‘We Do It Together’ – The Production Co. Launched By A Coalition Of Hollywood Actresses

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Hollywood better get ready, because when you shut out women and minorities for so long, eventually they are going to hit back in a big way! One of the biggest flaws in Hollywood today is the lack of visibility of women in key decision-making roles behind the scenes, and the lack of female-driven, complex, flawed characters on screen compared to male-driven properties.

Sure, we are starting to see that change the louder the voices of dissent are getting (thanks social media and blogs for making our voices amplified in such a powerful way!), but when you get down to actual statics, it’s a sorry state of affairs when the needle has not moved much in approximately 50 years. Geena Davis, whose institute examines the roles of gender in film and media (specifically in kids and family entertainment), has found that the ratio of male to female roles in 1946 was 3-1. The sad news is today that figure has not changed much at all.

Behind the camera, less than 5% of major studio films are directed by women, and the number of female directors overall has fallen over the past 17 years, studies show. With only 1 woman ever winning the Oscar award for Best Director (Kathryn Bigelow for ‘The Hurt Locker’), it’s not hard to see how this is still a problem.

In 2015 a major investigation was launched into the alleged discriminatory hiring practices of the Hollywood studios, and a number of female directors are now giving evidence and sharing their experiences with the EEOC. It’s not the first time the studio system has been taken to court by women in the film industry, but with the momentum gathering steam thanks to women being much more inclined to speak out in numbers, we have a feeling this case will mark a huge shift for the gender gap.

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In spite of the frustrating bias that still exists (and which is honestly more systemic at this point rather than because of blatant sexism) we are encouraged to see women using the data to create positive solutions, as nothing gets done when you just complain about it, right?

A star-studded group of celebrities and industry experts have come together to create a non-profit production company designed to amplify female stories, give greater opportunities to female creators, and to boost female empowerment content on screen.

‘We Do It Together’ is the name of the collective, which is being lead by an advisory board featuring actresses Jessica Chastain (who has also launched her own production company called Freckle Features), Queen Latifah, Freida Pinto, Ziyi Zhang, Juliette Binoche, ‘Twilight’ director Catherine Hardwicke and ‘Wadjda’ director Haifaa Al-Mansour (Saudi Arabia’s first female-directed film). The board of directors includes a number of agents, writers, producers and directors, giving this initiative a 360 degree overview of the industry.

WDIT will raise money from government grants, corporate investors and individual donors in order to fund female-driven films. The idea is to eventually become a self-sustaining entity in order to keep making the type of content and productions that can compete on par with any other production.

Producer and philanthropist Chiara Tilesi is one of the board members as well as the founder of this company, and spoke about the nonprofit production company model, the organization’s mission of challenging the status quo and producing movies by and about women while changing perceptions about female stereotypes at the United Nations’ Third Annual Power of Collaboration Global Summit on Feb. 29.

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In a statement she said the idea is to get to a point where a company like this is no longer needed.

“We hope in the future we won’t have a need for dedicated niche financing for films by and about women. Film has always possessed the power to defy convention and change hearts and minds, and this power and potential must be harnessed to challenge the current archaic norms related to women within the entertainment industry. We feel that the way to make this a reality is to give women from around the world a concrete way to express themselves and an on-going structure that will ensure that these stories will be financed and distributed,” she said.

Aside from just wanting to elevate the status of women, the company wants to bring men into the fold to understand how they can work alongside each other in equal manner, but to get there we need to see some major changes and initiatives happening.

It’s not the first company or initiative of its kind trying to break the gender gap by specifically creating a pathway for women in the industry. Women like Meryl Streep and Lena Dunham have created their own initiatives for women, and Rose Byrne, Reese Witherspoon and Charlize Theron have launched their own production company after realizing the most impactful way to have the stories and characters they want to see represented on screen is to have creative control and the money to fund a production themselves.

We cannot go past the significance of the name – We Do It Together. It represents exactly what the female empowerment movement in Hollywood is about and why it is becoming such a powerful force. The more we as women recognize that we can have such an impact when we unite, whether it is in Hollywood, in our communities, in our businesses, schools, homes etc, the more we will have the opportunity to create systemic change.

catherine-hardwicke

 

 

 

 

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