Why We Brought a Home of Equality to the Sundance Film Festival
Media helps shape culture and how we see ourselves, yet gender equality is far from reality in Hollywood. Bringing more visibility to women in film and increasing the number of female storytellers, directors, producers, and more in Hollywood will help change the equation. We made a home of equality at the Sundance Film Festival, where movie leaders and influencers meet, to advance positive solutions for change. Here are some of the heartbeat moments from The FQ Lounge @ Sundance:
Amplify Women Creators
Only 4% of directors and 3% of cinematographers are women, according to a THEME report. It’s time to flip the script. “We need champions, and the gatekeepers in the film industry need to recognize that audiences want to see [diverse] stories,” says Gurinder Chadha, Director/Co-Writer of one of Sundance’s biggest hits, Blinded by the Light.
Shut the Door on the Pay Gap
The wage gap is real: In general, the average woman earns about 80 cents for every dollar that the average man makes. The gender pay gap is even greater for black women, who make just 63 cents for every dollar that a white, non-Hispanic man makes and Latinas, who make just 53 cents. We’ve seen actresses in Hollywood taking a stand, such as Michelle Williams and Jennifer Lawrence. Closing the wage gap will benefit us all. “When women achieve equal pay, they will have more purchasing power and that will impact society,” says Christine Martino, EVP, National Ad-Sales at Screenvision Media.
Be Intentional About the Media You Consume
“Make sure that when you go to an awards festival such as Sundance, that half of the films you’re seeing are by women…People in the [mostly-male] voting bodies only watch people who they know and respect, and we need to change that,” says Tema L. Staig, Executive Director at Women In Media. You as a consumer can do your part to help support women, both in front of and behind the camera: Watching your favorite movies and shows can help advance equality if you mindfully choose media created by female directors and writers, as well as stories featuring strong female leads.
Know That It’s Each of Our Responsibility to Create Change
We can all be leaders if we choose to be. “Take action. Speak up for yourself. You can do it on a small scale. If we do that in our community, it can spread,” says Michele Pred, Artist and Activist, whose wearable art featuring purses with statements such as “Equal Pay” and “We Vote,” were featured in the lounge. Her art is being digitally archived by The Feminist Institute.
Cheers to Progress
We made a toast to parity and celebrated women both in front of and behind the camera at our Equality Party, which featured drinks from Jane Walker By Johnnie Walker, the first-ever female iteration of the brand’s iconic Striding Man logo that was introduced last year. “On the shared journey towards progress in gender equality, it’s so important to support a range of organizations celebrating strong women of the past, present and future,” says Katy Loria, Chief Revenue Officer at Screenvision Media.
The time for equality is now. Let’s celebrate our wins, such as more than 40% of all the projects premiering at the Sundance Film Festival are directed by women, and keep pushing for progress to speed the cultural shift that will allow women and girls see themselves as they truly are: Powerful, nuanced and brave.