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NYC Women's Fund Aims to Expand Reach as Creators Seek Barriers to Enter Entertainment Industry - Bronx Times

When New York City launched its NYC Women’s Fund for The Arts initiative in 2018 (currently in its fourth round of grants for women-led media and entertainment projects), it was a move into a male-dominated media landscape. It was intended to address the systemic barriers of

According to a 2017 report by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, women make up only 11% of directors, 11% of writers, and 19% of executive producers in the top 250 highest-grossing films of the year. did not.

In 2019, the NYC Women’s Fund added the music category to its grantee criteria because of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, which found that between 2013 and 2019, only 10% of Grammy nominees were women. It corresponded to the data. From 2012 to her 2018, only 22% of her 700 songwriters, her 12% of songwriters, and her 2% of producers that made it to the year-end Billboard Hot 100 were women. .

This year, applicants will receive a $50,000 finishing grant from this year’s $2 million fund, and applications are being accepted through November 1st.

As New York City continues its economic recovery in the entertainment sector following the marathon pandemic, arts, entertainment and recreational employment in New York City will drop by 66% during the pandemic, according to the 2021 State Comptroller’s Report. Decreased. Opportunities abound for reimagined, more inclusive media. landscape.

Films, plays, and web-based projects must feature a female perspective, contain a female director, contain meaningful female producer credits, and/or have a female perspective or writing. Eligible if it prominently includes credits for or contains a female protagonist.

The NYC Women’s Fund has been a key boost for NYC creatives, including Bronx native Kamala Sankaram, who funded the techno-noir thriller “Looking At You.” Photo credit: Kamala Sankaram

“Our goal has been to address this systemic inequality in a traditionally male-dominated industry. We remain focused on tackling existing gender and racial inequalities that have been exacerbated in the United States,” said Johanna McCabe, consultant for the Mayor’s Office. “We want to continue to identify opportunities to promote equality and address underrepresentation in the entertainment industry, just as we did with film and theater from the beginning, just as we did with music when we added that category in 2019. increase.”

The fund has already given a significant boost to New York creatives such as Bronx native Kamala Sankaram, who received funding for Looking At You, a techno-noir thriller that explores issues of privacy and surveillance capitalism in 2018.

“We like to think that these industries are merit-based, that’s how projects and artists get funding and who makes the work, but in reality that’s not the case.” No,” says Sankaram. “There are a lot of barriers that really persist and a lot of people struggle to get their name out there and their stories out there.”

Without proper funding, many of the country’s creative ideas are put off, withered like raisins in the sun and deteriorated like sores. Without proper financial sponsorship and support, Sankaram said leveling the playing field, which has historically shut out diverse and underrepresented voices, will be much more difficult. .

“The funding environment in the United States is such that there are few grants that individuals can apply for without financial sponsorship, and this funding is critical to leveling the playing field,” said Tibbets Brooke. Sankaram, who is developing a stage play about the effects of daylight and climate change in the world, said. The fact that it’s aimed at women as an underrepresented avenue into this industry helps remove those barriers.

Prior to 2018, large grants of $500,000 or more accounted for 63% of art grants in 2017, while median national art grants fell from $28,600 to $27,500 was doing. , received 1,073 approved projects totaling approximately $25 million and an average of $23,190 in grants.

Since its launch in 2018, the NYC Women’s Fund has awarded 246 film, theater and music projects with $5.5 million in grants, and the organizers hope to expand in the years to come. Film projects by previous grant recipients have been seen by her combined audience of over 339,000, and film, theater and music releases have been featured in her 99 premiere screenings.

“The entertainment industry spans many sectors. We will explore the possibility of expanding into more categories such as publishing, digital and dance,” said McCabe. “Also, in the second year he was able to increase the number of winners by 50% and today has 246 winning media, theater and music projects. It helps us grow.”

Reach Robbie Sequeira rsequeira@schnepsmedia.com or (718) 260-4599. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes for more information.