Meet Hope Dickson Leach, whose debut film The Levelling won her a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit award. The UK director is co-founder of Raising Films, an organisation geared toward making the film industry more parent- and carer-friendly. The Levelling had its world premiere at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival, and was critically lauded. It won the BAFTA Scotland Award for Best Screenplay in 2017, which set Hope up to work on several feature film projects which are now in development. Hope struggled to get her first feature going, and she is candid about having to juggle parenthood while working in the film industry. Her experiences lead her to co-found Raising Films, an organisation which offers peer-to-peer support, crowd funds for child care, advises filmmakers and festivals on how to better serve parents and carers and delves deep into research to find new ways of challenging exclusion and discrimination at a systemic level. This year, Cannes Film Festival announced its initiative to support delegates attending with children, via advisement from Raising Films, marking the first time a major film festival anywhere in the world has offered a comprehensive package of family-friendly services to industry attendees. Raising Films also undertook research in the UK to better understand the screen industry for carers, with some insightful results.
You'll open new doors at the WIFTI and The Power of Inclusion summit! Meet Kirsten Schaffer, executive director of Women In Film, Los Angeles (WIFLA). Kirsten was the director of programming and then executive director of Outfest, and is widely credited as having helped Outfest become a leading LGBT media arts organisation. She was named one of POWER UP's Top 10 Women in Show Business, has been awarded a Women in Business Award and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Kirsten was instrumental in launching ReFrame, an industry-wide initiative focused on advancing inclusivity and gender equity in the screen industry. ReFrame has also set up a variety of programmes with WIF aimed at increasing skills and opportunities for women in the screen industry. Last year WIFLA and the Sundance Institute came up with the ReFrame 'stamp', in conjunction with industry site IMDbPro. The 'stamp' is tabulated using an algorithm that awards points for film and television productions with women in key on- and offscreen jobs, and gives extra points for women of colour. "It basically amounts to a gold star, with a logo that can be added to a production's end credits," said Cara Buckley of The New York Times. Films with the ReFrame stamp include Lady Bird, Crazy Rich Asians, The Favourite and TV series Orange is the New Black, Dear White People and Fleabag. There are other programmes too, such as ReFrame Rise, which launched in June and focuses on helping female directors who find themselves stalled mid-career. With people like director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids), Jenji Kohan (Orange is the New Black creator) and Ryan Murphy (Glee) as ambassadors, ReFrame and Kirsten continually strive to set the bar higher.
Click here to listen to a podcast where ReFrame Ambassador and director Olivia Wilde talks about making Booksmart, how the Bechdel test is not enough, and about ReFrame.