Sep 2016

Women filmmakers are doing it for themselves

Film funding initiative has advisory board of female artists to invest in projects about and made by women.

In addition to film funding efforts, Freida Pinto has advocated for several humanitarian causes and has been vocal about women’s empowerment. In this file photo, she participates in the UNICEF ‘Girl Summit 2014’ in London, England.  (OLI SCARFF / GETTY IMAGES)  

Slumdog Millionaire star Freida Pinto appeared on an international TIFF industry panel Saturday on women filmmakers, speaking about the film funding initiative she’s involved with, We Do It Together.

With an advisory board including Pinto, Queen LatifahJessica ChastainJuliette BinocheCatherine HardwickeRobin Wright and Jodie Foster, the fund invests in projects about and made by women, putting profits back into the pipeline to keep bankrolling new works.

Pinto said with the participation of female directors in the U.S. stuck at 7 per cent for the past 14 years, “we decided to come together realizing the only way to do this is to show them.

“You want to shift the cultural paradigm? You want to shift the social paradigm, you’ve got to find a way to do it,” said Pinto.

We Do It Together announced its first project, Together Now, at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Made up of eight shorts, the directors include Wright, Hardwick and City of God co-director Kátia Lund. Chastain and Binoche are among the stars.

“It’s time to stop talking and start doing something,” said Pinto. “So quite aptly our film fund is called We Do It Together and it might be women at the helm but the word ‘together’ for us is very, very important because … we do want to include male voices, especially the ones who are early believers.”

Titled Women at the Helm: Because it’s 2016, the panel included Telefilm Canada executive director Carolle Brabant, who spoke about the federal agency’s announcement earlier this week it had established a goal to ensure “a representative and diversified feature film portfolio that better reflects Canada’s population” by 2020.