The Focus Talent Sourcer Indigo Cherry attended Adelaide’s first ‘Women in Focus’ event. Here she shares what transpired during the event.
The Focus hosted their first ‘Women in Focus’ event at Mill Film’s new Adelaide facility, a celebration of inclusion, equality, creative women and the importance of open dialogue at work.
In an afternoon of inspiring conversation and networking, ‘Women in Focus’ saw over 100 creatives come together to hear five women in leadership share stories, offer advice and connect with other industry locals. The event, hosted by The Focus, was in line with Mill Film’s commitment to creating real industry change — a goal of gender parity in creative VFX roles by the end of 2020.
The five leaders came together at Mill Film’s beautiful new facility in Adelaide to speak about their experiences as women in the VFX industry. The event was moderated by Talent Acquisition Manager for The Focus, Ashleigh Allon, who is also a working mother in the industry.
Lauren McCallum, Global Managing Director for Mill Film, and chairperson for Women in Animation’s Montreal Chapter, came all the way from Montreal to participate in the event. Her talk covered everything from how she started in the VFX industry and climbed the ranks, to conquering the challenges that come with being a woman leading a global studio. Attendees had an opportunity for networking as well as to ask Lauren questions and seek her advice.
Sharon Taylor, the Chief Operating Officer at Animal Logic, flew out from Sydney and spent the entire afternoon at Mill Film. She spoke about the importance of having supportive colleagues, bosses and the ever-changing climate of the creative industries. Sharon shared the inspiring story of how she broke into film and visual effects, offered suggestions for young women starting out, and addressed industry norms that needed change.
The next speaker was an Adelaide local, the Executive Officer at Mighty Kingdom, Hannah Murdoch. Hannah spoke to changing workplace policies and Mighty Kingdom’s fight against unfair industry standards. She explained that Mighty Kingdom combats certain standards by enforcing a more relaxed, understanding and people-centric environment, and pushing through policy with impact. Hannah’s insights and policy explanations provided a great example of what a supportive work cohort can accomplish. With inclusive policies such as a nine-week paternity leave for men and an annual menstrual leave for women, Mighty Kingdom are helping lead the way for equality in work policy.
The event also saw South Australian Film Corporation’s Head of Production, Development, Attraction and Studios, Amanda Duthie, give an impassioned talk on female representation in the industry and the need for continued self-reflection. Amanda spoke passionately about the disparity in gender representation within the industry. Specifically, how gender parity in documentaries is close to equal, while the television industry trails behind. It was the film industry; however, that takes the cake for the widest gender gap. Amanda also acknowledged the importance of how far the industry has come, and how much further it must go to achieve gender equality.
A veteran of the VFX industry, Edwina Jamieson was the final speaker at the event. Recently appointed as the new Technicolor Academy Manager in Adelaide, Edwina has a prolific 20-year career in film, television and VFX under her belt. She offered firsthand commentary on industry changes in the past two decades. As a working mother of three, Edwina brought a unique perspective and story that involved juggling the pressures of motherhood while working in visual effects, living away from family, and maintaining her work-life balance. — thefocus.com
The Focus and Mill Film are committed to narrowing the gender gap in VFX. ‘Women in Focus’ is part of a recurring series of events organized by The Focus, with more events to set to take place in various locations around the world. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for updates.