Irish Film Board Gets Around To Tackling Gender Disparity

The overal aim of the Irish Film Board's initiative, announced at the Galway Film Fleadh yesterday, is to achieve 50/50 gender parity of funding within three years.

a 1950s shop girl stands next to a mannequin head

The Irish Film Board (IFB) has announced new funding opportunitites for aspiring female filmakers in an effort to address the film industry’ shocking gender disparity.

The funding opportunities are part of the IFB’s Six Year Gender Plan, announced in 2015, in an attempt to address the under-representation of women in Irish film.

Among the inducements on offer to female writers, directors and producers: a low budget film production and training scheme aimed exclusively at emerging and established female writers and directors, the scheme features tailored workshops, mentorship and training.

Successful candidates will have the opportunity to apply for support to produce a feature film with a budget of up to €400,000 ($458,786).

The IFB have also announced plans to establish of a gender equality and diversity subcommittee, as well as offering “enchanced production funding

The overal aim of the initiative, announced at the Galway Film Fleadh yesterday, is to achieve 50/50 gender parity of funding within three years, but according to the IFB the actual number of funding applications received with female writers and directors attached remains relatively low.

“I believe these direct funding initiatives will incentivise an increased number of applications from female led talent and will support, empower and elevate Irish female talent working within the Industry,” IFB Chair Dr Annie Doona said of the plan.

“50/50 parity of funding remains our goal.”

The under-representation of women in film is by no means an Irish problem (and is by no means confined to behind-the-scene roles). Even in Hollywood gender segregation remains a problem; female stars earn less then their male counterparts, have fewer opportunities and are seldom recognised for their achievements. To date only one women has ever won an Academy Award for Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, who won in 2008 for The Hurt Locker.

Industry blog Women in Hollywood reports of the 107 directors responsible for the 2015’s top-grossing 100 movies (some were co-directed), only eight were women (7.5 percent) – roughly a ratio of 12.4 men to every woman.

Of the 1,365 directors, writers and producers of 2015’s top 100 grossing movies, 11.8 percent of writers were women, 22 percent of producers were women. Of 114 composers working on those 100 movies, there only one woman.

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