by Robert McDonald – West Coast Editor
(March 8, 2017 – Vancouver, BC) “There’s parity in the air”, quipped NFB Chairperson Claude Joli-Coeur as he announced the follow up to last year’s commitment to gender parity and diversity in Vancouver.
At a breakfast co-sponsored by Women in Film and Television (WIFTV), Joli-Coeur stated the NFB has launched a new initiative to ensure gender parity in key creative positions for animated, documentary, and interactive works by 2020.
“We are committed to making a change in our industry,” he says.
While the 2016-7 figures for productions are encouraging, with 44 per cent of works being directed by women, 50 per cent by men and 5 per cent by mixed teams, there remain troubling gaps in key creative positions.
For films produced between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017 a scant 27 per cent had women screenwriters, 24 per cent as editors, only 12 per cent as cinematographers, with a mere 13 per cent crafting music.
“It’s not good enough,” he says. “We urgently need to take action today if we want to make a difference tomorrow.”
The NFB aims to bolster and connect women by consulting with WIFTV, Women in View and Femmes du cinema de la television et des medias numerique (FCTMN) along with guilds, professional associations, and training institutions to gain better understanding of how the system is operating and discuss potential initiatives.
A new “talent bank” is also in the works, which will act as a hub for women professionals to submit their portfolios, demos and CVs. The NFB also plans to encourage its production and co-production partners to align with its goals in order to implement more representative works.
A long time advocate for female filmmakers, the NFB made history in 1974 by establishing Studio D, the world’s first production studio reserved exclusively for work by women. In addition, two thirds of the organization’s upper management are women.
Editor’s Note: Today is International Women’s Day. The theme for this year is Be Bold For Change.
Based in Vancouver, Roberta McDonald is West Coast Editor for Northernstars.ca. She is a best selling writer, arts journalist and photographer. She has profiled extraordinary filmmakers, including Ang Lee and Sturla Gunnerson. Her short film The Spiral was released in 2014 and she is currently writing her first feature screenplay.