Canadian Movie Financier Commits to Female Directors for Half its Projects by 2020

Telefilm Canada announced five-pronged plan to achieve gender parity

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Telefilm Canada, the country’s largest film financier, announced plans Friday to achieve gender parity by hiring an equal number of female directors, writers and producers in its portfolio of projects by 2020.

Telefilm’s five-point plan to achieve gender parity, laid out in its statement, includes favoring films with a female director and/or writer when deciding between “projects of equal quality.”

The financier will also create new data reporting to quantify its efforts, as well as engage in continued targeted promotion of female talent.

In September, Telefilm formed a working group to build a portfolio that “better reflects Canada’s population,” with a particular focus on gender, diversity and indigenous Canadians, and to identify early priorities. The group decided that Telefilm should start by concentrating on gender, targeting projects written or directed by women, while maintaining its work on increasing representation from other communities it identified.

“We’re extremely proud that, together with the industry, we’re moving to quickly and concretely foster gender parity in Canadian cinema,” Carolle Brabant, Telefilm Canada’s executive director, said in a statement. “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.”

Female directors in Hollywood have repeatedly spoken out about the lack of opportunities, and a study by TheWrap found that Fox and Paramount have only male directors lined up for their film slates through 2018.