The beautiful story of RÉALISATRICES ÉQUITABLES
The spark sprung to their minds at the beginning of 2007. Upon learning that French director Coline Serreau was visiting Quebec, Isabelle Hayeur and Ève Lamont set up an informal meeting with Quebec women directors to discuss their difficult but enthralling profession. Lucette Lupien, the moderator, presented statistics of the Half and Half group, active between 1988 and 1997. They are dumbstruck when they realize that the situation of women directors hasn’t improved in 20 years! While in 1985, the women directors’ share of SODEC’s budget was 22 %, this share has taken a free fall to 8% in 1995 and has barely gone back up to 13 % in 2005.
During the first year of the group’s life, Marquise Lepage, Isabelle Hayeur, Vanya Rose, and Marie-Pascale Laurencelle presented a brief to the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) and another brief to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, to claim women’s share of the Canada Television Fund as well as ensure women’s participation at Radio Canada and the Canada Media Fund.
A small group of women gather around the founders. They adopt the name RÉALISATRICES ÉQUITABLES (RE). To sound the alarm, they publish a letter in La Presse and Le Devoir, which creates quite a stir! This letter denounces in no uncertain terms the meagre share of funds received by women directors. This period is a difficult one for the members of the fledgling organization: the letter is contested on all sides and the group is even accused of lying about the figures, in part because the myth of equality having already been achieved is well embedded in people’s minds, and because society is still mired in the anti-feminist backlash. But they don’t give up and ask Francine Descarries, a PhD, researcher at UQAM’s Institute of Feminist Research and Studies, and rock star of sociology in Quebec, to conduct a study, with the assistance of the researcher Marie-Julie Garneau. The study confirms the data for all the institutions. Entitled Women Directors’ Place in Public Financing of Film and Television in Quebec (2002-2007), this research, which has been monitored and revised by Sophie Bissonnette, is made public at the March 2008 press conference. The information is widely relayed by the media. This study is also doubted by many, still sceptics to women directors’ cause.
During that same year, RE met ALL the institutions to acquaint them with the result of the study and to ask for their cooperation: Christine St-Pierre, Quebec minister of Culture; Thérèse Mailloux, sous-ministre adjointe à la condition féminine du Québec (Assistant Deputy Minister of the Quebec ministry on the status of women); Tom Perlmutter and Monique Simard at the NFB; Valerie Creighton at the Canadian Television Fund, Ann Champoux, director for film and television at the SODEC; Michel Pradier, director for investment portfolio at Telefilm Canada; Christiane Pelchat, president of the Council on the Status of Women.
Thus, all institutions were informed, except for Heritage Canada since the minister, Josée Verner and her successor James Moore, refused to meet with RE.
At that time, ARRQ (l’Association of des réalisateurs et réalisatrices du Québec) becomes RE’s ally and starts financing part of their activities. And of course, several women directors join in and devote a lot of volunteer time to RÉ which starts expanding!
RE continues presenting its study to the highest government authorities, ministries, institutions in Quebec, as well as at the federal level (excluding, to our great chagrin, a succession of Heritage Canada ministers).
During that time, several members become responsible for specific issues. Isabelle Hayeur questions the president of Telefilm Canada, Michel Roy, during the first public meeting of that institution. Sophie Bissonnette becomes responsible for women’s visibility at film festivals and contributes to a panel discussion at the Rencontres internationales du documentaire. Sophie Goyette and Lucette Lupien speak at the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois. Marquise Lepage collaborates with Union des Artistes actresses for the preparation of an event that takes place on March 2, 2009. RE conducts awareness-raising sessions about the situation of women directors at Radio Canada (with the person responsible for diversity). They also work with UQAM, raising the issue of the quasi-absence of female professors at its media school (3 women only out of a teaching staff of 27). RE networks with other organizations such as the Conseil québécois d'intervention pour l'accès des femmes au travail (Quebec Council for Access of Women to Jobs). Outside Quebec RE networks with Rina Fraticelli, of Women in View in Vancouver.
Isabelle Hayeur and Ève Lamont create that same year the Cinéquitable film club, and show women’s films once a month at Casa Obscura. This event is extremely successful and even fosters a shouting match during a special « Shorts » screening, with Marc-André Forcier asking several pointed questions. It is an epic evening which will remain for a long time etched in the memories of Vanya Rose, Ève Lamont, Isabelle Hayeur and Chloé Leriche… They can provide details on demand!
