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NYC Strengthens Women in Film and Theater with $5 Million Allocated Fund

October 4
6:00 AM 2016

New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment (HOME) has recently launched a five-part program which includes $5 million fund for women specializing in the fields of film and theater, making NYC the first municipality in the United States to invest on such initiative.

The five-part initiative will offer grants to fund and support film and theater projects "by, for and about women" in order to uplift the marginalized status of female film - and theater-makers. The fund will be disseminated to film, television and theater workshops, scriptwriting competitions and film-financing conferences aimed to connect women and empower them into being among the best in the film and theater industry.

"We believe we're the first municipality in the country to take on this issue," MOME Commissioner Julie Menin said in an interview. "We think by creating these economic pathways of opportunity, that is one of the best ways we can contribute."

The program will also support funds to sponsor sessions and conferences for movie and theater directors to groom the women's ability in creating unique storylines and pitches, as well as connect them with financiers. According to studies, financing is one of the glitches that hinder women filmmakers in materializing their stories.

According to a study conducted by USC's Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative, in the United States, four percent (4%) of the 100 top-grossing Hollywood films were directed by women. While other countries around the world including Canada, Australia and Sweden, have already launched state-financed initiatives aiming to increase the percentage of women working in the fields of entertainment and arts, there is no similar government unit in the US that finances programs to further women's participation in film and theater.

"Gender equity is central to fighting inequality at large, and I am glad to see MOME make a concerted effort to increase representation of women in our media and entertainment industries," said Azadeh Khalili, Executive Director of the Commission of Gender Equity.

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