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. @Dieter Heymann

    Well of course you have talented and creative women. We just don’t have as many of them as the men do, and I think it is biology not gender discrimination. I am a woman, and I assure you that most women do not think like me. Ask any professional woman you know if they think they are like other women, and I bet 95% of them will tell you they are not. The world is not some little gender-neutral place just because somebody’s dumba$$ professor told them it is.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    PS: you never told me what kind of diet you were on. I have been doing higher fat lower carb for a few weeks, and I really feel better. I think I am not insulting my pancreas any more, Which I read happens even if you are not overweight.

  2. No “female Mozart”? Correct but there is no doubt on my mind that his father would not have promoted his sister if she had the same talent as Wolfi. There is a somewhat later case of merit. Many experts hold that the wife of Schumann, Clara, was a more talented composer than he was.

  3. This is a wonderful idea, but should only be considered when the National Film Board of Canada adds diversity to its Board. Right now, the Board consists solely of politically correct ultrasubcretin dweebs. This high concentration needs to change so that at least 50% of Board members are intelligent, knowledgeable, sophisticated, and well versed in cinema history — to add some balance to the Board composition.

  4. @renegade

    Plus, you can only do two links per comment, sooo here are the other two I wanted to give you. The first is how to frug. But be careful! Persons with highly developed artistic senses have been known to commit suicide while watching this video. One person, “Bob. S.” of Chicago threw himself out of an 11th floor balcony. Another, “Tony. M”, stabbed two butcher knives into his eyes, and died of a severe brain hemorrhage. Several people reportedly went into catatonic states, and never came out of them. (One was the inspiration for the movie, K-PAX.) So be careful!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SsnwALj6G0

    Also, re Suzanne Charney, I think this woman has it right:

    In my eyes, her sensational ‘Rich Man’s Frug’ performance affords her [Suzanne Charney] the status of cult screen goddess, as for those few marvelous minutes she’s coolness personified, perfectly channeling the somewhat surreal eccentricity of Fosse’s audacious choreographic mind with true iconic style – the long pony tail, little black dress and white gloves are stark and striking, especially given her largely expressionless face and the sheer quirkiness of movement.

    http://sheris-musings.tumblr.com/post/46299967931/sc

    Coolness personified!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  5. @renegade

    Oh, I have been around a few artistic types in my day. 🙂 For example, women make great dancers! But as choreographers they usually run toward the bland and predictable. Here is an example. The exquisite and talented Suzanne Charney, with Bob Fosse as choreo:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcrZIK3gqbU

    I promise you if a woman had choreo’ed this, you would have seen a frug, but all the little pauses and subtle but defined hand movements would not have been added. The piece would have been good, but not great. I hate to admit it, but men are just usually better at creative arts. Women can do it. In my own way, I think I am pretty creative, but I am an INTP, and that is rare for a woman. But, the long term bias toward men is reality-based IMHO. Men and women are just different, and we think differently, That is reality, and all the “all genders are the same” crowd are idealogues as out of touch with reality, as any libertarian is. Here’s another link,if you are interested:

    http://www.theguardian.com/stage/dance-blog/2015/oct/12/dance-female-choreographers-rambert-debate

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  6. Spinelli

    You used to offer up much better arguments than this vapid tripe. You and that vacuous pimple Micro Rubio make a great couple.

  7. Squeek, Those hosers elected a vapid, elitist, French Canadian and will be kicking themselves in their hoser asses soon. The pretty boy is coming here for a State Dinner. Good for him. He’ll be gone next election, back to teaching grade school. He may be worse than his old man.

  8. A system will not change without significant stimulus. E.g. Get hit with chaos. It seems to me that phobiagynistic as opposed to misogynistic traits are at play. A fear of loss is the normative cause of the process which leads to prejudice and ultimately discrimination.

    If the male is truly superior, as seems to be the implication by some on this thread, the market will so note. However, having noticed the growth of superb work by women over the last several years, in the face of discriminatory practices, I look forward to the explosion of of any art form when fetters are put aside.

    Squeeky…not sure about your circle of acquaintances, and what is unsaid when referring to those you know. A circle of friends tends to define and limit one to that inherent universe or viewpoint.

    As an aside and in a perverse way, I actually enjoyed it when I discovered practices which kept good people “in their place.” I finessed the Naval Reserve selection process for command of a medical unit by using an obscure provision which got a nurse, a female nurse, as the CO. After the signature and publication of the appointment, I told the macho senior officer that he had just approved the first female nurse to command AND that she was 7 months pregnant. God, I enjoyed that look. The nurse went on to have a stellar career.

