Irish Film Board issues statement on Ifta nominations gender imbalance

The Irish Film Board (IFB) have today issued a statement to address the gender imbalance in the 2018 Irish Film and Television Academy (Ifta) nominations.

The Ifta nominations were announced yesterday and many began to question the imbalance.

Many have pointed to the fact that there are five men nominated in the Actor in a Leading Role category while there are only three women nominated in the corresponding actress category.

The IFB chair, Dr Annie Doona, said that they "remain steadfastly committed to addressing" the gender imbalance.

"The IFTAs were established to reflect the breadth and depth of the Irish film and television industry. With this in mind I would like to express my disappointment at the gender imbalance that has emerged in the shortlists for almost every category of award.

"We are all aware that there is a gender imbalance within the industry and we at the IFB remain steadfastly committed to addressing this issue.

"Achieving 50/50 gender equality within the sector remains an utmost priority for the IFB and we have undertaken a number of measures to ensure that Irish female talent is encouraged and visible within the industry.

"It is vitally important that the stories Irish films portray represent a contemporary image of Ireland in all its diversity, inclusivity and originality of voice."

Dr Doona pointed to the IFB’s Six Point Plan on Gender Equality, launched in December 2015, as a sign of the work being done.

The six-point plan details "a number of measures to monitor and enhance gender representation across the sector."

Dr Doona added, "We acknowledge that this shift cannot happen overnight and it is important to remember that we can only fund what we receive.

Irish Film Board issues statement on Ifta nominations gender imbalance

"We must continue to implore and encourage Irish creative female talent to apply so that these goals can be achieved."

"In the last year alone, we have seen female Irish filmmakers break through on the international stage including the likes of Nora Twomey with her Golden Globe-nominated animated feature, The Breadwinner, and Emer Reynolds with her critically acclaimed feature documentary, The Farthest."

Dr Doona also highlighted that in 2018 a number of female led Irish films are due for release "including (Nora) Twomey’s aforementioned The Breadwinner, Carmel Winters’ Float Like A Butterfly, Aoife McArdle’s Kissing Candice, Mary McGuckian’s A Girl From Mogadishu, and Alexandra McGuinness’ Highway alongside the Katie Holly-produced Irish co-production Vita & Virginia and Sinéad O’Shea’s documentary, A Mother Brings Her Son To Be Shot.

"These upcoming titles prove that this imbalance is shifting and it is a shift we will unyieldingly support. We hope that at next year’s awards, female talent will be equally represented and offered the recognition it truly deserves."

You can read the IFB’s full statement here.

The Ifta nominations followed a Golden Globes award ceremony that was overshadowed by the recent Hollywood sexual harassment scandal, where a number of celebs wore black to stand in solidarity with victims of sexual violence.

During the ceremony, Natalie Portman also made a subtle criticism over the lack of females nominated for Best Director while presenting the award.

Guillermo del Toro (who won the award), Ridley Scott, Christopher Nolan, Steven Spielberg and Martin McDonagh were all nominated, with Portman introducing the quintet by saying "and here are the all-male nominees".

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