SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT MALTI SAHAI
The Toronto International Film Festival organized ‘Share Her Journey’ rally, a sisters’ march to spotlight systemic inequality faced by women in the film industry on Saturday along King Street, in front of the TIFF Bell Lightbox headquarters.
Maxine Bailey, VP Advancement at TIFF had said in a statement earlier that the rally would protest gender inequality and sexual harassment in the film industry in the wake of allegations and criminal charges against Harvey Weinstein and other industry heavyweights.
Cameron Bailey, co-head of the festival also said, “In the past year, the MeToo movement, Time’s Up, and several high-profile criminal prosecutions have exposed a harsh reality about the film industry. It’s a reality that women have known about for generations but is finally getting the attention it deserves. He pointed out that there is a dark side to the film industry. A culture where sexual assault, gender disparity, and sexism run rampant. Adding, “It’s a culture we cannot and will not accept.” Earlier women’s marches at rival film festivals included the Respect Rally at Sundance, and Cannes Film Festival jury president Cate Blanchett leading a women’s march up the steps of the Palais in Cannes.
The eminent speakers at TIFF said, “It is our opportunity to stand side-by-side and speak out against the systemic inequality that has plagued our industry for far too long. Gender inequity is systemic in the screen industries so change has to happen at every level including getting more women into key creative roles.”
Speaking on the occasion, Nandita Das said, “India is a country of contrasts. On the one hand, we have had women in leadership roles like President and Prime Minister while countries like America still aspired for it. However, we must help the others, the less fortunate majority with equal opportunities.” She added, “I am now proud to own my identity as a Woman Director.”
TIFF one of the biggest and most diverse film festivals had introduced the concept of gender parity even before the Me-Too movement. It is committed to supporting the cause. Celebrities attending the festival descended on King Street and spoke on the occasion.