Australia Introduces Two New Initiatives to Support Women Filmmakers


Similar to Canada’s news last week, Australia has unveiled two new initiatives striving for gender parity in filmmaking. Screen Australia introduced Doco180 for documentary filmmakers, and the National Film Board is pushing for more women in creatives roles in film.

According to a press release from Screen Australia, Doco180 will see six female directors “make a 180 second documentary, designed to make the viewer ‘do a 180’ on a topic relevant to Australian women.” These six directors will have three months and $6,000 each to finish their project, with support from an Investment Development Manager provided by Screen Australia. Filmmakers will retain copyright of their doc and can use the project in any way they want after an exclusivity period.

Doco180 was developed in partnership with News Digital Networks Australia’s (News DNA) upcoming With Her in Mind Network, where the winners’ docs will screen for free.

“Documentary is a powerful storytelling device, and more recently we have seen works like ‘That Sugar Film’ and ‘Deep Water: The Real Story’ prompt worldwide discussion online,” Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason commented. “Doco180 is an opportunity for early career female documentary makers to distill a single idea of their choice into a social media-friendly 3 minutes, in order to explain, provoke, and entertain.”

The National Film Board’s (NFB) latest initiative strives “to achieve gender parity in key creative positions for animated, documentary, and interactive works in production as of 2020,” writes Realscreen. It supports women in male-dominated fields like “editing, cinematography, screenwriting, and music composition” and in positions “related to animation and immersive/interactive storytelling, as well as positions such as art director, art designer, and creative technologist.” The Board also plans to set up a “talent bank” where women in the industry can submit portfolios, demos, and CVs.

The NFB will work on this measure in collaboration with Women in Film and Television Vancouver, Women in View, Réalisatrices Équitables, and Femmes du cinéma, de la télévision et des médias numériques, and other professional organizations.

In a statement, government film commissioner and NFB chairperson Claude Joli-Coeur said, It is high time for women in the film industry to have the invaluable place they deserve. Parity must become a reality for filmmakers as well as for women working in key creative positions. Our commitment to parity includes a commitment to cultural diversity: we are committed to ensuring an inclusive place for all women.”

These programs from Screen Australia and the NFB are not Australia’s first pushes for gender equality in filmmaking. Last year, Australian state agency Screen New South Wales announced that all TV drama series must now include women in key creative roles in order to receive financing. Further, the Australian government unveiled Screen Australia’s Gender Matters: Brilliant Stories and Brilliant Careers. It provided $3 million of funding to projects led by Australian women.

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