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OPEN DOORS - Inclusion Across The Spectrum: PGA East Pushes For Progress On Multiple Fronts

Posted By Rachel Watanabe-Batton, Tuesday, August 8, 2017

PGA East Diversity and PGA Womens Impact Network have embraced a leadership role in bringing the entertainment industry together globally and locally to create an honest and informed forum for discussing the difficult but increasingly quotidian questions around inclusion and bias—implicit, unconscious and systemic alike—and how they intersect.

 At the Cannes Film Festival this year, PGA WIN participated in 50/50 by 2020 Global Reach,a seminar on international strategies for achieving gender equality.  In 2012, Sweden set a goal for 2020, that 50% of the countrys films would be written, directed and produced by women. The Swedes have already achieved 50% funding levels for women, inspiring countries like Norway, Canada and Ireland to follow suit. Anna Serner, CEO, Swedish Film Institute, moderated conversations with directors Agnieszka Holland, Jessica Hausner and international guests, including Lydia Dean Pilcher, PGA VP of Motion Pictures and Chair of PGA WIN. (Joyce Pierpoline, WIN Co-Chair, was an event coordinator.) Pilcher expressed concern for overcoming the perception of lack of opportunity, which has deflected women out of the business at all levels from high school career goal, to film school, to mid-career. Systemic issues such as media stereotypes, which perpetuate limited career options for women and normalize sexual harassment, continue to be barriers for women in film globally. This is also a huge problem for building a female filmmaker pipeline in America. Addressing these issues of implicit bias is where our energy is now needed most.

Expanding domestic efforts toward inclusion logically led to the creation of the Neurodiversity Task Force. The group launched this May at The Players club in New York, spearheaded by PGA East Chair William Horberg and member Janet Grillo, who observed, With 1% of the American population diagnosed on the autism spectrum, this has become a shared social circumstance. As storytellers, we have an opportunity, if not a responsibility, to build awareness and acceptance for people on the spectrum and their families.”  By the close of the event, Horberg was excited and energized by the commitment and passion in the room. It was really exciting and heartening to see the turnout and level of engagement among our members for this first event,he shared. There were a lot of sleeves rolled up and good ideas for telling stories about and making content with people on the spectrum.”  (See page 21 for more on this special event.)

These developments make it all the more exciting to be hosting our first Inter-Guild Diversity Coalition Mixer this summer with SAG-AFTRA and WGA East Diversity, aimed at members and staff engaged in advocating for diversity within their individual labor unions and guilds. The ad-hoc coalition has been meeting quarterly to share information about relevant developments across our industries to improve authentic representation and employment of historically underrepresented communities. Each guild takes turns hosting in its space, which creates camaraderie and literally a welcome seat at the table! 

Tags:  open doors 

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