Today (Thursday 21 May) Raising Films is five!
Raising Films was ‘birthed’ in Cannes back in 2015 and the five founders – Nicky Bentham, Hope Dickson Leach, Line Langebek, Jessica Levick and So Mayer – created Raising Films as a campaign aiming to bring diversity and sustainability into the film industry by organising a community of parents and carers and starting a conversation about the industry’s caring commitments.
Over the past five years, we’ve collaborated with individuals and organisations across the film and TV industries to campaign for – and to make – change for parents and carers with a number of significant achievements that we are especially proud of:
- Partnering with the Film & TV Charity to set up The Family Support Fund to cover a range of needs, including emergency childcare.
- Through our intervention and support the mobile crèche WonderWorks is in situ at Warner Brothers Studio Leavesden.
- Based on the findings published in our Raising Our Game report into bullying and exclusion in the industry, we launched the Raising Films Ribbon to acknowledge best practice (to date the ribbon has been awarded to BIFA, BECTU Vision, film and TV productions and a University).
- We’ve championed and supported the work of Parents in Film Festivals who set up the first crèche at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019.
- Parents and carers are now considered within the BFI’s Diversity Standards.
- We helped to set-up two international chapters; Raising Films Australia and the soon-to-launch Raising Films Ireland.
Raising Films’ other activities and focus over the past five years have been about amplifying the voices of parents and carers working in film and TV. We’ve achieved this through publishing an extensive series of first-person accounts and testimonials from a range of individual creatives on our website and supporting parents and carers in their careers through our innovative and bespoke training and developing programmes CLOSR and Making It Possible and we’ve run free Writer Residencies too, to provide some focused time for people within our community.
A major part of our work since 2015 has been two ‘first-of-their-kind’ surveys looking into the effects of parenting and caring responsibilities on a career in the screen industries. The reports and checklists that have come out of these surveys have outlined what change is needed and how to achieve that change. These pieces of work – Making It Possible, Raising Our Game and most recently We Need To Talk About Caring – have been shared widely with film and TV organisations, unions, MPs and the contents have helped to inform initiatives aiming to support parents and carers working across all areas of film and TV.
Our current initiative – #Raising Our Futures – launched at the beginning of lockdown asks when the current coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis is over, what will the film and TV landscape look like? Through the initiative we’re encouraging the film and TV sector to consider how the lessons we’re all learning now might help shape a better, fairer, safer and more inclusive future for the industry. Ideas, thoughts and suggestions can be shared through this dedicated page on our website.
During lockdown Raising Films has contributed, via Creative England, to the Codes of Practice for Film and High-End TV Drama Production developed by the British Film Commission as part of the BFI Screen Sector Task Force. While Raising Films’ colleague Dr. Tamsyn Dent has submitted a paper to the research project set up by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Creative Diversity.
Looking to the next five years
In the spirit of Raising Films and to mark our half decade a number of provocations have been commissioned for the film and TV industries to consider while the sector as a whole reconfigures itself. We believe that now is the time to think organically with equality, diversity and inclusion informing every decision, in every working environment and practice. We cannot go back to ‘situation normal’, so why not change for the better?
Raising Films is working towards becoming a registered charity and our ambitions will remain; continuing to work towards building a future of fair pay, fair hours and fair practices for parents and carers working or who want to work in film and TV.
The whole Raising Films team extend huge and heartfelt thanks for all the support received since 2015 from across the film and TV industries and to our wonderful community; those who have shared their stories and those who champion and support the work of Raising Films in a multitude of ways – we are so grateful.
Here’s to the next five years!