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Dear all

I wanted to alert you to a training / careers development session that I contributed to as part of the Underwire Film Festival in November 2012. Underwire is a London-based shorts film festival founded in 2010 by Gemma Mitchell and Gabriella Apicella as a platform to promote, inspire and support women working in the film industry. Alongside the film screenings are debates, discussions plus training and networking opportunities. They are supported by a whole host of industry partners and hold touring and training events across the UK so they are well worth checking out!

The training session I took part in was co-produced with Olivia Bellas, a Cultural Consultant and Director of Creative Consultancy Company The Original Ranch. Olivia and I both share a passion for working in the creative industries and the various opportunities that this sector can provide however a similar frustration with the bureaucratic minefield and working conditions that face many struggling to manage and build a successful career. We wanted to produce a session that would be both informative – providing practical realities of how to manage and keep afloat in this industry, thinking about developing cross-sector skills, managing contacts, building an online presence that represents your experience, dealing with finances, benefits and rights etc etc – all that nitty gritty stuff AND empowering – encouraging particularly women to continue to build, manage and succeed in the creative sector. My personal motivation was to talk about some of the challenges that particularly face women working in the creative sector – issues around pay & promotion, managing a freelance career and the impact of motherhood on the work/life balance – and encourage women to make the working conditions of the industry work for them, ensuring that they can remain and continue to contribute to the sector…..

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Last night I attended a UK screening of Miss Representation Jennifer Siebel Newsom‘s documentary that looks at how the US media portrays women and young girls. This event was hosted by Women in Film and TV and Amnesty International UK.

Just watch the trailer and you’ll get a taste of the heart-lurching-lump-in-your-throat feeling that this film evokes. The opening still displays a quote from Alice Walker “The most common way that people give up their power is by thinking that they don’t have any”. This is followed by a montage of sexualised, violent and demeaning images of women cut between quotes from contributors about the media’s treatment and representation of women and the impact on society. From the start, you know that this is a campaigning film, designed to provoke its audience into action.

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I went to the UK Broadcast Video Expo on the 17th Feb to see a seminar titled ‘Women in TV: 35 up? Huge numbers of women exit the industry at age 35. What can we do to stop the talent drain? To read a report of the event and my thoughts please click on the link below.

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