Why Female Photographers Have a Bigger Presence on TIFF's Red Carpet

The festival welcomed more women lensers on the heels of the Cannes Film Festival, where 82 women from the film industry led a march to spotlight underrepresentation.
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The lack of female photographers on the red carpet is evident.

The Toronto International Film Festival is underway and as A-list stars like Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman, Kristen Stewart and Lady Gaga walked the red carpets, there’s a bigger chance than ever before that they were photographed by female photographers. 

TIFF announced this summer — via Oscar winner Brie Larson — that it would be boosting accreditation of underrepresented media by 20 percent for this year’s festival, and, according to insiders, the red carpet also proved to be a focal point for increased diversity, especially on the heels of the Cannes Film Festival where 82 women from the film industry led a march up the steps of the Palais to shine a spotlight on the lack of female directors in the main competition. While marching up the steps, they were photographed by a nearly exclusive group of men, noted one female photographer to THR at the time. TIFF officials took note of that disparity, THR has learned, and wanted to boost its red carpet ranks. 

A festival rep confirmed that outreach was made. “We encouraged editors and producers to consider diversity when making assignments for the festival,” the rep tells THR. “For example, we heard from Getty that they kept this in mind when building their photo teams, and we’re thrilled the shift is taking place.”

THR reached out to Getty — which was named the official photographer of TIFF 2018 and, as part of this year’s participation, will donate a portion of proceeds from five red carpet premieres to TIFF’s female-focused fundraising campaign Share Her Journey — and although the agency could not confirm a specific number of female photographers, Getty’s Kirstin Benson, vp global entertainment, says the company is passionate about diversity in front of and behind the camera.

“It has never been more important to produce and promote a visual language that is progressive and inclusive and to support diverse voices in doing so. As we work toward a truly inclusive industry, partnerships like this with TIFF are crucial to ensuring our industry’s chief storytellers are as diverse as the communities they hope to represent,” she says.

This year’s partnership marks the 11th year Getty is delivering content through its exclusive partnership with TIFF, which continues through Sept. 16.

A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.