At Cannes in 2019, Downton Abbey actor Victoria Emslie announced the launch of Primetime. To encourage the hiring of more women in film, this new database spotlights women from all over the world working above the line and below the line in film.
Primetime is working to overcome the bias that traditionally affects women within the industry,” Emslie said. ‘To this effect, there are no profile pictures of members [though there are images of some of them on the site’s front page] and Primetime includes testimonials to help overcome the word-of-mouth based referral culture that prevails in the industry. The focus is on the achievements of members, showcasing the quality of their work.’
Primetime’s tech will expand in the future, with the help of corporate sponsorship. Upcoming features could include a job board, contract integration, and availability info. ‘We plan to put a percentage of our profits from future paid-for features into funding projects led by the women on our platform,’ Emslie announced.
‘Currently men outnumber women anywhere from 2:1 to 3:1 onscreen. Women tend to hire more women which leads to more female-led content being made; so to change the conversation onscreen we need to change the conversation behind the screen,’ Victoria explained at the launch. ‘At Primetime we hope our mission will be met with a united front and desire to drive towards better work culture and hiring practices, in addition to hiring some pretty badass women.’
Women who wish to be included in the database must have at least three credits from IMDb, major theater companies, or APA-registered companies. Emslie, who is a part of Time’s Up UK, says that the database will be open to ‘all those who experience oppression as women, including non-binary and gender non-conforming people, and all those who identify as women.’
This launch has been all over #WomenInFilm social media as something ‘new’, which is a little surprising, because it’s just the latest database, within an already extensive group.
Not all the databases are designed to encourage hiring. For instance, Barbara Ann O’Leary of #directedbywomen says that her Global Directory ‘was never designed to provide people hiring lists, though there are thousands and thousands of women included in the directory that would be wonderful to hire’.
And none of them can replace direct action within the wider industry, like Ava DuVernay’s commitment to hiring only women directors in every season of Queen Sugar; and mk2 Film’s commitment to women directors, with three of the four women-directed films in the main competition at Cannes in 2019— including award-winners Mati Diop’s Atlantique and Celine Sciamma’s Portrait of a Woman on Fire— and a rich selection of women-directed films that they distribute, in France and internationally, including Agnès Varda’s work.
But the databases and programmes like #juststartwith8hollywood that developed out of one of them, are fascinating. Here are most that I know about!
The A-List comes from the Ladima Foundation, ‘A Pan-African non-profit organisation committed to providing various training & development opportunities for women filmmakers & content producers from Africa’. It aims to create ‘… a comprehensive Pan-African database of women working within the TV, film, content, animation and related industries. All women, from those just starting out in the industry, to seasoned professionals, are invited to submit their details to this list’. In addition, the Ladima Foundation focuses on training via the Ladima Academy, festival development via The Ladima Foundation African Women Film Festivals Network andrecognition through the Adiaha Award in Documentary Film twitter facebook instagram
Alliance for Women Film Composers ‘a community of composers and colleagues who strive to support and celebrate the work of women composers through advocacy and education’. Includes a directory. twitter
The Barb Crew
‘Barb, the online collective for women in film. A platform where professionals can connect, work together and ultimately raise each other up.
Producers, directors, editors, designers, animators… We know you’re out there, they know you’re out there.
Let’s make it so easy to find you there won’t be an excuse not to.
Working in partnership with other organisations, Barb. aims to create an online database which can provide easily searchable contact information of women in the UK film or television industry, free of charge. With only 20% of the six key roles in films produced in the UK in 2015 going to women, we are determined to level the playing field.’
Black Women Directors is ‘a website dedicated to highlighting the work of women and nonbinary filmmakers from the African Diaspora. It’s an ongoing project designed to shine a light on the contributions of Black women to the film canon. It started out as a Tumblr in 2015. It was founded by Danielle A. Scruggs, a photographer, photo editor, and writer based in Chicago’. twitter instagram
Black Women Film!, run by and for Black women in film, is based in Toronto. It is a leadership program and new collective dedicated to forwarding the careers, networks and skills of filmmakers and media artists who are Black female identified of the Canadian African diaspora. twitter instagram facebook
Based in Peterborough UK, ‘an inclusive organisation committed to uplifting and amplifying the voices of all female directors.
Our goal is to share our experience and resources with each other in order to create more films by and about women. We run monthly masterclasses, surgeries, a writers group, a TV creators group and we support each other’s releases.
