NFB close to gender parity: report

The funder saw 47% of its projects directed by women compared to men (38%) and a spike in the number of mixed teams for 2017 to 2018.
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The National Film Board (NFB) is close to achieving its gender parity goals ahead of 2019, according to the funder’s 2017 to 2018 statistics.

In March 2016, the organization pledged it would ensure half of its productions would be directed by women in addition to funnelling 50% of its total production budget towards female-directed projects.

To break down the most recent numbers, the funder is close to its goal with 47% its projects being directed by women compared to 38% of men. In this category alone, the number of mixed teams jumped from the 2016 to 2017 number of 5% to 15% for 2017 to 2018.

As for production spending, 46% of the NFB’s funds were allocated to projects directed by women (46%), while projects directed by men accounted for 38% and mixed teams directed 16% of funded projects.

Meanwhile, a year after the NFB’s pledge to gender parity, the funder announced it intended to expand its initiative by aiming to achieve parity in key creative positions for animation, documentary and interactive works in production by 2020. These key roles included categories like cinematography, editing, screenwriting and music composition, as well as positions in animation and immersive/interactive storytelling.

According to 2017 to 2018 data on completed projects, women screenwriters led 47% of NFB funded projects, followed by editors (38%), cinematographers (13%) and 4% of music roles.

Previous data from the NFB indicates the number of female screenwriters fluctuates year to year. In 2015 to 2016, the organization recorded 53% of women in screenwriting positions on NFB-funded projects. A year later, the number of women in screenwriting positions on the organization’s projects jumped to 27%.

There has also been a 12% drop in the number of mixed screenwriting teams from 2016 to 2017 (recorded as 21%) with these teams accounting for 9% in 2017 to 2018.

Overall though, among other creative categories, there has been an increase in the number of mixed teams. In music-related positions, mixed teams in 2017 to 2018 made up 10%, while 2016 to 2017 data shows these collaborations accounting for 2%.

In addition, the number of mixed teams of cinematographers rose from 3% in 2015 to 2016 to 5% in 2016 to 2017 to the most recent number of 10%.

Mixed teams of editors accounted for 24% in 2015 to 2016. This number decreased dramatically to 2% in the following year and has landed at 6% for 2017 to 2018.

A look inside who makes up the NFB shows that 58% of women account for all positions at the organization, while its senior managers (58%) and board of trustees account for 50%. Meanwhile, 53% of NFB producers and exec producers were women.

Government film commissioner and NFB chairperson, Claude Joli-Coeur, also said in a release about the updated numbers that of the 132 awards won by the organization over the past year, 79 awards went to projects made by women.

“At the end of the day, we all benefit from these parity objectives, since they improve the quality and variety of the works,” said Joli-Coeur.

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