Though large-scale institutional change only ever moves at a glacial pace, recent months have left the impression that the time has finally come for Hollywood to answer for its homogeneity problem. The recent announcement of yet another all-white slate of Oscar nominees in the major categories sparked a pushback against the overwhelming whiteness of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, with celebrities speaking out against discrimination in the business and some stars committing to a boycott of the ceremony on February 28. But the clear bias against women in the film industry has also been a hot topic as of late, with frustrated women filmmakers taking studios to task for grossly disproportionate hiring practices.
Today brings a bit of heartening news on that front, as video-hosting platform Vimeo has announced a new program intended to provide at least five female filmmakers with funds to complete a feature. Deadline reports that during a press conference this morning at the Sundance Film Festival, Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor pulled back the curtain on his new Share The Screen initiative designed to “help close the gender equality gap.” Vimeo began a push into the original-content game when they laid claim to breakout webseries High Maintenance (yes, it’s a weed pun) at the tail end of 2014, and funded two full-length movies in 2015. But the scope and focus of the Share The Screen plan sends a clear message: Vimeo isn’t just committed to providing quality programming, but doing so with a conscience. Trainor concluded the conference with some simple but resonant remarks:
“It’s extremely unfortunate that the traditional industry has allowed things to be out of balance for so long, in terms of equality of opportunity for men and women, but it’s very exciting that Vimeo can do something to help correct that imbalance.”