The film industry is making strides as a whole to diversify and fight for inclusion, however the number of films by women, trans, and gender queer filmmakers is still remarkably lower than our male counterparts. According to The Celluloid Ceiling report, in 2018 women comprised 20% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 250 domestic grossing film. That’s a 2 percent increase from 2017. Among those numbers, the roles with the lowest number of women are cinematographers, sound designers, and composers.
Luckily, there are several resources, initiatives, and organizations to help women get ahead. Here at Kitsplit, we’re passionate about creating a platform for all visual creators regardless of budget, background, or location. Here is a list of resources for women behind the lens. We have grouped these resources into: Groups & Networks for Women in Film, Mentoring for Women in Film, Grants, Funding, and Initiatives for Women in Film, Events + EDU for Women in Film, Festivals for Female Filmmakers, and Lists and Other Online Resources.
Groups & Networks for Women in Film
Black Women Film Network
Since 1997, the Black Women Film network has been working to prepare black women and women of color to enter the film and television industry. They seek to preserve and amplify black women’s voices through educational programs, scholarships, screenings, workshops, and more. Membership is open to all races and cultures and starts at $50.
Alliance of Women Directors
A group of over 250 women-identifying directors who range from recent film school graduates to award-winning veterans. They offer support for projects and filmmakers at different stages through their Craft Enrichment Series, Works in Progress Program, and In-House Shadowing Program. Membership costs $100 a year.
Founded by Leah Meyerhoff (I Believe in Unicorns), Film Fatales is a group for directors who have directed at least one feature film or television episode. There are chapters in cities all over, including New York, LA, Atlanta, Montreal, Toronto, and even as far as CapeTown. With Film Fatales, you’ll meet up once a month in your city with other directors to share resources. Membership fees: $60/year
Cinematographer XX is a group of professional and emerging women cinematographers. CXX works to promote the works of cinematographers across a multitude of genres and may be used as a resource to find and hire cinematographers who identify as women. For more information on being a part of CXX, see their about page.
New York Women in Film & Television
New York’s women in film chapter was an early supporter of Kitsplit and offers numerous resources for visual creators, including regular meetups in NY. There are 2500 members in NY and membership is $15/month or $180/year.
WIF (Women in Film – LA)
Like NYWIFT, Women In Film advocates for and advances the careers of women working in the screen industries – to achieve parity and transform culture. They have a regular schedule of events including networking events, workshops, and a speaker series. They also offer grants and mentorship programs (mentioned below). Membership is $200/year, with a $50/year option for students and $80/year option for recent grads.
Mentoring for Women in Film
Coaching for Women in Film by Kitsplit
Kitsplit’s very own (free) mentorship program for women! All women are welcome to sign up for office hours with any of the 16 women in film listed (including myself, Kitsplit co-founder Kristina, and awesome folks like the cofounder of Seed&Spark, an NBC video producer, and an HBO documentary producer)! Whether you’re looking for advice on shooting on film, crowdfunding, PR strategy, producing, directing. You name it, there’s a mentor for you.
Digital Women Leaders
An inspiration for Kitsplit’s Women in Film Initiative, this coaching service is free for women in Journalism—including visual journalists! That is to say, if you’re the type to bring a C300 to protests, will travel anywhere for a good story, or regularly juggle three documentaries at once, then this one is for you.
Women In Film Mentoring Program (Application due February 18, 2019)
For those Los Angeles filmmakers who are active members of Women in Film, this program assigns a group of 8-10 mentees to 2 mentors. In your mentee circle, you’ll meet six times in a year. This is a great option for those looking for guided mentorship that will take you from start to finish.
Grants, Funding, and Initiatives for Women in Film
Glassbreaker Films is an initiative that develops grants and programs to support female filmmakers working on nonfiction stories. Films created through Glassbreaker have screened at Sundance, SXSW, Telluride, and streamed on Netflix, The Atlantic, and Glamour Magazine–to name a few! Check out their Catalyst Grants and Women in Docs program!
Chicken and Egg
Chicken and Egg develops programs and provides grants to female non-fiction filmmakers. They have several initiatives including an accelerator lab, grants, and fellowships and are known for supporting filmmakers like Dawn Porter, Kirsten Johnson, and Natalia Almada to name a few. Read about their open calls and fellowship process.
New York Women in Film & Television
New York’s women in film chapter was an early supporter of Kitsplit and offers numerous resources for visual creators. They offer scholarships and funding primarily to women in NYC, but the resources it has regarding the status of female filmmakers apply to all. Check out their Nancy Malone Intern/Mentor program (for early career filmmakers).
Women at Sundance
Sundance provides several opportunities for women in film, including fellowships and grants. Read more about their initiatives and programming at their Women at Sundance page.
Events + EDU for Women in Film
AFI Directing Workshop for Women
Every year The American Film Institute invites eight talented directors to participate in a tuition-free workshop. It will include classes in screen direction, professional development resources, and support to complete a short film. Directing workshop participants in the past have received guidance from Ava Duvernay, Jill Soloway, and Lena Waithe.
Women in Media events
For Los Angeles & NY filmmakers, Women in Media is an intersectional group of women and woman identifying crew members that offer a variety of events, some geared towards mentorship. Through their program, you can take a dolly class, learn Davinci Resolve, and attend networking events. Check out their calendar of events here.
In addition to featuring how-tos for creators, WomenArts offers a list of organizations that provide emergency funds for artists. The funds are allocated to help artists who are struggling to pay rent, medical expenses, or to otherwise meet their needs due to circumstances beyond their control.
Festivals for Underrepresented Filmmakers
Southern Fried Queer Pride
SFQP is a queer and trans arts and advocacy organization that hosts annual festivals in Atlanta and Durham that include workshops, art exhibitions, and dance parties. SFQP prides themselves as being queer, intersectional, and all around radically inclusive. Included in their programming is Cinequeer Film Fest, which is currently accepting submissions for SFQP this June.
Citizen Jane Film Festival
Founded at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, Citizen Jane is more than a film festival. It’s an artist retreat that seeks to empower audiences and filmmakers to keep fighting for every woman’s story to be told. The festival programs narrative, documentary, and short films, and hosts panels. The fest just passed this fall, but keep an eye on their site here for updates.
POW film fest
Eleven years running, Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival (POW) aims to amplify all women’s voices “regardless of race, class, age, religion, abilities, sexuality or gender presentation”. The festival has hosted many notable directors including Kathryn Bigelow, Cheryl Dunye, and Catherine Hardwicke. They’re also working to empower the next generation their program POWGirls. It‘ will offer year round workshops for girls and non-binary youth!
Lists and Other Online Resources
Her Film Project is an initiative that has hosts grants, sponsorships, and initiatives in order to “advance equality in film through inclusive storytelling across race, gender, age, sexuality, and ability”. Check out their terrific list of international festivals aimed at cultivating diverse talent.
Women in the Arts and Media Coalition is collaborative organization that collects information from other member organizations that focus on women in arts and media specifically. They do this in order to further initiatives and resources to diversify the film industry. They send out newsletters with job opportunities for women involved in video making. Subscribe here.
Women and Hollywood is an advocacy site founded by Melissa Silverstein that provides blog posts discussing issues concerning women in film, statistics, infographics, and events. Through Women and Hollywood, you can attend panel discussions, mixers, and more.
While statistically women identified visual creators are in the minority, it is encouraging to know that there are so many resources, groups, and initiatives to combat those numbers. To clarify, this list is in no way exhaustive–in fact, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Have a resource we forgot to mention? Let the Kitsplit team know! And be sure to let us know what you’re working on.
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