Together we are stronger - Women in Film and Television
Originally founded as a political event by the former Soviet Bloc, International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March is now celebrated in different ways in hundreds of countries across the world. Some celebrate with a national holiday (how nice!), others by having the men folk express their love for women in a way which seems to combine Valentine’s Day with Mother’s Day (try not to dwell on that mixture).
Here in the UK we don’t enjoy the luxury of a public holiday, unfortunately, and nor have we done much, traditionally, to mark the occasion. In recent years, however, with a rise in grassroots feminism and the establishment of WOW, a weekend-long festival celebrating all things women-related proudly hosted by London’s Southbank Centre, the day has been afforded more attention. And deservedly so.
At WFTV, we’ve always been keen to celebrate IWD not only because of its ‘women’ remit, but also because of the ‘international’ element. We have over 1100 members in the UK, but beyond that we are also part of a global network made up of over 10,000 individuals worldwide.
The original WFTV chapter was founded in LA in the 1970s (Women in Film LA) but now there are many others across the US - including New York, Washington and Texas - and indeed in all corners of the globe, such as Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Germany, South Africa, India and, of course, the UK. All of these groups run as separate entities - with their own programme of events, Board, and finances - but are connected by a common purpose under the umbrella organisation Women in Film and Television International (WIFTI).
In the globalised world we live in, where low cost travel and new technologies have made international collaboration the norm, it’s a great benefit, then, to belong to a networking organisation that also extends beyond borders and can provide professional support wherever you are in the world.
Some of the ways in which being a part of WIFTI has aided our members include:
- Work collaborations, such as recently when a WFTV UK voice coach member assisted a WIFT Germany actor member to improve her English accent for an audioreel.
- Attendance at events abroad, such as attending a workshop hosted by WIF LA if you happen to be on a business trip there.
- Networking opportunities at international festivals, such as at the annual reception hosted by WFTV UK at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
- The bi-annual WIFTI Summit, the most recent of which was held in Washington DC in 2012 and was attended by WFTV members from around the globe.
These events all provide rich opportunities to share experiences and best practice, and of course to develop new professional relationships.
So being a part of WFTV means that, wherever work takes you – and it can take you to some pretty weird and wonderful places in the film industry – if there’s a WFTV chapter established you have a network ready and waiting for you to tap in to.
Cheers to that, and happy International Women’s Day!
By Rebecca Brand
Head of Communications and Operations of WFTV (UK) Ltd.