Toronto Film Fest Programming Team to Feature More Women Than Men

Kerri Craddock 71 Premiere - Getty - H 2018
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TIFF will have 13 women and nine men picking films for its September event as the wider Canadian industry drives toward equality by 2020.

The Toronto Film Festival has yet to unveil its September lineup, but on Tuesday waved its progressive bona fides as its 2018 programming team went beyond gender parity.

With new hires, TIFF will have 13 women and nine men as programmers this year. In a statement, the Canadian festival committed to "normalizing gender parity and equality for future generations."

"With a clear understanding that there is still much more work to be done, TIFF intends to continue its strong representation of women in the festival programming team," the festival added. Hiring more women programmers follows Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's federal government in Ottawa unveiling its own ambitious drive to achieve gender parity in the domestic film sector by 2020.

Canada's push for gender parity aims at undermining long-standing perceptions that women face discouraging barriers to entering the local film industry, especially when it comes to directing big-budget movies. In its latest hires, Toronto promoted Danis Goulet to program Canadian features, while Lisa Haller is elevated to replace Goulet as co-programmer for the short cuts sidebar.

And Jennifer Barkin will debut as the TIFF Kids section programmer after managing and programming the spinoff TIFF Kids Film Festival for eight years. "Being a woman in a leadership position at TIFF allows me to be the change I want to see by supporting, inspiring and empowering the women around me,” TIFF director of programming Kerri Craddock said in her own statement.

She added: "With TIFF’s mission being to transform the way people see the world through film, we need to create an environment where people have what they need to be their best."