The Canadian Academy launches new apprenticeship program for female directors

From a media release:

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television today announced the creation of a new Apprenticeship Program for female directors, as part of the organization’s year-round initiatives addressing pertinent issues within the film, television, and digital media sectors. This initiative will receive major support from The RBC Emerging Artists Project and Canada Media Fund (CMF). The Apprenticeship Program will assist early and mid-career female directors in film, television or digital media to identify and achieve their career and project goals, hone their directing skills, and develop a network of allies to springboard the advancement of their work.

“The Academy believes that gender equality in key creative positions shaping story-telling content, is an essential element of a vibrant and profitable media industry,” said Beth Janson, CEO of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. “Homogeneity on ours screens is a missed opportunity to capitalize on the diverse experiences of Canadians. It is this belief that motivates the Academy to develop its own programming to address this industry-wide issue.”

“The CMF is delighted to support this program. Supporting third-party initiatives such as this one is part of the CMF’s broader strategy to increase gender balance in Canada’s screen-based industries,” stated Valerie Creighton, President and CEO, CMF. “We believe that the female talent and skill are out there. We only need to level the playing field, so new opportunities for women can be triggered. I’m certain this and other initiatives being implemented by organizations across our industry will trigger those opportunities.”

Participants will shadow a working director in their own region for six months, while also participating in bi-weekly working sessions with other participants, conducted via Google hangout. These hangouts will include guest speakers who will run working sessions on practical skills that are essential for every director to have in their toolbox. A small honorarium will be provided to the participants.

The Academy will hold an open call starting in May 2017 to recruit participants for the Apprenticeship Program, with the goal of ensuring diverse regional representation and with special attention paid to outreach among Canadian women who are members of typically underrepresented groups in the mainstream media industry, including Indigenous Canadians. Applicants will submit a Statement of Interest, and will be asked to include a sample of their work and a letter of recommendation from a colleague, mentor, or peer.

The Academy will convene a diverse, regionally representative Selection Committee of six established professionals from the industry. These six experts will select the inaugural cohort of participants. Once the six candidates have been selected, the Academy will work with each mentee to understand her goals and to pair each participant with a regionally appropriate mentor who is an established professional working in the film, television, or digital media sector.

In order to ensure a robust, rigorous programme that is truly national in scope, the Academy is building an advisory committee, which will include organization working to promote female directors from all regions. Women in View is the first organization on the committee.  The Academy looks forward to engaging with other industry partners to support the program and enrich the experience of its participants