Canadian Film Board Adopts Gender Quota System For Directors

220px-Hitchcock,_Alfred_02Filmmaking has always been treated as an art form that expresses the vision of actors and directors in the same unique way as painters or authors. Departing from that traditional view, the National Film Board of Canada has committed itself to a quota system that will require half of its publicly funded movies to be directed by women. The policy should raise serious artistic objections as being detached from the art form and artistic vision.

Claude-Joli-Coeur_MG_5125_PAA141126-B_ONF-Cropped-150x150NFB head Claude Joli-Coeur declared that “I’m making a firm, ongoing commitment to full gender parity, which I hope will help to lead the way for the industry as a whole.” However, his move decouples the selection of directors from a question entirely based artistic merit.

220px-National_Film_Board_of_Canada_logo.svgWhat is interesting is that such a controversial move may not be needed when female directors can — and have — secured these positions on the merits. Jolie-Coeur admits that films directed by women currently represent around half of the NFB’s overall production spending. He says however that the number can fluctuate. If that is the case, why adopt such a rule that could undermine the credibility and achievement of female directors who have broken through this glass ceiling based on their artistic vision and skill alone? Moreover, there seemed to be little debate over the implications of a quota system in an artistic area.  For example, the board could have sought to encourage the development of greater numbers of female directors through educational grants and assistance without changing the merit-based selection process of films. It is also not clear if the Board will also set quotas based on race or sexual orientation or other insular and unrepresented groups. What do this group not qualify for such quota commitments?

What do you think?

41 thoughts on “Canadian Film Board Adopts Gender Quota System For Directors”

  1. I wonder if poutine is on the State Dinner menu for the grade school teacher elected prince of Canada?

  2. New Zealand mussels tend to be too big. PEI mussels are my favorite. And that brings us to the ‘my favorite’ aspect. I have eaten BBQ pretty much all over the US and I can say that in some places it has been extremely good. However, ‘my favorite’ BBQ was in France. Now this brings us to the gumshoe’s authority complex and how in order to pontificate well in his opinion, he has to put down other nationalities. Of course, after interrogating a gazillion people, he may be confused as to whose BBQ he is referring. Perhaps the best BBQ the gumshoe ever had came through an interrogation. Perhaps someone else had it. You never know. One thing is for sure, in order for Nick Danger to make a point all he has to bring to the table is his authority and countless encounters with just about everyone. Reminds me of Marco Rubio.

  3. @G. Tod Slone

    That was a fascinating post!!! I have several of those “best” anthologies, and frankly, I stopped buying them because the poetry just sucked. I mean totally sucked. But, if you like poetry, try the American Outlaw Poetry one, or maybe the four volume Poems for the Millennium series. I just ordered the 4th volume, which covers poetry from North Africa. To paraphrase Voltaire, it may not be good, but it is at least interesting.

    My father has several old anthology books he got from his dad from the 30’s and frankly, they are 100 times better than what is currently being written, IMHO.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  4. Karen, The more the Canadian opines on food, or virtually any topic, the more he shows his ignorance. He pontificated about the best BBQ being in France. He got ripped a new anus on that one. He knows NOTHING about BBQ but has the arrogance of ignorance, a French quality indeed.

    Regarding your informed comments on Italian and Chinese food. Try authentic dumplings and lo mein Chinese dishes. And, of course you’re correct about Italian, Chinese and virtually any good food culture being regional. Mario Batali hammers home the regional nature of Italian food. Having visited both the north and south of Italy, the differences are obvious. Based on the Canadians opinion on Italian food, he better stop eating @ Olive Garden.

    The best mussels come from New Zealand. That’s not even debatable.

  5. Isaac – Italian food, like food from every nation, is also regional. I never had greasy Italian food, and I travelled all over Italy. But I avoided the touristy spots. Americanized Italian food can be heavy. Some of the best seafood I ever tasted was in Italy. But, by far, my favorite meal was prepared at the home of some locals for my sister and me on the Isle of Capri.

  6. French food is regional. What you get in the US is not French food because there is no one French food. This is the typical American palate differentiating between a ‘French’ restaurant in the US and a nonexistent ‘French’ restaurant in France. I have had goat and lamb mechoui that would make the best grilled, barbecued, or smoked American triumphs be quickly forgotten. Just as in the US you have to know where to go and if you rely on the newspapers and all the supposed culinary masters that are written up, you pay through the nose for not that much. The essence of the best meals involve locally grown meat, vegetables, grains, breads, cheeses, etc prepared with generations of knowledge. Typically that is found in the Perigord and the Dordogne, the birthplace of so called French cuisine.

