At least 50 per cent
March 10, 2016 9:43 AM   Subscribe

On International Women's Day, the National Film Board of Canada announced that at least 50 per cent of all productions and 50 per cent of spending will be allocated to films directed by women.

From the press release:

The NFB has always taken a leadership role in women’s filmmaking,” said Claude Joli-Coeur, Government Film Commissioner and NFB Chairperson. “In our current fiscal year, films directed by women represent half of our total spending on production. In 2016‒2017, the numbers are projected to be well above that. But numbers can fluctuate. There have been good years and lean years for women’s filmmaking at the NFB. No more. Today, I’m making a firm, ongoing commitment to full gender parity, which I hope will help to lead the way for the industry as a whole.


Women underrepresented in TV, film, and now, web series: report


Women in View on Screen report

Women filmmakers of the NFB: Stream a selection of films by and about women

NFB blog: Women and Film: A Tribute to the Female Pioneers of the NFB

NFB films by subject: Women

NFB films by subject: Women - portraits

About the NFB: "Films on this site can be streamed free of charge, or downloaded for your personal use for a small fee. We also offer educational works on a subscription basis to schools and institutions."
posted by mandolin conspiracy (26 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
 
Note to self: good call on marrying a Canadian and being able to live in this country.
posted by Kitteh at 9:45 AM on March 10, 2016 [10 favorites]


I would recommend people do check out the NFB site or app. There's some really neat stuff in there, a lot of it free.
posted by Hoopo at 9:59 AM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yay! [Kermit arms]
posted by sexyrobot at 10:09 AM on March 10, 2016


I used to be all like "But what if less than half the directors are women, this seems sub-optimal..."

Now I'm more like "This is a great opportunity for women in film. Insofar as I care: Yay!"

I pretty much blame Metafilter and my wife for this shift. That is all.
posted by RolandOfEld at 10:13 AM on March 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


Now I'm more like "This is a great opportunity for women in film. Insofar as I care: Yay!"

Also, what a great opportunity for viewers, to see these directors that had previously been missing from the screen.
posted by BrashTech at 10:23 AM on March 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


* plays omnious slight out of tune analog synth, that becomes lighter and lighter as the song evolves *
posted by lmfsilva at 10:53 AM on March 10, 2016


I'm unabashed in my love for the NFB. Their outlook on this is probably something like: hey, >50% of the taxpayers who support us are female, we'd better give them their money's worth.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 10:57 AM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Every time there was a discussion about oscarsowhite on Facebook, people would jump in with "but shouldn't it be about merit! Do you really want to win an award based on a quota?" Never mind that nobody was suggesting quotas.

But, you know something, yeah, I'm fine with it if it did happen that way. The arts are not a meritocracy. I mean, look at the nominees and winners from the Ocars. Spotlight producer Michael Sugar is the son of producer/distributor Larry Sugar. Martian producer Simon Kinberg is the son of Jud Kinberg, a New York City-born writer and producer. Revenant producer Arnon Milchan is the scion to a fertilizer fortune and used the money to produce films.

You go through the list, a lot of people are on there because of money, or family connections, or other easily identified privileges. So, no, I don't think it is any bigger a problem that people get jobs and awards based on quotas than I think it is that they get jobs based on the accident of being born rich, or white, or male, or in the industry.

Jay Smooth said something quite a while ago about always making sure there are women in the room, because if he doesn't do it deliberately, they always get left out accidentally. And there was someone interviewed in the new Michael Moore film who pointed out that you have to have at least three woman in a group, because one is a token and two is a minority, but with three you can actually get representation.

So good for Canada. Half of the world is made up of women. They should statistically get half the jobs, and if they aren't just on their own, you'd be smart to make sure they do.
posted by maxsparber at 11:04 AM on March 10, 2016 [11 favorites]


YouTube is also in the game with two female-only/female-centric programs to encourage women to pick up the camera and get it to the people.

http://www.fastcompany.com/3057385/most-innovative-companies/youtube-boosts-female-content-creators-with-two-new-initiatives
posted by four panels at 11:07 AM on March 10, 2016


> They should statistically get half the jobs

That's like saying the NFL should only be 12% African American.
posted by four panels at 11:09 AM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


So you think that somehow women are genetically not as able to make movies as men?
posted by maxsparber at 11:10 AM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


2.5% of Canadian women are First Nations, hopefully can we ensure 2.5% of directing jobs go to First Nations women as well.
posted by Cosine at 11:11 AM on March 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


Actually, I should clarify. The reasons the NFL have so man black players is super complicated, and not simply genetic, and I don't want it to sound like I think it is. But I think it's a poor parallel, because sports makes certain physical demands that making movies doesn't, and because sports have such a distinct history, and such a complicated history in regards to race, that it's a really weird thing to try to compare and contrast.

