film_londonFilm London, in partnership with the British Council, is seeking female filmmaking teams for a short film fund which addresses gender disparity within the film industry.

Dubbed ‘Shakespeare’s Sister’, the project is set to form part of next year’s celebrations marking the 400th anniversary celebration of Shakespeare. These will include brand new film and television commissions and touring programmes, which will be brought to audiences across the UK and internationally during 2016. Full details of all the UK’s Shakespeare programmes will be announced from October.

Shakespeare’s Sister will offer two teams £15,000 in production funding, plus expert support and high-level mentoring from Film4. The selected teams will also enjoy a year’s free membership for Women in Film & TV (WFTV).

The need for work to address the gender divide was identified by BFI research which shows a significant underrepresentation of female writers and directors across the film industry, despite huge audience demand and proven commercial viability. Roughly one in 10 films are directed by women, while just under a fifth are written by them.

With this in mind, Film London and the British Council began work on a project that was both forward-thinking and highly necessary. It aims to harness, develop and showcase the work of emerging female filmmakers and provide them with a global platform for their work.

Applications should draw from the works of Shakespeare, and filmmaking teams must comprise female writers, directors and producers. Senior crew posts and heads of department should also be filled by women wherever possible. The deadline for applications is 3rd November 2015, and the finished films must be delivered by April 1 2016.

Deborah Sathe, Head of Talent Development and Production at Film London, said: “This is an exciting project and dovetails with one of our main aims when it comes to supporting the best new storytelling talent. As much as this is the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense – research shows the huge commercial potential of projects penned and directed by women and that these films successfully connect with audiences. Making people aware of this while showcasing female filmmaking talent should be very much at the top of the industry’s agenda.”

Briony Hanson, Director Film at the British Council, said: “We are delighted to be working with Film London on this project which will provide valuable opportunities for women working in the film industry. I have long admired the London Calling shorts programme and this is an amazing chance to take the initiative UK wide as well as providing an international platform for those involved. The global impact of the resulting films will form an exciting focal point of our imminent Shakespeare celebrations.”

Further information on how to apply can be found at www.filmlondon.org.uk/shakespeares-sister

Filmmakers seeking team and crew members can sign up to Film London’s Talent Connect Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/talentconnect/