Sammy Nickalls
January 23, 2016 11:45 am

It’s a hard world out there for women in Hollywood. Of course, there’s the pay gap debate that has been at the forefront of the conversation for the past year, especially since actress Jennifer Lawrence penned a gorgeously poignant essay for Lenny back in October. But it’s not only actresses who are facing the brunt of the sexism in the film world — it’s women behind the scenes, too. That’s exactly why Vimeo is stepping up by launching Share the Screen, which is intended to help female filmmakers by not only funding their projects, but teaching and promoting them.

“From its beginning Vimeo has always stood for the democratization of filmmaking, and of sharing videos, and of gaining access to audiences,” Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor told Wired. “When we see all of the information from the past couple years about just how wide the gender equality gap is in the entertainment industry, lending our support identifying and celebrating female voices made all the sense in the world.”

Share the Screen — which was announced today at the Sundance Film Festival — will fund at least five projects created by female filmmakers in 2016. It will also meet up with women in film during the festival to find good candidates. Once it chooses its filmmakers, it will help promote them, and the amount its willing to invest is “uncapped.”

“The ability of the Internet, and Vimeo specifically, to put power in the hands of anyone who wishes to create great video,” Trainor told Wired, “is something that we’re very excited to get behind.”

This announcement comes three months after the release of a study that analyzed the top 700 films in 2014 and found that women made up just one-fifth of those working in key behind-the-scenes positions.

“It’s extremely unfortunate that the traditional industry has allowed things to be out of balance for so long, in terms of equality of opportunity for men and women, but it’s very exciting that Vimeo can do something to help correct that imbalance,” Trainor told Deadline. “. . . One of the best things about our platform is that it’s open to everyone, and we’re proud to say that we have many amazing female filmmakers building their careers on Vimeo.”

The project is kicking off with Darby Forever, a short film created by Aidy Bryant (a cast member from Saturday Night Live!!!). Based on the trailer, it’s looking pretty fabulous, starring ladies we all know and love like Retta (Parks and Recreation) and Natasha Lyonne (Orange Is The New Black).

(Image via video.)

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