By Melissa Silverstein | Women and Hollywood November 5, 2013 at 10:00AM
Last week I attended the first conference ever held in Israel to discuss the status of women working in the film and television industries. They had brilliant academics, high level executives in TV, international guests and they had something I don’t usually see at these types of events – politicians. The conference closed with Member of Parliament, outspoken feminist, Merav Michaeli and began with Minister of Culture and Sport, Limor Livnat. In addition, the Swedish Ambassador to Israel Carl Magnus Nesser also addressed the crowd of filmmakers and executives among other insiders in the business. I’m sure you are wondering what the Swedish Ambassador has to do with women working in TV and film in Israel. The answer is that Sweden is at the forefront of pushing the conversation on gender equity related to women directors and filmmakers.
Sweden is one of the countries in the world that actually has a film funding apparatus that supports its industry as does Israel, Australia, Germany, Canada, France and many other countries. The United States does not support filmmakers – male or female. To be sure, the grants from film funds are usually not enough to completely finance a movie, but receiving a grant from an individual country’s film fund is an important credential to leverage in order to raise additional fuding. The US film business works completely differently. The studio films are funded with studio dollars, and indie films are funded by hook or by crook with equity investments, credit cards, loans — i.e. by any and all means possible.