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Australian Directors’ Guild Calls For Sex Equality Quotas in Film Funding

The Australian Directors’ Guild has called for the establishment of funding quotas to improve female equality in the local film and TV industries.

The ADG says that federal funding and regulatory body Screen Australia should provide 50% of its production funding to film projects directed by women. It says that the country’s state screen agencies and the publicly-owned Australian Broadcasting Corporation should also support the proposed measure.

“Current funding is not being shared in a representative way. The ADG is concerned with diversity of all types, but is particularly concerned with the dramatic lack of equity in the funding of women and, in particular, female directors,” said ADG president Ray Argall in a statement.

In the 2009-2014 period women accounted for 15% of film directors in Australia, 32% of producers, 23% of writers and 28% of on-screen protagonists, ADG data showed.

“The focus on directors is because as creative drivers they can make a huge difference in redressing gender inequality in our industry. In Sweden, setting a 50% quota for women directors resulted in jobs for women writers, actors, producers and other creatives, as well as for directors, rising dramatically across the board in the space of two years,” said Argall.

“Equally talented young women film makers are graduating from film schools in the same numbers as men, and winning short film awards, but they are not getting the breaks as film directors. It doesn’t even make commercial sense, given that women are more than 50% of the audience. The same pattern is seen around the world. It is time to take action about this obvious gender inequality,” said director and producer Gillian Armstrong (“Women, He’s Undressed”.)

“Many of my friends have participated in positive discrimination workshops, that especially appealed for female applicants. These workshops allegedly guarantee jobs. I’m talking about the Warner Bros and the Fox Global Directors initiatives. But here’s the thing – none of the girls are getting the jobs they were guaranteed. The boys, even the ones with less experience, are almost all in jobs with those studios,” said Alethea Jones, winner of Tropfest shorts festival with 2012 film “Lemonade.” She is currently working in the U.S., directing an Amazon TV pilot on a gender initiated job sponsored by Amazon.

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