Changing the Face of the Film Industry
Why aren’t there more women in film? That’s the question being asked by SAE Auckland, which is holding its first female-only film making workshop, ChicFlix, at the Auckland campus on Saturday 16 September.
The aim of the one-day workshop is to empower women to feel that film making is a viable career option for them. ChicFlix the sister to ChicMix, a female-only audio workshop, which SAE began in 2015 and has sold out both years it has been running.
There are few industries in which the gender gap is more obvious than in audio and film. In Hollywood, women directors make up 7%. In New Zealand the statistics are slightly better, but still women directors make up only 14% of funding applications received by the New Zealand Film Commission.
ChicFlix is part of the SAE mission to break stereotypes and redress the gender imbalance in the audio and film industries. The four hands-on workshops will cover camera, sound, lighting, green screen and editing.
“At ChicFlix we offer women an environment where they feel comfortable getting their hands on the gear, asking questions and hearing from women who work in the film making domain,” says SAE Auckland Director, Dr Suzette Major.
She is thrilled with the flow on effect from ChicMix on female enrolments into the Audio degree at SAE. Enrolments are now at their highest ever – 20% – but she believes there is still more work to be done.
“At SAE, we take the stance that we can, and will, tackle the gender inequality in the film and audio industries. The way to change the industry is to change the face of those who are getting trained into that industry. That’s where SAE comes in. If we can attract and increase the number of females on campus we effect this change – quite literally.”
Mona Sanei, SAE graduate and ChicFlix and ChicMix tutor, said she would like to see more females out in the field.
“You can get questioning looks! At one job on a film set, I asked where the microphones had been moved to, and she told me to ask the sound guy. I told her I was the sound guy.”
Dr Major says, “Part of the success of ChicMix was the real excitement on the day among both the tutors and the participants at what we were achieving.
“As Margaret Mead once said: ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.’”