    The absolute best food I tasted when I lived there and when I return is the hybrid French/Vietnamese from a progressive restaurant that is not relying of the taste memories of bygone days. Italian food is way over rated: heavy, cheesy, oily, and most often greasy. In St. Malo last October I had the best sea food I have ever tasted and I come from British Columbia, have eaten in Corsica, Marseille, and many other seafood capitals of the world. The mussels weren’t that good, however. The best mussels still come from PEI.

  7. Ouvre tes maudits yeux! This has been happening in the US for quite some time. Here’s something I wrote on the POETRY scene.

    An American Glavlit Change of Rules
    A rose by any other name might smell just as sweet, but a poem about a rose by a non-white writer is obviously better than a poem by a white writer. Even if it’s the same poem. This is a story about a white poet who made it all the way into Best American Poetry by using an Asian name.
    —Daniel Greenfield, Frontpage magazine

    After a poem of mine has been rejected a multitude of times under my real name, I put Yi-Fen’s name on it and send it out again. As a strategy for ‘placing’ poems this has been quite successful… The poem in question… was rejected under my real name forty times before I sent it out as Yi-Fen Chou (I keep detailed records). As Yi-Fen the poem was rejected nine times before Prairie Schooner took it. If indeed this is one of the best American poems of 2015, it took quite a bit of effort to get it into print, but I’m nothing if not persistent.
    —Michael Derrick Hudson, poet who got a poem into The Best American Poetry

    So, the scandalous news is out: the Best American Poetry guest editor, native-American Sherman Alexie, prefers race-based selection of poetry. In essence, Alexie overtly changed what had already been covertly changed regarding established-order Glavlit* rules. Diversity was now officially dictated into the rule book as Rule #2: poetry by whites is to be disfavored, unless authored by women. However, Rule #1 still remains intact: criticism of the literary established order is absolutely verboten.
    Now, thanks to Hudson’s overt confession (see quote above), guest editor Alexie was forced to also confess and ended up presenting a rather rambling justification of the total lack of objectivity in the selection process: “and, hey, guess what? In paying more initial attention to Yi-Fen Chou’s poem, I was also practicing a form of nepotism. I am a brown-skinned poet who gave a better chance to another supposed brown-skinned poet because of our brownness.” Racist? You bet!
    Now, add to that aberrant comment: “I am a powerful literary figure and the pseudonym user [Hudson] is an unknown guy who has published maybe a dozen poems in his life.” Modest? Far from it! Alexie further notes: “If I’d kicked him out… he might have tried to go public with that news. And he would have been vilified and ignored. And I would have been praised. Trust me, I would much rather be getting praised by you poets than receiving the vilification I am getting now.” Well, at least that’s positive! Poets were actually decrying the poor fellow? Good!
    “If I’d pulled the poem then I would have been denying that I was consciously and deliberately seeking to address past racial, cultural, social, and aesthetic injustices in the poetry world,” notes Alexie. But does American literature really need PC social-justice race-warrior indoctrinees determining what poetry is best and what isn’t? Hell, they’re overseeing just about everything else nowadays!
    So, the scandal broke and in jumped white-privileged author Conor Friedersdorf, penning a reportage/analysis on the Alexie Affaire in the Atlantic and in full support—oh, but of course—of the avowed anti-white racist guest editor. “Sherman Alexie’s post offers a refreshing degree of candor,” he argues. “It is blessedly free of euphemism, jargon, or evasions.” Candor or rather forced candor? And sadly NOT “blessedly free” from a gross strain of vanity and vapid PC-diversity verbosity. The article becomes seriously tedious after Friedersdorf notes “there is an internally consistent integrity to his actions.” Yet internally consistent PC is hardly integrity. Reason is integrity. PC often and ineluctably conflicts with reason. Merit is reason; skin color is PC.
    “At the very worst, he did the wrong thing. Who among us hasn’t?” noted Friedersdorf, apologizing for the guest editor. Yet how easily one could say the same about Hillary… and Nixon… and how about Hitler, Mao, and Stalin? Yes, they did the wrong thing. BUT who among us hasn’t? That constitutes a horseshit apologia. Period.
    Thus from a reportage/analysis of a seeming literary insanity, manifest in the guest editor’s justification, Friedersdorf manifests his own seeming literary insanity of RACISM as the crux in poetry, as it’s become everywhere else in America. The white-privilege author jumps on the White-Privilege bandwagon: “It is the strongest, most widely persuasive premise from which to declare white nepotism immoral and intra-white solidarity irrational and unnecessary.” So, am I really privileged in the world of poetry because I’m white? Yet I’ve been shut out right and left by lit magnate mignons. Were they shutting me out because of my white skin color? If so, doesn’t that contradict the vacuous white-privilege notion? Well, from my perspective, it was not my skin color at all, but rather my vocal hardcore criticism against the instrinsic corruption in the literary establishment, as illustrated by the likes of Alexie. How can one possibly believe that a black or native-American mignon would have to stand behind someone like me to get published? Absurd!
    So, what did the high-brow Alexie/Friedersdorf Affirmative Action, white privilege hogwash not address? What Friedersdorf failed to realize in his lengthy, social-justice-warrior article was the significance of the statement that “In the end, I chose each poem in the anthology because I love it.” In essence, one egocentric, autocrat, established-order, minority poet got to choose the “best” poems in America. It was the same egregiously clouded fact regarding the poet laureate of the U.S. Congress. One egocentric, autocrat librarian of Congress gets to choose the “great” American laureate. Was this not something that should be highlighted and in fact challenged? Apparently not!
    Perhaps it was time David Lehman change the name of his autocratic anthology from Best American Poetry to Brown Lives Matter American Poetry. Sadly, it is always the call for diversity of skin color, not of ideas, and where inclusiveness always implies exclusion of certain ideas, especially tough criticism of the likes of Alexie and Friedersdorf. As Daniel Greenfield wisely (i.e., reasonably) noted: “When you artificially privilege people by race, then you reward work by race, not by merit and you encourage fraud. And you are responsible for that fraud. For all the talk of ‘entitlement’ and ‘white privilege’, the bottom line is a white guy pretending to be a minority gets a leg up.”
    In conclusion, Friedershof writes: “With limited resources, he did the best he could to put together a great book of poems and to run what he regarded as a just process for doing so.” Friedershof thus opens wide and spews the widely-unchallenged fraud of implicit objectivity imbuing the term “great,” especially when applied to poetry… and racism has become a “just process.”
    *As for Glavlit, read Solzhenitsyn’s The Oak and the Calf. Vladimir Lakshin notes: “Glavlit is the Russian acronym for the body which censored all printed matter in the USSR. Each glavlit censor was supplied with a secret book of instructions, constantly amended and updated, which lists the topics that may not be mentioned in print.”

