Vimeo to Fully Fund Female Filmmakers With New 'Share the Screen' Initiative

Vimeo to Fully Fund Female Filmmakers With New 'Share the Screen' Initiative

We all know it's a little bit more competitive for females to "make it" in the photography and film industries. Yes, it is. The gender gap is real, and I'm not being a feminazi. There are studies about this — science. Even women who are the main characters in films don't get paid as much as their male counterparts (Jennifer Lawrence in the Hunger Games, anyone?). It's even worse for women who are behind the screen, the creators of these big projects. The team over at Vimeo isn't having it anymore, so they are doing something about it. 

Studies have shown that only 19 percent of the behind-the-screen positions of the top-grossing films in Hollywood last year were held by women. I know, you're all as equally outraged as I am. And no, it's not just because less women have jobs either. While some positions were "more open" to females, the roles of directors and cinematographers were less than 10 percent. Maybe you think that doesn't sound too bad, but let's spin the perspective a bit: 

Of the top 250 films of 2015, 91 percent had no women directors, 82 percent had no women writers, 52 percent had no women executive producers, 32 percent had no women producers, 74 percent had no women editors, and 94 percent had no women cinematographers. 33 percent of all the films had either just one woman or none at all in the key roles under study.

Yeah. Let that sink in. 

Now, I am not just sitting here crying about this. I've always known I have to be slightly more competitive to get that contract or job. Even in undergrad, I had to think a little quicker to beat out the male-dominated department (four women in the program when I graduated). Most women in the industry feel the same; it's just something that we deal with, and those who are successful do it damn well. But that is why I am really excited about the news Vimeo just released, announcing their new initiative, "Share the Screen," to help give women filmmakers an edge. 

Gender inequality in filmmaking isn’t simply a woman’s problem; it’s everyone’s problem. When diverse voices are given equal consideration and weight, more informed artistic decisions are made, better stories are told, and it’s also the right thing to do as human beings.

Hell to the yes, Vimeo. Through this initiative, the staff will select and finance a minimum of five projects from women filmmakers this year. Vimeo will select the projects through their current "Staff Picks" process, as well as other in-house acquisitions. Also, if you're at Sundance, they will be setting up a bid system to become a candidate. 

"Share the Screen" kicks off February 18th with the short, "Darby Forever," from SNL cast member Aidy Bryant. Vimeo will continue to share more stories on their blog, and you can also use the hashtags #ShareTheScreen and #behindthevid on social media so they can see your work. 

To all you ladies out there in the industry, keep kicking ass. 

[via Wired and Vimeo]

Photo used with permission of Bekah Marie Photography.

Chelsey Rogers's picture

Chelsey Rogers is a commercial video editor. She's done work for Walmart, Hallmark, and many other Fortune 500 companies.

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It's so great to see a major player like Vimeo be progressive and proactive enough to take steps to right inequality of their own volition, rather than reacting to outcry. I'm looking forward to this.

Thanks Chelsey!

Why should they get a leg up on us because I was born with a penis? You already tee off from closer tees and swing at a softball instead of a baseball. If I was a woman I would be appalled by this. You should earn jobs and budgets just like the rest of us.

Most of us are judged on the merit of our work before people ever see us in person, you make this industry sound like the boys club and it's not.

I'm glad someone said it, because if this was "Vimeo to Fully Fund Male Filmmakers With New 'Share the Screen' Initiative" there would be an uproar..

Uh, did you not read any of the statistics posted above? The entire history of film making has been a "Fully Funding Male Filmmakers initiative" until maybe 5, 10 years ago. Should we be causing an uproar instead of simply asking for a chance at equal funding?

Cause we could do that too.

That's my point, I think all funding should be open to all and equal, I just don't see why it needs a special title, I'm sure everyone that is lucky enough to receive any kind of support would like it to be based on the merit of their work, not gender.

The funding is open to all, but Vimeo just told their users they see and acknowledge the gender gap, and they are going to do something about it. Share the Screen will be open to many different groups as it progresses. You can read the full blog post in the link above.

It's easy for a male to say it's not a boys club. And like I said in my post, I'm not crying about it being slighted. I AM earning and working hard to get the jobs. But there is a gender gap (and this is coming from someone who is sexist against their own sex). I mean I don't get what you don't see with the numbers? There is extensive research about this...
Also, softball? Haha, what a ludicrous analogy to mention on a photography site.

I dunno, to each their own, and you'll have your opinions. But also something that might make you feel better is Share the Screen Initiative is not going to be just for women, they are just starting it that way.

Greg I'm not sure what industry you're working in, but if it's one where you stand behind a camera, it is most certainly one with a boy's club issue.

Edit: Oh and if you're going to use sport as an example (although not at all relevant), at least use real sports like running or rowing where women do compete the exact same distance as their male counterparts.

Some of the comments on here are very offensive. FACT: women are discriminated upon in this field. FACT: women are commonly second-guessed on set, where they need to PROVE they have the right to be there vs a man who is ASSUMED to be knowledgable. This has been documented by many women in the field in regards to the way they're treated and the misogyny they experience. Sure, some of the numbers may show some inequality because maybe generally more men are working in this field. Maybe. But a statistic that says "94 percent of 250 top grossing films in 2015 had no women cinematographers" should really speak for itself. It's not for lack of women cinematographers. As a woman working in the field, I agree that I wouldn't want to be selected for a job just because I'm a woman. The best candidate should be chosen. But that's not what we're talking about here. Vimeo is giving a platform to women who are discriminated and underrepresented. Just look at this as progress and a step in the right direction towards dquality. *gets off soapbox*

Also, if it weren't a known issue in this field, then why would Shane Hurlbut create a mentorship program solely aimed towards female cinematographers? Please read this article and realize what life is like in our shoes:

Thanks for your comment and the link, I am going to look more into that mentorship program too. Kind of sad that you have to have a "soapbox" for an issue like this... Thanks :)