Thanks to a grant from the Quebec Ministry of Culture, Communications and the Status of Women, RÉ carries out a promotional program called « Directors Direct », which includes: a series of lectures by women directors in colleges and universities, training workshops for women directors, and a mentoring program to foster sorority among women directors. L’Institut national de l’image et du son (INIS) and the NFB offer support during this project.
Lucette Lupien and Yanick B. Gélinas continue to distribute a weekly bulletin and blog, thus highlighting the presence of women directors in the media, their successes, and difficulties encountered in their profession.
Thus, in 2010, about two and a half years after its creation, RE can assert that the inequality that women directors are experiencing is now a fact which is known and recognized by all, even if the solutions are neither yet clearly defined, nor create consensus.
On March 7, 2011 RE launches Encore pionnières (Still Pioneers), a longitudinal study on the careers of Quebec women directors in feature-length fiction films. This study results from a long-term endeavor by sociologists Anna Lupien and Francine Descarries, who are assisted by Isabelle Hayeur. The research and interviews with various filmmakers, data analysis, writing and distribution of the report, monopolizes a large share of RÉ members’ energy during that period.
At its launch, the study is widely broadcast by the media and then follows an impressive press review. The scope of media attention forces the institutions to change their tune: women directors’ plights are now taken seriously. It looks like RE’s message is finally getting through: there is a problem of inequality with women in film and the world of the media (film, television, etc.) begins to ask themselves questions, and see the need for change.
2011 is almost exclusively devoted to a new round of meetings to present this new study to the funding bodies responsible for film financing. RE spend a lot of time analysing the SODEC and Telefilm Canada grant programs, and request that they be amended.
2012 marks the beginning of an ambitious project dreamt by Marquise Lepage: 40 ans de vues rêvées par des femmes, (40 years of films dreamt by women), which celebrates the 40th anniversary of the first independent feature-length fiction film directed by a woman in Quebec in 1972: La vie rêvée (The dream life), by Mireille Dansereau.
Marquise works day and night to look for financing and to create a series of events: first a retrospective of Mireille Dansereau’s work at the Cinémathèque québécoise during an entire week. Video capsules are shot where Mireille talks about the making of each one of her films. At the première, where La vie rêvée is shown, there is massive public participation and the house is so packed audience members are turned away at the door. The evening was a great and well celebrated success!
RE members direct and produce eight video portraits of Quebec women feature film directors: Les dames aux caméras (The ladies behind the cameras). These capsules are posted online on our website, as well as on the ARRQ and TV5 websites.
That same year, Christine Chevarie directs her poignant film, La comédienne d’Amérique (The American Actress) with the collaboration of actresses who are members of the Union des Artistes Women’s Committee. The film is widely broadcast during the entire month of March before the feature is shown at Cinéma Beaubien, and subsequently at various film festivals.
Carolle Brabant, who has become the head of Telefilm Canada, adopts a reform of film programs which thoroughly dismays RE. The funding program for independent film is abolished and the funding for script development will become almost inaccessible. Isabelle Hayeur creates a team to analyze the programs and a RE delegation meets Carolle Brabant to illustrate that these changes will be extremely damaging to women, since the vast majority of their films are financed through the now defunct independent film program. In addition, women directors are often their own producers and a vast majority of them will no longer be eligible for development financing.
Despite this sad shift on the part of Telefilm Canada, RE feels that by 2012 it has met with the overall approval of the film world, and that the efforts it has devoted to showcase women directors have a wide and appreciative audience.
Our 20 courts et grand talent (20 shorts and great talent) DVD set is launched at the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois in February. This set, coordinated by Lisa Sfriso and Nicole Giguère, is a compilation of 20 short films by women directors who are ready to move to feature length films. The set, which contains 4 DVDs, is distributed free of charge to producers who are members of the APFTQ (Association des producteurs de films et télévision du Québec) to whet their appetites: here is a pool of talented women directors from which you can draw your future golden girls!
