The Danish Film Institute, in partnership with the Producers Association, is introducing a self-report form, on which producers must list information about the gender balance of their film and game projects, in terms of both the crew and the cast.
The self-report form has been tested for about a year on the Danish Film Institute's funding for features, primarily to gain insight into user-friendliness and functionality.
Starting 1 March 2020, production companies applying for funding for fiction films, documentaries and games, or for funding from the New Danish Screen talent-development scheme, must provide information about the gender balance of their productions.
The self-report is filed with the application for production funding. The form is later updated and re-submitted with the final accounts. The self-report lists information about the gender of all central crew positions and the cast. The gender balance of the dialogue in the final draft of the script must also be reported, along with the pay by gender and the percentage of any pay gap.
Awareness of own practice
The self-report is part of the Danish Film Institute’s and the industry’s diversity efforts. The starting point is that Danish films and games should be representative of the population – in terms of gender, ethnicity, social background and geography. In that regard, awareness of one’s blind spots and insight into one’s own practice are key.
The self-report was originally conceived by producer Meta Louise Foldager Sørensen of Meta Film and Sam Productions, who at one time began keeping statistics on the gender balance of her own projects. What she found surprised her. The imbalance was much greater than she had anticipated. According to the veteran producer the documentation exercise changed the focus and the gender balance of her productions. The experiences gained from this trial run were put into creating the self-report form.
Jørgen Ramskov, Director of the Producers Association, says:
"Gaining knowledge is essential for enhancing our industry’s focus on reflecting society at large. It will enable us to tell stories that are relevant for our times, while making us attractive as producers to the great talent mass we are fortunate to have in Denmark. The self-report is one of several initiatives required for righting the gender imbalance."
Christina Rosendahl, Chairperson of Danish Film Directors, says:
"At Danish Film Directors, we share the Film Institute’s and the Producers Association’s desire for our films to be representative of the entire population. We look forward to using the new self-report form. We consider self-reporting a powerful awareness-raising tool in picking crews and casts, and in telling stories."
Claus Ladegaard, CEO of the Danish Film Institute, underscores the importance of working with the industry:
"It’s essential that a united industry is backing the self-report. Becoming aware of blind spots in every stage of the process is a fundamental step on the road to a better gender balance. While the report does not factor in the Danish Film Institute’s assessment of applications, it has proved to be an eye-opening tool capable of creating real change."
Diversity to ensure quality and innovation
The Danish Film Institute is working with the industry on targeted efforts to improve diversity as a means of ensuring the continued quality and innovation of Danish film. The self-report is part of these efforts.
The starting point for these diversity efforts concerning gender, ethnicity, social background, geography, etc., is that Danish film should reflect the entire population, both in front of and behind the camera.
In this regard, the Danish Film Institute has, together with film-industry associations, organisations and companies, articulated common goals, shared knowledge and launched concrete efforts to promote diversity in Danish film.