Heartland Film has officially joined the gender parity movement gaining steam in the film industry.
Created by 5050×2020 — an offshoot of Le Deuxième Regard that launched after the Harvey Weinstein exposés hit — the Pledge strives for better gender representation and transparency by the year 2020. It was first introduced at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018, following the march up the red carpet by women from across the world.
By taking the Pledge, festivals commit to do the following:
- Compile statistics of gender and race of the directors of all the films submitted to selection, and when applicable, to also compile all members of the cast and crew mentioned in the registration process of the film.
- Make public the gender and race of all the members of selection committees and programmers as well as all programming consultants.
- Make public the gender and race of executive boards and/or boards of directors and to commit to a schedule to achieve parity in these bodies.
In addition, the 5050x2020 pledge commits Heartland to 50 percent female participation in selection committees, submitting filmmakers, and selected filmmakers for the annual Heartland International Film Festival and Academy Award-qualifying Indy Shorts International Film Festival. While the pledge calls for gender parity by the Year 2020, Heartland will reach the goal this year.
“Gender disparity in the film industry continues to be an important yet dismissed epidemic; it is easy to say the problem is bigger than one organization or person’s decision, but that is simply not true,” Heartland Film Director of Film Programming, Greg Sorvig said in a press release this week.
“Film festivals need to consider gender parity as a standard right alongside technical quality, story, and genre when rounding out its program. By committing to the 5050×2020 pledge and partnering with Alliance of Women Directors, Heartland Film is taking a stand for what is right. My hope is that our colleagues in the industry will join us and other top-tier film festivals around the world in making this change.”
The most recent Heartland Film Festival saw a record number of female participants and winners. Four out of five top Grand Prize winners in 2018 were women, and more than 50 percent of jury members and screening committee members were female. In total, female-led productions accounted for 38 percent of the overall programming for both Heartland festivals in 2018 and additional panel discussions were offered to draw attention to the cause.
“A common myth is that women aren’t making films or they’re not submitting to festivals,” said Heartland Film Film Programming Coordinator Julia Ricci. “That is far from the truth. The talent is out there and they have something to say; it is important for film festivals to amplify these voices and provide equal opportunity across the board. Heartland’s track record of recognizing and honoring female filmmakers is growing stronger each year, and I’m thrilled that we are officially committing to this initiative.”
In addition to the 5050×2020 pledge, Heartland Film has formed an official partnership with the Alliance of Women Directors (AWD) based in Los Angeles. Heartland Film is the first organization to commit to the Dorothy Arzner Partnership, AWD’s top partner level which guarantees a programmed block of AWD films and complimentary submission waivers for all AWD members. Indy Shorts will feature a block of AWD member-directed short films this July.
Call for entries for the 28th Annual Heartland International Film Festival (feature films 41 minutes plus) and 2nd Annual Indy Shorts International Film Festival (short films 40 minutes or less) are now open. More information can be found at here.
Learn more and read the full press release at heartlandfilm.org
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