The Walking Dead producer Gale Anne Hurd is among those backing a new gender based rebate program for film and TV. The initiative, called 10% for 50/50, was launched internationally yesterday at the Berlin Film Festival after debuting at the Goteborg festival in Sweden.
The scheme proposes that production, post-production and facilities firms offer a 10% rebate to projects that can demonstrate a gender balance. That is done by accumulating points in different categories relating to the cast and crew. These points can also increase through the meeting of other diversity criteria.
“The truth is that everything is decided on the bottom line,” said U.S. executive Hurd, well known for producing movies such as Terminator and Aliens. “If you have a ten per cent discount from a number of companies, that really adds up in a significant way.”
Hurd believes the scheme could have a dramatic change in the gender composition of films. “I think that many of my projects have already qualified for it. I’m very excited to seek it out and promote it and I encourage companies to join the initiative.”
Hurd went on to describe how she suffered from gender discrimination even after she co-scripted and produced The Terminator. When she tried to put together Aliens she met with sexism, she said. “They thought that The Terminator was a one-off and the question I got was ‘who really produced it.’”
Hurd, who would go on to produce Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Armageddon and The Incredible Hulk, said that one of the strengths of the new scheme is that it encourages men and women to work together with with respect and equality, something she said she benefitted from in her first job as executive assistant to Roger Corman at New World Pictures.
“The first time I worked on the set of one of Roger’s productions was Humanoids From The Deep (1980), directed by a woman [Barbara Peeters]. At New World Pictures under Roger women worked in every capacity and I believed that that was the way things were until I got into the studio system and realized that I was back in times of dinosaurs.”
Hurd said that Twentieth Century Fox had needed assurances from producer Lindsley Parsons Jr. before they would allow her to produce Aliens. “The other thing we are talking about today is how important it is to have men [involved] as part of this partnership,” she explained.
The 10% for 50/50 scheme stems from a collaboration between Women in Film and Television International (WIFTI) and Stockholm based production house Chimney, which has 400 employees in nine countries. Helene Granqvist, President of Women in Film & Television International, and Theo Lindberg, a partner at post-production outfit Chimney, presented an introduction video to the scheme which can be seen here.
So far 21 companies, including European firm Umedia, Shortcut from Norway and The Line Stockholm have signed up to the initiative.