The Australian screen industry is an incredibly complex ecosystem and is largely shaped by the management of risk and opportunity, capital and cultural policy, audience taste and the flow of really good ideas. Even with top-billing actor Kate Winslet on board, it was a struggle to get funding to make The Dressmaker.
The leaders and decision makers in this landscape – the exhibitors, distributors, sales agents, investors, producers, directors and writers – are overwhelmingly male. These are the people who shape what appears on our screens. They also care passionately about making good films that make a good return on investment, either commercially or culturally.
Most films require a high level of risk to be taken at every stage of the value chain. It's a miracle that any film gets made – it is just that hard!
It is basic psychology that male decision makers in a high-risk business environment feel more comfortable backing people they have affinity with – that is, other men – on stories and genres they understand. We need to show these leaders that there is talent currently being overlooked and there is potential for market growth by making more films that appeal to women.