It’s lunchtime at Shikiji Japanese Noodle & Sushi, a ramen shop in northeast Calgary.
In between bites from her bento box, Red Deer College film student Veronika Fodor, discusses what it means to navigate the #MeToo movement as a woman who hopes to one day enter the industry.
So far, she says her school is helping her protect herself.
“When you’re actually acting, you need to put up barriers so that you’re safe and not hurting yourself,” she says, adding that “if you speak up, you’re heard and you get the experience that you want.”
“Generation after generation of young people moving into the TV or film industry, they have the power to make changes.” -Conrad Alexandrowicz
Last year’s coverage of workplace sexual violence exploded, with controversy in Hollywood and within the entire film industry dominating headlines.
In a recent Variety article, the dean of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Allyson Green, states:
“We must model the brave space for difficult, but respectful conversations and prepare our students to feel sufficiently empowered to enter their professions with an understanding of boundaries, personal dignity and ethics.”
Professors at the University of Victoria’s theatre program say they are taking steps to better equip students.
“We’re not just trying to reproduce all of the discriminatory patterns of this industry, we’re trying to equip people with the means to change it. Generation after generation of young people moving into the TV or film industry, they have the power to make changes,” says professor Conrad Alexandrowicz. He adds that students are aware of the discrimination that goes on in the industry and that they’ll have to adapt to it.
In his small, modern office downtown at the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers, executive director Barry Thorson says that they are implementing harassment policies within its memberships that extend to any projects that go through their offices in response to #MeToo.
“This is the climate now. We are all working out of a place of respect and these are the potential consequences if you violate that agreement.”
The Calgary Journal reached out to the co-founder of a Canadian #AfterMeToo national reform movement, Canadian actress Mia Kirshner. Her website states: “We’re here because we’re done with the status quo …We’re done with ineffective leadership who turned a blind eye to this problem.”
In an email to the Calgary Journal, Kirshner wrote:
“Tell stories about real people. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Make sure that your set is filled with women, LGBTQ and racialized persons. Save your money. Have a full life outside of this industry, one that is rich with art, travel and with people from all walks of life. It will make your work richer. Don’t be afraid to say no.”
Editor: Whitney Cullingham | firstname.lastname@example.org