The National Film Board of Canada (NFB), an agency of the country’s federal government, is working to close the gender gap in Canadian filmmaking. On Tuesday the public agency announced that at least half of its productions will be helmed by women, and half of all production financing will be allotted to supporting women telling their own stories.
This is huge news, especially in light of recent industry stats to come from our neighbors to the north that suggested Canada isn’t quite as progressive as some imagine it to be. (Telefilm, Canada’s taxpayer-funded federal cultural agency, invested in 91 feature-length films in the 2013-14 fiscal year. Women represented only 17% of directors, 22% of writers and 12% of cinematographers.)
The NFB supports documentaries, dramas, animation and digital projects.
“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,” said NFB head Claude Joli-Coeur.
According to Joli-Coeur, films helmed by women currently constitute about half of the NFB’s overall production spending, but these numbers vary depending on the year.
The NFB launched in 1939. In the years since, it has received 73 Academy Award nominations and won 12 Oscars. Notable NFB-backed titles include Sarah Polley’s “Stories We Tell” and Léa Pool’s “Pink Ribbons, Inc.”
As for the nation’s small screen, a new initiative launched by Women in View and the Directors Guild of Canada aims to double the number of women directing scripted TV in Canada.
[via The Hollywood Reporter]