New York’s DCTV aka Downtown Community Television Center is running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for its new training and access program, Young Women of Cinema. The program will “give young women filmmakers the support to share their stories, make films, get jobs and be heard!”
DCTV has taken on the challenge set by the fact that “in 2015 approximately 113 wide release films will open. Women will helm only seven.” DCTV wants to change that equation.
As anyone who reads the highly esteemed Women and Hollywood blog at movie industry website Indiewire knows, representation of women in front of and behind the camera continues to be in crisis not only in the world of Hollywood feature films but also in the realms of documentaries and television production.
Researcher Dr Stacy L. Smith of USC’s Media, Diversity, & Social Change (MDSC) Initiative was recently quoted in Women and Hollywood’s article ‘Study: An Epidemic of Invisibility Afflicts Female, Racially Diverse, LGBT Characters’ as stating that “This is a representational crisis. Diversity doesn't really exist behind the camera.”
Dr Smith and her colleagues Dr Katherine Pieper, Traci Gillig, Dr Carmen Lee, Dylan DeLuca and Marc Choueiti collaborated on an investigation into gender and other diversity representation in movies, ‘Inequality in 700 Popular Films: Examining Portrayal of Gender, Race, & LGBT Status from 2007 to 2014’ and their conclusions were stark. Popular movies remain almost exclusively the province of white, heterosexual males both sides of the camera.
The causes? A cluster of barriers to entry into the industry by anyone not a white, heterosexual male and an apparent failure of the imagination by those who control the film and television industries around the world.
Even first base, acquiring the fundamental knowledge to make a movie of any sort, is a barrier beyond the means of those who have neither the contacts nor the cash to do so.
Granted, making movies is now far more affordable than it is ever been but it is still an occupation, or avocation, for the well-heeled and well-connected. I can attest to the longtime career detriment rendered by being neither, by coming from the wrong side of the tracks.
My partner’s niece has a similar background though with the benefit of a small inheritance and she is discovering how moviemaking knowledge and equipment is made available only to the fortunate few where she is living at the opposite side of the country. At least she has someone over here to ask when needed.
If all this is news to you, and you want to learn more, I can recommend some good reading to start with. Last year’s article about female cinematographers, ‘There Aren't Enough Women Cinematographers and That Needs to Change’, by Elle Schneider of Digital Bolex, is the story of how one woman learned cinematography by begging and borrowing gear while on the lowest rung of the ladder at film school. Now she runs the Digital Bolex Grant for Women Cinematographers to encourage others into cinematography.
ScreenDaily recently published ‘Gender equality declaration adopted for European film industry’ about a welcome innovation in the European film industry that I hope will spread around the world.
Earlier this month, in ‘New Report Uncovers Staggering Inequality for Anyone Not Young, White, Straight, and Male in Hollywood’ establishment cum aspirational cum celebrity magazine Vanity Fair looked at the USC’s report into Hollywood inequality and plenty of other industry and culture publications have added their own commentary to a discussion I hope will continue to escalate.
Please support DCTV’s Young Women of Cinema program now!
At the time of writing, Young Women of Cinema has received just over $4,000 in pledges out of a $10,000 goal, from 74 backers. Let’s get those pledges over the line, well past that $10,000.
As per Kickstarter rules, Young Women of Cinema will only be funded if DCTV’s campaign receives at least $10,000 in pledges by Friday, September 11 at 1:59pm AEST.
Please, pledge now, pledge often and pledge big! Really big! To do exactly that, click here right now and pledge!NYC's Young Women of Cinema need your help - DCTV’s Kickstarter campaign closes September 11. Click To Tweet
Young Women of Cinema by DCTV
The Young Women of Cinema program will provide a supportive and professional environment where 10-12 young female filmmakers ages 18-24 will gain media literacy skills, technical training, mentorship, and networking opportunities with professional filmmakers.
The program will give participants the opportunity to critically examine a broad range of topics and explore the politics of womanhood and femininity in the 21st Century. We will workshop issues relevant to young women today (healthcare, body image, equal pay for equal work, etc.) and analyze how these issues play out in mainstream media. The program will also offer technical training in film production (camera, lighting and editing), as well as pre-production (writing for film). Students will have the equipment and access to create their own films.
Kira, Paul-Ann, and Alyssa want a program focused on the needs and aspirations of young women in the media field. Our goal is to raise $10,000 to launch the Young Women of Cinema program and begin holding weekly classes for young women starting in early September.
Support the Young Women of Cinema program and help young women achieve their dreams and change the face of media! Let's get the ball rolling by spreading the word using the hastag #ywcinema!
Learn more about the Young Women of Cinema Kickstarter Campaign HERE.
(cover photo credit: snap from Kickstarter)