Cate Blanchett launches fund supporting women, transgender and non-binary filmmakers

The first cohort of eight filmmakers will be selected to bring more of these marginalised narratives to the screen.

Photo of Cate Blanchett wearing a blazer promoting her new programme for women, transgender, and non-binary filmmakers.
Image: Instagram @cate_blanchettofficial

Cis white men largely dominate the film industry, but Cate Blanchett is co-founding a new platform called Proof of Concept to identify and support the next generation of women, transgender, and non-binary filmmakers.

Even with the success of women-led films like Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, which has grossed $1.44 billion to date worldwide, and Chloé Zhao winning the Best Director Oscar for Nomadland in 2021, there is a significant lack of resources for women and LGBTQ+ people in film.

The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative report examined 1,600 top-grossing movies and determined that only 6% of the film directors were women, and only 33% of speaking roles were given to girls, women, trans or non-binary individuals.

This lack of representation leads to limited roles for women, transgender and non-binary creators. What’s worse, these artists are typically paid less and their films are shown in fewer cinemas.


Blanchett says industry leaders are too hesitant to take on transgender and non-binary stories, and she hopes Proof of Concept will force studios to consider these talented marginalised voices. The Carol and Tár actor created the program alongside Emmy-nominated producer Coco Francini and Annenberg Inclusion Initiative founder Dr Stacy L. Smith.

Proof of Concept was developed to close this gap, give new creators exposure, and serve as a call to action to the film industry at large to support storytellers promoting these under-represented perspectives.

It also aims to improve access to funding and help creators advocate for themselves financially. By investing in these underrepresented voices, Blanchett hopes the industry will move toward a more equitable, balanced and diverse future.

The first cohort will include eight filmmakers who will be selected based on their potential to bring diverse narratives to the screen. Each creator will receive $50,000 in funding to support short film productions, along with one-on-one mentorship from industry leaders. The hope is that this initial piece of work can then be developed into a feature film or TV series.

When it comes to transgender, non-binary and women creators, Cate Blanchett said, “Providing tangible financial and career support for filmmakers who often get overlooked will not only give them a fantastic launchpad to success, it will also expand the future of film and television.”

She added that the purpose of the pipeline program is “to discover and nourish the creativity and success of new voices with compelling stories.”

Applications will open on January 3, 2024, and are open to filmmakers over the age of 21 who are eligible to work in the US. Applicants will submit a proposed script that focuses on the perspectives of women, trans and non-binary people, and a statement about the long-form project.

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