  8. Squeeker: Of whom do you speak? The complaining dog or the weekend warrior named Cara?

  9. Yes, applications which disguise the sex of the applicant.

    Some maths journals only use initials of given names for that reason.

  10. Nick:

    “In several cities Chinatown borders on the Italian section. Two of the greatest food cultures in the world.”

    My palate votes for Italian as the best cuisine, hands down. I only like the Americanized Chinese food that Chinese people make fun of. I worked on a team for a while where I was the only non-Asian person. We kept having team building that involved shopping with the boss in Chinatown, and then eating authentic Chinese food. Pretty much the only thing on the menu this gustatory coward would eat was the soup, which was then promptly ruined when the server broke a raw egg and mixed it up in my warm (not boiling!) soup. And NO! I did not want to try my friend’s bird nest soup, or tripe, or squid ink soup, or the lacquered duck that had been sitting in the window for weeks.

    I don’t think I tried a single bite of food in Italy that I didn’t like. Same for the wine.

  11. Isaac:

    “It’s the same ingredient as Affirmative Action. In a racist, bigoted, and male chauvinist society to the degree as existed in the US not too long ago, it is ideologically attractive to those in the privileged tiers to expound that all advantage must come from ability. However, this is nothing short of hypocrisy as advantage is passed down through families, race, and many other routes. The issue at hand is to discover and surface ability.”

    I hear this a lot. I have to wonder if they have never met people from grinding poverty from the Appalachians, the coal miners, the farmers. My father was the first in his family to go to college. At a low point, he had to sell his college textbooks to buy food, and studied in the library. Then he joined the military so he’d have a steady job and could marry my Mom. My grandpa left home in the Depression as a teenager because there were too many mouths to feed. He hopped from train to train, all on his own in the world, and worked his way from janitor to working in aerospace. My other grandpa also left home as a teenager, lied about his age, and joined the military. He saw action at 16. No one handed them anything. They just didn’t give up and made a go of it from sheer, grim determination.

