, only 7% were directed by women. And of the top 100 films of 2016, only 29% of all protagonists were female.
“Women represent 1/2 of the world. Without women writers and directors, the rest of us aren’t going to know the whole story.”—Jane Campion pic.twitter.com/kyqksYtA6F
— TIFF (@TIFF_NET) July 10, 2017
TIFF has been trying to change the gender gap in the industry by ensuring festival had a 50/50 gender split in selected participants for its Talent Development initiative.
At the 2016 festival, 29% of the selected films were directed by female filmmakers. However, TIFF says there still needs to be work done to change industry standards.
The Festival aims to raise $500,000 in 2017 in order to:
- Champion diversity of gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and physical and cognitive ability within gender equity initiatives;
- Launch a three-month residency programme for emerging female creators;
- Introduce a new producers’ accelerator programme for women;
- Develop a speaker series to spark conversations on gender equity and gender identities in film;
- Design comprehensive resources for educators to enhance the curriculum and support classroom discussions about women and gender in cinema;
- Use industry data to track career trajectories and improve outcomes for women in film.
They have also enlisted four ambassadors who will give their insight on women in today’s film industry.
Jennifer Baichwal, Carol Nguyen, Omoni Oboli, Ann Marie Fleming, and Ashley McKenzie have been chosen as the five campaign ambassadors and they are all seasoned writers and directors.
This year, TIFF will take place from September 7 to 17.