Parallel to the European recommendations advocating greater diversity in grant applications, the challenge of inclusion was a talking point of the 32nd edition of the international marketplace. As Anna Serner of the Swedish Film Institute explained, not only is there a diversity problem, but also a financial one: “The higher the budget is, the fewer the women are.”
In an attempt to introduce greater diversity and inclusivity, several initiatives were highlighted, such as Little Dot Studios, which provides training on how to pitch to potential investors, as well as the Mouatheqat/Women in Dox incubator, initiated by Dox Box, dedicated to African and Arab women who dream of becoming documentary filmmakers.
Broadcasters are also becoming increasingly aware of these topics, as demonstrated by line-ups presented by Arte, Canal+, France Télévisions, Histoire TV & Ushuaïa TV, NHK, RMC Story & RMC Découverte. The distribution sector is also targeting these objectives: PBS International has implemented a long-term strategy aiming to increase diversity at all levels. “When we receive a project, we ask for a complete list of all team members at all levels to ensure diversity has been respected,” explained Bill Gardner, Vice President, Programming & Development.
By increasing the opportunities for meetings and co-productions, Sunny Side of the Doc has contributed to the emergence of new voices that are under-represented on the international market, driven by the dynamism of talents showcased during the Central and Eastern Europe Panorama.
Making their debut appearance, NGOs such as The Redford Center and Ford Foundation also unveiled their programmes related to impact documentaries and funding supports. The latter is looking to get involved in the development stage on projects that take on stories of social justice. The Redford Center supports international storytellers involved in environmental impact work to galvanise environmental justice and regeneration. The Center is looking to support storytellers who are under-represented. It promotes racial justice and gender equality as well as environmental action.