Remember WIFTNSW (Sydney, Australia) and its Sausage Party, back in December? Followed by its protest about hiring a Canadian woman director for the television remake of that classic, Picnic at Hanging Rock? Those protests have borne fruit, as reported in WIFTNSW’s latest newsletter.
The Sausage Party highlighted the Australian Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards(AACTAs) disproportionately low amount of nominations and pre-selected films directed and driven by female creatives. Among the twenty-eight narrative feature films pre-selected for the AACTAs Screening Tour, just two were directed by women. And, as WIFTNSW pointed out, when female content cannot reach the public voting platform in the first instance there’s no point calling for quotas in award juries. Furthermore, of the twenty-eight films selected for consideration, seven films (a full quarter of the total), violated AACTAs’ own eligibility criteria and at least two fully eligible films helmed by women were excluded.
After the protest, AACTA reached out to WIFTNSW and other industry guilds to discuss the issues raised by the Sausage Party protests. WIFTNSW now looks forward to meaningful consultation to create fair and diverse AACTAs.YAY.
And the Sausage costumes are now available for use so do ‘enquire within’, adds WIFTNSW.
With the Australian Directors’ Guild (ADG), WIFTNSW took a second action later in December, against gender imbalance in the Australian screen industry, with a peaceful picnic protest at Fremantle Media against the decision to hire a Canadian female director instead of an Australian for the television remake of Picnic at Hanging Rock, as a miniseries.
As a result of this protest and the tireless campaign run by the ADG to ensure Australian directors are used on Australian funded productions, Fremantle Media have agreed to hire an additional Australian female director to work on Picnic at Hanging Rock. AND Screen Australia has committed to changing their program guidelines, proposing to make it an expectation that applicants for direct funding of television productions guarantee that their project is written and directed by Australian citizens or residents.
This too was a good result for Australian female directors and shows how important it is to continue to advocate for women in film. WIFTNSW looks forward to the employment of an Australian female director on the series.