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Vimeo to fund five female-directed films this year to help close gender gap

Vimeo plans to do its part to help alleviate Hollywood’s gender equality problem this year.  As part of the video streamer’s new “Share the Screen” initiative, Vimeo will fund at least five projects by female directors in 2016. The projects chosen will not only receive financing, but also educational workshops, and promotions on the site. The female-led films will receive budgets in the “millions” according to Deadline.

“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,” explained the company’s CEO Kerry Trainor to Deadline.

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A recent study noted that female directors made just 9 percent of the 250 top-grossing films in 2015, which is the same percentage measured in 1998. “It takes a long time for big industries to change their behavior,” explained the study’s author Dr. Martha Lauzen to Variety. “It would be unrealistic to expect that attitudes about women as directors to change over night, but nothing in this data suggests that change is on the horizon.”

The first project in this Vimeo initiative is Darby Forever, an original short written and starring Saturday Night Live’s Aidy Bryant about a fabric store worker exploring “fantasy worlds” inspired by her customers. Vimeo also curates an on-demand section called “Female-Directed, Vimeo-Approved” which features films from directors Lucy Walker, Melanie Laurent, Crystal Moselle and others.

Vimeo debuted the initiative at the Sundance Film Festival, which started today. Like Hollywood at large, Sundance is also dominated by male directors but the numbers are slightly more equal than mainstream studios: 25 percent of the films showcased at Sundance over the last 13 years have been directed by women, according to Variety