  9. As I have often opined in court, “So What!”
    There is always something standing in the way of someone. This is government funded, so they can have some criteria by which to determine who gets the dough. I had a sibling in the industry,in NY in the ’70s and ’80s, and there were biases applied to getting in the union. When I worked in the steel business, there were biases in getting in the union. Right now on Wall Street there are biases, just are there are biases in getting in Ivy League schools. There is always a group that has an easier path. So What.

    Squeaky: I guess it all rests on what we should be “comfortable” with. Personally, I don’t like people pissing on my back and telling me its raining.

  10. @IsaacB

    Why am I not surprised that you think this is a good idea. You see that “privilege” can be passed down from generation to generation. That’s true. But in a free society, those who start on the bottom can rise, if not to the top in large numbers, at least to “comfortable.” Artists have an easier time, if they are talented. For example, Quentin Taratino, Robert Rodríguez , Spike Lee. None of these come from a dynasty of riches or influence.

    Now you note that there are no women in my example. There may be a good reason for that. Remember Camille Paglia???

    What Do Mozart and Jack the Ripper Have In Common?

    Posted by Allen Baird,

    I didn’t make this startling observation. A feminist called Camille Paglia did. Well, nearly. What she actually said was, “There is no female Mozart because there is no female Jack the Ripper.” Her point was that men are creatures of extremes, showing greater variation than women in matters as diverse as IQ, happiness and deviance.

    http://www.sensei.ie/business/what-do-mozart-and-jack-the-ripper-have-in-common/

    I have to tell you honestly, most women I know have little or no creative insight. They live a cyclical life as a function of biology. There are exceptions, but most of the great artists are not male because of gender discrimination. Its because they produce the product that sells. What is your answer??? You want to subject us all to more maudlin, drippy, smarmy chick flicks???

    Sheesh! What was the lesson that King Canute taught us???

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  11. Simple: Males should declare they are female or “other”.
    Since it’s all just ‘social construct’, the labels are now meaningless.

  12. This is similar to the push for affirmative action in Hollywood, i.e., the demands for more blacks to receive Oscars. Which I suppose is simply an outgrowth of affirmative action in colleges and the workplace. The argument is that diverse peoples produce diverse perspectives which would not be heard if those populations were not brought to the discussion. Does it matter to have diverse perspectives in art any more than it matters in a law classroom? What about more technical subjects such as engineering or accounting? I think diverse perspectives in art and philosophy are far more interesting and relevant than in law, dentistry or tax accounting. I also like diversity in restaurants. I could care less about the color of the guy (or gal) who changes the oil in my car or writes the code for my software. Since the films funded by the Canadian National Film Board are being funded with government money, however, there is more of a legitimate argument for inclusion. I see absolutely no legitimate basis, however, for demanding affirmative action in commercial films or industry awards such as the Oscars.

  13. 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.

    When an enlightened society recognizes that there is an unfair distinction made in the trades and professions based on race, gender, religion, etc. that society will work against that unfair distinction from both ends, the source of the problem as well as the result or the objective.

    Setting quotas in of itself has been proven to equalize the distribution of talent in a field. However, it only works when the source of that talent is also given equal advantage. Role models are created which inspire those entering the fields. However, inspiration must be given at the early stages as well. When children, parents, teachers, and mentors see the opportunity then those children with specific desires in a field are more likely to be able to venture where before they were dissuaded.

    The ideology of how things should be in a perfect world is the property of any shallow investigator. What lies beyond the initial cursory perspective and a dictionary ability to recite the law is enacting this phenomenon of equality and potential.

    Canada is a much smaller country, somewhat less diverse, and has no where near the baggage carried by the US. However, to take refuge in ideology over practice is the character of those that vote for people like Trump, any fool off of the street. Hopefully we will elect a more enlightened group, little by little. Historically, the US has been on the right track, in spite of those with their head in the past, the illusion of safety found in sacred texts and laws, and last but not least that ever-present national ego; which fuels some individual egos.

    If Turley posted this to start a discussion then hats off to Turley. If Turley posted this as part of his philosophical and professional nature then he is sorely diminished, in my view, as in the views of most.

  14. Definitely, the gender of the director should be concealed. This is why parents often give their daughters male, or gender neutral names, to avert discrimination. When selection is actually based on merit, gender and race ted to reflect the population generally. In the past they were not based on merit but on white maleness.

    But more importantly why are tax dollars wasted on government propaganda movies? Such movies themselves promote war and false stereotypes, advancing the interests of the 1%. Who wants their tax dollars spent for propaganda to make the government look good?

  15. 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.

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