Gender matters in Australian film and equality can’t come soon enough

On Monday morning, we woke up to the news that gender matters – at least to Screen Australia, which has launched a scheme of the same name dedicating $5m to developing and promoting professional opportunities for women working in the Australian film industry over the next three years.

“This is a targeted and practical plan to combat gender inequality in our industry, starting from now,” Screen Australia deputy chair Deanne Weir said.

Why only now, some might ask? Weir heads up the Gender Matters taskforce alongside a number of prominent female screen professionals including Sue Maslin, producer of The Dressmaker.

Based on the novel by Rosalie Ham and directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse, The Dressmaker took seven years to get financed. Even with big names Kate Winslet and Judy Davis attached, the film was considered too risky for investors – that is, until they had the male leads (including Liam Hemsworth and Hugo Weaving) attached.

This week, The Dressmaker became one of Australia’s highest-grossing films of all time, reaching $16m at the domestic box office, proving that Australian movies made by women for women have a mass appeal. Research shows that women are more likely than men to go to the cinema or sit down and watch a DVD/Blu-ray. So how can male cast members be an accurate way of securing a film’s worth? Surely it’s time we stopped measuring things against male members, period.

Read more at the Guardian.

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