Dating app Bumble to fight ‘shocking' gender imbalance with female film fund

Broadcaster Edith Bowman and actresses Ophelia Lovibond and Georgina Campbell will be on a panel of judges.

A fund to help female film-makers combat the “shocking” gender imbalance in the industry has been launched by dating and social app Bumble.

The initiative, called The Female Film Force, will give aspiring creatives in the UK and Ireland the chance to win one of five £20,000 grants to make a short film, with a view to entering them into festivals and awards ceremonies in 2020.

The app, which puts women in control, said the final five films will “embody Bumble’s values of female empowerment, equality and kindness”.

A panel of industry experts – chaired by radio presenter Edith Bowman and including actresses Ophelia Lovibond and Georgina Campbell – will judge the submissions.

Each entry must include an all-female team of writers, directors and producers.

The fund was launched in response to a lack of women winning accolades over the recent awards season.

Ophelia Lovibond at the Bafta Scotland awards
Ophelia Lovibond at the Bafta Scotland awards (Jane Barlow/PA)

Just six women, including best actress and best supporting actress winners, took home prizes at the Oscars in March, compared with 33 men.

According to Women in Film and TV, an organisation for women working in creative media, in 2017 only 18% of directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers working on the top 250 grossing films were women.

Whitney Wolfe, the founder and chief executive of Bumble, said: “The imbalance we saw over this year’s awards season at the Oscars, Golden Globes and the Baftas was truly shocking.

“Women are incredible storytellers, and creators, and we want to see more of their stories told.

“We know how many talented women there are out there – and we want to see them represented accurately. There is no reason why one of these films shouldn’t be nominated or win an award – and that’s the vision for this project; real opportunity, real stories, real change.”

Bowman said: “The fight for women to have equal rights and opportunities has to be taken seriously.

“The film industry has been in the spotlight for many months and although there has been a great deal of change and positive steps in the right direction, there is still a long way to go.

“It is ludicrous that only 1% of top-grossing films employed 10 or more women in key behind-the-scenes roles, while 70% of films employed 10 or more men.

“We need parity across the industry. We need to see more stories by women, about women and told by women.

“Initiatives like The Female Film Force will give women from all backgrounds the opportunity to tell their story and be supported by the film industry throughout the process to hopefully launch into the industry and/or develop further.”

The five winners will be announced in July, and will have their films delivered in January and showcased at an industry event.

Bumble has also said that, over the production period, the film-makers will receive guidance from industry experts as part of a mentoring programme created in partnership with Women in Film and TV.

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