Women of the Sun (WoS), an instrumental organisation promoting women in the film and television industry and sponsored by the Gauteng Film Commission (GFC), continues to provide vital services to women in the sector.

Eve Rantseli, executive officer
Eve Rantseli, executive officer, says recently the organisation found there was a need to develop seminars and screenings to enable women to network, learn and showcase their talent.

She elaborates on the objectives of the seminars: "The topics we decided to concentrate on are a response to the change in the way the industry works, the SABC crisis, the introduction to the rebate, copyright etc. The critical thing is that producers need to know how to adapt and survive and unfortunately many producers are finding it difficult. They are not aware of the opportunities available to them and those that have an idea find it daunting.

"WoS spends a lot of time responding to women filmmakers' questions on how things work. And these questions form the basis of the seminars we decided were critical to cover."

Rantseli continues: "The crisis at the SABC does not spell doom and gloom for the industry. There is hope. The seminars aim to provide an alternative funding model to produce films and sustaining businesses, to look at international opportunities and to provide information that producers can put in use immediately."

Some of the recent seminars include: Breaking the Glass Ceiling - a producer course with Angus Finney; Editing Seminar with New York based editor, Susan Korda; Copyright and Fair Use, Understanding Broad-Based BEE Compliance and Alternative Funding Methods. The line-up for next year includes: Creating a Business Plan; Leadership, Negotiating and Contract skills; Exploring Technology - making low budget films. For dates visit the WoS website at www.womenofthesun.org.za.

Another event WoS has initiated is monthly screenings. Rantseli explains how it works: "Currently I approach members who we know completed films and then there are also films that I have had a chance to see at film festivals. But in general, we will have an ongoing call through our WoS newsletter, website and announcements at the screening for women filmmakers on how to submit their films. We also encourage women to submit films in any genre that they have worked on or contributed to in any capacity - producer, director, art design, editing etc. Ultimately we like women filmmakers to make 'WoS Thursday Showcase' their platform to premiere their work."

She adds that all people are welcome at the seminars and screenings. "Women do not work in a vacuum, we exist in an industry where the majority of the players are male and therefore we need to be able to work together in a collaborative and non-discriminatory environment. Besides that we can learn from the experience of our male counterparts."

The WoS mandate is to advocate for women's advancement, with a critical component being showcasing women's abilities and skills to ensure that they have equal opportunity with their male counterparts. The screenings and the seminars are platforms to do this while also encouraging networking with the whole industry.