Female film and television professionals in Alberta join National Film Board's Talent Bank
The National Film Board is in talks with Women in Film & Television's Alberta chapter to add their members to the NFB's Talent Pool
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It will soon be possible able to search for female, Alberta-based talent in a national network of television and film industry professionals.
Last year, the NFB started compiling an internal Talent Bank of Canadian women in the television and film industry, in an effort to address the significant gender imbalance in such fields as directing, screenwriting, editing, cinematography and music composition (to name a few).
“I think we all realize that women are underrepresented in most of the key craft positions,” said Michelle Van Beusekom, executive director of NFB’s English program.
“Often people are looking for crew in different places, and these women might not be on their radar – so it helps everyone share what they know and easily figure out who’s out there that might be the right fit for their project.”
In a sample of 91 feature-length films produced in 2013 and 2014, women represented just 17 per cent of directors, 22 per cent of screenwriters and 12 per cent of cinematographers, according to Women in View, a non-profit that promotes gender equality and cultural diversity in Canadian media.
Nearly 100 women have added their names to the bank so far, but Van Beusekom said the list is about to grow exponentially, as the NFB finalizes agreements with organizations representing industry professionals across Canada – including Alberta.
The NFB recently announced members of the Quebec-based Réalisatrices Équitables, Montreal’s Femmes du cinéma, de la télévision et des médias numériques (FCTMN), and the internationally-reaching Film Fatales organization (which has chapters in Montreal and Toronto) will be adding their profiles to the talent bank.
Van Beusekom told Metro similar agreements with the Vancouver, Toronto, Atlantic and Alberta chapters of Women in Film & Television (WIFT) – a non-profit organization started 20 years ago to be a voice for women in the industry – are expected to be finalized this month.
Susan Feddema-Leonard, president of WIFT’s Alberta chapter, said it a “very positive” step for their members.
“The NFB is looking for a talent pool for the future, and I think this could open up doors for young women who want to work with the NFB – as well as make it more open so other people in the industry are aware of who they are,” Feddema-Leonard said.
“I don’t know of anything else like this – we certainly have our membership list, but we don’t have a list like the NFB is putting together. It will be very beneficial to everyone.”
She said organizations like WIFT aren’t advocating for fewer men on set; they want to add more women into the equation – and make the industry more female-friendly.
“We love men, too – but what we’re doing is we’re empowering each other and building from within,” said Feddema-Leonard.
“The whole industry is changing, big time – and change brings opportunities. I would say our group of women have really embraced what’s happening and are moving with it, and we’re seeing results. We’re not making millions of dollars but we’re still able to make a living and sustain our families.”