Women in View launches first annual report, Women in View on Screen

Monday, January 21 2013

First annual report shows women vastly under-represented as directors and screenwriters in the Canadian film industry

At the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival this fall, Rina Fraticelli, Executive Director of Women in View (http://womeninview.us6.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=100c153a09cb9a6b7bec6df65&id=8816118cb6&e=85bb5886b8) , shared the results of an inaugural annual report called Women in View on Screen (http://womeninview.us6.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=100c153a09cb9a6b7bec6df65&id=748102f832&e=85bb5886b8) . This report examines the representation of women in the roles of director and screenwriter in 130 Canadian feature films funded through Telefilm Canada and released in 2010 and 2011.

The report reveals that only 17 per cent of the 130 films released in 2010/2011 were directed by women; and a mere 21 per cent had female screenwriters. The results for visible minority and First Nations women were much worse, with only one director and two screenwriters. Women in View chose to focus on directing and screenwriting in their inaugural report because of the impact of these positions play in shaping the final film story, and the employment of others on the film production crew.

“The inequality is staggering, considering that more women than ever are participating in Canada’s workforce,” says Fraticelli. “Also, we know that having women in these key roles translates into more on-screen roles for women actors.”

Fraticelli adds that a further consequence of excluding women, and especially women from First Nations and racialized minorities, is that our media industries are failing to take advantage of the wealth of stories that spring from Canada’s rich cultural diversity.

“Simply put, women’s voices and stories are not being seen or heard as often as men’s,” she says.

This study was undertaken by Women in View, a national not-for-profit organization that advocates for greater gender and racial balance in Canadian media, with guidance from Dr. Charles Davis, professor at Ryerson University in the School of Radio and Television Arts and the Entrepreneurship and Strategy Department in the Ted Rogers School of Management.

Inclusion of women and minorities in key creative roles in film makes a lot of economic sense. According to the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA), in 2011 the value of media industries to Canada’s gross domestic product was $5.49 billion, representing 128,000 full-time jobs. Additionally, women represent 55 per cent of movie ticket purchasers.

“More than being an important economic engine, our media industries constitute one of the most significant forces shaping our national culture, as well as our individual identities and values,” Fraticelli says. “To remain innovative and competitive, today’s media organizations need a talent pool as diverse and demanding as its increasingly global public."

Women in View is launching this series of annual reports in order to track trends in the Canadian film and television industry. In the United States, these employment trends have been tracked for years by Dr. Martha Lauzen through the Celluloid Ceiling project.Those figures are disheartening, showing that in 2011-2012 just five per cent of the top-grossing American films were directed by women.

 Women in View on Screen) will be followed in spring 2013 by Women in View on TV. Women in View will continue in its role as the national hub for information about Canadian women in media, with annual updates as well as intermittent reports on particular sectors and links to pertinent websites.

Keep an eye out for updates to the Women in View on Screen report, as we look at correlations between women directors & screenwriters and the representation of women in their films.


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