Female Forward: NBC to hire more women directors – Entertainment

NBC plans on increasing the number of female directors on its shows.

The network announced a new initiative called Female Forward on Thursday, spearheaded by NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke and Homeland director Lesli Linka Glatter.

It will allow 10 female directors to shadow up to three episodes of an NBC series, as well as an in-season commitment to direct at least one episode of that series.

NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke is spearheading a project to hire more women directors at the network. (J. Emilio Flores/The Associated Press)

Salke told reporters “there’s a huge drought in female directors, and we were determined to do something about that.”

Similar initiatives have been launched in Canada to achieve gender parity in the industry. 

TIFF began fundraising for Share Her Journey this year — a program that will include a three month residency for emerging filmmakers, access to resources at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, as well as a producers’ accelerator program for women. 

TIFF Industry Director Kathleen Drumm said it’s all about practical ways of accelerating women’s careers. (CBC)

TIFF’s industry director, Kathleen Drumm previously told CBC News that the program aims to chip away at “a pretty thick glass ceiling.”

“There’s a lot of ambition, determination and purpose amongst the community and certainly at TIFF to do something about this,” Drumm said. 

CBC has also made a commitment to hire more women directors, announcing a gender-parity initiative last year for its scripted programming. The public broadcaster said women will now make up at least half of all directors on Murdoch MysteriesHeartlandThis LifeBaroness Von Sketch Show and Workin’ Moms

Yannick Bisson (Murdoch), director Leslie Hope and Hélène Joy (Ogden) discuss a scene while shooting Murdoch Mysteries Season 9. (Jan Thijs/Shaftesbury)

Prior to that, the National Film Board of Canada announced a gender-parity initiative that will see half of its productions and half of all money spent go to women directors.

Women in View, a Canadian non-profit working to achieve gender parity in media, released a report in 2015 that noted women are still a minority in the industry: representing only 17 per cent of directors, 22 per cent of writers and 12 per cent of cinematographers.

​The Female Forward program will begin with NBC’s 2018-2019 season.​

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