Why These Two Funders are Stepping Up to Close the Film Industry Gender Gap

Film Fatales, a collaborative of women film makers and television directors, has received two new grants.

Want to see how philanthropy can amplify movements for women’s equality? Look no further than this new funding collaboration between the Harnisch Foundation and the Adrienne Shelly Foundation, which will create long-term growth for women film makers and television directors.

“The Harnisch Foundation’s strategy for social change includes supporting creative communities, and investing in the power of storytelling,” said Ruth Ann Harnisch, Founder and President of the Harnisch Foundation. “Film Fatales hits both of those targets, giving women more opportunities, visibility, and connections. We share the goal of gender parity in making media.”

Film Fatales, once a relatively small network of women filmmakers sharing resources, has evolved into something much bigger. What was once a group of women in New York gathering for mentoring and support has blossomed into an organization of “over 500 women feature film and television directors in New York and Los Angeles, and scores more in sister cities across Europe, North America, and Australia.”

The evolution of Film Fatales has taken the 2017 Sundance Film Festival in a new direction this year, where twenty members of the network are premiering films, episodics, and virtual reality projects. These new works include the popular Amazon series I Love Dickco-directed by Jill Soloway, Andrea Arnold, and Kimberly Peirce, and starring Kevin Bacon and Kathryn Hahn.

Film Fatales also hosted Sundance’s opening weekend Women’s Brunch, a female filmmaker dinner with Kickstarter, and held their annual Film Fatales party at the event, with sponsorship from Blue Fever, Luna Bar, Tangerine Entertainment, and the Utah Film Commission.

Now, with new funding from the Harnisch Foundation and the Adrienne Shelly Foundation, Film Fatales is on the runway for a major takeoff in production of films by women. These two new grants will help the organization develop long-term sustainability, so that the large gender gap in film and television can begin to be closed. As of 2015, only 16 percent of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on top-grossing films were women.

The first of these two new grants, from the Adrienne Shelly Foundation, is a recurring grant for $10,000 and will fund media efforts which will raise the visibility of Film Fatales productions as well as other feature films by women around the world. This is the first time the Adrienne Shelley Foundation has given a grant to an organization instead of directly to filmmakers.

The Harnisch Foundation is providing a second grant of $25,000 to Film Fatales for General Operating Support. With over $10 million in grants since 1998, the Harnisch Foundation is also a funder of Women Make Movies, Sundance Institute, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, and Chicken & Egg Pictures.

Films directed by Film Fatales at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival:

Band Aid directed by Zoe Lister Jones

Beach Rats directed by Eliza Hittman

Before I Fall directed by Ry Russo Young

Bitch directed by Marianna Palka

Buena Vista Social Club documentary directed by Lucy Walker

Deirdra & Laney directed by Sydney Freeland

Hold On directed by Christine Turner

I Love Dick co-directed by Jill Soloway, Andrea Arnold, Kimberly Peirce

If Not Love directed by Rose Troche

Landline directed by Gillian Robespierre

Lemon directed by Janicza Bravo

Motherland directed by Ramona Diaz

Step directed by Amanda Lipitz

Strangers co-directed by Celia Rowlson-Hall and Mia Lidofsky

This is Everything directed by Barbara Kopple

Through You co-directed by Lily Baldwin

Tokyo Idols directed by Kyoko Miyake

XX co-directed by Annie Clark, Jovanka Vuckovic, Karyn Kusama, Roxanne Benjamin

 

Kiersten Marek

Author: Kiersten Marek

Kiersten Marek, LICSW, is the founder of Philanthropy Women. She practices clinical social work in Cranston, Rhode Island, and writes about how women donors and their allies are advancing social change.

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