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47% of Screen Australia titles that received production funding are female-led projects

06/08/2017

06 08 2017 - Media release 47% of Screen Australia titles that received production funding are female-led projects

Nikki Britton stars in Sheilas

Speaking at MIFF 37 South, Screen Australia COO Fiona Cameron today revealed that 47% of successful production funding applications had female-led creative teams across a two-year average (2015/16 2016/17 inclusive). Announced in December 2015, the Gender Matters KPI is to have 50% of successful production funding applications be female-led projects by the end of 2018/19.

Whilst we are getting close to gender parity across the titles that receive our production funding, the results are uneven with the television and online sectors continuing to do the heavy lifting, noted Fiona Cameron. However, successful applications for female-led feature films have jumped considerably to 39% in 2016/17, from a low bar of 22% in 2015/16. Documentary is also slowly inching towards parity, with 42% of successful production funding applications going to projects from female-led teams across the last two financial years.

A 17-person Gender Matters Taskforce was also announced, drawn from leaders across the screen industry including ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie, actor Deborah Mailman, the Seven Network's Head of Drama Julie McGauran and The Dressmaker producer Sue Maslin.

One of the distinguishing factors of Gender Matters is that the whole industry is along for the ride in recognition of the overriding commercial imperative, said Fiona Cameron.

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Screen Australia released updated industry-wide female participation data for feature film, which now includes the three most recent financial years. Feature film has historically had the lowest female participation rates, and the percentage of female producers, writers and directors has not changed since the data was last released (1970/71 - 2013/14).

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The number of women currently working in feature film industry-wide is also low across the 5-year period 2012/13 2016/17, with just 34% of producers, 15% of directors and 22% of writers being female. Creatives only needed to work on one project in the period to be counted.

This data stands as a reminder that just because gender equality in the screen industry has been a point of discussion, doesn't mean that it's translating into action industry-wide, particularly in feature film, said Fiona Cameron. This is why we are supporting organisations like the Australian Directors Guild (ADG) and Endemol Shine Australia's Smart for a Girl: ROAR, because they are targeting the problem areas of chronic female underutilisation like directing and writing.

GENDER MATTERS PROGRESS Web series Sheilas has become the first of the 45 Brilliant Stories alumni to progress to production, securing Screen Australia funding to make the 8 x 4 minute comedy to be released early next year.

Producer Nikita Agzarian said, We are over the moon with getting Sheilas into production. Screen Australia, in particular the Gender Matters initiative, has not only given us the opportunity to tell the forgotten stories of amazing women from Australian history, but also to become badass b*tches ourselves.

Of the 11 Brilliant Careers industry opportunities, some have already been completed, such as LevelK Australia's paid internship for Debra Liang which has since resulted in Debra obtaining a permanent job with the sales and distribution company.

Larger career development opportunities are in progress, such as the ADG's commercial sector mentor program, where eight directors were placed at production companies and two have since been signed with them. The ADG's Shadow Directing program is also active, with Darlene Johnson on Home & Away, Lucy Gaffy on Doctor Doctor and more to come.

For writing opportunities, Endemol Shine Australia's Smart for a Girl: ROAR program received 935 applications for 12 places. The successful applicants were announced on Friday, with the opportunity increased to 15 places due to the quality of applicants. Under the guidance of renowned producer Imogen Banks (Offspring) and screenwriter Alice Bell (Puberty Blues, The Beautiful Lie), participants get a paid writers' room experience.

Imogen Banks said, The great pleasure of Gender Matters was the unearthing of new voices. Alice and I were inundated with applications for Smart for a Girl, we were incredibly energised by the quality of stories and voices. It's exciting for the future of our industry.

Seven women have already completed Gender Matters Attachments on TV and film projects, with another six active now. There are eight more attachments in the works.

These paid placements offer genuine work opportunities, with Lizzie Cater currently working in post on Picnic at Hanging Rock and Vanessa Orzlowski with the camera department on TV series Sisters. Charlotte McConaghy was a script editor on Pulse, while Mel Sawyer was a producer's assistant on the new Helen Mirren film Winchester and has since been hired to see the project through to post.

The pilot attachment program has been so successful it has been extended. From 1 July 2017 Screen Australia now facilitates a wider range of inclusive attachment opportunities.

Unsurprisingly, with few female-led feature films coming into the market, Gender Matters Better Deals distribution assistance has been slower to activate. Nevertheless, Jennifer Kent's The Nightingale and Marion Pilowsky's The Call Back have both accessed the funding and the program has been extended for 2017/18.

TASKFORCE It was also announced today that the Gender Matters Taskforce has been significantly expanded to now cover all corners of the industry, from TV to distribution, across a range of career stages. Co-creator and producer of international juggernaut Dance Academy, and three-time Emmy nominee Joanna Werner
LINK: https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/sa/media-centre/news/2017/08-06-gen...
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