The state branches of Women in Film & Television (WIFT) are set to form an alliance under a national banner, WIFT Australia, in a move designed amplify advocacy efforts towards gender parity in the Australian screen industry.
It will see existing bodies – WIFT NSW, WIFT VIC and WIFT WA – come together with newly-formed chapters in each of the other states and territories.
In its announcement, the WIFT Australia said it: “champions women-identifying filmmakers of all ages, colors, sexualities, abilities, and joys. It recognises the abysmal statistics of representation of women in the industry and exists to create change in both the workplace and the wider community, ensuring the stories reaching Australian screens are a stronger reflection of the nation’s rich culture and diversity.
“WIFT Australia invites the industry to join them in facilitating positive, long-lasting cultural shifts backed by a broad base of education, policy and support.”
The organisation will act as a not-for-profit limited by guarantee, and will have 12 board members: one from each state, as well as four additional appointed directors.
“We have announced the organisation before incorporating as we believe it is essential to include our members and other women in the industry a say in the creation of the organisation, and to give time for feedback on the initiative and the constitution,” WIFT NSW president Megan Riakos told IF.
Each state chapter is still currently run as its own entity, and the aim of WIFT Australia in the early days is for the state chapters to work with WIFT Australia on initiatives with a national focus such as Raising Films Australia and Safer Workplace Strategies, Riakos said.
“We believe that national issues require national solutions and we need to ensure that women from across the country are part of that conversation. Any long-lasting solutions must be made with inclusion at the table. WIFT Australia will facilitate that representation. WIFT Australia will also foster collaborating between sister chapters to share programs and resources. Any further integration will be decided by the committee and memberships of each organisation.”
Briony Kidd, co-founder of the new WIFT Tasmania chapter, said women filmmakers in the smaller states and territories were excited to be welcomed into a growing and dynamic movement. “Working in rural and regional locations, we face additional barriers and specific challenges that we are keen to discuss with our national network.”
The Gold Coast Film Festival will host the official launch of WIFT Australia on 20 April through their #femalefilmmakerfriday program.
General WIFT Australia membership will be available after the launch however most local branches are accepting new members.