Newfoundland Women In Film- Database Looks To Bring Change
Issues facing women working in the film, and in the entertainment industry, in general, have become a topical matter. From representation both on and off screen to the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements, these many longstanding issues have become widely discussed topics, that people are taking action to help remedy.
The Racket spoke with one of the people who is actively trying to address these issues in the local film industry. Kerry Gamberg is a Producer, Director, and Fixer in St. John's, She has founded NFLD Women In Film (NFLD-WIF) in 2017.
Gamberg described NFLD-WIF as a two-fold venture with multiple online entities. First, it is a database that lists the skilled women in the local film and television industry. These types of databases are growing in popularity in North America and around the world. They help to dispel the myth that the reason that there are so few women working as producers, directors, and writers is that there are not enough qualified women. Secondly, and more importantly Gamberg stated NFLD-WIF "is a collective of professional women working in the high stakes, infamously sexist and often hostile industry that is film and television.“
Gamberg also spoke of being “completely Weistein'ed out” which served as the catalyst for starting NFLD-WIF. Over the years, she has experienced and witnessed harassment and bullying from male counterparts and supervisors. Over the course of several conversations, with colleagues, it was evident to Gamberg that was a lot of fears over reporting these incidents. These ranged from not being believed to being labelled "difficult" to not being hired on future projects.
With this knowledge, she thought about what could be done about this situation in addition to the existing constructs that would make it easier to report these types of incidences. Solidarity was what Gamberg settled on, thinking about the power in numbers, and that if you have multiple women on set who are willing to stand by your side if you are being harassed, it is going to be significantly more difficult for the harasser to continue with this behaviour. Gamberg wants to create a safe and private space that women feel safe in and are able to discuss these types of issues without the fear of prosecution.
When looking into the future of NFLD-WIF and indeed the future of the local film industry Gamberg has some goals in mind. She wants complete gender parity, a zero tolerance for workplace misconduct, and to showcase the many talented women who are making film careers in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Looking to the immediate future, Gamberg plans to continue developing the database, to secure a board for NFLD-WIF, generate funding and corporate support, and in turn begin to provide training opportunities for members including networking events, and work retreats. She has been working with the St. John's International Women's Film Festival (SJIWFF) on these developments.
SJIWFF has been working on many of these issues for a long time (they celebrate their 30th anniversary this year) and provide opportunities for local women filmmakers.
Although there is lots of work to do in order to achieve gender parity in the film industry NFLD-WIF is well on their way. To learn more about NFLD-WIF you can like them on Facebook, follow them on Instagram @nfldwomeninfilm, and check out their website and database.
To be listed on the NFLD-WIF database, you must have two professional credits in the position under which you are asking to be listed, and these credits must be listed on IMBD.com.