National Film Board of Canada Devotes 50% of Budget to Female-Directed Projects
America’s eternally more-chill neighbor to the north has just implemented heartening new measures to ensure gender parity on a wide scale. The National Film Board of Canada has released a new report detailing plans that moving forward, 50% of all production funds will be allocated to films directed by women. No talkarounds, no B.S., no waffling — right down the middle, equal funding for men and women. A characteristically progressive move for the country living like some kind of socialist free-healthcare Garden of Eden, the new policy was first announced by government film commissioner Claude Joli-Ceour on Tuesday, which also happened to be International Women’s Day.
The Board has emphasized their stance of complete transparency as they put these changes into effect over the next three years, promising regular updates on funded projects through their official web site, for the full perusal of the moviegoing public. The Variety item that broke this story also makes note of a study from non-profit organization Women in View that clocks women as representing a paltry 17% of directors in the Canadian film industry, 22% of writers, and only 12% of cinematographers. The Board hopes to rectify this imbalance, echoing the attitude that informs their hiring practices. (Women constitute 66% of the Board’s upper management, according to the Variety item.)
Nothing like wonderful news from Canada to throw how awful Hollywood can be into sharp relief. Hollywood can’t even be bothered to pay women the same wage as male counterparts, forget about employing them in equal rates. Not only are America’s federal arts subsidies severely lacking, the studios running the show haven’t even come close to making a shift like this. Hopefully, the powers that be in the U.S. film industry will take this development as a cue that the time has long since come for meaningful change to right the gross inequalities in the biz.