• Seven women are chosen for three days of mentoring, support
  • Program lifts off as film industry debates gender and pay

As Hollywood wrestles with questions over how women are paid and represented, the French luxury brand Chanel and the backers of the Tribeca Film Festival are unveiling a filmmaking program designed to foster female writers and directors.

Seven women have been chosen to take part in a three-day program of project support, master classes and mentoring, the parties said in a statement Thursday. They’ll compete for a $75,000 award as part of “Through Her Lens: The Tribeca Chanel Women’s Filmmaker Program.”

The program is lifting off as the film and TV industry revisits the controversial subject of gender pay equity. Actress Jennifer Lawrence revived the debate last week with an essay lamenting her lower pay than male colleagues on the film “American Hustle” and saying she should have sought more.

“As women we have been underrepresented in the stories that are written, produced, and directed,” Jane Rosenthal, chief executive officer of Tribeca Enterprises and co-founder of the Tribeca Film Institute, said in the statement. “We need to support one another and I am proud that with Chanel we can cultivate, support, and empower women storytellers.”

Actress Julianne Moore, “Twilight” director Catherine Hardwicke, and Donna Gigliotti, producer of “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Shakespeare in Love,” are participating in the Tribeca program, along with Pulse Films, a production and talent-management company.

Among the seven women chosen is Numa Perrier, a Haitian-born actress, writer and filmmaker. Her project, “Jezebel,” focuses on a young woman, Tanya, who crashes with five family members in a Las Vegas studio apartment during the last days of her mother’s life.

This weekend a handful of theaters will screen “Suffragette” about the fight for women’s voting rights in the U.K. in the early 20th century. The film features Meryl Streep.

Of the 250 highest-ranked films last year, the ones that had a female protagonist outperformed, Streep told a group of female philanthropists in New York last month.

“People are missing a money opportunity, which goes against the grain,” Streep said at the Women Moving Millions annual meeting on Sept. 17. “Why? Are we so terrifying? Are we so dangerous? Are we so annoying? What is it?”

Women Moving Millions includes philanthropists who have given more than $1 million to causes benefiting women and girls.

A study by the University of Southern California last year found that 30 percent of speaking characters across the 700 top grossing films from 2007 to 2014 were female. Of the top 100 films last year, no female actor over age 45 had the lead role or co-lead in a movie. Fewer than 2 percent of the directors were women.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE