September 8, 2018 5:09 pm
Updated: September 8, 2018 8:21 pm

Rally at TIFF draws crowd, discusses challenges for women in film and television

WATCH: Hundreds of people came out to the “Share Her Journey” rally in Toronto. The rally is part of an ongoing effort to battle sexual assault, gender disparity, and sexism that many professionals say are all too common across the industry. Katherine Ward reports.

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It was an emotional day for Nancie Anderson, who attended the “Share Her Journey” rally with her daughter, Hannah.

Hannah is 14 years old and hopes to carve out a career as an actor.

“I want her to have everything she wants,” said Nancie Anderson.

“But I want her to do it where she’s respected for what she can bring to the table, and how she can develop her craft.”

Even at a young age, Hannah knows the challenges that come with being a woman working in film and television.

“I have already been put in a lot of roles where it’s very sexy sometimes or where it’s funny to be sexy,” said Hannah. “But [I think] it just better to own our bodies instead of putting that kind of pressure on ourselves.

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The rally is part of an ongoing effort to battle sexual assault, gender disparity, and sexism that many professionals said is all too common across the industry.

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Bobbie Peers, a director and writer from Norway, said it’s a conversation that’s happening around the world.

“It’s terrible the kind of stories you hear that have gone untold throughout the years,” Peers said.

“Now it’s being released and I think that’s a healthy change in the industry.”

A common message that echoed throughout the crowd Saturday is that the work to advance this cause is far from over.

Participants across the board are asking men and women to continue to take a stand.

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“What I really find important in all of this is the diversity,” said Margaret Greenberg. “Yes, it’s a rally that specifically speaks to women, but’s it’s not only women in the rally.”

Mike MacMillan, Toronto producer, said it was important for him to be here to lend his support to colleagues in the industry.

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“From a male perspective I think it’s important just to hear these stories and to take the time to listen,” he said.

According to one report done by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, leading female roles were down five per cent in 2017.

While some people say there’s a talent shortage, Keri Putnam, executive director of the Sundance Institute, said that’s lazy, uninformed thinking.

“There are plenty of talented women making media,” Putnam said. “We see them at our labs, we see them at our festival.”

“The shortage has been in the jobs they’ve been offered that would provide them with the same experience at their male peers.”

 

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