The fact is, women can and do make movies just as well as men. So if they are being excluded in numbers greater than you would statistically expect, the cause is not because men are just better at the job than women.
posted by maxsparber at 11:15 AM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Good on them.
posted by Artw at 11:19 AM on March 10, 2016


maxsparber, you were referring to all jobs:

"Half of the world is made up of women. They should statistically get half the jobs"

No one is questioning the validity of this arts program. I even posted one as well.
posted by four panels at 11:21 AM on March 10, 2016


So you think that somehow women are genetically not as able to make movies as men?
It seems weird that the field that Canada wants to test mandated equality of outcomes on is Movies. Movies are an industry that gets ridiculous tax and government favours in nearly every jurisdiction because of their outsized cultural influence. If I wanted to prove something like the gender pay gap which is widely seen as pseudoscience. I would not use an industry that already gets huge government distortions.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 11:26 AM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is great, in principle. Of course, the reality is that the NFB's total operating budget for the $2015-2016 fiscal year is CDN$66M, with a production budget of CDN$38M, or approximately five bucks American. It's nice that they're going to dole it out evenly, but the actual numbers we're talking about are peanuts, especially since Harper's massive cuts.

2.5% of Canadian women are First Nations, hopefully can we ensure 2.5% of directing jobs go to First Nations women as well.

Set your sights way, way higher. Alanis Obomsawin probably exceeds that quota all by herself.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:29 AM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Note to self: good call on marrying a Canadian and being able to live in this country.


My plan is to cut to the chase and marry The National Film Board of Canada.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:37 AM on March 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


maxsparber, you were referring to all jobs:

"Half of the world is made up of women. They should statistically get half the jobs"


Well, yes. They should statistically get half the jobs. That doesn't mean that every single industry is going to break evenly, but, just as a whole, we should see the same levels of employment for women as men, in the same sorts of fields, at the same pay.

And certainly in fields where there is nothing precluding women participating equally, it should be entirely even.

But this seems a little off topic. Is there a reason you have taken one sentence of my comment, applied it to one specific industry, and behaved as though it were absurd? I don't really want to talk about the NFL in a thread about women in film.
posted by maxsparber at 11:37 AM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I hope to live to see the day when there is no need to have a Woman's Day of any sort, any more than we have an International Human's or International Men's Day.
posted by bearwife at 11:46 AM on March 10, 2016


There is an International Men's Day. It is November 19th. Not that this stopped many male Tweeters from griping about the supposed lack of one all day long on Twitter during International Women's Day.
posted by orange swan at 11:51 AM on March 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


If I wanted to prove something like the gender pay gap which is widely seen as pseudoscience.

we just did the pay gap discussion so maybe we can skip it here, but if we aren't going to skip it, maybe try just a tiny bit harder than pulling your source from the adam smith institute or choosing the guy who thinks gamergate is winning as the author.
posted by nadawi at 11:58 AM on March 10, 2016 [10 favorites]


If I wanted to prove something like the gender pay gap which is widely seen as pseudoscience. I would not use an industry that already gets huge government distortions.

It looks to me like the National Film Board of Canada is not so much wanting to prove anything. They are wanting to do something. And being the National Film Board of Canada, their choice of industry is fairly limited.
posted by Etrigan at 12:01 PM on March 10, 2016 [20 favorites]


And it seems that the whole point of them doing it is to call attention to the rest of the industry, of which their output via funded projects is only a small part. From one of TFAs:

In 1996, when the NFB was faced with deep budget cuts from the Liberal government of the day, it closed its capital-intensive in-house studios with their staff filmmakers, and replaced them with production streams and contractors, but it did not include a women-only stream.

Parity has dropped since then but not so significantly the NFB can’t catch up: in announcing the initiative on International Women’s Day, Joli-Coeur pointed out that in the current fiscal year, the NFB is at parity with both female-lead and male-lead projects accounting for about 43 per cent of the budget each. (Another 11 per cent is being spent on films directed by mixed teams and the rest has yet to be allocated.)

In the previous year, films directed by men accounted for 48 per cent of the production budgets while female-lead films were at 42 per cent.

Those numbers make it clear that the NFB’s move will not dictate huge changes in what projects it funds; what it may do is force other public funding bodies, most notably Telefilm Canada and the Canadian Media Fund, to take a hard look at their own statistics.

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:18 PM on March 10, 2016


I misread, and now I want to know when Boards of Canada will add two sisters to their lineup.
posted by michaelh at 1:57 PM on March 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


Up with this sort of thing!

To misquote our PM, to anyone asking why: because it's 2016.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:02 PM on March 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


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