In March, RE publishes a third study: L’avant et l’arrière de l’écran (In front of, and behind, the screen) which analyses the male and female representation in all Quebec films released in 2012. This study requires enormous efforts on the part of sociologist Anna Lupien and Isabelle Hayeur, who work tirelessly during their Christmas vacations, and even on December 24th, while the turkey is roasting in the oven for the Christmas Eve feast! The study results are shocking: men and women in Quebec films are still as stereotyped as before, unless the film is directed by a woman, in which case a greater number of women as main characters are seen, and are less stereotyped. The media give broad coverage to the study and RE’s press review file is ever more impressive.
RÉ packs a great number of projects during that year and it is difficult to believe that they have managed to accomplish all that.
RE organizes an exchange with a group of Mexican film directors: Mujeres en el cine y la television (Women in Film and Television). Marquise Lepage and Nicole Giguère fly to Mexico City to present a selection of Quebec women directors’ films. Sophie Deraspe and Martine Chartrand join this small delegation set up by RE.
In partnership with Vidéo Femmes and the Cinémathèque québécoise, Nicole Giguère and Helen Doyle organize a Retrospective of the works of Cecilia Mangini, the first woman documentary director in Italy. This 87-year old lady charms the Cinémathèque audiences. She is brilliant, has a great sense of humour and integrity: everyone loves her! She is accompanied by Jackie Buet and Marina Mazzotti, from the Festival International de Films de Femmes de Créteil (Créteil International Women’s Film Festival), who invite RE to their next festival.
Isabelle Hayeur, Anna Lupien, and Sophie Bissonnette give several lectures in Quebec Cégep and university film classes, in order to raise the awareness of future producers and directors (whether male or female) on the challenges facing women who want to practice this profession. They take advantage of these lectures to give ten pieces of advice to young women directors.
Needless to say, meetings with elected officials and institutions continue. Maka Kotto, the new Quebec Minister of Culture, consults RE several times and engenders hope that equity in the area of culture will be officially part of the Parti québécois mandate. Unfortunately, this government is short-lived and RE’s as well as the new minister’s enthusiasm will have no impact on the political scene.
RE also present a brief: Les enjeux du cinéma québécois: la distribution?, prepared by Isabelle Hayeur, Marquise Lepage and Nicole Giguère, to the Groupe de travail sur les enjeux du cinema québécois (Working Group on Quebec film issues), where RE is invited to speak during the first round of consultations. RE is highly disappointed, at a later date, to observe that none of their recommendations on women have been included in the report that results from these consultations.
During that period, RE notice that traffic on its Facebook page, which has been managed for several years by Catherine Pallascio, increases significantly and that this page is becoming a reference for news on women in the world of media.
This is the year in which the celebration of the 40th anniversary of La vie rêvée concludes by the publication by RE and les Éditions Somme toute of 40 ans de vues rêvées par des femmes (40 years of films dreamt by women). The workload was huge, and a huge part fell to Marquise Lepage, Nicole Giguère, Isabelle Hayeur, Anna Lupien (author of most of the text and photos). The book launch is widely publicised and is attended by more than 400 people in the Cinémathèque Quebecoise’s main hall. The concurrent exhibition Les filles des vues (Film Women), which shows about sixty portraits of women directors photographed by Anna Lupien is displayed at the Cinémathèque and draws crowds!
Later that same year, Anna Lupien and her exhibit are invited to the Toronto Women’s Film Festival; Anna Lupien also represents RE at the St-John’s Women’s Films festival, where a symposium of all Canadian groups representing women in media write recommendations that are presented to the federal and provincial ministers of culture.
For its part of the exchange, RE welcomes six Mexican women directors during the fall. RE volunteers to translate the films in French. Nicole Giguère coordinates the screenings at the Cinémathèque, Concordia University and the Quebec Film Festival, in addition to introducing the Mexican directors to smoked meat and sharing with them a fabulous potluck organised by RE members. The Mexican ladies are enchanted by their experience and wish to pursue working with their Canadian sisters.
Our promotional meetings continue with the new Minister of Culture Hélène David, the Deputy Minister for the Status of Women, Catherine Ferembach, with Julie Miville-Dechêne, from the Council on the Status of Women, and the new SODEC president, Monique Simard, during the fall.
