While industryites and armchair pundits debate the lack of racial diversity in this year’s Oscar nominations, Vimeo is taking action to combat another form of show business inequality: the gender gap.
Today, at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, Vimeo announced that it is rolling out “Share the Screen,” a three-part initiative to elevate and empower female filmmakers. The program is designed to foster gender equality with a financial commitment to invest in female-led programming, educational workshops and onsite promotions spotlighting female voices.
“One of the best things about our platform is that it’s open to everyone, and we’re proud to say that we have many amazing female filmmakers building their careers on Vimeo,” said Kerry Trainor, CEO of Vimeo, in statement. “It’s extremely unfortunate that the traditional industry has allowed things to be out of balance for so long, in terms of equality of opportunity for men and women, but it’s very exciting that Vimeo can do something to help correct that imbalance.”
Vimeo is kicking off “Share the Screen” with its first original short, “Darby Forever,” written by and starring “Saturday Night Live” cast member Aidy Bryant (pictured). In the film, Bryant plays Darby, a shop-girl at fabric store Bobbins & Notions who has colorful daydreams sparked by the customers she deals with. It also stars Retta (“Parks and Recreation”) and Natasha Lyonne (“Orange is the New Black”). It can preordered today at vimeo.com/darbyforever ahead of its Feb. 18 premiere.
As part of the “Share the Screen” initiative, Vimeo will invest in a minimum of five projects from female voices in 2016 — up from the total of two original titles it funded in 2015. The projects will receive dedicated marketing support and global distribution on Vimeo On Demand. It will promote female voices across the site with a new “Share the Screen” spotlight on the Vimeo blog and a continuously updated and “Female-Directed, Vimeo-Approved” VOD collection featuring such titles as Crystal Moselle’s “Wolfpack,” Mélanie Laurent’s “Breathe,” Lucy Walker’s “The Crash Reel” and Penny Lane’s “Our Nixon.” Vimeo will also provide educational seminars throughout the year at various Sundance #ArtistServices workshops.
Vimeo has upped its commitment to original content in recent months, commissioning the LGBT dramedy “The Outs” from creators Adam Goldman and Sasha Winers, and Bianca Del Rio’s “Rolodex of Hate Comedy Special: Live From Austin.”