Women In Film and Television Vancouver (WIFTV) is a member driven, not-for-profit society, which addresses systemic barriers to women’s equal participation in the production and dissemination of screen-based media.
We approach our goals by working with a range of partners to increase funding, employment, and promotional opportunities for those identifying as women. We offer professional skill-based training, and create opportunities to further women-led projects. We present and publicly celebrate the achievement of women in screen-based media, primarily, but not exclusively, through The Vancouver International Women in Film Festival.
A 2017 report published by the Canadian Media Producers Association reveals that although awareness of gender inequity is growing, women continue to be vastly under-represented as directors, screenwriters and cinematographers in Canadian feature film and television. This finding is supported by a recent study by Amanda Coles of the University of Melbourne. In her 2016 report entitled ‘What’s Wrong With This Picture?’ she writes: “At present, the Canadian screen based production sector is built on inequality… in both feature film and television production, male directors are engaged to direct 84% - 100% of the available work.”
We do not regard this solely as an employment equity issue. Not only is the rampant sexual harassment revealed in the #metoo movement a symptom of this gender imbalance, the lack of women in key creative positions shapes what we see on the screen, and has serious implications for the societal portrayal of women and girls. As Coles states, “Our screens are a critically important space for telling stories. Such stories help us learn about our world and each other. Stories are a means by which we share our individual and collective experiences in a rich, complex, diverse and social landscape. The film and television industry is both a workplace and part of our public sphere. The systemic exclusion of women from full and equal participation either at work or in our public life is a problem that requires immediate action.”
In response to this societal need, WIFTV created the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival (VIWIFF) in 2006 as a centre for the presentation of contemporary women’s cinema. The annual event has created a community of artists and audiences whose intersection forms a vibrant, informed and supportive environment for the exploration and evolution of filmmaking by women. While our primary focus is Canadian women, we also present important work representing the evolution of female-driven screen-based media throughout the world.
We also participate in initiatives to directly address the under-representation of women in key leadership roles both behind the camera and on screen. Recent policy changes in Canada reflect the hard work over many years by our members.