With the wealth of incredible female voices in Australia, you’d be forgiven for thinking thee Australian film industry is anything other than a boy’s club. But sadly, that’s precisely the case.
Currently, only 16 per cent of directors, 23 per cent of writers and 32 per cent of producers in this country are female. But as of today, there’s a seismic shift taking place that aims to topple that well-entrenched, imbalanced structure.
It’s called Gender Matters, a groundbreaking $5 million initiative launched by Screen Australia to ensure that the government agency’s production funding is directed toward creative teams that are at least 50 per cent female by the end of 2018.
Speaking at the launch of Gender Matters this morning, Chief Operating Officer Fiona Cameron described the initiative as “probably the biggest thing Screen Australia will ever do”.
“Ever since I heard that ridiculous statistic that there are more men named Peter running big Australian companies than women no matter what they’re called, I have subscribed to the notion that feminism is the responsibility of leadership and not a label of the past,” she said.
“Activewear” creators, Skitbox, are among the Gender Matters recipients.
The first active steps in this endeavour is Brilliant Stories and Brilliant Careers: Two programs that will see 58 recipients sharing in $3 million in funding to either fast-track development of their female-lead creative concepts or to establish employment opportunities and career growth for female screen makers.
Since the first Gender Matters announcement back in December, Screen Australia received 452 applications – the most the agency has ever received for any funding program.
Among the recipients is a raft of emerging talent and well-established names, including the likes of Kat Stewart, Claudia Karvan and Rachel Griffiths, whose work spans numerous platforms from television, to feature films and online series.
Mamamia Women’s Network will also partner with Screen Australia on a host of new initiatives encompassing employment, creation and distribution of local video content aimed at a female audience.
MWN Co-founder and Creative Director Mia Freedman said Gender Matters was an exciting and much welcomed step forward for both Mamamia and the industry as a whole.
“By partnering with Screen Australia, MWN can fulfil our dream of creating and producing more of our own short and long form original content, as well as promoting and distributing the brilliant content produced by third parties who have been supported by Screen Australia,” she said. “It’s great news for women on both sides of the screen.”