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Working for gender equality

24 August 2018 01:23 | Kevin Shaw (Administrator)

by Ola Bäccman, CSI

Approximately 2-3% of my turnover goes to charity. But how could I support gender equality in the film business?

 In the summer of 2015, I had to quit my job as a colorist after my department was phased out. I had been an employee for over 13 years. I realized I had a lot of contacts and decided to start my own business. Quite quickly I understood that this would work just fine and the wheels began spinning. I had many thoughts on how to start my own enterprise and since it’s me, myself and I who is running the business I decided to include my personal core goals: 

  • Environmental issues
  • Solidarity with refugees 
  • Gender equality

So since 2016 I have supported WWF (World Wildlife Fund), Naturskyddsföreningen (The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation) and UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency). Approximately 2-3% of my turnover goes to charity. But how could I support gender equality in the film business?

My naive and simple solution was to get to the source in all business. Money. I talked to some organizations and some female DPs and directors about it and they thought it was a good idea. So by offering reduced prices I encourage clients and producers to think more about equality in their team choice.

Grade discount for Female DPs and Directors

Since DPs and Directors are my actual clients I focused on them. Giving a discount of 15% for each role in the team, with a maximum 30% off my list price if both the Director and DP are female. In 2017 it ended up as more than €10,000 in reduced fees, but in the big picture, that’s nothing. More has to be done. Maybe this is an idea other CSI members could adopt in their business.

The statistics

In 2017 I did a total of 71 jobs, ranging from a big 20 day-grade for a TV-series to small music videos with zero budget. I did commercials, bumpers, pilots, documentaries, short films, art films, feature films, trailers and horror films. And I did some statistics that I found it interesting. Even if everyone, now and then, does low budget or no budget projects, it all even out in the end, right? My graphs show the opposite. Women end up as double losers. Not only are they under represented, they also have less budgets for their projects. I’m not a statistician, but I think my graphs shows a pattern. Here’s a breakdown of male and female Directors and DPs, and the turnover for each group.

I divided my fee on every job in two, based on the assumption that the  Director and DP contribute equally, then just did the math. In some productions it was hard to tell who is who. This goes for animated films, stockshot based films and archive material. They are the “Unknown” category. To make it easier to compare people vs. budget I have used percentages in all my graphs. 

If you have any questions please contact me. Make room for the women!

Ola Bäccman, CSI. Senior Colorist

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