    You would think that white people were all born with silver spoons in their mouths. Bernie Sanders apparently does not know that “ghetto” originated in Eastern Europe, so of course whites can be intimately familiar with grinding poverty.

    I used to work in the male-dominated science industry. I didn’t complain about it; I just worked hard. My favorite motivational saying was, “A woman has to work twice as hard as a man to be thought half as good. Luckily this is not difficult.” I do not believe in this meme that minorities are persecuted at every turn. In my industry they were so hungry for minorities, I’m pretty sure some of my coworkers could burn the place down and have no repercussions. The merest modicum of interest can get a minority hired as a cop or fireman, while there is a years’ long waiting list for overqualified Caucasians who spent their lives preparing for the job. Look at the hunger for minority students at colleges, who inevitably lower the bar to get more diversity.

    Yes, there are a few racist people out there. Human nature being what it is, it’s impossible for 100% of the population to be really sweet, wonderful people. But there is absolutely no comparison with the state of affairs of the 1960s. You wouldn’t know it, though, if you listed to all the activists preaching hate and division. Where’s an MLK or Ghandi when you need them?

    The world would be a better place if we would stop hyper fixating on melanin, seeing the specter of racism in every single interracial cop interaction, finding ways to become offended at every nuance, and looking for reasons to fight with each other.

  12. Paul:

    “I do not see the need. Actually, they should go to a gender-neutral system, where the gender of the director is concealed. The worth of the project should stand on its own.”


  13. How very Fahrenheit 451.

    Sure, let’s ignore how quotas and the resultant lowering of the bar worked out for AA. If this is implemented, these female artists and directors will now be viewed as having got by on their ovaries, instead of talent.

    Pave the way for a meritocracy to work, rather than forcing artificial quotas.

  14. @NickS

    Because the French know what American’s want is “Le Golden Corral”, where they can be herded in through the cattle chute and allowed to graze on tables of grub. The French don’t do “grub.”

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  15. @Nick Spinelli: Of course I was just having a little fun with your Chinatown allusion, as that famous movie line wasn’t a put-down of LA’s Chinatown or any other. As screenwriter Robert Towne put it, Chinatown’s a “state of mind.”

    Since you’re a fan of the movie, as I am, you likely already know this:

    “Towne’s original version of the screenplay was twice as long as the one used to shoot the movie, the result of condensing, editing and other streamlining done by Towne and the movie’s director, Roman Polanski. It was Polanski’s idea to have the film end as it does, with a death, and to have it happen in L.A.’s Chinatown. The neighborhood, where Gittes worked as a cop, is never visited until the final scene; instead, it’s used throughout as a metaphor, or, as Towne calls it, “a state of mind,” in which you don’t know what’s going on, can’t differentiate between the good guys and the criminals, the guilty are rewarded and the innocent punished.

    You might enjoy reading the full article:

  16. Count, I too love to visit Chinatown’s. I’ve been to the ones you mentioned and also in Seattle, Boston and Calgary. In several cities Chinatown borders on the Italian section. Two of the greatest food cultures in the world. Funny how the smug French don’t have well known districts in the US. Overrated food and culture.

    1. Nick – you haven’t lived until you have visited the Chinatown of Phoenix.

  17. @Nick Spinelli: “Forget it Jake, it’s Canada.” Amen to that. I think Chinatown’s gotten a bad reputation because of that Jack Nicholson movie of the same name. In fact, I’ve been to the Chinatown of not only Los Angeles, but to the Chinatowns in San Francisco, Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia, and I see no signs that there is more corruption in any of those Chinatown than anywhere else. On the plus side, though, people haven’t stopped eating in Chinatown because of the movie.

  18. @elmer fudd

    Do NOT dare say its name out loud! Especially, do NOT dare say its name three times while looking in a mirror! Because it might come out of the mirror and start eating people! Do NOT dare disturb the circle of salt around its witch’s hat and cauldron (Which I hope is still locked away in a secret basement somewhere!)

    Ok??? Pleeeeze??? Because the occult ain’t nothing to fool around with!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  19. This blog discriminates against females. There was some female dog who got kicked off for complaining all the time. She had a complaining name. I can not think of it. She has been gone for awhile.
    Where is Cara on the weekends? She has great articles. I say that as an article of faith.

  20. wait a second did you say men and women are DIFFERENT HERESY!

    we know because we have been told so by the wise womyns at university, that “GENDER IS SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED” also “RACE IS SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED”

    (which is an update of the wisdom of cultural relativism that we know is absolutely true, even though, it dogmatically asserts there is no truth!)


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