NFB Makes Further Commitment to Gender Parity in Production

Air Cadets Rhea Gaur, Emma Flanagan-Dellipizzi and Victoria Gevaert in Tess Girard’s As the Crow Flies
Courtesy of the NFB

By Pat Mullen

The National Film Board of Canada pledged additional commitments towards gender parity in film production today. On the heels of last year’s resolution to bring productions directed by women up to 50:50 by 2019, Government Film Commissioner and NFB Chairperson Claude Joli-Coeur vowed that the NFB aims to achieve gender parity in key creative positions for animated, documentary and interactive works in production as of 2020. Included among these key creative positions are roles related to editing, cinematography, screenwriting music composition, art direction, and creative technology.

“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 Joli-Coeur in a statement from the NFB.

In the first year of its targeted commitment to having 50 percent of its productions directed by women, the NFB saw 44 percent of its work featuring women in the director’s seat. Of the remaining productions, 51 percent were directed by men and 5 percent by mixed teams. 43 percent of production budgets were allocated to works directed by women. Based on these same productions surveyed between April 2016 and March 2017, however, the NFB noted that women received screenwriting credits on 27 percent of productions, editing credits on 24 percent of productions, and less than 15 percent of productions credits for cinematography and editing, which indicated additional areas for improvements.

The NFB also plans to create a “talent bank” where women professionals can submit their portfolios, demos and CVs. Prior to these announcements, women accounted for 53 percent of the NFB’s producers and executive producers, 58 percent of its senior managers and 50 percent of its Board of Trustees.

Recent NFB docs directed by women include Tiffany Hsiung’s The Apology, Julia Ivanova’s Limit is the Sky, Alanis Obomsawin’s We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice, Alethea Arnaquq-Baril’s Angry Inuk, Teresa MacInnes’s Mabel and Tess Girard’s As the Crow Flies.