In order to join CINESISTERS you need to be a female identifying director who has either made a feature film, has a broadcast TV credit, or has made at least 3 short films and is attached to direct TV or a feature film that is either in funded development or a completed first draft. If you qualify please email us on email@example.com.
For work enquiries, please contact directors directly via their personal pages.
Cut Throat Women, a database of women who work in horror: directors, producers, screenwriters, film festivals.
The Directed by Women site, created by Barbara Ann O’Leary ,has lots of functions, including information about the annual, global, #directedbywomen party every September and an all-2019 daily blog of the 21st canon of women’s films. Today, its database includes 12,678 directors.
Film Fatales ‘supports an inclusive community of women feature film and television directors who meet regularly to share resources, collaborate on projects and build an environment in which to make their films’. Began in New York, now all over the US, in Canada, South Africa and Australia.
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Glass Elevator, created by Jen McGowan.
A ‘free, membership-based international community of over 3,000 vetted women offering classes, social events, job postings & a searchable member directory…Membership grants you access to peer to peer career advancement classes, social events, a searchable database of our Member Directory and an internal Avail Check system… Glass Elevator members are Executives, Talent, Above the Line, Heads of Departments and Crew from script through criticism. Members hail from every union and guild. Some are Emmy and Academy Award winners.’ twitter facebook
The JTC List, an ‘extensive, searchable database of women of color who work in the film industry, both in Los Angeles and around the world. It’s referenced by studios and production companies to help guide hiring for both above and below the line positions, and make sure that every set is inclusive’.
Muslim Women Writers in Film/TV 2019 is a Google doc.
Nordic Women in Film ‘a knowledge bank and source of inspiration about women in the Scandinavian film industry — Our ambition is to try to set the record straight by re-writing the history of moving pictures in the Nordic region from a feminist point of view. We want to enrich film history, fill in gaps and allow more people to take part in creating that history in the future.’
Nordic Women in Film ‘is an initiative from the Swedish Film Institute, and part of its work toward equality within the Swedish film industry. It is a collaboration between the Swedish Film Institute, the University of Stockholm, the National Library of Norway, and the University of Copenhagen, with help from the Danish Film Institute. The Swedish Film Institute acts as host.’ instagram facebook
#Startwith8Hollywood is a diversity, equity and inclusion programme from JTC’s Cheryl L Bedford and Thuc Nguyen of the Bitch Pack and the Bitch List and , with a committee of volunteers — Manon de Reeper, Marisilda Garcia, Sunny Tsai, Naomi Ko and Shelby Kovant.
It connects well-established industry mentors to eight Women of Color working in the entertainment industry each. Together, they formulate a plan of action based on what each mentee desires and what is achievable by the mentor to create tangible progress in the mentee’s career.
The end goal: no more excuses. By fostering organic diversity, the indefensible precept ‘I don’t know any Women of Color who I can hire,’ will never be heard again.
The first cycle, completed June 2020, connected nearly 300 Women of Color working in the entertainment industry, at different stages of their careers, to established industry mentors. New friendships were forged, referrals were made, advice was freely shared… ‘We know we are on to something special. We are looking forward to repeating the program many times in the future.’ twitter
The database at Women in Film India is part of a Women Making Films, a much wider project, ‘To provide a platform for female filmmakers worldwide to network, collaborate and create works in the audio-visual medium.’
Women in Film Pioneers Project, based at Columbia University, ‘features silent-era producers, directors, co-directors, scenario writers, scenario editors, camera operators, title writers, editors, costume designers, exhibitors, and more to make the point that they were not just actresses,’ and has lots of extra interesting info! twitter facebook
Social action non-profit organisation focusing on fair access, fair treatment and fair pay for women of color in all aspects of the entertainment and media industries.
And, for CINEMATOGRAPHERS only–
Illuminatrix, a collective of professional female cinematographers based in the UK and working internationally, with the most gorgeous Instagram feed where individuals choose and talk about images
The International Collective of Female Cinematographers, which also has an extraordinary instagram. twitter
In India, the Indian Women Cinematographers Collective.
I love them all, in all their diversity. Let me know if you have another list to add?
(Warm thanks to Barbara Ann O’Leary for her additions.)
Originally published at https://wellywoodwoman.blogspot.com on May 28, 2019.