Stories from the WIFTI SUMMIT 2023 in Helsinki

4 Dicembre 2023

Theo Lindberg, WIFT TRANS/WIFT SWEDEN tells us about the WIFTI SUMMIT 2023.


For the panel, watch here.


What a lovely weekend we had! Thank you again to all who organized, hosted, planned and produced the event! Kitos!


Most of us arrived in Helsinki on Friday, and we first all got together for dinner at Hanaholmen on Friday night. There was much joy in seeing familiar faces, especially since most of us hadn’t travelled much in the last few years.


Saturday was packed with sessions and discussions!


We learned about the current status of Gender Equality from researchers, professors, professionals from Australia, Austria, Ireland, Poland and Finland.


We discussed change – what has changed, who’s responsible for change, what does change mean? Director Katja Gauriloff (Skolt Sámi, Finland), director Fawzia Mirza (US/Canada), editor Theo Lindberg (Sweden) in conversation with Victoria Thomas (UK). (in the picture)


Liselott Forsman from Nordic Film & TV Fund talked about the impact of AI.


Laura Allen Muller from WIFT Denmark told us about their campaign “A BIGGER PICTURE” that aims to improve the representation of minorities in Danish Film and TV.


Andria Wilson Mirza from WIF LA gave us insight into how the ReFrame Initiative (a collaboration between WIF LA and the Sundance Institute) designs and leads systemic change programs in Hollywood and how they develop partnerships with key industry leaders and companies. Within the ReFrame Initiative they are now launching ReFrame ReSource – an online hub of culture change tools and best practices created in collaboration with 50+ advocacy organizations, covering topics ranging from equity in development, to production, hiring, audience development.


Eeva-Sofia Anttonen from WIFT Finland presented a digital tool called “The Equality Tool for the AV-industry” to help people in the industry take concrete actions to improve equality and comply with diversity legislation. They are launching it as we speak, and it will soon be available in Swedish!


We heard from Brigitte Monneau, Canada, about women as a specialist tool. We heard from Domizia De Rosa, Italy, about rules for ethical behavior in the AudioVisual Field Sector. We heard about WIFT TECH from Alejandra FC Zarazua, Sweden.


WIF CEO Kirsten Schaffer, WIF LA, shared the celebration of WIF LA turning 50 with stories about how the community was built 50 years ago, what change looks like now and what’s next for WIF and the movement.


In the evening, we had a dinner celebration for WIF LA turning 50. Helene Granqvist also presented the newly instated WIFTI PEACE PRIZE to Anne Lajla Utsi from the Sámi Film Institute.


The WIFTI Peace Prize rewards the efforts of embracing peace, even while experiencing tension, discomfort and historical challenges. The prize honors the art of storytelling and the process of building constructive relationships.


Then there was dancing, and, oh, did we dance…


Sunday was equally packed!

The morning started off with “Voices from the indigenous North”


We heard from Pauliina Feodoroff about how to re-learn communication with nature, Anne-Lajla Utsi (Sámi Film Institute) shared how three of the four films from their slate has premiered at Toronto International Film Festival, Victoria Thomas (UK) and Grace Maharaj (Sweden) talked about leadership and economic equity in the European media and entertainment context. Dr. Deborah Jermyn, Professor Bernadette Luciano and Dr. Susan Liddy talked about inclusivity with a spotlight on age.


Then there was an opportunity to visit different rooms with different discussions – topics ranging from: how to run a successful chapter, gender inclusive language and chapter names, benchmarking programs: mentoring, upskilling, advocacy, sustainability, experience on ageism and how to overcome it, the imperative and the impossibility of managing diversity, global guilds and peer groups.


Domizia De Rosa, Italy, Elina Knihtilä, Finland, Norma Jean Straw, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USA, Kirsten Schaffer, WIF LA were in a panel called “Culture Wars”, addressing the right-wing governments around the world who are using culture (including film, TV, media) to move forwards repressive agendas.


Hollywood, Bollywood and Nollywood are the three largest film and television producing regions in the world – but not in that order. Do you know who produces the most films? Guneet Monga Kapoor, India, Fawzia Mirza, US/Canada, Victoria Thomas, UK taught us that Nollywood and Bollywood are not terms used by their own industries and that from here on out we should all call them for what they are – the Nigerian film industry and the Indian film industry.


We talked about the next steps for WIFTI, and heard summaries from all the parallel group meetings earlier in the day.


In the afternoon, there was a ceremony of the change of guards where Helene Granqvist stepped down as president of WIFTI and Dr. Susan Liddy took over the reigns. Lots of laughter, tears and many, many hugs…


In between all the sessions we had time for chats, saunas, dips in the ocean or the pool (or both, for some) and all in all it was a weekend full of community, love, respect, and simply amazing to share a room with people from six different continents and feel we are all working towards the same goal. A better world.





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