Isabelle Hayeur, Sophie Bissonnette and Anna Lupien continue their lectures in CEGEPs and universities.
RE hosts a panel conducted by Sabrina Jacques, director, and Anne Gibault, producer, about the creation of video games, which is highly appreciated by its members. Anne Gibault relates that Monopoly, the most popular game of all times, was created by a woman … but purchased and marketed by a man, who pocketed all the profit… Strange?
In 2014, Isabelle Hayeur replaces Marquise Lepage as the president of Réalisatrices Équitables.
In March, Nicole Giguère and Isabelle Hayeur fly to France. Jacky Buet has followed through on her promise and highlighted RE at the Festival de films de femmes de Créteil (Créteil Women’s Film Festival). Nicole and Isabelle present eight films directed by Quebec women, participate in a symposium and various meetings during the festival. They take advantage of their stay in Paris to set up various meetings and link up with various key figures: Coline Serreau, Pascale Cosse from the Délégation du Québec, Bérénice Vincent from Deuxième Regard, Amélie Martin at the Ministère du Droit des Femmes (Women’s rights ministry), among others.
At the same time, Pascale Malaterre represents RE at the Florac Festival in France where six films by Quebec women directors are shown. She makes a well-received presentation on RE.
Following her return, Isabelle Hayeur sets up a study on the profession of documentary filmmakers, to be conducted by UQAM and ARRQ, in order to ensure that the data will be gender-desegregated. The results show that the place of women in documentary production is not as positive as what is usually believed.
The Ciné-club LES DAMES DU DOC also begins in 2015 under the responsibility of Christine Chevarie. It is launched with the beautiful Les filles du roy, by Anne-Claire Poirier, the pioneer of documentary film in Québec, present at the screening. The evening turns out to be a great success. The offices of ARRQ, where the screening takes place, overflow. About 60 flat grilled cheese sandwiches are served, office chairs are loaned so that everybody can sit! Following the screening, Anne-Claire relates her three true stories about the behind-the-scenes of the film, in front of a charmed audience. Then, a small group of students sits around Anne-Claire, who keeps them entranced until well after midnight!
This evening is a preview of the LES DAMES DU DOC project that is planned for 2016 to enhance and promote women documentary filmmakers in Quebec. The entire Board of Directors of RE works on this project, while at the same time continuing the struggle to ensure that a fair share of women directors are able to make films in Quebec. RE organizes a Study Day on women and culture on creative women in cultural areas and participates in the revision of the upcoming Quebec gender equity guide. RE presents a brief at the beginning of 2016 and will keep monitoring this issue, in the hope that it will soon produce results.
It’s the year of an historical victory: the NFB announces that it reached parity regarding the choice of projects and production budgets. We are over the moon, so we invite Claude Joli-Coeur, the new director general who showed an impressive political courage, to break out the champagne with us!
During this year, Réalisatrices Équitables is on everyone’s lips. Two important projects are launched. They are written and talked about extensively in the media.
On the one hand, Isabelle Hayeur and Lucette Lupien prepare a coalition project which brings together creators’ associations from all artistic disciplines. Jenny Cartwright is hired to coordinate the project. All three of them hound tirelessly groups that represent authors, visual artists, video games creators, screenwriters, music composers – to name a few – to make sure they compile data regarding women’s representation in their respective fields. Following a workshop which brought together female representation from diverse associations of female creators, a report is presented in a press conference and caused quite a stir: it’s the first data from Quebec that includes the entire cultural field. And the data is damning... Are we surprised? In every discipline, women are widely discriminated, sometimes completely missing. And the problem is not only in cinema! The coalition for M/W parity is created. The following year, it is known under the name “Women in Creation”.
On the other hand, we launch, at the Cinémathèque québécoise, our online portal called LES DAMES DU DOC. It required a colossal team work. Catherine Pallascio, Isabelle Hayeur, and Julie Belpaire from Gris-Gris Design, dedicated a lot of time to this project. The impressive portal includes a detailed record of each of the 130 female documentary directors. This part of the project has been compiled by Sylvie Rosenthal. There are also links to all the movies which are available, as well as interviews conducted by Sophie Bissonnette, Nicole Giguère and Christine Chevarie.
