Australian filmmakers invited to tackle Hollywood sexism

International Film Festival Director and Sunshine Coast local Tiffany Porter has teamed up with Hollywood Veteran Kimberly Douglas to create a brand new film festival that celebrates the often overlooked achievements of specialised women filmmakers, in a bid to tackle Hollywood sexism and improve opportunities and wellbeing for female filmmakers globally. Local film-makers of all genders who have produced a film with a woman in a leadership position usually occupied by men are encouraged to apply in a range of categories from music videos to feature films. 

“One thing that will make this festival really unique is that category winners will receive a guaranteed distribution offer. This is a huge opportunity for film-makers everywhere,” Ms. Porter said. “We are also planning something really special for even the women filmmakers that don’t place, honouring their dedication to their craft while juggling the battle to break the glass ceiling with family and other commitments.” 

FLOW (Florida Leaders Opening Worlds) Film Festival and Market premiers 25-30 September 2020 in Miami, Florida, USA. Positioned to rival Cannes, FLOW offers not just an entertaining and educational festival program but also an industry leading filmmakers market offering a “one-stop shop full of film industry vendors who can help you achieve everything from production through to distribution, potentially saving you many years of networking.” Early bird submissions are open now until March 22 with final submissions closing in late August. 

Ms. Porter was living in Panama and making a living as a multidisciplinary artist when she was invited by a “random thespian” at a train station during a buying trip in Miami to volunteer at the Miami Science Fiction Film Festival in 2016, which is where she met Douglas. “It was quite serendipitous, really”, Porter said. ‘We clicked – and clashed! – immediately”, she laughs. “We’re both real go-getters who do what they say and get things done… FLOW was born after a several hour conversation.” 

Frustrated by the barriers women faced in Hollywood, and the lack of recognition excellent female film-makers received for their contributions, the two women teamed up to combat sexism in the industry and promote women film-makers all over the globe. “Women tend to be naturally empathetic and creative, and make ideal film-makers,” Porter said. “In the last year’s top grossing 115 films, women directed around 10% of those, despite only directing around 5% of the total films last year.” 

Originally from Wollongong, NSW, Porter moved to the Sunshine Coast, QLD in 2019 to help with a philanthropic project, but continues to develop and build the festival remotely. “That’s the beauty of the internet,” she said. “I can tether my phone to my laptop anywhere in the world and, while I am plugging away in sunny Queensland, Florida board members are sampling the delicious food we’re trialling for the festival menus while I longingly watch!” 

In an effort to support women filmmakers globally, FLOW festival will select at least two high quality entries to receive all-expenses-paid packages to attend the film festival and market, with special consideration given to regions of the world that particularly suppress women and restrict their opportunities. “We don’t just want to help women in the West,” Porter said. “We want to help women everywhere. And maybe if we can raise women up in one industry, they may start getting respect in others, too.” 

FLOW Film Festival and Market will be held at the Silverspot Cinemas in Miami, Florida, on 25-30 September, 2020. Eligible Australian film-makers are encouraged to apply.

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