Women in Film and Television (WIFT NSW) is dedicated to achieving gender parity in the Australian screen industry through advocacy, education and support for female identifying screen industry practitioners. There are many facets to gender inequality, including the issues that working parents and carers face. Raising a family is currently viewed and experienced as a significant career obstacle, with 79% of those in the UK Study by Raising Films stating that their caring role has had a negative impact on their career. The research confirms the urgent need for the film industry to respond positively and practically to the situation many women and men struggle to manage.
In 2018, WIFT NSW followed the lead of the dynamic UK group Raising Films, and launched a sister chapter - Raising Films Australia (RFAU). RFAU seeks to identify the major problem areas preventing parents and carers from participating in the Australian screen industry and will collaborate with the Federal and State agencies, industry organisations and those who work within it to develop initiatives to bridge this gap.
What is Raising Films?
Raising Films is a UK based Not-For-Profit organisation that has begun to tackle this very issue by setting up tangible programs to assist employees to better meet their work and caring commitments and support positive changes towards a more family-friendly industry.
RFAU will continue to collaborate with Raising Films in the UK to share information and best practices. To date, Raising Films has worked with industry partners and their national film and television community to ensure solutions are enacted through providing information, education and initiatives including:
- Enabling financial assistance for child and elderly care
- Encouraging industry-wide adoption of flexible working hours and access to child and/or elderly care
- Formalising a way to combat discrimination
- Normalising conversations around caring commitments with employers
What will Raising Films Australia deliver?
The Raising Films Australia strategy will include:
- Creation of an Advisory Board to bring strong industry input and lived experience to the strategy
- A nationwide survey with comprehensive data analysis
- Creation of detailed Raising Films Australia Survey report
- An industry-wide conference with industry leaders (including funding bodies, production companies, distributors and exhibitors) to discuss how companies can better support working parents and carers.
- Development and release of Raising Films Australia report announcing initiatives and recommendations, including Best Practice Guides for the industry.
- Development and release of the Making It Possible Pilot Program - a one day course, designed to address the personal and professional development needs of those returning to work in the screen industry after a career break or who are working alongside caring responsibilities.
Raising Films Australia will also investigate other possible initiatives such as the creation of a portable crèche bus/on-set creche and a benevolent fund for financial assistance to parents and carers similar to the UK strategy.
Who is behind setting up Raising Films Australia?
In early 2017, producer Leonie Mansfield and scriptwriter Nicole Dade reached out to Hope Dickson Leach of Raising Films about their work and the need to address similar issues in our local industry. Hope then connected with local practitioners (including current WIFT NSW president Megan Riakos and secretary Lucy Fisher and founding team members Kate Separovich, Kristen Hodges & Shideh Faramand) through a Raising Films brunch held at the 2017 Sydney Film Festival. From that, as women do, things got done and here we are!
Today the strategy is being driven by the current WIFT NSW team with some strategic additions:
The WIFT Executive Committee - Megan Riakos (President), Rosie Lourde (Vice President), Katrina Graham (Vice President), Lucy Fisher (Secretary) and Jessica Khoury (Treasurer)
Project Manager – Tracey Corbin-Matchett
Raising Films Founding Team Members– Kate Separovich, Sabina Giado, Kristen Hodges and Shideh Faramand
Raising Films Australia Consultants
Tracey Mair of TM Publicity has committed her services as Publicity and Marketing consultant and Georgie McClean of The Gist/AFTRS has committed her support as an advisor across the proposal.
Raising Films Australia Partners
Create NSW has provided a grant of $15,000 to assist with the establishment of Raising Films Australia. Australian Film Television and Radio School and the Screen Diversity Inclusion Network have also pledged to work alongside WIFT NSW to support these proposed initiatives through both soft skills as well as hard resources such as venues.
Keep up to date with Raising Films Australia
For more information on Raising Films in the UK (including research, reports and initiatives), head to www.raisingfilms.com.