IWD 2017 | NFB to Take its Commitment to Parity Even Further

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The NFB aims for gender parity by 2020 in key creative positions for animated, documentary and interactive works.

Following on its announcement last year that by 2019, 50 percent of its productions will be directed by women and 50 percent of all production spending will be allocated to films directed by women, the NFB is taking its commitment to parity even further.

A new commitment to gender parity

Government Film Commissioner and NFB Chairperson Claude Joli-Coeur announced that the NFB is aiming to achieve gender parity (50 percent) in key creative positions for animated, documentary and interactive works in production as of 2020. The initiative targets editing, cinematography, screenwriting and music composition and includes key creative positions related to animation and immersive/interactive storytelling, where women are decidedly in the minority—positions such as art director, art designer and creative technologist.

“We urgently need to take action today if we want to make a difference tomorrow. It is high time for women in the film industry to have the invaluable place they deserve. Parity must become a reality for filmmakers as well as for women working in key creative positions. Our commitment to parity includes a commitment to cultural diversity: we are committed to ensuring an inclusive place for all women,” said Claude Joli-Coeur.

The NFB will work closely with Women in Film and Television Vancouver (WIFTV), Women in View, Réalisatrices Équitables (RÉ) and Femmes du cinéma, de la télévision et des médias numériques (FCTMN), as well as with professional associations, guilds and training institutes to better understand the system in which we operate and discuss potential initiatives, in training or mentoring, for example. The NFB also plans to create a “talent bank” where women professionals can submit their portfolios, demos and CVs.

The NFB will encourage its production and co-production partners to adopt these values and objectives in order to maximize our collective impact on the industry.

Initial results of the NFB’s commitment to parity

At the end of the first year of its three-year build-up to parity, the NFB had largely met its objectives for number of productions directed by women and budgets allocated to them.

In 2016–2017:
44 percent of NFB works were produced by women (51 percent by men and 5 percent by mixed teams). In terms of production budgets, 43 percent of the allocated amounts were granted to productions directed by women (40 percent and 15 percent of budgets went to productions directed by men and mixed teams respectively).

Summary of key creative positions at the NFB

Regarding creative positions, an initial analysis suggests that a good deal of work needs to be done to attain the NFB’s parity objectives.

For example, in 2016–2017*:

  • Screenwriting: 27% women
  • Editing: 24% women
  • Cinematography: 12% women
  • Music: 13% women* Statistics for films produced between April 1, 2016, and March 31, 2017.

These figures are representative of the current state of the industry. Women in View, a national not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote gender equality and cultural diversity in Canadian media, reports that from a sample of 91 feature-length films produced in 2013–2014, women represented just 17 percent of directors, 22 percent of screenwriters and 12 percent of cinematographers. These areas are therefore key.

It should be noted that women already occupy key creative and managerial positions at the NFB. They account for 53 percent of the NFB’s producers and executive producers across Canada, 58 percent of its senior managers and 50 percent of its Board of Trustees.

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