Women are quite rare in Austria’s Film industry – a common situation across Europe and beyond. Approximately 25% of scriptwriters and directors are women whereas in film production women in key positions are hard to find. The Austrian Film Institute wants to make a concrete contribution to remedy this misbalance. One of the measures initiated by the Austrian Film Institute is ProPro – a programme to empower female producers.
In addition to ProPro, the Film Institute implemented other initiatives such as: In the beginning of 2017 the Film Institute’s funding programme has been expanded by a GENDER INCENTIVE aiming to increase the number of women in filmmaking head departments. Its membership of EURIMAGES’ GENDER EQUALITY WORKING GROUP since 2013 allows the Film Institute to exchange gender specific know how on a European level. Since 2016 the CPP-ESA WORKING GROUP defines recommen- dations in order to put the claims of the SARAJEVO CONFERENCE DECLARATION ON GENDER EQUALITY by the COUNCIL OF EUROPE into practice. Addressing gender issues contentwise the Film Institute launched the screenplay competition IF SHE CAN SEE IT, SHE CAN BE IT* in 2016 to promote the representation of non-stereotyped female characters on screen.
ProPro contributes to the aim of finding new partners for strong films written, directed and produced by women. An urgency not only in terms of inequalities within the audiovisual sector as a working place or an industry but even more so regarding the sociopolitical dimension of film, keeping in mind that „film is perhaps the most important of all art forms, affecting society and helping us to understand ourselves and our times. If film is to stay relevant in the future, it has to reflect society in terms of whose voices are heard, whose stories are told and who is represented.” Anna Serner, CEO of the Swedish Film Institute
Mag.a Iris Zappe-Heller
(Gender Issues, Austrian Film Institute)
*Motto of GEENA DAVIS INSTITUTE ON GENDER IN MEDIA