2016 is also a deeply intense year of political representation which became even more striking with the addition of the Coalition statistics regarding female presence in other cultural disciplines. Isabelle Hayeur, Nicole Giguère and Marie-Hélène Panisset did, in total, 13 meetings with institutions in addition to presenting submissions to the Ministry of Culture and the Women’s Secretariat of Québec. Simultaneously, Isabelle and Anna Lupien continue to give conferences in Universities and Cégeps to encourage young women to pursue in the field.
When we learned, a few years back, that parity had been reached at the Swedish Film Institute by a visionary named Anna Serner, we broadly shared the information with the female directors of important institutions. In 2016, NFB’s Carolle Brabant and SODEC’s Monique Simard joined forces to organize Mrs. Serner’s visit in Quebec. We filmed the conference “Ce que nous faisons pour l’égalité entre les sexes” [What we do to reach equality between the sexes], and Naomie Décarie-Daigneault translated it and put it online to broadcast it widely. Henceforth, Mrs. Serner’s action plan became the basis of our demands.
Faced with so little results to this day, the winds of change are palpable in women’s groups which defend the place of female creators in Canada and wish an equal and diverse representation on screen. At the TIFF, the NFB is widely criticized. Carolle Brabant then decided to set up a task group which brings together the major broadcasting unions and the Canadian groups concerned with women’s rights in the media. RÉ is part of it with Isabelle Hayeur and Marie-Hélène Panisset as representatives. The first meeting turns out as a hotly disputed debate because RÉ and the other groups wish a parity in Canada as clear and unambiguous as the one established in Sweden.
It’s the year of victories! Following the second meeting of the task group at the NFB of which RÉ is part of, Carolle Brabant announces officially that parity has been achieved in granting projects at the NFB. An historic picture is taken. We scream out of sheer joy and invite Carolle Brabant, the first woman in charge of the NFB, to drink champagne with us and celebrate her political courage.
Soon afterwards, Monique Simard announces that steps are being taken in order to help women receive their fair share of funding at the SODEC. These steps are rather discrete and not clear enough. Members of RÉ are perplex. Will these measures allow female directors to reach parity? Only time will tell…
That year, RÉ joins another work group. This time, it’s at the NFB. Isabelle Hayeur and Catherine Pallascio act as representatives. Indeed, the NFB expands its parity measures to the women who work in the media: screenwriters, DOPs, editors and music composers. Another victory!
In Fall, RÉ is awarded the “Engagement” prize from the Observatoire du cinéma québécois at the Université de Montréal “to highlight the exceptional contribution the non-profit organization brought through its passion and its commitment to the film industry.” Olivier Asselin, who awarded us the prize, brought tears to our eyes with a wonderful speech dedicated to our group.
In the Toronto Film Review blog, Marcel Jean, director of the Cinémathèque Québécoise, publishes a list of his 100 best Canadian films. Very few women make the cut. We write a letter which is not well received… at first. But this tiny spat marks the start of a wonderful collaboration with Marcel. Proof that expressing a fair discontent can often be positive. RÉ and Films Fatales retaliate by publishing their own list of a 100 best Canadian films from female directors. This list is published on the Toronto Film Review blog.
The Film Club project continues under the supervision of Christine Chevarie, and we collaborate for the first time with Cinéma Politica Concordia by copresenting a film about female directors around the world.
For a second year, we continue our partnership with La course des régions, this time by presenting a prize to one of the female directors amongst the contestants. On behalf of RÉ, Nicole Giguère goes to Sherbrooke on the night of the gala in order to award the Vision Prize to Anne Laguë who won a 10-hour mentorship with an experienced female director. Telefilm Canada added a $2,500 grant to our prize.
2017 is also a preparation year for our upcoming projects: our 10th anniversary and the launch of our new online portal DAMES DES VUES. Our Board of Directors welcomes three young and dynamic women, Naomie Décarie-Daigneault, Anik Salas and Geneviève Thibert, who give us the energy to go on. Although goals of gender parity are announced, there is still so much to do, and RÉ doesn’t give up!
A big year is ahead of us, and it starts with rehearsals for a jazz ballet and a disco song: some 20 female directors, age 25 to 72, have accepted to interpret an adaptation of Dancing Queen, here renamed Filming Queen, which will open RÉ’s 10th anniversary celebration. Choreographer Hélène Langevin and dancer Audrey Bergeron prepare for us a crazy routine whereas Victoria Doyon tries to teach us the basics of singing. We rehearse relentlessly, defying snow storms.
