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Record numbers of female key creatives funded in SA

01 August 2019

For the first time ever women have achieved parity with men in key creative roles in productions funded by the South Australian Film Corporation when averaged out across feature films, TV drama, and factual and documentary programs, it was announced by Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni today.

Minister Pisoni said women have taken 53 per cent of writer roles, 53 per cent of director roles and 50 per cent of producer roles across SAFC-funded long-form content production in what has been a record year for spend and production activity in the state.

“I congratulate the SAFC for their initiatives to achieve a significant boost for women in the screen industry,” Minister Pisoni said.

Tracked in detail going back to 2016 when the SAFC’s Gender Agenda was first introduced, the data released today underlines strong and steady increases in the number of female producers, writers and directors of primetime TV drama funded by the agency across the past three financial years. The TV statistics are however countered by a decline in female key creatives working on feature films funded by the SAFC across the same period.

In response to this, the SAFC’s $20,000 Lottie Lyell Award for female screen creatives will this year take the form of a feature film development initiative, open only to feature projects by female writers and directors. At least one of the applicants must be a South Australian resident, and the intention must be to produce and/or post-produce the film in South Australia.

Initiated by former SAFC CEO Courtney Gibson, who left the role last week, the newly-focused Lottie Lyell Award will also be open to male producers for the first time, but only if they are working with a female writer and a female director, or a female writer-director.

Ms Gibson congratulated the industry on the record numbers of women in key creative roles in TV drama, and their continuing strong representation in factual and documentary in the state.

“The steady climb in the percentage of female writers averaged across all genres is particularly good news. But while TV drama and documentary are seeing a surge in female participation, it’s of great concern that women still lag in key creative roles on feature films,” Ms Gibson said.

“All the data and research in Australia and around the world indicates that gender parity in the screen industry can only be achieved when male producers work with female writers and directors.

“We anticipate the 2019 Lottie Lyell Award will encourage male and female producers alike to seek out feature projects with great potential by female writers and directors. Lottie herself worked in close collaboration with Ray Longford, and we have a lot of Lotties in SA who are looking for their Ray – or their Raylene, as the case may be.”

The Lottie Lyell Award, named after the great Australian screen pioneer of a century ago, was created in 2018 to provide support for innovative female key creatives. The inaugural recipient was Prisoners and Pups creator Shalom Almond who is using the funds to develop her bold new multi-platform project Jailbirds and Songbirds in collaboration with inmates at Adelaide Women’s Prison.

Applications for the 2019 Lottie Lyell Award will open in October, and the recipients will be announced in December, when SA celebrates the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

THE DATA: Female key creatives on SAFC-funded projects


These figures have been calculated by counting individual women credited across all SAFC-funded feature films, TV drama and factual/documentary projects of at least 30 minutes duration, collated by financial year of funding approval. The total ‘overall’ table will not equal to the average of the genre based tables as sample sizes for each genre differ.

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