Ahead of the 50/50+ Women Direct campaign launch, Scotland on Sunday’s Dani Garavelli spoke to the Scottish Documentary Institute’s founder, Noe Mendelle, about the issues facing women filmmakers.
“If white, middle-class men are doing almost all of the commissioning and directing, then the stories of women and the female perspective are being lost,” explained Noe, encapsulating the reasons the 50/50 campaign’s existence, namely to ensure that by 2025, 50% of Scotland’s documentaries will be made by women.
Although men and women enter into the film industry in equal numbers, currently, 1 in 6 of Scotland’s documentaries are directed by women. With a 50/50 balance in documentary directors, Scotland would be a pioneering example of gender equality in the film industry globally.
“Every time we propose female-focused stories, there is a little bit of a battle,” continued Noe. “And yet, when the documentary is broadcast, we hear: ‘Oh my God, you came second in tonight’s figures.’”
The article draws attention to the remarkable work of Tali Yankelevich, Lou McLoughlan and Edinburgh-born Sara Ishaq who directed the Oscar-nominated Karama Has No Walls, about the Yemeni revolution.
Earlier this month the short film That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore made by the all female Director and Producer team of Hannah Currie and Beth Allan, through SDI’s Bridging the Gap scheme, won the 2019 Scottish BAFTA for best short film.
More on the 50/50+ Women Direct Campaign
The 50/50+ Women Direct Campaign is the driver of change we need in Scotland and the UK. Our efforts will be focussed on three key areas;
- growing the next generation through outreach (encouraging more women especially from marginalised backgrounds, to join us to learn about the art and business of documentary and to make stories that need to be told)
- supporting our current talent through a new mentoring programme – a tailored approach which develops their skills and connects them with the international marketplace. We will also establish a new grant fund for women making documentaries
- and of course, we will be challenging the industry to change its practices and to be more accountable for its levels of diversity.