Simultaneously, Nicole Giguère and Isabelle Hayeur coordinate the production of a documentary on the lovely story of Réalisatrices Équitables which will be directed by Émilie Baillargeon. They go through the archives, they retrieve pictures and videos, as well as newspapers articles.
Our anniversary is on February 22nd. Marie-Hélène Panisset names it 10 ans… et toutes nos dents! [10 years… and still sharp!] to emphasize the fact that RÉ has a few battles left to fight and to win. The Rendez-vous Québec Cinéma dedicates a whole evening of festivities to us.
We open with a panel discussion organized by Marie-Hélène Panisset called “Parity, what’s next?”. On the panel: Telefilm’s Carolle Brabant, SODEC’s Johanne Larue, our most trusted feminist sociology rock star Francine Descarries, Distribution 4/3’s Chantal Pagé, female director Sophie Deraspe, and our president Isabelle Hayeur who represents RÉ. 275 people are in attendance. That is partially because the list of honored guests is impressive, but also because Telefilm Canada and SODEC’s measures for parity generate a lot of questions. Isabelle opens the discussion with statistics regarding the number of female directors before and after the preliminary measures were taken: yes, those measures help female directors. Francine Descarries follows with a presentation about unconscious stereotypes. Her outspokenness, her regal presence, her intelligence and her argumentation indisputably stupefy. The audience takes part in this panel with great passion. Segolène Roederer, Marquise Lepage and Marie-Hélène Panisset’s contributions spark the debate. Filmed by Pascal Gélinas, click here to watch the panel “Parity, what’s next?”.
Then the movie 10 ans… et toutes nos dents! is presented to the public. Despite having a very tight budget, Émilie Baillargeon came up with a very original documentary and Jessica Barker, UDA’s representative for the Women committee, acted as the narrator. Don’t hesitate to watch it by clicking here. While the audience is concentrated on the film, the Filming Queen crew gets feverishly ready. Sophie Lefèbvre, well renowned costume designer, offered us pieces from her disco wardrobe: we quickly put on flares and fluorescent polyester clothes covered with rhinestones and sequins.
Baturica, a group of percussionists, comes on stage. Their cry of joy “Parity!” resonates in the cinémathèque. Meanwhile, we are in the wings, excited like teenagers. The first chords of Filming Queen are being heard: the adrenaline kicks in and we rush on stage like a pack of psychedelic zebras. Click here to watch Pascal Gélinas’ recording.
After a memorable performance, we danced all night. Click here to see the photo album!
We don’t have any time to be complacent during our 10th year of existence. That summer, we organize, in partnership with the Cinémathèque and Marcel Jean, a Special Program: Femmes-Femmes – 100 films de femmes. Members of our Board of Directors, Isabelle Hayeur, Anik Salas and Sylvie Van Brabant, host a few evenings of screening.
Anik Salas undertakes a work cycle with the CRTC and we carry on with the online portal DAMES DES VUES. The entire RÉ’s living force contribute to the project. Video portraits on women directors are shot, and the Female Directors’ Directory is getting full, as well as the Online Cinema. We launch our portal at the Cinémathèque québécoise on September 19th. Female directors from Quebec are proud of this showcase which comprising of 227 women in cinema. This should constitute a sufficient proof that there are women in the cinema industry.
The Film Club continues its monthly presentation in collaboration with the ARRQ, our trusted partner. We begin a collaboration with Cinéma sous les étoiles to copresent the film Ce silence qui tue, a Kim Obomsawin film in a Montreal’s park. RÉ award the Vision Prize to the winner of La course des régions, Josiane Blanc. At our request, Anne Émond accepts to offer a 10-hour mentorship to the young director.
The year finishes on a high note with RÉ’s presence in many events, including a symposium at UQÀM titled “To be a woman in audiovisual media in Quebec”, the Filministes festival and the Vues d’Afrique festival thanks to Érica Pomerance. Conferences in schools continue; Anik Salas picks up the torch and gives a few of them.
