“We’re extremely proud that, together with the industry, we’re moving to quickly and concretely foster gender parity in Canadian cinema,” said Carolle Brabant, Telefilm Canada’s Executive Director. “Our goal is to level the playing field for Canadian female talent, and we encourage creators to submit projects directed and/or written by women. This can only benefit the industry as whole; increased competition can lead to better quality projects that connect with audiences whose tastes and interests are changing along with the cultural landscape.”
Brabant added: “I want to make it clear that this is just a first step. We will now take the same measured, consultative approach to ensuring our feature film portfolio also better reflects cultural diversity and Indigenous communities. We have already begun work with Indigenous creators, and are taking steps to address the challenges faced by creators from culturally diverse communities. Sustainable long-term solutions are key, not interim initiatives.”
Telefilm’s five-pronged action plan to achieve gender parity is as follows:
- Encouraging a diversity of projects: Telefilm will encourage producers to submit projects that reflect the diversity of Canada’spopulation.
- Evaluation of projects: Telefilm will now, for projects of equal quality, favour projects that have a woman as director and/or a woman as writer (as per guidelines). Based on industry recommendations that these two roles require immediate critical attention, gender parity amongst directors and screenwriters was identified as a priority. In September 2023, once Telefilm reviews its survey data (see below), the challenges of women producers will be addressed.
- Transparency and reporting: Telefilm will continue to respect government privacy laws. However, in order to regularly report back to the industry, other means of data reporting have been created. Industry representatives have agreed to encourage their members to provide information, via a voluntary questionnaire at the application stage, which will identify key creative members of the team (director, writer, producer). This questionnaire will also address questions regarding cultural diversity amongst key creatives, and if members are from Indigenous communities. Based on the collected information, we will re-evaluate each year what our priorities should be in order to reach our global diversity objective.
- Continued targeted promotion of female talent to raise their professional profile and market appeal: ex. St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival, Birks Diamond Tribute, Hot Docs’ Don Haig Award Pay It Forward Prize. Telefilm will continue to promote all talent in its general promotional activities.
- Continued support of the conversation on gender parity via research and professional development initiatives: ex. Women in the Director’s Chair, Women in Film & Television, Women in View—2 x More, CMPA study Women & Leadership: A study of global policies and programs to advance gender parity in the screen-based industries.
In September, Telefilm created a pan-industry working group to identify areas where collective efforts should be placed in priority. Based on this consultation, for 2023, Telefilm’s first goal will be to favour projects directed or written by women, while continuing to support the works of Indigenous creators and members of communities representing Canada’s cultural diversity.
Telefilm would like to thank the members of the working group on their dedication to establishing a clear target and defined measures towards gender parity in feature film production financing.
Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) (also representing CUES (Canadian Unions for Equality Onscreen))
Association québécoise de la production médiatique (AQPM)
Association des réalisateurs et réalisatrices du Québec (ARRQ)
Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA)
Directors Guild of Canada (DGC)
Société des auteurs de radio, télévision et cinema (SARTEC)
Union des Artistes (UDA)
Writers Guild of Canada (WGC)
Women in View
Women in Film + Television Vancouver