The National Film Board of Canada is celebrating International Women’s Day in a big way.

The NFB announced today that they will commit 50 per cent of its production budget to films made by female filmmakers over the next three years.

Already a leader in gender equality, this unprecedented move by the NFB ensures that at least half of its productions will be directed by women, and half of all production spending will be allocated to these films.

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The NFB has been a strong supporter of women in cinema since 1974, when it established the world’s first production unit devoted exclusively to female filmmakers. Today’s announcement continues the tradition of supporting women in the film industry, including directors such as Sarah Polley (pictured).

NFB head Claude Joli-Coeur made the announcement at the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival. “The NFB has always taken a leadership role in women’s filmmaking,”; Joli-Coeur stated. “Today, I’m making a firm, ongoing commitment to full gender parity, which I hope will help to lead the way for the industry as a whole.”;

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The news comes as a report by not-for-profit organization Women in View claimed that women represented only 17 per cent of directors, 22 per cent of writers, and 12 per cent of cinematographers in the Canadian film industry, according to a sample of 91 feature-length films. The commitment by the NFB ensures that these numbers will grow over the next few years as the organization looks to build on its pledge to support female filmmakers.

Spending at the NFB has been roughly at parity between films directed by women and men.  The organization has consistently been a supporter of women in cinema and creativity, ensuring a diverse array of female voices — including visible-minorities and Indigenous female filmmakers — are at the centre of its films.