It’s the year of major transitions. We carry on with our normal activities: letters in the media, presentations, conferences in Cinema schools, etc. The directory DAMES DES VUES gains a few more female directors. Catherine Pallascio is responsible for keeping up to date our website as well as developing it with the help of Gris-Gris Design.
Our Cine-Club and the production of the videos “3 true stories” continue for a 4th year. Hats off to Christine Chevarie, Nicole Giguère and Anna Lupien from the Program committee, and also to all the volunteers who take part in our monthly screening since 2015!
Isabelle, Anik and Nicole go to Ottawa for a meeting with Canadian Heritage. The study RÉ made L’avant et l’arrière de l’écran (in front and behind the camera) has been cited as an example. It was also suggested to expand it nationwide.
Many partnerships continue, including those with the Filministes Festival, Cinema Politica, the Cinémathèque québécoise and La course des régions where we award the Vision Prize 2019 to Chrystelle Quintin. The young director choose Chloé Robichaud as her mentor. She graciously accepts.
New collaborations start. With the feminist group Réseau des femmes en environnement, we organize a symposium on women’s health. We join forces with Tënk, a new online platform dedicated to documentaries, thanks to Naomie Décarie-Daigneault. Our Film Club joins forces with the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma to copresent the film The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open from female director Kathleen Hepburn.
For a second Summer, we join forces with Cinéma sous les étoiles to present two movies in Montreal’s parks: Alanis Obomsawin’s Kanehsatake, 270 years of resistance, and Pascale Ferland’s Pauline Julien, intime et politique.
In June, we hold a strategic planning meeting under the auspices of Lucette Lupien, loyal patron of RÉ. Isabelle Hayeur announces she leaves the Board of Directors. All of RÉ’s young women roll up their sleeves in order to breathe new life into the organization, one which will reflect their particular issues. At our annual meeting, we welcome new recruits: Constance Chaput-Raby, Katherine Jerkovic, Hélène Pichette and Marie-Claude Paradis-Vigneault from Sherbrooke. The latter wishes to get in touch with female directors from all regions and subsequently represent them. Anik Salas becomes President, Katherine Jerkovic Vice-President and Naomie Décarie-Daigneault Secretary. Nicole Giguère remains part of the Board of Directors as the Treasurer and also provides the necessary continuity as a coordinator.
Our presentations continue. A meeting occurs at Telefilm Canada with its new director general, Christa Dickenson, and her assistant Marie-France Godbout. Anik Salas, Katherine Jerkovic and Isabelle Hayeur (to help with the transition), talk about the issues with distribution. Anik concludes the work cycle with the CRTC’s Executive Board which will integrate new parity policies within its organization as well as in the recommendations for its clientele. On this issue, we are in contact with Women in Film from Vancouver and Women in View from Toronto.
During its fundraising gala 2019, FCTMN honors RÉ’s pioneers: Lucette Lupien, Ève Lamont, Isabelle Hayeur, Nicole Giguère, Marquise Lepage, Sophie Bissonnette and Anna Lupien. It’s a fantastic evening with a touching tribute.
The Diversity committee flourishes. Initiated a few years ago by Sophie Bissonnette, Erica Pomerance and Elza Kephart who held consultations aiming at better understanding the needs of female directors who are part of the cultural diversity, the group finally takes off and now includes a number of new female directors from diverse origins. Katherine Jerkovic represents RÉ in a panel about diversity which took place during the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma.
During the FNC, RÉ acts as a partner for a breakfast which regroups female film technicians. Hélène Pichette represents us. Anik Salas is invited to speak on behalf of RÉ during a cocktail celebrating FNC’s signing of the 50/50 Charter.
This year, Constance Chaput-Ruby is undertaking a massive task: researching and compiling statistics from diverse institutions which finance the film industry. This data is essential for our presentations as well as our symposiums and the interviews we do.
RÉ is widely solicited by the media regarding the question of parity. Anik Salas and Katherine Jerkovic act as articulated and enlightened representatives. We are so proud of them! Our FB page grows in popularity and Naomie Décarie-Daigneault, our community manager, does an incredible job.
At the dawn of the year 2020, we experience a renewed dynamism within our ranks. On top of looking for new resources to carry on the actions which remain at the basis of our mission, many new projects are in preparation…