While the gender gap in Hollywood has been well documented, much like race inequality in film, not much has been done to improve the situation. In fact, it's also similar to the #Oscarssowhite debacle — things are staying exactly the same or getting even worse. Female directors accounted for 9 percent of the top 250 grossing films of 2015, which is the exact same figure as 1998. That's why Vimeo is launching Share the Screen, an initiative aimed at giving female filmmakers the opportunity to let their ideas shine.
The initiative, which offers financing, educational workshops, and promotional help, supported two projects last year. This year, it's launching more officially in conjunction with the Sundance Film Festival with the pledge to invest in at least five original works.
"We're putting our money where our mouth is," Sam Toles, Vimeo's head of programming told Variety. "It's apparent to us that there is a huge disparity in the number of women content creators. All the data shows that this business skews heavily male. We want to try to be proactive and do something to change that."
The timing of the announcement so close to Sundance is appropriate: the festival is much better than mainstream Hollywood at representing female filmmakers, who comprised 25 percent of American directors that screened movies there over the past 13 years.
The first project under this initiative debuts via Vimeo On Demand on February 18 — an original short film called Darby Forever, written by and starring Saturday Night Live's Aidy Bryant. Vimeo has spent the past couple years positioning itself as the little brother to bigger streaming giants like Netflix and Hulu, offering more creative freedom and a more accessible platform for less established filmmakers.
Share the Screen might not totally solve the industry's serious gender inequality problem on its own, but what it represents and the attitude of the company launching it both suggest there could be a bigger, wider push just on the horizon.
Cover image: Steven Depolo via Flickr