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One of the most discussed topics in Hollywood this year has been the pay and opportunity gap for women in film. Jennifer Lawrence spoke out about being paid less than her male co-stars, while the EEOC launched an investigation into the lack of opportunities for female filmmakers.
Veteran director-writer-producer Paul Kampf has established a new film fund, Equitas, which will back his projects that are aiming to fight the gender gap in the industry by paying all the leads equal pay and creating opportunities for female screenwriters and directors.
Kampf, an acting coach who is in post-production on the microbudget dark comedy film Homecoming, is partnering with Tom Sperry and Holly Levow for Equitas. Levow executive produced Homecoming, which stars Lauren Bowles (True Blood), Max Ryan (Death Race), Victoria Smurfit (Once Upon a Time), Suleka Mathew (Da Vinci’s Inquest), Kiowa Gordon (Twilight Saga) and Michelle Arthur.
Kampf’s first project through the fund will be Intervention, a female buddy comedy. Bowles will return to star, along with Smurfit, Arthur, Mathew and Peter O’Meara, who all appear in Homecoming. The story centers on two female friends, one of whom takes her friend on a road trip with secret plans to stage an intervention. But as they drive through wine country, it becomes unclear which one is actually more troubled.
Kampf is collaborating with Bowles and Arthur on the script and is planning to shoot in February or March.
They will follow that up with Imprisoned, a bigger-budget pic about an imprisoned man who is framed by the prison warden. Kampf is currently looking for the female star, who will play the wife in the film. Radar Pictures, which has a deal with Kampf, also will produce, with a summer shoot being eyed.
The idea of the new movies being funded under Equitas is to provide equal pay to all the leads, so that the actresses and actors are being paid the same amount. At the same time, Kampf says he’s planning a third film that will be by a female writer and will have a female director.
“It’s amazing to me how many people talk about wanting to do something about the pay gap, but nothing’s been done,” says Kampf. “We’re first and foremost focused on making great movies, but we’re flipping the model a bit.”