World of Young Cinema – The Berlinale 2018 Issue

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Her Film Project

text by Adam Harangozó

Alliance for Women Film Compose

Gamechanger Films Women in Film Film Finishing Fund European Women’s Audiovisual Network

Gender based filmmaking initiatives help filmmakers who identify as female to achieve visibility, address gender bias in the industry, and explore new directions of their crafts. The following programmes and grants are just some of the few aimed at advocating diversity in film. The Writers Lab Created by IRIS and New York Women in Film & Television, and funded by Meryl Streep and Oprah Winfrey, the Lab aims to promote mature female voices in cinema through screenwriting. Launched in 2015, this yearly four-day long workshop is aimed at female writers over the age of 40. The talents, chosen only for the merit of their scripts, participate in panel discussions and sessions with mentors from the industry. The first three editions of the Lab were limited to US residents but international applications are to be accepted from this year. Among many others, past mentors of the script development retreat included producers Caroline Kaplan (Boyhood, Time Out of Mind), Lisa Cortes (Precious), writers Meg LeFauve (Inside Out), Jessica Bendinger (Bring It On, Sex and the City). Having more films made by women writers diversifies not only the screenwriting

International Women's Film Festival Network

field: as multiple studies have pointed out, a female screenwriter’s presence also means a more balanced cast and crew genderwise, and a much higher probability of the film passing the Bechdel test. Website: thewriterslab.ny

Digital Bolex Grant for Women Cinematographers Which is the only category of the Academy Awards that never had a female nominee? That’s right: cinematography. In order to shrink the (huge) gender gap of DoPs, Digital Bolex, a producer of digital cameras with 16 mm feel, offers $10,000 worth of gear and accessories loaned for 21 production days for a narrative short or feature film shot in the US by a female cinematographer. As many independent films hire cinematographers on the basis of the equipment they own, this grant helps those without a camera to be able to compete in the industry. Future grants will be offered on a rolling basis. Website:

Raising Film Female filmmakers are often victims to gender bias but family care and parenthood are some of the less talked about issues that also affect many women and men. The UK initiative

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“Raising Films” researches the impact of parenting and caring for the sector. The initiative campaigns for parental rights and better work practices for filmmakers with families. Their training programme “Making It Possible” offers sessions with life coaches and industry experts who are or were on maternity/paternity leave and are struggling to find their way back to the industry, and finding it difficult to manage their new situation. The “Family Support Fund” provides short-term support for those having financial difficulties maintaining their career alongside family responsibilities.

filmmaking. The organisation has mentored over 260 filmmakers, some of whom went on to make Emmy and Academy Award winning films. Their Accelerator Lab offers grants and a year-long mentorship programme for female nonfiction directors working on their first or second feature. They also welcome international applications. C&E’s “Breakthrough Filmmaker Award” supports mid-career women who face difficulties working in the documentary


Women in Animation Since 1995, WIA is dedicated to creating equal opportunities in animation. Their programme “50/50 by 2025” is dedicated to bringing awareness to the issue of inequality. Besides archiving female animation history, providing mentorship, they also award the “Phyllis Craig Scholarship”, supporting one animation student with a $1000 grant. WIA also created the “Short Film Program” to promote female talent by screening their work to industry professionals. Their newest campaign, the “Roar Art Project” accepts works that deal with personal experiences of gender issues. Website:

Chicken & Egg Pictures Chicken & Egg is a non-profit fund supporting women in nonfiction

industry due to their gender, race, class. or other factors. Recipients include Kristi Jacobson, Julia Reichert, Natalia Almada and Nanfu Wang. The “Impact & Innovation Initiative” helps filmmakers who experiment with new forms of non-fiction media, digital storytelling, online and interactive shorts aiming to create social impact. Through the Diversity Fellows Initiative, they also support women filmmakers of colour. Website:

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