Women directors

Australian film-funding agency considers radical gender quota

Director Gillian Armstrong. (Photo by Mike Flokis/Getty Images)

Screen Australia, the government’s key national funding body for the film industry, is considering a radical push for a quota to ensure 50 percent of the directors of its funded films are women. The move is modeled on a target introduced by the Swedish Film Institute in 2012, which was reached within three years. The Australian Directors Guild brought the proposal to the funding body. Director Gillian Armstrong, a member of the guild’s committee pushing for gender equality, believes the time has come for decisive action. “It’s ridiculous,” she says. “It’s been 30 years since Jane Campion and I went through a glass ceiling and I feel there haven’t been enough people following us.”

Armstrong says the industry must introduce quotas, citing the striking success of the Swedish target, with 80 per cent of the country’s features selected for last month’s Toronto International Film Festival directed by women.

Australian Director’s Guild executive director Kingston Anderson concedes the proposal will be controversial. “We all felt that unless we pushed a hard agenda, nothing would change,” he says. “And nothing has changed: that’s the problem. The imbalance is so huge that it’s pretty clear.”

Read the full story at The Age.

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